31
Jan

Palestinian Workers Back Scarlett Johansson

(Photo: wikicommons/ Paul Bird)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Paul Bird)

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 …

Posted in: Christian Science Monitor / Israel / Learn
31
Jan

Grotesque “Beauty” in Tel Aviv

(Photo: wikicommons/ Roi Boshi)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Roi Boshi)

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 Yet even the outdated and rundown have their charms – you just have to look for them.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…

   
Posted in: architecture / Debra Kamin / Israel
30
Jan

The First Photos Ever Taken of the Holy City

(Photo: Smithsonian/ Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey)

(Photo: Smithsonian/ Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey)

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.

Posted in: france / Israel / Jerusalem
30
Jan

In the Presence of Elijah

(Fire from Heaven Consumes the Sacrifice, c. 1896-1902, James Tissot)

(Fire from Heaven Consumes the Sacrifice, c. 1896-1902, James Tissot)

Recently I had the delight of attending my friend’s son’s Brit Milah – the Jewish covenantal circumcision ceremony – this week, although I wasn’t an invited guest. It’s not that he didn’t want me to show up; on the contrary, he was very happy that I shared in his family’s celebration. Rather, his not inviting me conforms to an ancient Jewish tradition that says you never invite anyone to partake in the Brit Milah ceremony.

A little background of the traditions associated with the ceremony is needed to explain this mysterious and strange custom. The ceremony commences as the mother passes the baby on a pillow to a messenger, who brings the child to the father, waiting anxiously in…

   
Posted in: bible / Brit Milah / covenant
7
Oct

Boycott Israel?

Why do many people call for boycotts of Israel while ignoring the atrocities being committed in Algeria, Darfur, or Burma? Why is it that critics of Israel pay far more attention to Palestinian suffering than the far greater suffering of innocent people in other countries around the world? Listen to singer and songwriter Ari Lesser’s take on the double standard when it comes to Israel. Though fun and catchy, the song has an important message that should not be overlooked.

Posted in: Human Rights in the Middle East / Jewish Music / Learn