Israel

Rejoicing in the Growing Consensus in Israel

Rejoicing in the Growing Consensus in Israel
This past Thursday morning, in my schul’s sukkah after services, I met a young British couple newly arrived on their first visit to Israel.  Returning to our apartments, they marveled at how silent Jerusalem felt on this first day of Sukko... Continue Reading »

Matot: A Time for War

Matot: A Time for War
With the Jewish world focused upon “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza, and much of Israel under constant threat of rocket attacks, our thoughts this week inevitably, painfully, turn to war.   We recoil (a verb with ironic double-... Continue Reading »

Balak: Our Messianic Star Power

Balak: Our Messianic Star Power
In a small Russian Shtetl, the community council decides to pay a poor Jew a ruble a week to sit at the town’s entrance and be the first to greet the Messiah when he arrives.  The man’s brother comes to see him, and is puzzled why he... Continue Reading »

Chukkat: Embracing the Double Standard Toward Israel

Chukkat: Embracing the Double Standard Toward Israel
There’s no doubt that the world holds Israel to a double-standard. Why is the media so fixated upon a postage-stamp Middle Eastern democracy when the world is rife with tyrants, atrocities, brutality, and all manner of discrimination? Why are P... Continue Reading »

Naso: Why Most Jews Consider “His Holiness” Holy

Naso: Why Most Jews Consider “His Holiness” Holy
[This D’var Torah is dedicated to the blessed and holy memory of my friend and rabbi, Rabbi Haim Asa, z”l, of Bulgaria, Israel, Argentina, and Fullerton, California, who escaped the Shoah, fought in Israel’s War of Independence, was]... Continue Reading »

Behar: The "Torah" -- not "Taco" -- Liberty Bell

Behar: The "Torah" -- not "Taco" -- Liberty Bell
One of the most popular parks in Jerusalem is Gan Pa’amon HaDror – Liberty Bell Park.  It's so named because of its replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.  Indeed, Liberty Bell Park was inaugurated in 1976 to hono... Continue Reading »

Mi’yom l’yom: A Holocaust-Independence Day “Connection”?

Mi’yom l’yom: A Holocaust-Independence Day “Connection”?
As the current eight-day interval between Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom Ha’azmaut (Israeli Independence Day) began earlier this week, I found myself pondering the validity and, if valid, the meaning of the following “sim... Continue Reading »

Kiddushim: Israel and our "Just Deser-vts"

Four floors below my Ben Yehuda Street window, Israelis and tourists are enjoying loud music, street performers, window shopping, felafel and hummus on pita, and otherwise having an enjoyable stroll.  I'm happy for them -- albeit I'm not... Continue Reading »

Yitro: The Most Jewish Thing We Can Do.

Yitro: The Most Jewish Thing We Can Do.
What's “the most Jewish thing” we can do?   Say the Sh’ma?  Light and bless Shabbat candles?  Fast on Yom Kippur?   Keep kosher? Tell a Jewish joke?  (For the latter, see Pew Report opinions). Gi... Continue Reading »

Lech Lecha: My Land, But Maybe Yours, Too.

Lech Lecha: My Land, But Maybe Yours, Too.
Having just returned to California, I’m still thinking about the ruins of ancient Jewish communities in Samaria (Northern “West Bank”) that Barbara and I visited last week.  This was our land!  This is again our land! &nbs... Continue Reading »
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He who guards his mouth preserves his life
Proverbs 13:3