Community…

December 16th, 2013

We are finishing up the storm of the century here in Neve Daniel, our little mountain in the Judean Hills (Har HaBloggerim)… it has been one more experience of many that is a window into how true community can transform a place, and transform people. The trading of goods, offers of heaters, and of all kinds of help of all kinds shows the power of this place as people see each other’s problems as their own and opportunities for chessed.

The coordinator of youth programs in Neve Daniel has been advertising that she has a cadre of teens ready and willing to help today. Someone organized some Torah learning for kids this afternoon, the librarian decided to open up for the bored, and those who managed to get out by car today have offered rides to others before leaving the yishuv.

As the social being and true extrovert that I am, all of this community sharing is like a dream for me. At the same time, as a part of any community, you invite upon yourself to share in the pain and loss of others, just as much as their happiness. Just as others share in your problems, their sadness becomes yours.

Like most of us, I am a part of different communities, like circles on a Venn Diagram of my life. One is my beloved mountain here… but another is my [Jewish] blogging community.

Both communities have been rocked by the loss of Stella Frankl, wife of our own Yarden of both Neve Daniel and of his blog “Crossing the Yarden.” It hurts all of us, and many of us have written about his loss – and his heroism.

So it makes the pain even worse to learn of Phyllis Sommer’s loss of Superman Sam. Of the world‘s loss of Superman Sam. Phyllis, you have shared your life with us on line, and you have shared your families struggle and pain. And now we share your pain, too. Phyllis and I have never met, nor do we have that much in common. But through her blog her heartache hurts me too; her Sam has touched my heart, her loss is shared, and her tears are mine.

It would be so much easier if bloggers could drop off a cup of sugar or update a fellow writer on the roads or electricity, like a  neighborhood community in a snowstorm can. 

But what we can do is spread the word and pay tribute to those loved ones so dearly missed. Please visit Phyllis’ blog and lend your support however you can.

Baruch Dayan Haemet, and Goodbye, Superman Sam.  

 

Post-Partum….

December 1st, 2013

“This is your seventh baby? This one is going to just pop right out, you will see…”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard that over the past few months.

My youngest is 5 1/2 – which means it has been a while since I have been pregnant. I was younger, fitter, and while I had my hands much more full with a house full of little ones, I also had more energy.

This pregnancy was harder. Much harder…… but it was nothing compared to the labor/delivery.

None of my other deliveries were easy, but they were pretty straightforward. I have shared with just about any woman who will listen that I proudly delivered twins without an epidural or surgery at 40 weeks – and 6.5 and 8 pounds.

This labor was more than a day, on no sleep, with a “failure to progress”. I was spared a c-section, but at the price of tremendous amounts of strain on my body, the likes of which I have just never experienced.

… I don’t know if it is my age, the hormones, the difficult labor, the very full house or a grand combination of them all, but this time post-partum hit me BIG TIME.

I found myself just crying for what seemed like no good reason. I felt overwhelmed, and mostly I resented every single person that tried to check in with me, asked me what I was doing, expected me to be chipper, friendly, happy, open or affectionate. Including  my own children.

“Can’t they see I am trying to recover?”

“What is wrong with them? Why are they calling me? ”

“How can they possibly ask me for a hug.”

“Just stopped by? Seriously?”

More than anything else, my moodiness, touchiness and lack of ability to be a charming friend and hostess to others seemed to be met with consternation at best, horror at worst, rather than compassion. 

I am in week two now, and what an amazing difference a week makes! My milk is flowing, my child is occasionally sleeping for a whole couple of hours not in someone’s arms. I am no longer taking pain medication round the clock, feeling achy and weak the minute it starts to wear off. I can put on my own shoes. There is a rush of relief that the Shalom Zachor and the Brit are both over. The trauma of the birth doesn’t come to me in flashes like it did last week. Neither do the unexplained bouts of tears. I am able to smile when someone walks in the door, and you might, just might occasionally find me answering the telephone.

The help, advice and meals I have received have been just amazing.I think that religious Jews who have a community that takes turns at lifecycle events  being there for each other, are the luckiest people on earth. And I count myself as one of the most blessed because I live in Neve Daniel.  The love and support expressed from around the world has been so touching, so wonderful.

The most positive experience has been the communal celebration of this birth by our neighborhood, family and friends.

Why write such a negative post during this weekend of thanks??? Why bother writing this? Because I think that when we are truly happy for people we want to connect to them. To reach out and let them know. I also think that 9 times out of 10 a new mother, at least for that first week, needs exactly the opposite. Sometimes love means giving someone space.

I have always dropped off donated dinners to new moms with a note and a delivery person, and I have never thought to make a visit or a phone call in the first week. But I also doubt I have ever been sensitive enough to avoiding asking “how are you” for a week, or assuming that maybe a hug for the new mom is not in order at a bris. I never knew that difficult sleeping when your baby sleeps is a primary symptom of post-partum baby blues, but I have always known that lack of sleep makes everything else harder.

I have had many friends who suffered from post-partum depression, but I didn’t see  it – that is part of what I am describing, which is a desire to shut everyone out during such a dark time. I heard about it after the fact. Until now, I never understood why it was traumatic enough to cause some of them to think twice before having another child.

I haven’t enjoyed the experience, but I do hope it is going to make me a better friend, relative, neighbor and eventually mother to new moms. That I will have a newfound appreciation for that space.

If you ever give birth and I seem aloof during your first week, please don’t be offended, I will just be giving you your space, whether you need it or not. My guess is that if you are a brand new mom, you will be FAR too busy to notice, no matter how you are feeling.

yehudanoam

 

One last note: our beautiful new baby’s name is Yehuda Chaim, and I will post our thoughts and words on the baby and his name just as soon as this little newborn will grant me the time. In the meantime, wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and Chanukah!!! 

 

HAPPY ADAR!!!

Shavua Tov and Chodesh Tov!

This week I once again have the honor and pleasure of hosting “Haveil Havalim”, a roundup of posts from the Jewish blogsphere, carnival style. Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and is organized by way of our facebook page.. [The term “Haveil Havalim,” which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Koheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon.]

This week we have a great number of posts, and I hope you take the time to check out a few…. it is worth your while to read down to the end this week…

Please consider submitting your posts next week and every week. You can email the links to your blog post to shilohmuse@gmail.com. If you want more information, find and join our facebook page, or  just contact me, ima2seven@gmail.com.

Let’s Feel Good   

I want to start with some Adar fun, so we have a parsha wordsearch for Parashat Mishpatim 5773  over at Thinking Torah.

 .. And A Soldier’s Mother gives us a story that just has to make you feel good (and proud), in An Only Israel Story from India.

Mr. “Amazing Resource” Jacob Richman, shares Israel’s New Educational Stamps with us over at

Good News From Israel. (They are also beautiful.)

  What about a vacation? (Just the word makes me happy.) The Travelling Rabbi gives us tips to the wandering Jew for Visiting Scotland or England. 

.. But before you leave, make sure to read Beneath My Wings‘ amazing tips for Keeping Kosher Away from Home!

Batya over at Me-Ander takes on her journey in Take The Train! First Time for Me on The Israeli Railways.

 When the weather was bad, I really asked myself for a moment why we shouldn’t just run off to the Golan. And then the some comes, and all is gorgeous, and beautiful and wonderful and I can’t imagine ever living any further from Jerusalem than I do right now. Sharon brings that feeling home, in pictures, of course, in Jerusalem After a Very Wet Week at Real Jerusalem Streets.

… and take in Beneath the Wings’ tourist-at-home beautiful pic too in Spontaneity.

And for a super tourist-at-home experience, read the ROUNDUP IN A ROUNDUP!  Tali Tarlow, founder of Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts  brings us the Bloggers Nachlaot Scavenger Hunt Roundup. A great time was had by all – you should try it too!

Social Responsibility

I was in an Adar groove, and not sure how I wanted to include posts of a more critical tone this month, since I am in the Adar spirit. But the truth is, increasing social responsibility and accountability is one of the best, most positive things about today’s blog world.

Esser Agaroth wants your take on a conversation he shared with a shadchan in The Facebook Match-Maker Incident. I don’t think I agree with either one of them, but you decide for yourself.

Batya gives us an update on the coalition building process and the remarkable number of new MKs that have just been sworn in (without swearing) at Shiloh Musings with New Government Coalition in Israel?  Can our new Knesset have a new tone, maybe with a little more Adar in it?

One of those MK Moshe Feiglin has made some statements that has Ariel’s unhappy over at The Torah Revolution. I have to personally disagree again, but healthy debate is part of social responsibility, right?

In talking about the New Government Coalition in Israel,  Batya raised her concerns about Obama’s visit, and the timing… as does Esser Agaroth, in US President to Visit Israel….Without Demands?

What about the changes in Greek government? Esser Agaroth discusses the disturbing Rise of the Nazi Party in Greece. Oh, how Amalek just keeps coming back in so many different and varied forms….

Let’s Show the Love

I learned that Mishloach Manot are all about brotherly love within the Jewish People. And that brotherly love; caring for one another, seems to be the natural these this week! What will be your random act of kindness today?

Maybe you will help an orphan today. Liz from Lizrael Update reminds us of our need to help Israel’s orphans and HOW in her timely Help an Orphan Help the World.

Maybe you will be a special-needs advocate today. A Mother in Israel gives us VERY practical advice to advocate for our children with the government bureaucracy  we all know and love here in Israel. (Okay, maybe love is a bit strong…) Fighting City Hall: Get Services for Your Special-Needs Child is really a great post for anyone who has a child that needs anything from “the system”.

Maybe you will help someone who has lost their way on the derech today – or even better, prevent it from happening. Check out  Shlomo’s Freiing Out – A Book Review over at Thinking Torah.

 

Maybe your prayers will add to the fight against cancer today. Yarden of Crossing the Yarden has given us an update on his family’s personal rollercoaster battling Stella’s cancer in Turning a Nightmare Into a Dream, where we get to join them at DISNEY. And if you are reading this, say a little prayer for Stella and her winning this fight before you keep reading, okay? Thanks.

Maybe you will invite in a guest, someone radically different from you, today. Yael sends us Open Doors in the Wild West Bank on Yael Yells… Softly. About the power of hachnasat orchim, for hosts at least as much as guests.

Maybe you will just help someone who is down today (maybe yourself?) with Cheriblevy’sRolling With the Punches... thoughts, ideas, and unique way of giving us all some “@cherapy”.

Leave With a Smile

..So before you get on with your day, your week, your Adar, I wanted to do something nice for all of you that are still reading, just to make you smile, and hopefully someone else as well.

( ***giveaway was removed because of a lack of proper entries…..) 


Have a great CHODESH ADAR, and do something to “marbim” (increase) someone’s simcha (happiness) today.

Shavua Tov!

This week I once again have the honor and pleasure of hosting “Haveil Havalim”, a roundup of posts from the Jewish blogsphere, carnival style. Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and is organized by way of our facebook page.. [The term “Haveil Havalim,” which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Koheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon.]

We love growing our blogging community and showcasing great Jewish blogs that readers may have not yet discovered. So please check out the facebook page, or get in touch with me, and submit your posts! When submitting posts, remember that they should be from the last week.
******************
Judaism
Think Judaism brings us an explanation of the dichotomy between Torah morality and human morality in Does Judaism Care About Morality?
… and Think Judaism also brings us an exploration of Vegetarianism with controversial title Vegetarianism is Immoral. Think Judaism, is that immoral as in Torah morality, or human morality? ;  )
I hate the name “Modern Orthodoxy”, but I love Think Judaism’s post about it, Why the Modern Orthodox Should Suffer the Most. I am sure it is because he is describing the column of Judaism I would put myself in (if I had to put myself in a column, that is.)
Politics and The Middle East 
Esser Agaroth is also talking about ‘my column’ in Who Is Voting for the Jewish Home Party? As a new olah in Gush Etzion, I am still navigating my relationship to “Religious” and “Zionist”, and I don’t like the question he poses… mostly because now I have to figure out my answer!  What’s yours? 
The problem with a digest blog posts that deal with Israel’s politics is that last week’s news is, well, last week’s news. Our reality changes so quickly that it is dizzying to try to keep up. Especially these days, with war, cease fire, primary elections, upcoming elections and UN bids! 
Having said that, Esser Agaroth gives us a helpful explanation of Hamas’ position on the cease fire in Hamas’ Peace Translated. In my always humble opinion, it is crucial to understand the widening gap between Hamas/Gaza and Abbas/the PA in order to understand the current moves of all of the parties involved. In order to do that, we need to best understand last week’s drama in order to comprehend this week’s move by the PA.
For a real reality check on just what went down with Hamas, Real Jerusalem Streets brings us 3 Things to Remember After Pillar of Defense. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words, and once again, she just nails it. I don’t know how she manages to do that every time, but it is fun to watch.

Photo from (and property of) Real Jerusalem Streets

Batya blogs her experience voting in the primary elections in The Muddy Path to Israeli Democracy, Likud Style at Shiloh Musings. I wish she could be giving seminars on voting in Israeli primaries; I agree with her that so many voters just can’t understand the system.
Yoel Meltzer over at Towards a Jewish Mindset writes about the issues he would like our candidates to focus – and not focus – on in the upcoming elections in Please Some Real Issues.  While the post is sobering, I would love to hear an actual debate where some candidates tell me how they are going to deal with his list of challenges. It would be such a refreshing change.
Tomer Devorah gives us an interesting perspective on the recent UN Palestinian Authority Vote in November 29th – 1947 & 2012. I encourage you to read and weigh in, and The Kvetching Editor gives us her take on the UN bid in The Bid for Palestinian Statehood over at Just Call me Chaviva.
Penina at It’s All Hafuch! true to the name of her blog, turns the notion of apartheid in Israel on its head in Israel an Apartheid state? Truer than you know Peter Beinhart, are you reading? 
Other Stuff….
…When all of those politics have your blood boiling, visit Making Aliyah and get some perspective on anger in The Heat Is On.  She is right; while it is always brought up at High Holiday time, I think we need it more at election time!
I wouldn’t have thought that therapy-by-blog* would work had you described it to me, but check out “Everyone Needs Therapy”. Her blog-form insights into psychology are suprisingly interesting and practical, and as she says, something we all can use. In this week’s submission “What to Do About Differentiation” she talks about a topic currently overwhelming this “Ima 2″ pre-teen twins. Hopefully you can get something out of it as well.
 * (She doesn’t claim to be therapy by blog; that is my description not hers. She doesn’t see it as a replacement.)
It’s MY Crisis and I’ll Cry If I Need To! offers us some important advice on accessing the help that is out there in a medical crisis when travelling in How to Lower Your Medical Costs and Keep Your Cool Under Missile Fire!
Esser Agaroth asks How is Spain Granting Citizenship to Jews a Good Thing?  Again, I am not sure I agree with him; the symbolic gesture is long overdue.  But please! Weigh in…
No Holtz Barred also blogs about an experience we all have to deal with at some point in our lives, in Tick Tock, How to Play the Waiting Game.   I personally hate the uncertainty more than the waiting itself. Maybe he can blog about that next? Just for me?
… and the most upbeat for last:  Chanukah is coming! If you have kids, any age (that means including husbands) you should check out Jacob Richman’s digest of links and resources for Chanukah at Good News from Israel in Chanukah Educational Resources and 335 Chanukah Videos. I have used Good News from Israel as my go-to spot for pre-holiday educational materials for my kids (and students) for years; One stop shopping!
I don’t know about you, but after the week it has been in the world and in the blogosphere, I am more than ready for some sufganiyot, chanukiot, spreading light and Jewish Heroes….. 
Many of you reading this are bloggers, so make sure your post is in next week’s digest! You never know who you might reach that has never heard of you before.

How Are We Doing?

November 18th, 2012

We are doing great. Now you don’t have to read the rest of the post.

I haven’t been able to update this blog in so very long. Unable to be reflective on our aliyah process long enough to write about it, I have been caught up in the living of our new busy life. And it’s a great problem to have.

And I really didn’t want my return to blogging to be another “here is my perspective of war in Israel as an American living here” post. There are lots of people that can try to make real for you their personal experience of a bomb shelter, the disruption of daily life, and the reality that it isn’t just southern Israel anymore. You don’t need me for that.

The truth is that bloggers have been writing in English about the heart-wrenching reality that is life in Southern Israel at Hamas’ expense. And they haven’t been trying to tell the world for three days; they have been writing about it for the last decade, since we traded Gaza “for peace”, while the world has largely ignored the ongoing assaults.

But today I got a message from a dear friend that started with ” Worried sick over here about you guys.” And it makes me sad and a bit aghast that my friends and relatives in the US should be suffering over my reality so much more than I am. I am reading the status updates and posts of my friends who live only a block away, and they also seem far more distressed than I feel.

This is partly because they are indignant with the injustice of the situation we are currently facing, and many of them have had to living with that indignation for a decade already. It is partly because the siren or the situation is scarier for them, or because they have the good fortune to compare current reality to years of relative calm and quiet.

It is partly because I am still in the honeymoon phase of our aliyah, and I know it. I admit it. 

Even so; I feel great, I really do.

First of all, when I left Israel for twelve years, I did so after a series of 18 bus bombings, horrible suicide bomber attacks and then the second intifada.  I didn’t adjust to a decade of relative calm.

Second, I have watched with sickness from afar the horrible – deadly – decision for Israel to leave the Gaza Strip, and have wrung my hands at the inability to help as Israel has suffered showers of rockets in the south. I waited, and waited, and waited to be here part of the communal problem/solution/family/support system/whatever.

I feel triumphant that we are FINALLY doing something about it. We are going after the leadership of Hamas; the bad guys who are oppressing their own people at least as much as they are building a machine to destroy Israel.  I feel exhilarated to be here and not far away; part of the Zionist response, part of the banding together, part of the offers of help, part of saying tehillim for our soldiers, part of the collective national cry of “enough is enough is enough; I can’t go on, I can’t go on….!

I stood last night as my children participated in the induction ceremony for their Zionist youth group (Bnei Akiva). Children of all ages were standing outside singing “Ani Maamin”  – I believe – and Hatikvah at the top of their lungs. This is our response to barbarians trying to annihilate our presence in the Middle East, to erase our place in history. It does not make me feel scared, it makes me feel brave and proud. 

I understand the important need of the Public Relations Team that is the Jewish People to explain to the world that this is self defense on Israel’s part. That includes explaining just how many rockets Hamas is sending, and has sent. That they have killed three innocent people and injured scores more. It IS important; we didn’t bring this upon ourselves, and whatever we are doing is so, so much less than what is deserved. We are destroying an infrastructure of evil, and crippling a terrorist organization. Not retaliating in measure by any means, or taking revenge.

But the story many are perhaps reluctant to share is that we are kicking some very serious bad-guy butt. We have taken out some serious Hamas leadership, a win for Israel, and for “The Force” that is all that is Good in the world. We are not only shooting down LOTS of their precious arms that they are blessedly using up, but doing so in great numbers with no harm to anyone. We are taking out weapons caches and factories. They are more interested in a cease fire than we are after only three days – and with good reason. Hamas’ “destroy Israel forever machine” will hopefully never be the same.

I don’t feel afraid. I felt far, far more fear when Israel sat back, let the situation get worse and worse, and did nothing. I felt far worse when we waited for rhetoric in the West to express support, and tried “negotiations” – or even worse, cessations in building in my precious West Bank. All of which produced an increase in violent bravado that brought us to our current reality.

More than anything, I felt more fear when we lived in a place where I didn’t usually know who or what was evil. Who to trust and who had my back. I felt more fear with my children at the playground in NJ without an adult than I feel every waking minute in Israel today.

As for my daily reality? I went into our shelter room on Friday night when we had a siren. It is set up like a den, and we hung out in there for a very un-dramatic five minutes. I have since gone on with my routine, trying to be sensitive to neighbors who may have husbands called up for reserve duty. This routine includes an early morning run to the local grocery story here in the West Bank, where my excellent customer service was almost exclusively from the Arab employees there. A security stop on the road home with lots of “racial profiling” – good news for me. A trip to the health clinic to deal with a child’s allergic reaction, teaching a class, laughing with friends, seeing the very, very sad end to my mother in law’s visit, and enjoying a fabulous afternoon in the park.

As I helped my four year old out of an olive tree whose very existence celebrates the resettling of Jews in the ancient Jewish area of Efrat (in the West Bank), I looked up at the gorgeous blue sky and the sunny, breezy balmy day, and thought with sadness for a moment that Jews in southern Israel may not be able to be outside in the park enjoying the beautiful sunshine. And my children told me how sad it was their their “friends back home” (in NJ) have only now gotten back power, (“and isn’t it sad?”) Homes were destroyed, those poor people!

I live in a place where the people who live around my country hate me. I live in a place where our final borders and status is still an open question whose answer will not come quickly or easily. I live in a place where my enemies are not concealed, and where the source of my security is in the hands of brothers and sisters and our Creator, the Parent to us all together. Where the problems are OUR problems, and therefore I can be part of the solution.

Pray for Israel, help Israel… but do NOT worry about me, and do not feel sorry for me. Help me cheer on the only country of the Jews as we finally stand up to evil and say NO MORE.

How are we doing? This is how we are doing:

 

 

 and   and

Haveil Havalim 381

October 14th, 2012

Shavua Tov to everyone!

Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs founded by Soccer Dad — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week, jointly coordinated through our Facebook Group., and headed up by Jack.  The term ’Haveil Havalim,’ which means”Vanity of Vanities,” is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other ‘excesses’ and realized that it was nothing but ’hevel,’ or in English,’vanity.’ (*I just want to note that some translate hevel as ‘fleeting’, not ‘vanity’, but it’s a great discussion for another time.)

Consider submitting your blog posts to the carnival in future weeks, and joining our community.

I would like to dedicate this week’s Blog Carnival to Stella Frankl and her “Army”. Stella is the wife of blogger Yarden Frankl, and an all around extraordinary human being. She has just begun her second battle with cancer, and there are many, many of us around the world joining her fight. I would never presume to suggest why such a painful, scary and difficult thing needs to happen to such a happy, positive, wonderful person. But I can tell you that there have been many heartfelt prayers and tremendous acts of charity and kindness to come about solely in the merit of her recovery. May they continue, and may they be successful.

In honor of Stella, you will see a special section today of bloggers from her – and my – yishuv, Neve Daniel. I believe the time has come to dub our little town “Har Hablogim”, as you will see from the heavy concentration of writing talent. Maybe it is the mountain air. I hosted this Carnival before moving here, and the bloggers of Har Hablogim welcomed me in such an amazing way that I didn’t feel quite as much “the new kid on the block”. It is a very special place, and I am privileged to live here.

The Neve Daniel garin* of Stella’s Army:

I think it best to start with Yarden himself, who can best explain what Stella’s Army is all about at Crossing The Yarden, in My Wife Has Cancer and I’m Going for a Bike Ride.

Culinart Kosher gives us a tasty treat and another way to help the cause with Miriam’s Magic Mix Challah Topping.

Trip’n Up backs up my claims that this isn’t just any yishuv in Loving Life in Israel: Special Treats.

At Sussmans B’Aretz we are reminded to exploit and enjoy the quiet moments when we can in Creating the Space for Beauty.

Cheri B Levi asks Who Am I?. She seems much closer to an answer than I am. Can you answer the question? 

Laura Ben David, often found blogging over at Times of Israel had her first blog post at Kveller.com, about Hospital “Lactophobia” here in Israel in Why Was Breast Milk Banned from an Israeli Maternity Ward Fridge? – note; read the comments, too.

Gedalya Reback warns us of the danger of hubris – theirs and ours – in military conflict at The Times of Israel in  The Simchat Torah War: Egyptians Celebrate 1973 Loss to Israel

Ruti Mizrahi writes on Ki Yachol Nuchal about personal and meaningful celebration of her Aliyahversary (Mazal Tov!!!) in Party, Party Party! - Stella – when you read this – may we only have reasons to celebrate. 

And from the rest of the world:

Israel

Walkable Jerusalem asks whether  downtown Jerusalem, and its historic buildings, should be emptied of “mundane” uses and dedicated solely to culture and tourism The dowtown trophy wife at Nine Measures of Beauty.

Batya asks questions surrounding the drone interception in Israel last week in  IDF, Bibi- It’s Not Enough to “Intercept” Attacks and tells us a wonderful story of history recorded and friends reuniting in Days (and Nights) of Action, Can’t Keep a Good Jewish Activist Down at Shiloh Musings.

Politics

Batya presents Stop The Sarcasm! They’re Trying to Kill Us!!  and Bibi Calls for Elections! Israeli Politicians Dance The Tango at Shiloh Musings. While the “election speculation” all over the newspapers in the US and Israel is driving me a little crazy (how is that reporting?) I am surprised that Batya is our only ‘Elections-Coming-Up-in-Israel’ blog post this week. Perhaps the lack of blogging about it indicates that there is not much competition worthy of mention (as Batya suggests), and Bibi made a smart move. Or, perhaps it means that many bloggers are drowning in “acharei hachagim“* and  we will see more commentary next week…..

Personal

Mazal Tov to Chana Jenny on the birth of her baby boy. She tells her beautiful and mystical story in The Amazing Story Behind My Baby’s Name at  JewishMom.com  

Batya is also kvelling* over her special yishuv in The View From the Top posted at me-ander.

Yocheved Golani joins Stella’s Army with Crossing Jordan – and Begging Heaven to Heal a Special Lady over at It’s My Crisis and I’ll Cry if I Need To!

LATEST UPDATES: 

The following posts weren’t included initially purely due to MY oversight.. and I apologize. But they are worth the look, I promise:

What I love about The Real Jerusalem Streets is that Sharon always reminds me what I love about this country. She has posted Favorite Sukkot of Sukkot, and 10 Special Smiles in Sukkot Holiday Crowds to show us the best of the best from Jerusalem’s Sukkot holiday.  They are gorgeous pics!

Esser Agaroth‘s posts, in contrast,  ask some hard questions, and make those of us in Israel face some realities we might prefer not to in U. S. Troops In Jordan: Now Will You Believe Me? and Can Israel Win A War Against Iran? (or Syria? or Hezbollah? or anyone?) But his insight and analysis is important. It saddens me to say that I think that he (and Barry Chamish) are probably far, far more than 5% right…

Netivotgirl has a guest post  The Negev Is Alive and Well up at Shiloh Musings, and reminds us that “no casualties” from all of those rockets in southern Israel is simply a fallacy. May all those living there be in our prayers as well.

Maybe now that you have read through this list, you wish your blog was included here? Or your friends? Here is the submission form

This concludes this edition. While not all of our ND bloggers are represented here, don’t you think the nickname “Har Hablogim” should stick?

Please include Stella, Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah, in your prayers and thoughts, and please submit your blog article to the next edition of haveil havalim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Have a great week!

Note:

*garin = Means seed, but refers to a Unit, or Group, in the IDF.

*kvelling = Yiddish for “feeling extremely proud, gushing, and/or swelling.”

*acharei hachagim = literally meaning “after the holidays”, this phrase is used in Israel from the week before Rosh Hashanah until the end of Simchat Torah to explain that anything and everything can/must wait until mid-October. Once the holidays are over and we are in the period of acharei hachagim, feelings of being overwhelmed and inundated with that which was put off are commonly known to occur.

 

 

Sukkot

October 7th, 2012

Hours before Simchat Torah and I am (finally) posting about Sukkot. Figures. 

I would like to dedicate this post, if I may be so bold, to the memory of Rav Haim Lifshitz, z”l. He was my Rav’s father, a great tzaddik, who passed away this past Shabbat. May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. 

The truth is that as much as I usually try to prepare in advance, this year my thoughts and feelings on Sukkot came through experiencing it, listening and learning throughout the holiday.

The word that kept coming back to me this year was vulnerability. I was inspired by a dvar Torah given by Sally Mayer at a fantastic simchat beit hashoeva gathering for women here in Neve Daniel. She gave over an idea she had learned from Drisha’s Rabbi Silber comparing the tone of the parasha we read before sukkot (Haazinu), around Yom Kippur, and that of Zot Habracha, the parsha we read on Shabbat during Sukkot. The former has a clear tone of remonstrance and warning, logically connected to a time of our judgement.

Zot Habracha in contrast, has more of a positive note going into our future. This is how we feel during Sukkot. Feeling hopeful that we have been forgiven by Hashem over Yom Kippur, we dwell in a sukkah which has often been mentioned as a move of intimacy with Hashem. We move out of our safe, comfortable homes and into a temporary hut, trusting in Hashem’s protection as was just promised us through our repentance and in the words of that final parsha.

Yet the intimacy, it seems to me, is linked to our increased vulnerability. The people to whom we feel the closest are almost always those to whom we feel the most vulnerable. Or that we can be vulnerable with. Yom Kippur is a time when we are our most open and vulnerable with Hashem. At least in the ideal, we have undergone a process of serious introspection and have opened our hearts, souls and mouths to cry out to G-d.

Following that, we feel closer, more loved, and move ourselves to a place of more physical vulnerability than our homes.  It is through that move that we express our feeling of closeness to G-d and demonstrate that we know that in this time he is also very close to us…..

Why does all of this occur to me this year?

Because I think that people living in Israel feel more vulnerable than Jews living elsewhere. Particularly Jews living where we do, the beautiful Judean Hills that some would like to call “settlements” or “territories” or even “illegal”. I call it Jewish soil that has been loved, worked on, and cried over by Jews for over 2,000 years. But no matter what you call it, Jews here feel vulnerable, and I think it is connected to why it feels easier here to feel close to Hashem. The vulnerability that we choose is a daily reminder of where our trust truly lies, and that there is no “safe” and “unsafe” there is only the will of our Creator.

The increased vulnerability of a sukkah versus your home is a myth. An illusion, of course. A sukkah doesn’t actually make us more vulnerable, it simply reminds us that we don’t get protection from our home, we get it from Hashem. Whatever will become of us will happen no matter where we eat our dinner or sleep tonight. The same is true of Jews and where they live around the world. Jews in this part of the world are no more or less safe than anywhere else. The dangers may have drastically different manifestations, but we all are equally vulnerable to the will of Hashem every moment of our lives.

But I leave this, my first sukkot living in Israel in 12 years, feeling open, a little raw, far more vulnerable to circumstances, people and Hashem’s will than I ever did in the United States. And therefore feeling the heightened intimacy with G-d that I missed so greatly while I was gone.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Simchat Torah holiday, and that you will be here in Neve Daniel with us to celebrate next year!