Shavuot 5772

Have I mentioned lately just how much I love this land?!    I walked up to the mall, weaving my way through the gardens before Kikar Yahalom in search of fresh rosemary for my stew (which I actually found at our parking lot entrance on my way home) what a beautiful morning!  All along the way, people I’ve never met wished me a Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach. The same was true for the rest of my outing:

  • at the bakery, where the manager and I shared a broken English-broken Hebrew conversation about sour dough bread;
  • at the supermarket check out where the cashier and a man behind me showered each other with blessings to the point that I expected to see head-to-toe black and white with a long beard when I turned around… only to find a bare-headed Israeli praising Hashem and joyfully wishing the cashier Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!   Continue reading Shavuot 5772
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What is Wrong with this Country?!

Israeli news during the past week has been upsetting (at least to me). Wimpy officials gave in to the terrorists’ hunger strikecivilians attacked at Rachel’s Tomb, and more rocket and  rock-throwing attacks as Arabs “celebrate” their Nakba day.

What other country in the world would continue to allow their citizens to be subjected to terrorism at all? What is wrong with this country?  I’ll tell you… Continue reading What is Wrong with this Country?!

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Israeli Actualization

Whether you’ve been on-the-fence about making Aliyah, have already moved to Israel or are completely ignorant of what Israel is all about, I highly recommend this informative and inspiring film – Israel Inside – that makes me proud to call myself an Israeli.

The film is hosted by Dr. Tal Ben Shahar, who gave up the unique distinction of being Harvard University’s most popular lecturer to return to his native country, Israel. In the film, Ben Shahar explores the core character strengths – called “actualizers” – that enable Israelis to succeed against incredible odds. Through Tal’s eyes we explore the deep-seated values such as education, family, and responsibility for the world (a Jewish concept known as “tikkun olam”), which directly contribute to Israel’s accomplishments in the economic, technological and humanitarian spheres. And while none of these actualizers are in and of themselves unique to Israel, in combination they are bringing about unparalleled progress and achievement. Continue reading Israeli Actualization

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Israel Education: Picking Your Battles (part 2)

Continued from yesterday…

Har Sadom

Later in the day I received a call from Yisrael’s 5th grade teacher asking why he hadn’t gone on the class trip. From the permission slip that was sent home on paper (we’ve yet to receive the electronic communications we’ve been requesting for 3+ years) we determined that the 5th & 6th grade boys and girls would be going together on this full day (8:30 am – 6:30 pm) trip to Har Sodom where they would see Lot’s pillar of salt wife, and Ayin Bodek Nature Reserve where they’d be hiking a moderate to difficult level trail through water and needed to bring:

  • Comfortable shoes for walking in water
  • Breakfast, lunch & snacks
  • 3 Liters water
  • Hat & change of clothes

We (along with Yisrael) decided that he would not go on this trip for the following reasons: Continue reading Israel Education: Picking Your Battles (part 2)

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder Syndrome

Frustration and anger are part of the early Aliyah experience of many olim – it’s just a fact of life when one leaves behind one culture for another. Especially when one makes a physical move into a foreign culture but insists that the “new” culture change to accommodate their “old” culture.

Pre-Aliyah I was all psyched up and made the bold statement that “I want to become Israeli, not live in ‘little America’  in Israel”.  I can look back with amusement at that statement because I now live in a neighborhood & community that’s a healthy mix of Israelis and Anglos from foreign countries (including the US). With my total lack of functional Hebrew at that time I would not have survived socially in an all Israeli community.

From time to time I receive letters from new olim overwhelmed and sometimes (heaven forbid) planning to leave Israel due to an unpleasant experience or offense that some “Israeli”  (verbally) committed against them. I do my best to point them in the direction of  helpful information or someone who can assist, but the letter I read today was not a tangible problem I could pass on to someone else because I had “been there”.

Continue reading Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder Syndrome

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Relief & Deliverance Come

Recall these words from Mordechai in Chapter 4, verse 14 of Megillat Esther:

…relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place

Yesterday was a roller-coaster, strange day in the realm of health and parnassah that caused me to experience the words of Mordechai.

Health

If we don’t have it, quality of life suffers.  I’ve been suffering with breathing difficulties and sharp back pain for about 6 weeks. My medical doctor sent me for tests of the blood, heart Eco, stress test, x-ray, pulmonary function test variety. About 3 weeks ago I asked him to refer me to a chiropractor and he bluntly told me that he felt the tests were enough. The stress test resulted in a knee injury (excruciating pain – imagine bone rubbing against bone) that my doctor feels will take 3 to 4 weeks to heal – on the upside, that allowed me to cancel the 4 hour bone density scan he wanted me to have done.   Continue reading Relief & Deliverance Come

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2 New Community Aliyah Programs!

According to Adina Schwartz of Nefesh B’Nefesh, the Ministry of Absorption has launched two new Community Aliyah Programs: one geared toward Olim settling in the Negev and Galil, and the other geared toward Olim settling in specific communities located in other parts of Israel.

Criteria for Participation:

  • Make Aliyah from North America (i.e., not Guided from within Israel) between August 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011
  • Have one spouse between the ages of 21 and 55 (Note: programs are not open to singles)
  • Commit to living in one of the targeted communities for a period of at least 12 months Continue reading 2 New Community Aliyah Programs!
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Israel: The New Melting Pot

After reflection, this is my post-Tisha B’Av message

Example of Results of NYC Melting Pot

Emigration/Immigration
Back in the late 1800s/early 1900s my family emigrated from Italy to New York City, the then “promised land”. A land they perceived as the place they would make their fortune and provide a better life for their offspring. They were correct in some aspects as their hard work paid off in financial terms with successful restaurants, bars and bakeries.

New York City became a melting pot for many, many cultures in a relatively short period of time. Despite separation into neighborhoods (sometimes referred to as ghettos), eventually many areas became mixed with colors and cultures – some enhancing, and others degrading, the quality and fabric of family life.

My parents, both the youngest in their families, were the first generation born in America and (along with 2 out of 4 other siblings) the first to stray from the religion and traditions of the Old (-fashioned) Country.

I don’t know what went through the minds of my grandparents during these changes because unfortunately they had all left this world by the time I was a year old. But I do suspect that if they had lived to see just how far my generation in the 70s (and my daughter’s in the 90s) strayed from their values, that they may have seriously questioned the sanity of their decision to move to the USA. Continue reading Israel: The New Melting Pot

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Where in the World…

Does one find an army that concerns itself with the happiness of its soldiers to the point that it connects them with families to make them feel at home when they’re away from their own families?

Imagine an army…

  • where the commanding officer phones and interviews families to ensure a good match is made and her soldiers’ specific needs will be met (e.g., cat allergies, loves chicken soup, aversion to fish, interested in shidduchim, etc.)
  • that understands the importance of educating immigrant soldiers in the history of, and their heritage in, the land they’re defending.
  • that sends young men and women home on a regular basis to spend time with their families for emotional reinforcement (of both the family and the soldier), and arranges for them to attend family life cycle events whenever possible.
  • that sends lone soldiers into communities to meet and make a connection with the people they’re protecting.
  • that invests the time and money necessary to match each soldier with a customized program to provide him/her with the skills needed to be successful in society and career beyond the military.

Continue reading Where in the World…

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