Category Archives: israeli culture

Encounters with Israelis

The Obama Netanyahu confrontation has been on my mind, although I find it more appealing to write about the more mundane things. It’s hard for me to contribute new ideas to the political discourse when so much has been said before. It is also hard to wrap my brain around these scary, existential issues without feeling depressed and pessimistic.

The day-to-day personal experiences and encounters are easier to digest, take apart and relate to others. For me, it is easier to draw the extraordinary and profound from the ordinary and mundane than the reverse. Nevertheless  I will make some time to write about the socio-political situation here. Just not yet…

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Israel in the Spotlight

Israel is getting a lot of attention these days, and unfortunately so are the Jews as antisemitic attacks and anti Israel rhetoric is on the rise.

You sure get a different perspective of the international response and international media once you’ve become an Israeli citizen. It never really dawned on me before this year how much focus there is on this tiny country compared to lots and lots of other places. Continue reading

Israelis Don’t Know Crap about American Jewry

Hey sorry for the long delay on blogging. Graduate school studies have bogged me down as of late. I’ll write about that in my next post. For now I will share with you an article in the Jerusalem Post about how the Israeli media completely disregarded the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities.

Such an oversight exemplifies the complete ignorance that many Israelis have of the Jewish diaspora, particularly the American Jews–which is a particularly stupid strategy given that American Jewry have been a significant source of funding for Israel. Moreover, they are not just another backwater diaspora community. They are the size of Israel!

Not only do they fail to understand, but they actually think they know what they are talking about and don’t seem to care about learning more. The article also reveals some of the historic disdain that Israel has harbored toward diaspora Jewry and the ever widening rift between American and Israeli Jewry. Continue reading

Rechovot, Ayalon Institute

I’m sitting at home recuperating from a three-day Tiyul in the Negev organized by Pardes. Israel’s desert is beautiful and stark and I didn’t want to leave. It’s only a few hours from Jerusalem, but I was really in culture shock when I got back. It was especially jarring to drive up to Tel-Aviv on Friday because Tel-Aviv looks more like a city in the U.S. than a small settlement in the Negev. The visit itself was really fun–we went up to meet with Schelley Dardashti, a genealogist and journalist that Eric had been corresponding with, and we partook in a delicious Persian barbeque.

Before I write about the Negev and Schelley, I should mention more about our visit to Eric’s cousins in Rechovot–2 weekends ago my how time flies! Muncie is the first cousion of Eric’s grandfather, and she has a daughter named Hannah and grandson Yeftah. We stayed with Hannah, who cooked a lovely Friday night dinner for us. Yeftah was there along with Muncie and Hannah’s boyfriend Amiram. Hannah is a radiologist and Amiram is a professional actor and mime who studied in France for several years. Continue reading

International Arts and Crafts Fair

I hope you are enjoying my weekly barrage of random musings about Israel and my photographs. Today I just have a short update on goings on: Last night Eric and I went to the International Arts and Crafts Fair that featured works from countries around the world as well as from many Israeli artists. Some of the items from other countries were more on the tourist-tacky side, but there were beautiful ceramics and teapots from Morocco, printed cloths from India, handwoven clothes from Kyrgystan as well as a whole section on shadow puppets from China and India.  

We couldn’t resist the wares and bought a hand-woven pillow cover from Uzbekistan a ceramic Havdalah set from Israel and a few ceramic tiles from a glass blowing factory in Hebron. In addition to the fair itself, their is a musical performance each night along with a few smaller stages. (A few nights ago it was supposedly packed because Avi Geffen performed!) Continue reading

Monday Night

Tonight a few folks from the Ulpan went to see The Simpsons movie. Very Israeli of me, isnt it? The weirdest thing about going to movies in Israel is that there is a break in the middle of the movie. What’s up with that? Can they not sit still for an hour and a half? Continue reading

Charlap Street


Did you know I’m related to this dude that a Jerusalem street is named after? Eric, who is really into genealogy, stumbled upon a Web site (maintained by a distant relative of mine) that deals with the Charlap family tree. He found out that my mother’s mother branches into this very well documented family. More info about them can be found here.

Rav Charlap (or Harlap) was the protege of Rav Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel who helped clear the way for the religious Zionist movement. I’m sure every Jewish person can trace their family history back to some really famous Rabbi and claims lineage to King David. The most fascinating aspect of genealogy is seeing how one’s own family played a part in world history. It’s all one long, continous chain.

Eric and I had our friend, Sam, over for Friday night dinner and he was giving us the lowdown on living at Ulpan Etzion. In his conversations with the French olim, they said that the situation was pretty bad. It seems like the French Jews have increasingly become the targets of anti-semitism. Continue reading