Purim, baby-style.

Nothing like Purim to separate the early-risers from the late-bed goers from the up all night due to teething painers.

Wait, I think we were actually all three…

In many ways, Purim is more fun when you have an extra body to shove into a costume. But you kinda miss out on the party-parties. Still a fun set of days, though.

Have a wonderful holiday of hidden miracles.

Here’s what I love about it being Purim in Israel and being a part of an Israeli community: Coming home after a seuda with new friends (including 342674 kids) and then finding Mishloach Manot at your doorstep –
Mishloach Manot

I guess you could say it’s a hidden miracle that we come to Israel single and adventurous and within three years, we end up married, suburban and combating baby spit at a tea party on a Friday afternoon.

Happy Purim!

Tonight's online rally for Israel and Sederot.

The buzz this week – around the Israel blogosphere, Facebook and my inbox – has been about a campaign called Together 4 Israel, which “is putting together the largest ever online rally in support of those living under fire in Israel. All you need to do is return to this site on Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 11 p.m. Israel Time to watch a live broadcast online of solidarity rallies from around the world.

The plan is to gather 1,000,000 people across the globe, joining together to watch the rally and show support for Israel and Sderot. Here’s their video pitch. You can view the speaker list and schedule at the site.

It’s Purim tonight, so if you don’t plan on sticking around a computer, you can log on to the site before you head out of the house and you will still be counted for the rally numbers.

I see the value in this for those who will still be fasting for Ta’anit Esther at 11 p.m. Israel time… It’s a nice idea to feel like you are together with thousands of other Jews, hopefully recognizing Esther’s fast and the need to pull together when we face threats.

Religion: gets high with a little help from its friends.

I’ve always suspected this myself, but a Hebrew University researcher is daring enough to say it out loud in a recent article:

Hebrew University researcher: Moses was tripping at Mount Sinai

On perusing the momentous occasion of Moses’ trip up Mount Sinai to collect and deliver God’s words to the people, Professor Benny Shanon is reminded of a ‘trip’ of his own:

…[Shanon] recalls a powerful hallucinatory experience he had when he visited the Amazon and drank a potion made from a plant called ayahuasca. “One of the things that happens when you drink the potion is a visual experience created via sounds,” he says.

Shanon presents a provocative theory in an article published this week in the philosophy journal Time and Mind. The religious ceremonies of the Israelites included the use of psychotropic materials that can found in the Negev and Sinai, he says.

“I have no direct proof of this interpretation,” and such proof cannot be expected, he says. However, “it seems logical that something was altered in people’s consciousness. There are other stories in the Bible that mention the use of plants: for example, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.” (Haaretz)

I’m sure there are plenty of people who will find this offensive, but I don’t see why. What’s wrong with using the materials of God’s earth in order to get a little closer to him? Providing it’s done for purely spiritual means? I think that probably works out a lot better than getting ridiculously drunk on Simchat Torah or Purim.

So, kudos to this professor for saying what a lot of us are probably thinking.

And, hey, I want whatever Moses is smoking. No, really – that’s gotta be pretty good if it’s good enough for freakin’ Moses. Like Shanon sums up:

“But not everyone who uses a plant like this brings the Torah,” Shanon concedes. “For that, you have to be Moses.”

(Thanks, Benji)


Living it up (culturally) in Tzur Hadassah.

I got a fun little pamphlet in my cute little p.o. box: Cultural activities for adults, families and children. It’s got a whole bunch of activities planned for residents of Tzur Hadassah over the next month.

Since a few people have contacted me interested about moving here, I thought I’d post some of them to display the kind of things that pass for fun around here.


  • On March 21st from 10 am, the yishuv is having a Purim celebration in the cultural center (haven’t been there yet). It’s 20 nis for a ticket covering all the attractions.
  • On the last Thursday of every month there is a ‘movie night’ for kids, splitting between 2-4 years old at 4:30 pm and 4-6 years old at 5:30 pm. For elementary school-aged kids, there is a movie night on the second Thursday of the month at 5pm.
  • Tzofim (scouts) and Bnei Akiva: Various trips, activities and group games.


  • “Purim b’Tzur Esther (Hadassah)”: a look at the megillah from a secular point of view on March 13th.
  • Playback Theater: An improv theater based on real life stories of the community; March 16th.
  • A series of tours around Jerusalem and surrounding…The first tour starts March 7th.
  • “The Big Tisch” with Moshe Lahav: Israeli music and spirit… Motzei Shabbat, April 12th at 8:30 pm.


  • Trip to Mount Hermon for skiing (last weekend).
  • Workshop for Anger Management.
  • Protecting nature: community tiyulim with a tour guide.

As you can probably tell, it’s very much a family-oriented community. It’s also mainly secular with ‘progressive’ and ‘dati leumi’ sub cultures.