Our first Pesach in Israel

April 10th, 2013

This post originally appeared in the Princeton-Mercer Bucks New Jersey Jewish News

At home abroad: our family’s first Pesach in Israel

 

This is the first time in at least nine years that I didn’t make any apple kugel for the Passover seder. I didn’t make it because Max Goldfarb from East Windsor wasn’t at my seder table, so there was no special request.

This was only one of many changes for the holiday, since we moved from the Twin Rivers Jewish community in East Windsor to Neve Daniel in Gush Etzion in Israel last July.

I had expected drama — after all, this was our first Pesach as free people in our own Jewish land. THIS year, in Jerusalem.

What I got was a whole lot of normal. There were no tears at the seder and no virtual symphonic music running in my head. Just the same fun, goofy singing of “Chad Gadya” as in years past.

Since I last wrote about our aliya from New Jersey, the kids have become more and more settled, and I have begun working part time. I am now the spokesperson for the One Family Fund, a national organization helping terror victims and their families with legal, financial, and emotional assistance. The work is very intense yet incredibly meaningful. While it is an adjustment for us all, it is one more step toward full acclimation.

Our Passover seders in New Jersey were beautiful, uplifting, and a lot of fun. But they were also a lot of work: lots of guests, long drives to Lakewood for Passover supplies, two days of holiday to cook and clean for — in Israel, only one seder is observed — and generally swimming upstream in a culture celebrating Easter all around us.

Here, in the two weeks leading up to Passover, I was also busy — but with my job: As a One Family Fund representative, I was preparing to attend President Obama’s speech in Jerusalem. Being in Israel meant there were other factors mitigating the hectic approach to the holiday. A yeshiva student-for-hire scrubbed my oven and refrigerator for me. Every Pesach ingredient imaginable was available 15 minutes from my house. The community has a vat for kashering metal items, which meant sending my husband off with pots and silverware to Minha services and the dunking of the utensils — and that was it.

Rachel Moore with her press pass — as a One Family Fund representative — to attend President Obama’s speech in Jerusalem.

During the intermediate days of the holiday, day trips (“tiyulim” here) could be arranged spontaneously, just 20 minutes from our home in every direction. And no need to pack food; the restaurants at attractions and throughout Jerusalem are kosher-for-Passover.

At our one seder, we had 10 people. Israel didn’t change clocks until after the first days of Passover, so we were able to begin the seder by 6:30. We could start before what I used to feel was bedtime and finish before the middle of the night.

Passover break for the kids was a full three weeks. While that may have been its own challenge, in general the holiday season was marked by a welcome lack of hard work. It honestly felt like a vacation.

Our family was finally initiated into a true Israeli rite, when we went on our first family hike in Nahal Sorek, near Beit Shemesh. It was a beautiful (downhill) trek, with Israel’s famous spring flowers bursting forth throughout the expansive valley.

We also visited the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, which is quickly becoming a favorite destination for our kids. I know they enjoy seeing the animals there, but I must say I get more pleasure from seeing the kaleidoscope of Jews all gathered together; the variety never ceases to amaze me.

Ironically, it was during Passover that I became most nostalgic for our previous life. While preparing for the holiday in New Jersey was always a production, it was a production we put on together, and we enjoyed every minute once the day came.

In Twin Rivers, the preparation brought a sense of drama. Despite Obama’s first presidential visit to Israel, the holiday — this “first Pesach in Israel” — was decidedly lacking in drama. The normalcy of being a Jew in a Jewish culture, where Passover is just part of the national rhythm, felt great.

Most of my children said they missed the second seder, but in general did very little comparing. They did read the Haggada in Hebrew — and even questioned the translation! But life here is so different in so many ways that it is getting harder and harder to compare. We are slowly getting better at just living in the here and now.

Having said that, they all did want to know what happened to the apple kugel, and we all dearly missed Max Goldfarb and all of our other wonderful NJ Passover guests.

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.

Memories of Ed Koch, z”l

February 6th, 2013

Koch, z”l, former Mayor of New York City, passed away this week. He died as he lived; an in-your-face Jew who wanted to mingle with non-Jewish NY on their own turf, while never letting them forget  his Jewishness.

Ed Koch's gravestone

Ed Koch’s gravestone at Trinity Church Cemetery in Manhattan

 

Back in the days of my former adventurous life as the Assistant for Foreign Relations to the Mayor of Jerusalem, I had occasion to meet Mayor Koch. Although I wish it had been under happier circumstances, it was because of the State Funeral of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, z’l. In attendance, were Prime Ministers and Presidents from nations all over the globe….

… and the Governor, Mayor and former Mayor of New York City. Given the city’s self-proclaimed and celebrated Jewishness, I suppose it should come as no surprise. As the assistant to the Mayor, I was not invited to participate in any pomp or circumstance that surrounded Heads of State. The way the system works, even though Jerusalem is the capital, those responsibilities are handled quite strictly by the State Department and not the municipality. Similar to the White House receiving PM Netanyahu and not involving the Mayor of Washington DC or his staff terribly much about it.

In this case, the State Dept. had their hands full with said Heads of State, and was not very interested in doting on “local” politicians. So we were politely told that Governor Pataki, Mayor Giuliani and Mayor Koch were our problem responsibility.

That suited me just fine. We had to plan a dinner on the fly to welcome them all to Jerusalem, and of the non-senior staff I was the only one invited to attend. The seating and every detail had to be just right. I was tasked with greeting them as the entered City Hall. As I held the door for them, I said “welcome Mayor Koch” as he entered… right in front of Giuliani. I did not yet know that this is protocol, and that addressing him as Mayor was not only allowed, but expected. At the time I turned several shades of red and hoped dearly that Mayor Giuliani had not heard me.

Alas, at the special, important, intimate dinner I had been allowed to attend, I was carefully seated with…. the security detail. The help with the help, right? In the end, all three politicians were stiff and not themselves since the other two were there, and the cops I sat with regaled me with tales of mob-busting and more. I think I came out ahead. The dinner itself wasn’t interesting, merely a gesture to give “kavod” (honor) to politicians who didn’t seem to understand how their status was any different than the French Prime Minister or the President of Burunda. After all, we are talking about NEW YORK, right?

So I left with David Bar Ilan, z’l, who was being interviewed by international television by satellite. That was definitely more interesting. (His life and how we became friends should be its own post one day.)

I was not to see Mayor Koch again in person, but two years later he became a regular guest on my not-yet-husband’s radio show in Jerusalem. (Does anyone remember RadioWest?)

My favorite memory of him on the show was when he explained that everything in Jerusalem would be better if they would just adopt his NY pooper-scooper law. He didn’t understand how anyone, even a Jew (maybe especially?) could ever leave New York City to live in Israel. I don’t think he could understand how anyone could choose to live anywhere else.

My husband and I both disagreed with almost every position he ever had, but Mayor Koch made for GREAT radio; he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind, put you in your place, or even be wrong and go back and say so later.

Rest in peace, Mayor Koch. You and New York City were so much a part of each other, that you brought New York with you wherever you went. Thanks for bringing a little bit to Jerusalem.

Mayor Ed Koch, z”l

I can’t help but compare….

February 4th, 2013

I have always made a conscious choice not to be that olah that goes through life in Israel comparing. That approach works for some, but I just like to live in the thick of things here and not compare it (or prices) to how things might be outside of Israel. It lowers my expectations and creates fewer opportunities for disappointment.

But on election day here in Israel (yes, it has taken my quite a while to post this one, humble, little post) I just couldn’t help myself. This being my first year here with school-aged children, it was different than any other election day I had experienced here, or in the US.

One can easily understand the astounding voting rates here when you see and feel the celebratory air. Schools close, banks close, offices close, and the country takes a day off.

… And partially because of that, but I think mostly because in Israel we still don’t take our democracy for granted, voting is a family affair.

Most families came up to vote as a group. Children went with their parents to choose a party and many placed the envelope in the ballot box with or for their parents – including mine.

IMG_1277

Since we had the day off, after voting we went to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. As did at least 1/3 of the rest of the families in Israel, apparently. Navigating parking was an exercise in and of itself, but after surviving the z00-at-the-entrance-to-the-zoo, we went into what was just an amazing experience.

Only in Israel can I take my kids to see the same animals we have seen time and time again in the zoo, but there are plaques with Biblical quotes describing the six days of creation from Genesis.

… I couldn’t stop myself from comparing. As regulars at the Philadelphia Zoo in the US, my children would always remark “Psst! Ima, look! There are other Jews!”. Funny how that didn’t happen once here.

And then we came upon it. Only here does our venture to see the animals end at, of course, Noah’s Ark.

IMG_1409

 

The overpriced concessions inside are all kosher, of course. So this time I could say “yes.”

IMG_1316

 

As we got near the exit of the zoo, I came upon the largest collection of birds I have ever seen, and thought to myself “I have never seen so many different kinds of birds in one place before.”

birds at biblical zoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then I immediately looked up and thought “I don’t think I have ever seen this many different kinds of Jews in one place before.”

IMG_1444

 

 

 

Haveil Havalim #352

March 25th, 2012

Welcome to Haveil Havalim, the Jewish blog carnival!  Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a weekly collection of Jewish and Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week.  Next week’s edition will be hosted by Tripn’ Mommy at  Trip’n Up, to be included, please send your blog entry and link to  tripnmommy @ gmail . com.

I apologize for the delay in this getting up, due to technical difficulties. Of course it had to happen this week, but I am so pleased to be up and running again.

Opinions expressed in the posts linked below are those of the respective bloggers and not necessarily endorsed by me.

If you would like to join the Haveil Havalim facebook group, click here.

I wish all of you a redemptive and meaningful Passover holiday. L’Shana Habaa B’yerushalayim Habnuya! 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I didn’t get a single submission about Yitta Halberstam’s controversial article on the shidduch crisis in The Jewish Press. So I just went ahead and am including some myself. Feel free to add on!

Pacific Jewish Center Rabbi writes How to Solve the Shidduch Crisis WITHOUT Advocating for a Bunch of Nose Jobs, and In The Pink weighs in with My Shidduch Experience and  More Beauty Reflections.

Esser Agaroth explains why he thinks we should not vote for Shmuley Boteach. I am very relieved that I don’t have to make a decision either way.

He also tell us  about The Machon Shilo Pre-Passover Conference that is taking place today, March 25th. I hope we will learn more after the fact, with a follow up post.

Batya muses in Shiloh How Would CSI, Bones, Cold Case or Harry Bosch Have Handled the John Demjanjuk-Ivan the Terrible Case? at Shiloh Musings.

Joel Katz over at Religion and State in Israel brings us his digest this week in Section 1 and Section 2, touching a lot of important material, including A.B. Yehoshua’s controversial statement.

Speaking of controversy, Michael at An Aspiring Mekubal writes about the passing of Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg on the same day as the children in Toulous in Measure for Measure. You may not agree with what he has to say, but it is definitely food for thought.

In the light of the hate-filled tragedy in Toulous, it is nice to read Susan Esther Barnes’ A Message of Hope from Israel at TCJewfolk.

… and unfortunately in more hate-filled news, there is a March on Jerusalem expected this week on March 30th(!) “an anti-Israel publicity stunt that aims to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from all the surrounding countries.” Please get the facts from CiFWatch, and see what you can do to help!

Dr. Eyal Levin wrote about Israel’s defensive approach in Israel Hayom, and here is Batya’s response “Is The Best Defense, Self- Defense or Offense? Is Life Like Football? in Shiloh Musings.

At Tripn’ Up we hear about how special the Neve Daniel Community is in Lean on Me…. I can’t wait to find out for myself.

And inspired ima reminds us all how our inner child relives it all through our children’s experiences in Childhood Anxiety.

RonyPony gives a comprehensive commentary on Jewish Homeschooling in response to a Yated Neeman article on the topic, that unfortunately isn’t available on line. If you think homeschooling isn’t about you, but you are interested in Jewish education in the US and its lack of affordability and future, I recommend you read on.

Me-ander asks if Passover – Spring Cleaning is a Dirty Word? … I should be doing both right now, but this is of course more fun. : )

GOOD VIBES… 

Spring is coming, Pesach is coming, redemption is coming… time for some positivity, people! I love Pesach and refuse to bring the grumpy stressed ones bring me down, but I am happy to see a a little anticipation, too.

I love Jacob Richman’s Collection of 177 (!) Passover Videos, at Good News from Israel.  I have enjoyed and shared some of them already, and not just the one my daughter is in! (More on that later.)

Visit the beautiful Spring Edition JPix Jewish Photo Bloggers’ Blog Carnival over at  Ilana Davita.

And other wonderful photos of and commentary on the Jerusalem Marathon from the Real Streets of Jerusalem.

I saved my favorite for last: Networked Blogs writes about Mama Doni’s Passover tour and video, sponsored by Streit’s Matzo. I hope you watch the video (which is highlighted in Jacob Richman’s collection too); my daughter is in it! She and Mama Doni have become fast friends. Look for the young lady with a long brunette ponytail and spygear — in a skirt. Mama Doni – I hope Michal gets a chance to perform together with you in Israel one day!

I apologize profusely if something has been omitted; please let me know and I will modify.

Happy cleaning everyone! 

 

 

 

 

Post-Purim post…

March 12th, 2012


 

I didn’t blog about Purim this year. Those of you who have read my earlier posts know that it is not my favorite holiday.

But this year is different; we are in the midst of a move. A big one. To Eretz Yisroel. I am excited about it, and looking forward to every aspect, every challenge, every hill we have to climb. (ND’ers, get it? Hill?)

That doesn’t make it easy.

Catching up on doctor’s visits has meant a slew of diagnoses and challenging follow-up for the next few months.

The children have started to manifest all of the anxiety and mixed emotion expected with any move. At the end of the day, I am taking their stuff and moving it around and putting it in boxes…. Painters have come, cleaning off their decade of marks – and permanently removing their art from the walls.

Some of their possessions were even on the front lawn for a yard sale. The tension is coming out in all sorts of interesting ways. Fever for one, hostility for another, worry for all… and migraines for me.

I gained tremendous chizuk from Trip’n Up’s recent post about grief and her interactions with her son. Her piece was a stark reminder that my children are going through a grief process and how important it is for me to manage it as such.  I know that as the Ima I set the tone. That my positive attitude is needed to carry us all. I know this deep down, and have seen it in action so many times. That doesn’t always make it easy.

 

Bombs raining down on our brothers and sisters over there hasn’t made it easier, either.

So Purim for me this year felt like a backdrop of  noise, partying and chaos while I quietly tried to embrace safek – doubt -and to breathe through the pain of limbo knowing this is all for the good, part of a divine plan and that Hashem will always be there, behind it all.

In Adar we celebrate the triumph over Amalek, which is related to safek, and lack of faith. Only Amalek could doubt Hashem’s hand when the Jews left Egypt and it was clear to the world who took them out. I am trying, for my children and for myself, to model an ability to live within this stage of limbo. I try so hard to empathize with the sadness that the children feel despite knowing so much better than they do just how excited we all should be.

The irony is that they do not yet comprehend that they are moving to a new home where everyone must master living with safek. Where the conversations about doing so are clearly and deeper and certainly more frequent, but the emunah that goes with it will be B”H  all around them.

I hope they can have emunah in me as I keep reassuring them that it all will be good in the end.

Moishe Witkes, Mentor for Kav L’Noar together with input from the staff of Kav L’Noar wrote in to Ima2seven with the following information about the 8th Annual Conference Promoting Healthy Family Relationships at the Ramada Hotel on January 22,2012:

CONFRONTING ABUSE IN OUR COMMUNITY. 

I felt is was important enough to publish as a separate post. Please read the information, and attend the conference if you can. May we see such a conference and increased education in the Jewish communities in chutz l’aretz as well.

Moishe Witkes writes: 

“In response to the latest reports regarding the sexual abuse of children involving a ring of pedophiles in Nachlaot, I need to express my sorrow for the young children and their families who have been victimized. I feel frustrated. We are faced in our community with an avoidable tragedy.

As a social worker and clinical therapist having dealt with abuse in our community, I am unfortunately not surprised by these events. When there is insufficient commitment to transparency and education, these events can plague our community. Unfortunately, child sexual abuse is an uncomfortable topic in most communities and even more so in the religious community.

Our duty as professionals, parents, volunteers and leaders in the community is to ensure the safety, healthy development, and growth of our children. It is critical that we are informed and familiar with the inherent risks in the relationships we initiate for our children.
More information about sexual abuse and useful tools to help build awareness, educate and prevent more children from being abused and hopefully prevent these tragedies from occurring in our communities will be discussed at the upcoming
8th Annual Conference Promoting Healthy Family Relationships at the Ramada Hotel on January 22,2012

CONFRONTING ABUSE IN OUR COMMUNITY

This conference was planned several months ago and will feature Rav Zev Leff and Dr. David Pelcovitz. A message from a parent whose children are victims of abuse will be included in the program.

Please visit our website http://www.kavlnoar.org/ for more information and to register for the conference.
http://www.kavlnoar.org/the-8th-annual-kav-lnoar-conference-promoting-healthy-family-relationships/
If you would like to contact the author you may do so via Email:MoisheWitkes@gmail.com
Questions can be sent now for Rabbi Leff and Dr. Pelcovitz tokalnoarcenter@gmail.com

Passions

December 12th, 2011

I must stop working/typing/writing, and go to sleep. It seems however, that I have to choose between remaining a lapsed blogger or losing some sleep. At least until I can clear a few things off of my plate. (I am working on it.)

As you might have read, I recently had a chance to meet a “rock star” – one whose music I really enjoy. (I think I have said that once or twice.) What I am passionate about however isn’t the rock star …. but music. I don’t always get to spend the time involved with music that I would like, and when I do it is always restorative.

I have been working on a project “on the back burner” for years now that combines my love for children with my love for Judaism and my love for music. Truly three of my passions. I hope to be able to share more of this project with you… but in a later post.

I won tickets to a Mama Doni concert this coming Sunday (!), and I am really looking forward to it. Not only will I get to enjoy some real “ima time” with the little ones, but I also plan to meet Mama herself and speak to her briefly about this project.  More to follow on the contest, the tickets, the concert and the encounter.

I am also working on another project “on the back burner” which involves my other passion – zionism. I am truly excited to see that this may also be moving forward, however slowly.

I consider myself very blessed to work in a career that touches on all of these loves. But my “back burner” projects are my own. They may take longer to see the light of day, but they are being nurtured by my heart and soul.

I have spent the better part of the last decade being responsible for small children and primarily occupied with diapers crisis management and household maintenance. It feels good – and right – to now be refocusing some of my energies on my passions. Doing so is good for me, I know, but I believe it is also good for my family.  I see that my involvement in these passions engages my family in them as well. Children, zionism, music and Judaism are all wonderful things for us to be involved in together.

What are your passions, and what are you doing to involve yourself in them? 

 

 

Welcome to the August 28, 2011 edition of haveil havalim.

Whenever I have the opportunity to host the Jewish Blog Carnival, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude to be able to include myself with this group of bloggers. Thank you for everything that has been contributed and for giving me some great reading while I stayed awake for Hurricane Irene.  Any omissions, other than a few obvious off-topic spam posts, were purely accidental, and I do apologize.

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 coordinated 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.’

It appears that over this week there have been two major storms; One a weather pattern and the other, a certain American celebrity’s appearance in Israel. I am not yet sure which one caused more of an uproar.

The Hurricane received less blog commentary, but Allison Josephs presents us with Me, Myself, and (Hurricane) Irene: The Importance of Daily Personal Reflection | Jew In The City posted at Jew in the City.

We may see more on Hurricane Irene next week.

As for Glenn Beck’s appearance in Israel, I want to mention that I didn’t enjoy the tenor of the comments on this topic. Clearly feathers were ruffled, but the lack of civility in tone was quite disturbing for me to read. Perhaps those leaving comments should read Life in The Married Lane‘s Using Social Media in a Positive Way, Part Three before leaving any more comments:

Batya presents Are You Partying With Glenn Beck? posted at Shiloh Musings.

Tomer Devorah presents Parshat Re’eh: Of false prophets and idolaters posted at TOMER DEVORAH.

Sharon A presents Restoring Courage « The Real Jerusalem Streets posted at The Real Jerusalem Streets’s Blog, saying, “Love him or hate him, Glen Beck was in Safra Square and he brought 1000s with him”

And lastly, Batya presents What’s Christianity? posted at Shiloh Musings and I Get My Strength and Courage From My Jewish Sources posted at Shiloh Musings.

Other news from Israel includes:

Batya shares some beautiful photos of the new Trolley in Jerusalem with Jerusalem News, The Trolley Comes to Town posted at me-ander, and Jerusalem Trolley Unites Jews and Arabs posted at Shiloh Musings.

Joel Katz presents Religion and State in Israel – August 22, 2011 (Section 1) and Religion and State in Israel – August 22, 2011 (Section 2), both posted atReligion and State in Israel.

Judy Lash Balint presents Look Who’s Making Aliyah posted at Algemeiner.com, saying, “Mid-life N. American Jews who are making aliya…” and  Steve Ornstein shares Daniel Goldschmidt’s personal aliyah experience in  First Summer of a New Immigrant In Israel | IsraelSeen.com posted at IsraelSeen.com.

We hear about Eilat in the wake of the tragedy there from Harry in  Nostalgia Sunday – Eilat posted at Israelity, and Sharon A in A Paradise Lost posted at The Real Jerusalem Streets’s Blog, saying, “Response to renewed terror in Eilat, the show must go on.”

Mrs. S. presents National Parks: Ein Afek Edition posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress.

A Walker in Jerusalem presents Summertime, libraries, Brooklyn, Jerusalem posted at Walkable Jerusalem, saying, “Jerusalem residents grossly underserved by the municipal library system, particularly during the summer peak season.” I believe her comments on this subject are really important – but for me, quite depressing.

Elise/ Independent Patriot presents Sometimes Israel’s real friends also need to know when to be quiet…posted at Liberty’s Spirit.

Steve Ornstein presents After August comes September | IsraelSeen.com posted atIsraelSeen.com.

On a positive note:

Harry presents Israelis help ease the headaches during Ramadan posted at Israelity. I would love to get some of this medicine from Israel before Yom Kippur – yet another sign I am in the wrong country!! He also presents Foto Friday – Jerusalem to the IMAX posted at Israelity. I absolutely loved watching this, and it made me miss Jerusalem that much more. I hope you all click through and enjoy!

Sharon A presents Feeling Festive posted at The Real Jerusalem Streets’s Blog, saying, “Festival season in Jerusalem and there is a security alert”.  This also reminds me of the unique excitement of Jerusalem in the summer. Clearly, with all of the fear and disruption right now, Israelis live fully and move on with their customary and amazing resolve.

Culture

Jacob Richman presents New Video Online: Learn Hebrew Phrases – Computers and the Internet posted at Good News from Israel, Thanks Jacob!  I am now planning to use his clever and clear Hebrew riddles with my Ivrit students in NJ this year!

Izgad presents Medieval Jewish Art (Looks a Lot Like Christian Art) posted at Tipsy on Books: Dispatches from the Tavern, saying, “Izgad has started a new blog called Tipsy on Books and to open things up he presents a post on medieval Jewish art.”

Susan Barnes presents Glossary for People New to Orthodox Jewish Blogs posted atTo Kiss A Mezuzah.

Daniela presents two kosher reviews over at IsreviewMilka’s Choco Moo Cookies and Five’s “Evolution” Sugar Free Gum.

Then Chaviva over at Just call me Chaviva presents her own ups and downs with Kashrut in  Kosher Flops and Flips, with her usual refreshing and inspiring honesty.

Humor

satiricohen presents Netanyahu: Palestinians are not our enemies, only the terrorists are posted at Israeli Satire Laboratory, saying, “After a very long hiatus, I’m back with the same gallows humor that makes you realize how silly this country really is.” Definitely gallows humor, satiricohen…. 

Judaism

Rachel Barenblat presents Earth and pine posted at Velveteen Rabbi, saying, “a reflection on the scents of wood and soil: evocative of new construction, these are also the scents of a Jewish funeral in the summertime.”

Susan Barnes presents Choosing an Etrog Set Ain’t Easy posted at To Kiss A Mezuzah. I personally have to survive back-to-school next week before I can even think about Sukkot!

Batya presents “Special” Couples, Rav Arele’s Solution posted at Shiloh Musings. One might think that this subject would have engendered more controversy. Maybe on a week that Glenn Beck stays home, it will.

Elul starts this week. So to get us in the right mood, I will close with Mordechai Torczyner’s post asking us  When is it better for a rabbi to hold his tongue? posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband

 

I would like to conclude with a request to include Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah in your thoughts and prayers. Yarden Frankl of Crossing the Yarden and his wife are fighting the battle of a lifetime, and as one of our own, he (they) can use our support.

Thank you so much for all of your entries.  May you and all of your loved ones stay dry and safe this week.

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.

Post-Tisha B’Av Post…

August 9th, 2011

This was the most meaningful and focused Tisha B’Av I had experienced, at least that I can remember. Astounding to me given that I have spent a few at the Kotel. What made this year so different?

I believe it to primarily be two things.

The first, that I was asked to teach a women’s class the Shabbat before last. Although I try to learn about Tisha B’Av as much as possible during the Three Weeks every year, I simply learn more when I teach. I feel more compelled and more motivated. I need to try and recreate that dilligence as a student in the coming years.

I have expressed my gratitude for living in the small community that I do in many blog posts. In my mind  I keep returning to my hakarat hatov that although it has been Hashem’s will to exile me (again) from the land of Israel, that I am blessed to be in a place that has helped me work on myself, my spiritual growth, and to become a teacher of Torah.

Secondly, as I have also written about before, I am truly enjoying “phase II” with my children. There have been many changes in our lives since we have gone, slowly, from a house “full of babies” to a house with no babies at all. This year I was able to have a meaningful dialogue – more than once – with my older children about the meaning of the day. Their comprehension led to their help and cooperation in allowing my husband and I to mourn properly.  Their participation in our mitzvah, and their perception of it as just that, heightened the whole day for me and allowed me to focus more sharply. Even my talking to them repeatedly, or sharing a Tisha B’av video or thought helped me learn more, again,  through teaching.

My oldest daughter is now at an age where I can leave her in charge for limited amounts of time under limited circumstances. Last night being one of those, I was able to go hear Eicha in shul for the first time in eleven years!  Being with my community and hearing our amazing community Rav expound on the Kinot contributed so much to the day for me.

All that has happened is time; time for my daughter to grow up and time for the rest of the kids to be mature enough to understand why they need to listen to her for the evening and let me do this.

I am so very happy that entering “phase II” with our family allowed me to so successfully feel sad.

 

 

I hope that your Tisha B’av was meaningful and redemptive.