9
Dec

Far More Than We Will Ever Know

(Joseph and His Brethren, c. 1655, Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra)

(Joseph and His Brethren, c. 1655, Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra)

This Shabbat in synagogue, we read one of my favorite Torah portions – the story of Joseph and his brothers.

Joseph, the favored son of Jacob, is hated by his brothers, who sell him into slavery. He is sold to an officer in the court of the Egyptian Pharaoh, but ends up ruling Egypt and saving the entire country (as well as the surrounding area – including his brothers back in Canaan) from death by starvation. The brothers are reunited, everyone kisses and makes up, the Jews are enslaved by the Egyptians, God liberates the Jewish people from slavery, and we eat matzah for a week.

This story is the story of the Jewish people. But the whole thing…

   
Posted in: bible / Israel / Joseph
7
Dec

Israel, the Media, and Double Standards

Using nothing but his wit and a video camera, Israeli journalist Zvika Klein has been exposing the double standards and discrimination faced by Jews and the Jewish state, both in Europe and in the international media.

A few months ago, Klein walked the streets of Paris wearing a kippah – the skullcap worn by Orthodox Jews – while being filmed with a hidden camera. His intent was to show how Jews are harassed in the streets of Paris, and to cast light on how widespread anti-Semitic sentiment has become in Europe.

When Zvika walked through a Muslim neighborhood, he was taunted and cursed at, and a few people spat as he walked past. But even in parts of Paris less populated by Muslims, he still experienced some harassment, like the passerby who yelled “Viva Palestine!”

Zvika’s social experiment garnered a lot of attention. Nearly 5 million…

   
Posted in: Anti-Israel Bias / Ami Farkas / france
25
Nov

As Israeli as It Gets

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Today, Israel mourns a young IDF soldier, killed in a stabbing yesterday. And we’ve also learned that three soldiers and a police officer were wounded in an attack today. Yet young people who stand for Israel still gladly and bravely serve the nation and its people. Writing at Israel Hayom, a veteran of an elite Israeli combat unit writes a letter to his brother, who this week is making aliyah and enlisting in the IDF:

In the end, what will change most is you. When you enlist you will be fulfilling your dream, as well as the dream Jews have had for two thousand years to come home to the land of Israel. Our grandmother survived the Holocaust and dreamed of building a country where Jews would be safe and able…

   
Posted in: IDF / Israel / Aliyah
13
Nov

A Reminder of Hope in the Valley of the Cross

(Photo: Davida Kutscher)

(Photo: Davida Kutscher)

Winter has begun in Israel, and I’m watching my beloved Valley of the Cross turn from summer brown to rainy-season green. The Valley of the Cross is so named because, according to Christian tradition, this is where the tree grew that was used to build the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. The Valley houses an ancient monastery, two youth group headquarters, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament), and the Israel Museum.

I know every corner of the area by heart, and have even been accused of posting more photos of the monastery on Facebook than photos of my own daughter.

Yet I can’t help it. I love every ancient olive tree. I love watching the fog roll in. I love it when the snow blankets the entire valley. I curiously follow the intrigues of the monks and…

   
Posted in: bible / Israel / Judaism
9
Nov

The Birthright Monologues

(Photo: flickr/fancythis)

(Photo: flickr/fancythis)

For 15 years, the Taglit-Birthright program has been sending young American Jews to the Holy Land, where they connect with their Jewish roots. Haaretz’s Aimee Amiga presents the stories of six young people and their experiences:

Being in Jerusalem was amazing. It was crazy to see no cars out on Shabbat. We walked to the park and I couldn’t believe how dead it was. I’d never seen anything like it. I’d never really known the rules of Shabbat, so seeing the whole city shut down, you really feel and know that you’re in a Jewish country, where people live by Jewish laws. It was also weird that there was no Sunday. It was the first time I’d experienced anything like that: living by the Jewish calendar, by a Jewish week…

I was brought up in…

   
Posted in: Israel / American Jews / Haaretz