Frank Sinatra and Israel

(Photo: William P. Gottlieb Collection - Library of Congress)

(Photo: William P. Gottlieb Collection – Library of Congress)

Frank Sinatra died 17 years ago today, but his timeless music still resonates with listeners around the world. Tablet’s Shalom Goldman looks at how Israel resonated with the famed crooner:

2015 is the year of the Frank Sinatra Centennial, and though the great singer’s 100th birthday won’t be marked until December, it seems only proper to remember the Chairman of the Board’s deep and abiding commitment to Israel, which he saw as an integral part of the chain of liberal causes that he supported throughout his career. His activities on behalf of the Jewish state started with smuggling money to the Haganah under the British Mandate. Starting in the 1950s, his records and films were banned in Arab counties because…

Posted in: Frank Sinatra / Israel / Music

An IDF Soldier Writes About His Mother

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, when we show appreciation for the important mothers in our lives. The brave men and women of the IDF are no different – they each learned their strength and virtue from someone. The Friends of the IDF (FIDF) has provided this moving letter from an IDF lone soldier who writes of his mother:

My name is Hadas, a Lone Soldier from California.

Sometimes, people do not value time with their loved ones as much as they should, but my mom values every minute she can share with me. So much that when I had to stay on the (military) ship while she was visiting Israel, at the slightest chance of seeing me she did not hesitate to drive almost 2 hours in the morning to pick me up from my base and…

Posted in: FIDF / holidays / IDF

Lag B’Omer: Revealing the Bible’s Soul

(Photo: flickr/mikegoldberg)

(Photo: flickr/mikegoldberg)

Tonight is the brightest night of the year in Israel. Bonfires will be visible from every rooftop, from Be’er Sheva in the south up through Israel’s northern region as we honor one of the greatest Jewish teachers– Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai – this Lag B’Omer.

Rabbi Shimon lived in Israel about sixty years after the destruction of the Second Temple, and was the top student of the revered Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva was the son of two converts, and his teachings revived Judaism after the destruction which had befallen the Jewish people.

The Talmud – Judaism’s oral tradition – teaches that Rabbi Akiva had over 24,000 students, but none was as great as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. And while Rabbi Akiva and his students focused on Jewish laws and rituals, Rabbi Shimon delved into the…

Posted in: Ami Farkas / bible / holidays

The IDF Is Worth It

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

A young Israeli Arab in northern Israel recently took to social media to convince other Israeli Arabs that the Jewish state is not the “Satan” they have been indoctrinated to believe it is, and that the IDF is not a murderous army intent on spilling Palestinian blood. The response was quite surprising.

Here is a little background about the instigator of this post.

The young man who began posting – anonymously – that the IDF is a moral and courageous army is a Muslim. He served in the IDF, himself – as all Israeli Arabs have an option to do – and was furious when he learned of a campaign seeking to eliminate Arab recruitment into the IDF.

He began a Facebook campaign and called it “TZaHaL bistahal,” meaning the “IDF is worth it.” To his surprise, he received…

Posted in: Ami Farkas / Facebook / IDF

Why I Love Israel

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

(Photo: Oren Nahshon)

Recent celebrations in Israel – Yom HaZikaron, or Memorial Day, and Yom HaAtzmaut, or Independence Day – especially resonated with Fellowship Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein, who writes in The Jerusalem Post of her love for the Holy Land that she calls home:

I love the street names, which are almost all named in honor of biblical heroes, founders of the nation of Israel, or philanthropists who helped develop the modern state.

I love the savtot (grandmothers) who spend their days reciting Tehillim (psalms) while sitting on park benches, in public buses and inside ancient synagogues.

I love the fact that my children are in school with Jewish kids from Ethiopia, Yemen, Morocco, Russia and many other places.

I love how people go to weddings in jeans and a button-down shirt.

I love how everyone feels…

Posted in: holidays / Holy Land / IFCJ