Showing posts from April, 2012

My Small Personal List of 'Only in Israel'

Years ago, when I was still a teenager and Benji (see my previous post) was probably in diapers (if around at all), Ephraim Kishon, the writer and satirist, wrote a piece called Happy Birthday to the State of Israel.  I was thinking about the uniqueness of this tiny country, very, very different from the daily living experience in the United States, unless perhaps if you're in a very small town where everyone knows everyone else.  In Israel, it seems that the entire country is a small town, and everyone is a member of the "family," greatly extended, like your uncle's mother's sister's son kind of related.  I wrote a little about this in a previous post about my daughter (formerly known as 'Rambo'), when she consciously changed her attitude to think positively, be good to herself, and open to others.  But truth be told, the good things that have happened since then, including what I've personally encountered, are more unique to Israel and Israelis …

On Yom Ha'Atzma'ut: A Reminder of Why I Still Love Israel

After too many questions, doubts, and negatives written and spoken about Israel, I was getting a little depressed.  Along comes Benji Lovitt, the comedian, writer and blogger who made Aliyah six years ago, and puts everything in perspective.

On the occasion of this 64th Independence Day celebration starting in Israel tomorrow, I can't say it better than he does in his piece, Sixty-four things I love about Israel. Below are the first 21 things (click on the link to read it all; believe me, you don't want to miss the rest), followed by his video, made after he was in Israel 5 years, which cheerfully encourages me to make Aliyah--or makes me want to run like hell--I don't know which.

Lo meshaneh*.  To all Jews in Israel and all over galut*, Chag Ha'Atzma'ut sameach*!! (and thanks, Benji!)

Sixty-four things I love about Israel 1. I love how Israelis can be completely indifferent to politics but will still argue about their favorite hummus place until they blo…

"The Most Important Video About Israel You'll Ever See"

I couldn't think of a better title than the one Ari and Jeremy chose for their new video on Israel, showing how Israel today is the fulfillment of the Prophesy of the Torah (Old Testament Bible).  At this auspicious time of remembering the horror of the Holocaust and the 6 million victims on Holocaust Memorial Day, and this being the week leading up to Israel's Independence Day next Wednesday, I believe it is important to show the significance of this tiny country and its importance to the world, and the importance and awesomeness of its eternal people, the Jews. I am proud to be a member of the Tribe.

The Titanic Tragedy vs the S.S.Struma Atrocity

With the arrival on April 15th, 2012 and the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the luxury ship RMS Titanic, its story is ubiquitous. There are hundreds of articles written about it everywhere, and the 3-D remake of the 1997 box office smash Titanic has just opened in theatres.

But how many of you have heard of a quite different-type of ship, which sank on February 24th, 1942, during Word War II, that in addition to being a "tragedy" was also an atrocity, perpetrated by commission, by at least four countries: Romania, Turkey, Britain and Russia; and by omission, by the rest of the Free World.  The name of this ship was the S.S. Struma, chartered in December, 1941 by Jews desperate to escape the Nazi regime in Romania to seek safe haven in Israel, then called Palestine.  There were 769 passengers on board, including 269 women and 103 children, who were lied to about being promised legal entry into Palestine, and lied to about the ship and its condition: they were told it was…

Art Therapy

I thought it's about time that I posted some of my daughter's artwork.  She started painting when she was advised to do art therapy while she was hospitalized at Re'ut in Tel-Aviv.  It developed into a passion for her, and now she paints almost every day, when she is able.  She loves painting 3-D paintings, that is, she builds a layer with putty or cardboard, and it gives the appearance of bas-relief, i.e., objects popping out of the flat background. 

This 2-dimensional display does not do her work justice, but hopefully you'll get an idea. Some of her favorite themes are taken from nature-sun, sea, and trees; music: musical notes, clefs, etc. (the two musical paintings here are a book of music, where she painted two pages of actual notes of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, and the green and gold painting is part of a theme from one of her favorite musicals), and she is working on a triple canvas of the Kotel (the Western Wall) for the physician's assistant (they cal…

I'm Converted.

Did I ever mention that I HATE converting back to chametz after Pesach? About as much as I hate "making Pesach."  I just LOVE Pesach--that's the problem (!) There's gotta be a better way to do it (...yeah, like a whole separate Pesachdige kitchen in my mansion; but I didn't win Mega Millions this time).

We just about finished converting back, and we started at 12:00 noon our time (it's now, as I'm sitting to write this, 5:22 p.m.!). Here's sort of how I feel sometimes (NOT).
Pesach is generally not an easy holiday. There are many customs and traditions to browse up on. In the kitchen the scene is generally one of mayhem and effort. Many traditional dishes are prepared and many guests are invited. To many housewives, Passover is a time of spring cleaning, hard work, and toil.

There is a famous story about a couple that many years ago decided for social mobility to convert to Christianity. After many years, the husband remarked to the wife that…

Women Giving Birth After 45 Live Longer, Israeli Study Shows

Another Israeli contribution to science knowledge which could possibly aid mankind: a study was done by researchers in Israel which concluded that women who give birth after age 45 have a longer longevity than those who don't (photo below is of a typical Chassidic family).

Women who give birth after 45 live longer than other women, Israeli researchers have found.
Researchers at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, found that at least four genes unique to women who conceive naturally after 45 generate an anti-aging effect on those women. The findings were the result of a genetic study of ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi women from Mea She'arim who have at least six children.
"These findings are unique to Israel, and the group of women who give birth at a late age and carry the singular genes could explain the findings," said Neri Laufer, the chairman of Hadassah's obstetrics and gynecology department, who had a leading role in the study.��…

Pesach is over...Count the Omer!

I can't believe Pesach 5772 has ended.  Didn't it just start? All that intense preparation warrants a longer chag, don't you think (see previous post)? I always have had difficulty in separating from a chag, especially the Shalosh Regalim, Pesach, Sukkot and Shavu'ot.  This year, it was no different; my daughter left on Wednesday, during chol ha-mo'ed, the intermediate days, so we were 'alone' for the rest of the chag.  Don't get me wrong: Thursday night, the 7th night, we went to our friends and neighbors, the F. family-and we split the cooking (some were leftovers).  The next night, Friday night, last night of Pesach and also, auspiciously, Shabbat, they came to us.  More food, more leftovers, but it was delicious.  Then Shabbat lunch, just today, after davening, we and another family came to their house and we all blessed and ate and talked and sang the Birchat Hamazon together.

But we were still 'alone.'  No family.  In the late afternoon, a…

Pesach Petition, and Kitniyot

I have written and spoken to several friends in the past as well as this Pesach, wishing that the holiday, after all the intense, physically and emotionally demanding preparations, be extended for another week, to total 2 weeks.

I mean, all that intense work for just one measly week, and then you have to undo everything you originally did, which included cleaning shelves, drawers, cabinets and organizing the entire household, removing chametz dishes and pots and pans, cleaning their cabinets thoroughly, lining them and putting in Pesachdike dishes (if you have no other place to put them) for a week--then undoing everything and putting the Pesach stuff away, and replacing the chametz stuff. Basically, those of us who keep Pesach strictly go through this, year after year. Insane.

So my solution was to circulate a petition and get it signed by millions of Orthodox Jews, to petition our Great Sages to extend the holiday (for humanitarian reasons) to two weeks, so we wouldn't have to r…

Great Passover Video: Brotherhood and Freedom

Latma TV does it again.  I bet Aretha Frankliln never dreamed her "Freedom" song would be used like this. The message rhymes both in Hebrew, and English-clever.  This will probably be my last post before Pesach, so, thanks, Batya--and chag kasher ve-sameach to you, Caroline Glick (Latma is her brainchild), and everyone!

Vehi sheh-Amda: A Message for Modern Times

With the fast approaching, incredibly awesome holiday of Pesach*, I am posting a message for us, to assist us in finding our clarity of purpose, as Jews. 

Think about it: there is nothing like the miracle of the Jewish People who, against all odds, live on today, flourishing and thriving.  Here is a moving video (thank you, Margarete) by the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, featuring singer Yaakov Shwekey, which shows the "miraculous sweep of Jewish history," and expresses just that: we are living in an age of miracles, at least as great as those in the days of the Exodus.

*Pesach: Passover