Tag Archives: religion

Americans Don’t Know Crap about Israelis and other observations

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.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1041903.html

The second one is a thoughtful analysis by Michael Oren that explores the gap between American and Israeli Jews.

http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=472

I think there was something else in the Jpost recently as well, although it slipped through my fingers Continue reading

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The Holiday Season

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

Bye Bye Pardes

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

Rosh Yeshiva of Pardes Goes to Amman

Hi,

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

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

JPost Article from ICCI

It’s been a while since I’ve written huh? Well I’m actually not going to write something just yet. Instead I’ll share with you an editorial that my boss, Ron Kronish, wrote about religious leaders needing to take the initiative in cultivating empathy for the other side and for encouraging religious conciliation.

The article certainly points to the difficulty in keeping the dialogue going in light of the conflict. These organizations try to affect the conflict by building understanding among peoples, but unfortunately the conflict often ends up impacting them by slowing down efforts.

It takes a great amount of strength to try to move past all of the emotional, historical, psychological, political baggage of the ongoing events and to let violence derail reconciliation efforts. But it is something that both sides must do. I was glad to hear about an event hosted by Jerusalem Peacemakers, which dealt with nonviolent teachings in each religion. I met one of the co-organizers at an event today, and he said that the discussion was a necessary response to the Merkaz HaRav shooting. He felt like it was needed to revive hope. I was also glad to hear that Pardes Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Landes spoke there, and was disappointed I couldn’t attend the event due to a conflict in my schedule. Continue reading