Sunday, April 13, 2008

Is Israel Finished?

While the cover is unnecessarily provocative, the Atlantic Monthly has a good article exploring the issues facing Israel and she turns 60.

You can read the article here.

I (heart) Sfat

Upon returning from my recent trip to Israel, the most common question asked of me was, "What was your favorite place you visited?" It appears the most typical answer to give is Jerusalem. While I loved the belly button of the universe, I found it a great struggle to exist in that intense space. I wasn't prepared for its intensity and it completely threw me off. It wasn't a particularly enjoyable experience, in the sense of pleasure.

Instead, the most pleasurable point on the trip was our visit to Sfat, the birthplace of Jewish mysticism. From the moment I got off the bus, I knew I was in a special place, unique from the rest. The hidden pathways through the town were amazing and the stories of a synagogue appearing after men fasted and prayed for three days and nights were inspiring. Imagine the hope and optimism a person feels if they truly believe a beautiful synagogue can appear from praying and fasting. Amazing, if you ask me...

Sfat was hit hard during the 2006 Lebanon war. The citizens have rallied, however, and are continuing to rebuild their community, putting the pieces together one day at a time.

The air is different in Sfat, as it is one of the highest points in Israel. A mystical presence fills the air there, and it changed a part of me that I cannot yet explain. I was also fortunate to find a beautiful tallis from a shop there, that I will wear for the first time at my Bar Mitzvah in June.

The 60 Bloggers project is co-production of and the Let My People Sing Festival. It is published daily for 60 days to celebrate Israel’s 60 birthday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

60 Bloggers Project

My friend, Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, is working with some folks on a blogging project for Israel's upcoming birthday. 60 bloggers will be spending 60 days to celebrate the 60th birthday of the State of Israel.

I am excited to have been selected as one of the bloggers. I'll be posting next week, but folks should check the blog every day.

Check it out here

The 60 Bloggers project is part of the Let My People Sing Festival, published daily for 60 days to celebrate Israel's 60 Birthday.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Israel Blogging - The Security Fence

After a computer meltdown shortly after we returned home, we have a new computer and I am ready to get back to blogging.

One of the most intense experiences of the trip was being in Jerusalem. I felt the fervor, history, culture clashes, and conflict in the air and in my bones. It was an amazing experience; one in which I felt both incredibly uncomfortably and incredibly alive.

We spent a good deal of the trip discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We also had a good view of the security fence from our hotel room, shown in the picture here.

I fully support the fence being erected, but couldn't help feeling a sense of grief, seeing Jerusalem being divided. Words can't describe the emotions I felt about why the wall had to exist and what it represented for both the Israelis and Palestinians. Our tour guide, a native from Jerusalem, compassionately said the fence is a symbol of the traumas experienced by both the Israelis and Palestinians.

This is just one of many examples demonstrating the complexity of the conflict, and the lack of simple, black-and-white answers available to solve it. This lack of resolution can be felt throughout Jerusalem and this is what the fence represents to me.