Eric alerted me to two articles this past week that complement last week’s Jerusalem Post article about the UJC GA in Israel.
The first one is actually a response from a piqued Israeli reporter, Anshel Pfeffer’s pointing out that Americans don’t know much about Israelis.
The second one is a thoughtful analysis by Michael Oren that explores the gap between American and Israeli Jews.
I think there was something else in the Jpost recently as well, although it slipped through my fingers Continue reading
Posted in Israel, judaism, middle east, religion
Tagged American Jews, Faith, Haaretz, Israel, judaism, middle east, Pluralism, religion, Secular Israelis
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
Posted in Israel, israeli culture, judaism, middle east, zionism
Tagged American Jewry, American Jews, Israel, Jewish diaspora, judaism, middle east, United Jewish Communities
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have come and gone here, but we are still in the midst of the holiday season, with Sukkot starting Tuesday night. It’s hard to get anything done during this time of year–you’re always getting ready for the next chag plus shabbat too. So there’s a lot of time spent food shopping and cooking if you end up hosting all of the meals (which I didn’t). Even if you don’t host each meal, it’s a very busy time.
Luckily for Rosh Hashana, we were invited for almost every meal by people of Ner Kedoshim, the orthodox shul that we’ve been frequenting here. By the time the chag was over, I was ready to go on a diet! Continue reading
Posted in Aliyah, Israel, israeli-palestinian conflict, Jewish Holidays, judaism, middle east, religion, yom kippur, zionism
Tagged Acco, Acre, Aliyah, Israel, israeli-palestinian conflict, judaism, Kfar Saba, middle east, religion, Rosh Hashanah, yom kippur
Well we actually said goodbye more than a week ago. And it’s not really goodbye because we’ll be in Israel. And we’ll be going to the Tikkun Leil Shavuot at Pardes.
On the other hand, the end of Pardes is the end of a chapter in our lives. It was a very special year. To be able to live in Jerusalem and study Jewish texts for one whole year is for many people an unattainable experience–whether from financial or psychological barriers–although it really shouldn’t be. In these times it’s takes a lot of chutzpah to leave the workforce and study for the sake of studying. Continue reading
Posted in Israel, jerusalem, Jewish Holidays, jewish learning, judaism, middle east, pardes, religion, Shavuot
Tagged Aliyah, Bamidbar, Israel, jerusalem, Jewish Holidays, judaism, pardes, religion, Shavuot, Torah
I got this in a Pardes email and thought it was really interesting. The Rosh Yeshiva of Pardes went to a trialogue conference in Amman, Jordan recently and wrote about his experiences. A few months ago, Landes also was part of a panel discussion about religious responses to the Rav Kook tragedy.
I have a lot of respect for Rabbi Landes on many levels. Not only is he a smart guy but also he has the ability to connect with people whether they are students or Pardes donors. I also know that without his traipsing about the U.S., Pardes wouldn’t be as well supported as it is.
Enjoy the article…
Sunday, May 25th
After a wonderful Shabbat, I saw my son Isaac off very early Sunday morning as he returned to his combat unit that surrounds Nablus, a seething hotbed of Islamic radical fundamentalism, to guard four Jewish settlements (several of which have their own brand of fundamentalism). It usually takes me a few hours to fully get a grip on myself, but I was off on my own “mission” – to participate in the International Scholars’ Abrahamic Trialogue, this year held in Jordan. The thrust of the conference would touch on peace. So whatever my own personal politics (as most of the Israeli electorate, it tends to veer; now keeping my son’s unit safe seems to exert a great force – again like most of Israel), we always have to work the peace side. That much I know from my study of Judaism.
Instead of flying, a group of us drove. In the van was my old friend R. Abe Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who arranged for my participation, the distinguished thinkers R. Yitz and Blu Greenberg (Yitz had a significant impact upon Abe and me when we studied as undergraduates with him at Yeshiva) and a wise and witty religious Israeli businessman from the neighborhood who spends a lot of time in Arab countries and is best left unnamed. The trip up was a good idea – going through the dry and dusty Beit She’an Valley provided a transition, until we arrived at the bridge that crosses over. The normal bureaucracy was complicated by the fact that we had entered Jordan through the wrong bridge – our visas at the van on that side were not waiting. However, frowns were soon enough (some delay) smoothed over with smiles, chuckles and the application of the universal lubricant for getting the wheels moving. Continue reading
Posted in interfaith dialogue, Israel, israeli-palestinian conflict, judaism, middle east, pardes, religion
Tagged interreligious dialogue, Israel, israeli-palestinian conflict, judaism, middle east, pardes, religion
I really did want to post an entry yesterday but I guess I didn’t get around to it. Well it’s partly because my computer is in the shop–nothing happened to it, but just it needed a cleanup. Tonight I’m just using Eric’s computer to complete this entry.
Not having the computer over the last few days was actually pretty liberating in the sense that I wasn’t glued to the Internet. Instead I spent more time on the mirpeset, listening to the birds and voices of people on their way home or to someone elses’ for a meal or stretching and looking up at the clouds slowly changing form. It’s amazing how much more satisfactory this activity was compared to reading emails!
Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t addressed and am not planning to devote any of my blog to the Palestinian perspective of Israeli Independence Day. It’s not that I wanted to deny the existence of their narrative. There’s no denying that Independence Day is a crappy day for the Palestinians who feel they were kicked out of their homeland. It’s probably a very weird occassion for Palestinian Israeli citizens. The truth is that I could devote so much time to this topic and to my feelings towards this topic–which are complicated and contradictory.
For this year, I thought I should keep in simple and write about my perspective on the day to day level. G-d willing there will be many more years where I can write more in depth about this, Of course you’re welcome to add your story in the comment section below.
Israel is a place of contradicting and extreme emotions. The same could be said of Judaism which celebrates times of mourning (shiva, 9th of Av) and times of joy (weddings, Simchat Torah) with the same amount of intensity. People will tell you here that it’s unbelievable how the country goes from the intense low of Yom Hazikaron to the intense high of Yom Haatzmaut in such a short time. In the U.S. we celebrate Memorial Day and Independence Day in separate months, but here you are not made to forget that Israel’s independence was earned and continues to be earned through the sacrifice of its soldiers because commemoration is followed by celebration. Continue reading
Posted in Israel, israeli-palestinian conflict, judaism, middle east, pardes, Yom Haatzmaut, zionism
Tagged Israel, Israel-Palestinian Conflict, judaism, Michael Oren, middle east, Pardes Institute, religion, Yom Haatzmaut, Yom Hazikaron, zionism
I just loved this D’var Torah that Pardes Student Rabbi Alice Dubinsky wrote for the Pardes alumni newsletter. I think it is wonderful that someone like her took the time to enrich her learning. I hope the D’var will give you a taste of the type of learning and the wonderful pieces of Torah that are unearthed at here.
D’var Torah from Current Pardes Student, Rabbi Alice Dubinsky
My family and I came to Jerusalem this year on sabbatical. My husband David and I mostly came for our children, Zachary and Hannah, who are 5 and 7. We put them in the local public school and after three months, they sound like Israelis. Neither David nor I will ever have their Hebrew skills no matter how much we study. We started too late. David is at ulpan, and I am spending my time here at Pardes. Most of my Pardes classmates are in their twenties and could be my children. They know so much: reams of Talmud, the subtleties of biblical grammar, and the philosophy of Jewish law. They also stay up really, really late at night hanging out in the Beit Midrash learning stuff that isn’t required. Hardly anyone misses class. So why does a 43 year old, who has been toiling in the fields of HaShem as a congregational rabbi for the last 15 years, spend my precious sabbatical with 20-somethings who remind me that I will never know as much Torah as they do? Continue reading