That Black Eyed Peas song’s in my head.

(This one.)

Ran my second 10k today as part of the Tel Aviv marathon.

My head was definitely not as much in the game as it was during my first run (the Jerusalem Night Run), where adrenaline and newbie-ness definitely took control.

It was fun, and it’s great to beat my personal best, and especially to run on flatter ground than this area.

But two things: it was way too crowded at the start and throughout, so I wasn’t running as fast as my usual pace. I think I could’ve honestly shaved 7 minutes off my final time based on the post-starting line taking forever to truly kick off. The other thing was… it was a bit anti-climactic at the end. Sure, I only ran the 10k, but the half and full marathons also seemed to have a quiet reception at the end. I thought there’d be more energy, DJing, music, encouragement. Maybe it’s just too big/popular a run?

I think I can do more but definitely not a half marathon yet (21km). The results are posted here, FYI.

Meanwhile, the judge approves of my medallion and proclaims it to be authentic.

Co-op drama in Park Slope: Daily Show has it covered.

I left America to avoid places like Park Slope. So I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of the local Brooklyn grocery co-op drama, where half the members wanted to ban Israeli products and the other half were protesting.

Decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The most ravaged, tragic victims were in Park Slope Brooklyn all along…

Of course, The Daily Show covers the story, so watch Co-Occupation with Samantha Bee. I post this despite being a teeny bit embarrassed.

(In fairness, activism is important all over the world when you want your cause to go global. And as a former activist in the States, I know what it means to be on the ground there defending and protecting something – a people, an ideology, a place that means so much to you. But I dunno. Maybe because I live here now, it just seems so trivial.)

Running from.

Sometimes, when I run…

…I’m running from the stories that haunt me. I’m running from the stress of being a parent, of propelling a small child’s world, of having so much to lose. I’m running from the cold air nipping at my skin, teething on my bare arms. I’m running from the hourly news reports on the radio. I’m running from people who want to run after me. I’m running from bad karma.

I’m running from the news. I’m running from a world where a father burns alive in his house, along with his five children. Where a mother has to live with that for the rest of her life. Running from a world where everything is meaningless while everything is meaningful. Where we keep trying anyway.

Where children die, daily. Where we keep bringing them here, hoping things can change. Where they get shot at their day camp or outside their school by crazy men, deranged men, rational men, angry men, heartless men.

Running to clear my lungs, running to clear my head, and really, the running never ends.

Fifty-Two Frames: Birds.

One of the most fun things for me about participating in the Fifty-Two Frames project is that every week, there’s some new minute aspect of life I get to focus on.

Like birds.

For instance – I never realized how loud birds are in my neighborhood. Because there are TONS of them on top of you at any given moment.

The problem is, you can hear them way more easily than you can see them…

Week 12: Birds.

Perched on a park bench, I waited…

And now for some local horror.

I don’t miss the part of living in Katamon, in Jerusalem, when a Beitar game would be on.

Beitar Jerusalem fans are known for a right-wing/arse/loud/violent combination of stereotype.

This, though. This is disgustingly criminal. It’s been a bit buried in the papers – partly because it happened around the time of the France Jew murders, and partly because, well, it is not flattering and since when do Israeli papers post something that admits to this level of wrongness?

Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests

Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem supporters assaulted Arab cleaning personnel at the capital’s Malha shopping center on Monday, in what was said to be one of Jerusalem’s biggest-ever ethnic clashes.

Despite CCTV footage of the events, no one was arrested. Jerusalem police said that is because no complaint was filed. Witnesses said that after a soccer game in the nearby Teddy Stadium, hundreds of mostly teenage supporters flooded into the shopping center, hurling racial abuse at Arab workers and customers and chanting anti-Arab slogans, and filled the food hall on the second floor.

It’s not the first time Beitar fans have acted utterly stupid in the name of a game won or lost. There have been tramplings, stampedes. But this is a fit of violence that goes beyond a game.

I despise the violence that erupts from sports frustration or elation (ahem, Red Sox fans). And I despise even more when  hate crimes are done from within my own people to minorities living among us.

How short are our memories? How immature are our minds?

These fans were young – who hasn’t been teaching them?


(And by the way, Arutz Sheva, seriously? There’s camera footage and you’re saying fans ‘allegedly attacked Arabs’?)

Segulah this.

Shared with me by an old colleague, I thought it timely to post now after yesterday’s  religion rambles and rants.

Definition of segulah ranges from folk remedy to supernatural cure.

Best Time Tested Segulos

Segulah for recovery from illness: Go to a doctor (Berachot 60a, Bava Kamma 46b)

Segulah for longevity: Lead a healthy lifestyle (Rambam, Deos 4:20)

Segulah for marriage: Look for a suitable wife (Kiddushin 2b)

Segulah for shalom bayis: Love and forbearance (Sanhedrin 7a, Bava Metzia 59a)

Segulah for Kavanna in prayer: Take it seriously (Berachot 5:1)

Segulah to prevent drowning: Learn how to swim (Kiddushin 30a)

Segulah for honest Paranasa: Learn a profession (ibid)

Segulah for pure faith: Don’t believe in segulot (Devarim 18:13)

It’s nice to see practical Judaism once in a while.

(via Danny)

Finally nailed it: This is where I am religiously.

For years – maybe forever – I never really mentioned here my religious affiliation outright. Part of it was because I didn’t want to be placed in a box. Part of it was because I found it so hard to define. Part of it was because I honestly didn’t know.

In an article published today in Jewish Ideas Daily, author Yehudah Mirsky nails it:

…while Datlashim are no longer halakhically observant or formally religious, they have not merged into the secular majority.  Rather, they maintain a complex relationship with Jewish texts and spirituality, bringing much of their past into their new, present lives.  As the popular quip has it, the difference between Datlashim and ordinary religious defectors is that Datlashim want their children to be Datlashim, too.

Really, it’s my exact profile: I came to Israel, where we are honestly able to question, move around, disconnect, reconnect, with greater fluidity than I’ve found in other places. Or as the author describes it:  “a gigantic open-air laboratory for experiments in Judaism and Jewish identity, mixing and matching old and new forms, deliberately and on the fly, with vision and no little improvisation.”

And so many of my friends who have made aliyah seem to be in the same exact way. I was recently talking to my brother about it while we were visiting New York last month. Something about being ‘home again’ makes you wonder who you are and where you’ve gone.

Well, I concluded then that today, certainly in diaspora, it seems you’re either going towards the right or left, towards the hyper-halachically observant or the culturally-open traditional. Modern Orthodoxy is not sustainable – especially financially – so as I put it, “basically, pretty soon, we’re all either Herzl or Vilna Gaon.”

And that’s a major turn-off for me about living outside Israel, though I do see some of my friends back in New York going the same route. But what community will sustain them there? How will they remember the holidays if they’re not national culture? Stay away from seafood if it’s not hidden from view?

On the other hand – the quote above is not just a ‘popular quip.’  It’s my concern. I don’t know what will happen to my children if I continue this way. Can I provide a strong enough bond to the texts, to halacha, to tradition, if I’m not bound completely to it?

I feel my generation/community’s parents weren’t necessarily educated by the book the way we were – the gift they gave us in the Diaspora, post-Holocaust, was the gift of an academic Jewish education. We know halachot, we know the words of the ravs, we know too much. We know enough to ask digging questions that uncover dysfunction.

So here we are, with too much knowledge. What are we going to give our kids?

I highly recommend reading the article.