Tag Archives: Pardes Institute

Yom Hazikaron, Yom Haatzmaut

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


Look Back on Yom Shoah, Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut

So here we are celebrating Israel’s 60th. It’s really exciting and wonderful to be here and to be experiencing festivities in Israel for the first time. Of course I am also relishing the irony of Olmert being investigated yet again for a corruption scandal right in time for the celebrations. But before I offer any reflections about being here over the 60th, I want to write further about the Shoah program at Pardes. My next article, will be devoted toward Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haaztmaut. I’m also thinking of posting some correspondence that my friend and I had over the relationship of the Jewish people and the diaspora. I think I will leave that until next week because its such a big topic. Continue reading

Passover D’var Torah from Pardes Student

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

Purim and Passover

It’s funny that right after Purim your mind is already focused on Passover. Perhaps its like the Thanksgiving/Christmas juxtaposition. I don’t know because I’m not a goy. It’s funny that this year has gone by so quickly, and I’m holding onto dear life as we rush forward.

Things are definitely moving forward. I’ve sent in my applications to Hebrew U and have begun more intensive job networking. I’m forcing myself to listen to more Israeli radio (sorry NPR but I’ve got to become native) and read more Hebrew. Eric’s got a few clinical/biotech job possibilities and he’s slogging through ulpan too. And this weekend we’re visiting Haifa again to take a closer look at it.

We still don’t know where our fate lies, but that’s what we’ll be deciding in the next few weeks. It’s crunch time. I’m really glad we’re getting a big chunk of time off from Pardes so we can buckle down and make these big life decisions. Meanwhile I take yoga and listen to Lizz Wright to keep breathing 🙂

Before the memory of Purim has faded completely, I have to devote some more attention to this sacred/profane holiday. First I’ll say that I’ve had the best Purim ever–and not just because it’s lasted 3 days. It was my first time reading from Megillat Esther, and I wasn’t that nervous!!! I will try posting a video of me–but last time I tried it just took too darn long. Continue reading

Day of Chesed, Day of Terrorism

Thursday was a day of contrasts. Pardes hosted a day of community service in memory of two students who were killed in a terrorist attack 5 years ago at Hebrew University. A Palestinian open fired on students at Merkaz Harav, a religious Zionist yeshiva in Jerusalem. The students ranged from 15-26 years old. Outside of the school people were shouting ‘Death to the Arabs.’ Hamas claims responsibility and bathes in the violence. Arabs in East Jerusalem and West Bank face increased scrutiny. The Israeli right calls for building more settlements.

I wonder will there ever be peace in this G-d forsaken part of the world.   Continue reading

Good Day

Today was a very good day. As Ramban is the commentator of the month at Pardes, our Chumash class read a long entry of his about his perspective on miracles and mitzvot. More about Ramban and his commentary later. I’ll just say that Rashi typically writes short explanations on text in the chumash while Ramban is quite wordy.

This afternoon I attended a staff meeting/semi-retreat. One of the staff members, Ophir Yarden talked about his work in ICCI’s the Center for Interreligious Encounter with Israel. The program organizes tours for visiting groups and educates them about the different religious aspects of Israel. Some of the people whom ICCI has hosted have included religious students, religious leaders and college groups. Groups have included separate and combined Jewish and Christian delegations.

Ophir also talked about the upcoming conference that ICCI is helping to organize in Jerusalem for the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), an organization which ICCI also belongs to. The theme of the conference is “The Contribution of Jewish-Christian- Muslim Dialogue to Peace-Buidling in the Middle East”
It sounds like it’s going to be a really interesting event!

Here’s something else that might interest you: I recently expanded a blog article I had written last month on Bush’s visit here for MASA’s online newsletter. http://www.masaisrael.org/masa/english/Bush