After my initial time with my not religious family on the kibbutz, I spent the rest of my time on this trip with my religious family in the West Bank. Trying to avoid politics and religion with anyone in Israel is a challenge, and even moreso with my religious family! But we had a great time. Here are some highlights.
1. The Kotel
I always visit the Kotel (Western Wall) whenever I come to Israel. This time was very emotional. I thought it wouldn’t be, since my religious life and observance are in a constant state of emotional flux this past year or so and I didn’t know if I would feel “it,” whatever “it” is. Well, I felt it. It’s kind of indescribable, and it may come from so many people so devoted to one space and concept in space and time. The wall seems to throb with some sort of passion. It hums and it moans and it speaks to us. It’s the remnant of so much and the hope for so much. It’s a powerful place indeed. Read the rest of this entry →
Well, my children have adjusted great to Israel. I, on the other hand, have adjusted about as well as my mother says I adjusted to daylight savings as a baby which is to say horribly. My “worst case scenario” for them for the first night actually became my own worst case scenario, with me sleeping only a few hours before darting awake, unable to sleep and armed with the energy to take a jog or make a cake, neither of which I can do in the kibbutz apartment I am in. My boys snored quietly and rhythmically in a cold room, warm under blankets and content in their dreamy homeland.
Leaving aside politics and religion (because that’s the best way to come to Israel: leaving those aside if you can), this is a rare beauty, this Israel thing. Read the rest of this entry →
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas week, however you spent it. I myself saw a few movies and ate Chinese food.
Here’s what my next few weeks look like: I’m taking my sons to Israel! We leave in a few days and we’ll be gone 10 days. On my mother’s side of the family, I have an aunt, uncle, four cousins, and about 20 children of my cousins living throughout the West Bank. I also have an aunt, uncle, and cousins who live on a secular kibbutz. On my father’s side, I also have a few cousins, including my cousin who I learn with on the phone, who made aliyah about five years ago.
Here’s the plan:
1. Rent a Car Read the rest of this entry →
Of all of the things going on in and around Israel right now, I wanted to briefly highlight the work of Women of the Wall, not because I always agree with them and their politics, but because their cause represents issues that should be important to all Jews, all Zionists, and all women and men. Read the rest of this entry →
For those looking for a way to talk with your children about the current situation in Israel, this piece has been circulating among a number of Jewish day schools and is super helpful. I’ve found it especially helpful in talking to my older son. It was edited by Debra Shaffer Seeman, who has a Masters in Education from Harvard, as well as Jonathan Magen, Rabbi Sharon Barr Skolnick, and Rabbi Karen Reiss Medwed.
The security situation in Israel is complicated and changes quickly. Sometimes it is hard to know how to engage our children in conversations about current events around Israel. This document is geared for parents of children ages 6-13 to help enter into conversations about the current situation in Israel. Please carefully screen all videos and photos before sharing them and trust your instincts about your child’s ability to process this information and the graphic images.
What is going on in Israel? Read the rest of this entry →