a true story:

A rabbi from New York was good friends with a certain high-up well-known New York personality years back.
The well-known New Yorker wanted to tour Israel – he was very intrigued by the country, and he and the rabbi visited Israel together, where the rabbi gave him his view of the place.
One of the places he took the man was to meet another high-up (Israeli) personality, who was a top official in the IDF at the time. The New Yorker had always been very impressed by the IDF’s strength and strategy, and he was intrigued to meet this official.
“Tell me, how does an army so small and so young grow so powerful and strong?” he asked him.
The IDF man smiled and opened up a top drawer behind his desk. He pulled out a thick hard-covered book.
“This book had everything I need to know in order to plan, organize and strategize,” the IDF official replied.
When the New Yorker leaned over the desk to see the book’s cover, which was obviously in hebrew, the IDF man leaned back and said: “The Tanach – the Bible. It says everything. Any question I have is answered within its pages. It’s all we need.”

on gush katif & ההתנתקות :

look, i just dont know.

we visited gush katif this weekend, namely atzmona, a yishuv in the gush katif block in the south of gaza.
what can i tell you? it looks exactly like the rest of the yishuvim in israel. they built israel within the gaza strip.
what else can i tell you? kids play soccer in the yards, women chat endlessly outside of shul, fathers teach their children torah on their front porches. the houses are more than simple – they’re established. toys and bicycles and basketball nets litter the yards in front, on the sides, and in back of houses. children litter the yards and bedrooms and gan and shul. they’re everywhere – children, good religious zionistic children. lots of them.
these yishuvim seem to be a perfect idealistic example of how jewish life should be happening in israel – everywhere throughout israel. it’s ideal.
except that it’s not – according to everybody else.
what can i tell you? it’s so beautiful from a jewish point of view. and a zionist point of view.
i just can’t see disengagement happening in this family-oriented good-natured place. it’s so – peaceful.

how are jewish soldiers going to come here and look in the eyes of a three-year-old while they handcuff his dad? what will a seven-year-old remember of the home he grew up in – the gun pointed in his living room while he is escorted out by jews?
must jews expel jews?
what about the economy here, the business? can you transplant farms?
the man we stayed by for shabbat built his own home himself – must the same people trying to kill him and his 11 children make their home there, in that building built by a jew for his family, or must he tear down his own house himself while his kids watch?

it’s just not right. this isn’t the way to make things better, it just doesn’t make sense.
why aren’t they expelling arabs from israel then?
if arabs can live in a jewish state of israel with rights and a shot at a life, why can’t jews live in an arab state with at least the same?
when did ethnic cleansing become human rights?

יום העצמעות, 5765, 57

summary:

- partied erev yh by walking to town from katamon being loud and flag-wearing
- got to town, sheleg and all, crazy closed-off yafo, lots of happy people
- went to ulpan friend’s bbq in har homa
- went to rehavia-turned-british mandated palestine street fair
- insane bbq in insane bbq-littered gan sacher under insane sky

highlight: at the rehavia/british palestine fair, we were looking at the sandbag wall with barbed wire and this woman born in sweden comes over and starts telling me how she came here from sweden during the mandate and she lived a few blocks away and that that was exactly how it looked and she could remember the british, etc – and she was just smiling and talking so fast, it got me so excited because she was excited because it was yom haaztmaut and she was still here and the british werent and israel is 57… the history is still so real.

i’ll admit, i missed the enthusiasm of a binghamton yom haaztmaut festival, but only for a spit second.

pics:
צילומי יום העצמעות

יום הזכרון, 5765

b’erev:
i went to the kotel on a rare visit to watch the ceremony put on by tzahal and city reps. when התקווה
began, i realized that was my first time singing it with a crowd of israelis since i got here in january. it reminded me of when i was at the GA last year and they played the american national anthem and i cried in a rare heartfelt moment of patriotism because i realized it would be my last time as a full-time american – no regret, however, it was emotional because it meant soon i was to be a dual citizen, and my second citizenship – to become my first – was a life dream’s fulfillment.

b’yom:
with ulpan we went to a ceremony put on by a local high school (as all high schools were doing at the same time, at 11 am, the time when the national siren sounded and everyone is still for 2 minutes of silence). different than the glamour of the municipality-level tekes of the eveining before. this held an innocence. it was a mix of:
soldiers of the graduating class of the year before as well as preceding years returning to be a part of their alma mater’s ceremony in the inevitable soldier status. there to visit on yom hazicaron, there to set a precedent, there to be an example. there as young faces, a long year away from high school, coming far to go back and be close.
teachers with tears staining their made-up cheeks as they greeting their former students of science, language, history – witnessing the growing up – in uniform, the midst of national duty.
and finally, students – especially the seniors, hints of awe at watching their former seniors take their places in the soldier section of the audience, wrapped in olive, blue and white uniforms, moved on in the process of Israeli life, a place where these high school seniors will be only a few months from now.

pictures – צילומי יום הזכרון

מעניין

a’s wife is pregnant… conversation ensued…

a: pregnancy is not easy
m: i guess it wasnt meant to be anyway
a: what do you mean?
m: well if u view it as woman’s punishment for screwing up in the beginning, then its the ultimate challenge for a woman, dont u think?
a: ah i see, it is certainly a challenge. i am glad i am not a woman
m: on the other hand, id hate to have to go thru mens challenges
m: being a woman is a responsbility men inherently cant take
a: like what, level-headedness?
m: ha! we are what we are
a: you speak wisely
a: for a woman
m: i wont hide behind silliness
m: it’s a shame that women reduce themselves for men
a: how so?
m: if women fulfilled their holiness and potential, the men of the world would be so much better, and so the world would be so much better off
m: basically, women reduce themselves to grant men’s weaknesses, i.e., all the materialistic bullshit and costuming in fashion and make up and stupid behavior
m: and deep down, what men need is a strong woman… and what they get are silly weak women
m: who think men want silly weak women
m: the world is confused!
a: you should give a class in seminary
m: i wish
m: i’d at least like to write a pamphlet that i can tatoo to women’s foreheads so theyd have to read it wen looking in the mirror
a: you couldnt be more correct
a: men and women are reflections of one another
a: if one acts with silliness, the other will too it goes both ways
m: yeah
a: man can definately bring down a woman as well
m: yup
a: but there is no question that a strong woman can really get the most out of a man, if she is focused on holiness
m: yeah thats what was intended i think
a: every great rabbi i have ever met, has an absolutely amazing rebbitzen
m: yeah me too
m: i just wish it was better understood… thats what a girl’s seminary year should be about, not learning how to make potato kugel and flirting

ערב יום הזכרון, 5765

(7/6/03)

Under the setting Jerusalem sun stood the family, the friends, the distant acquaintances, those inspired, and me. The journalist.

Yoni Netanyahu. I admit with much shame that I had no clue who he was before today, before the assignment was thrust at me by my editor.

He led his unit through the Entebbe raid that saved 105 Jewish/Israeli hostages. He lost his life in doing so. The very purpose of the State of Israel’s existence. A symbol of exactly why the Jewish State was necessary to create. It wasn’t only Israeli Jews he saved – it was Jewish Jews, on that plane, in that place, held prisoners by Arab and German gunmen.

He planned, he plotted, he practiced, and Rabin let him go – he promised success, and he delivered. He served, he struck, he didn’t stop.

Yoni is a hero, an example, a symbol.
He is a model of the ultimate Zionist.
We can weep and mourn, and we must still listen, learn and remember.
As the terror in our own generation spreads, we must never forget his dedication. The dedication that brought back 105 people to their suffering families.

They didn’t publish it, but there’s my article.

obnoxious rant

“you’re so lucky to be in israel”?

actually, no, i’m not.

i’m…

-necessary
-responsible
-a part of a greater whole

check up on the law of return.
it’s a rite. you can be ‘lucky’ too.

i’m sick of hearing from american friends that i am ‘lucky’.