Scarlett Johansson’s endorsement of SodaStream in a Super Bowl ad has created quite a bit of controversy – including an international campaign to boycott the Israeli company and Ms. Johansson’s resignation as ambassador for Oxfam. The problem many have is that one of SodaStream’s factories operates in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.
While those on the outside have raised concerns about Palestinian rights, The Christian Science Monitor reports that those who actually work at the factory – its Palestinian employees – side with the Jewish actress:
“I would love to work for SodaStream. They’re quite privileged. People look up to them … It’s not the people who want to boycott, it’s the officials.”
That’s a common refrain among the SodaStream workers …
In our modern world, things change at such a fast pace that we are quick to consider people, places, or things obsolete if they’re neither timeless and classic or shiny and new. Yet even the outdated and rundown have their charms – you just have to look for them.
Writing for The Times of Israel, Debra Kamin takes us on a “bizarre safari in an urban jungle” – a tour through Tel Aviv’s much-maligned New Central Bus Station that shows the good, the bad, the ugly, and the grotesquely beautiful:
“Where else in the city can you get lost? We’re in Israel. You always know your way, and if you don’t, you can go in any direction and soon you’ll reach somewhere you recognize. But in the Central Bus…
Jerusalem has been depicted countless times through the centuries, but the Smithsonian has recently shared a whole new view of the city – the very first photographs taken of it.
In 1844, French photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey captured these fascinating images of Jerusalem. Originally studying to be a painter, Girault de Prangey then became a practitioner of daguerreotypy, an early form of photography. These photos remained undiscovered until the 1920s and only became known 80 years after that.
Now, after having seen numerous pictures of Jerusalem (perhaps even having taken some of our own), we can all enjoy these, the first ever of God’s Holy City.
There are many Jews from the U.S. and Europe who travel to Israel seeking guidance on marriage, health, and business from rabbis known for their wisdom and sound advice. Yet, when an American friend of mine asked a rabbi in Jerusalem who he should seek out for spiritual guidance and how to deepen his relationship with God, he was quite surprised by the rabbi’s response.
“My dear friend,” the rabbi exclaimed, “the simple people who walk the streets teach you about piety, faith, and kindness. Let them be your teachers. They will teach you what you came to learn and experience in Jerusalem.”
This rabbi’s advice resonated deeply within me, since I always felt that the simple people – the poor, the honest, blue-collar workers – have so much to give the world. When I lived in Jerusalem, I encountered…
“How does one mourn for six million people who died? How many candles does one light? How many prayers does one recite? Do we know how to remember the victims, their solitude, their helplessness? They left us without a trace, and we are their trace.” – Elie Wiesel
Join us in remembrance and prayer as the world observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th.
We can honor the memory of those who were killed by ensuring that history does not repeat itself, remembering that hateful anti-Semitism is alive and well today. In November 2013, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (AFR) released the results of a survey of 6,000 Jews living in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, and Sweden. Some of the most troubling results include:
- Nearly one-third of…