This and That

Random bits of my life

What do Israelis hang in their cars?

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 29, 2009

I did this mini photo project on June 24, 2009. I took the day off because I had too much accumulated vacation time. The idea came to me when I was walking around Maale Adumim the previous Shabbat afternoon. I don’t drive and so I don’t own a car, but it struck me that a car is a vehicle (ahem) of personal expression. It’s a portable mini-world that surrounds the driver, so it makes sense that it would reflect the driver’s (or drivers’) taste.

So what do Israelis hang in their cars? Anything from amulets to feathers to cards that say “Total Bitch” (it might be an air freshener or it might be a badge of pride — I didn’t try to interview any of these car owners).

The most common ornament was probably the hamsa, a hand-shaped amulet or symbol of good luck very popular among Jews from North Africa. The ones I saw usually had Tefilat haDerekh (Traveler’s Prayer) engraved on them.

What do Israelis hang in their cars?

Second place goes to toys — fuzzy dice, stuffed animals, ugly plastic trolls, that sort of thing.

What do Israelis hang in their cars?

Third place: various religious things. Who would have guessed that miniature Sefer Tehillim (Book of Psalms) were so popular? One of the mini-psalms has the name and date of someone’s bar mitzvah. The boy is probably in the army by now.

What do Israelis hang in their cars?

And then there’s the stuff that doesn’t fit into any category. Some of these might be air fresheners, at a guess. The judo robe was photographed in a community center parking lot. The orange ribbon is a symbol of solidary with Gush Katif. The small yellow shield has the name of a soccer team, Beiter Jerusalem.

What do Israelis hang in their cars?

I’ve been asked whether anyone commented on the fact that I was photographing cars. I tried not to be too obvious about it. Most of these cars were parked on the street or in unguarded parking lots outside apartment blocks. So no one said anything. Focusing was a little tricky because most cars hadn’t seen a car wash for quite a while.

One Response to “What do Israelis hang in their cars?”

  1. Johnathan said

    That is very cool read and wonderful you added so many pictures. I was curious to and funny i found in one of your pictures taken is the same exact Hamsa as mine in my Volvo.


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