Noah quickly noticed three things that you see walking around Haifa that you don’t see in Brooklyn

  1. Stray cats (חתולים-chatulim)
  2. Soldiers (החיילים-chayalim)
  3. Lizards (לטאות-no vowels, so I’m not sure)

Soon, he decided to count how many of each he saw.  Waiting for the bus, he’d say “There’s a cat, that’s 11!”

Then it became part of the narrative he likes to share.

N: Daddy, there’s a khatul (cat).  That makes shmoneh-esrei (18).  If I get to 21 I win.

R: Um, okay.

Next time

N: Daddy, there’s another one, but it doesn’t matter because Bob Bradley already got 21

R: Who’s Bob Bradley?

N: You know that team the Eagles?

R: The football team from Philadelphia?

N: No, the soccer team that wears blue.

R: The US Men’s soccer team?

N: Yeah, he’s the coach [which is true, but I had forgotten], and he beat me at the cat finding game.  He’s really good, but Landon Donovan lost.  He only has 9.  He’s much better at soccer than cat-finding.

Despite losing the contest, the cat counting (and to a lesser extent, the soldier and lizard counting) continues.  He’s up to shloshim v’shesh (36).

Foreign countries are very exciting.