We met Shirim at her family’s olive grove plot. It falls just outside the Betar Illit settlement. More accurately, it falls on the entire hill but the settlement imposed itself right on top of the farmland that has belonged to her family for five generations. She is forbidden to access her land beyond the current […]
Israelis control Palestinian water resources, directing two-thirds of it to Israeli settlers who use three times the amount of water Palestinian homes do. Palestinians must buy their own water back from Israel. Israel also controls the flow to the private family cisterns, and families receive a refill once every five days. My host family corrected […]
In the Piazza della Rotunda of the Pantheon, at the heart of Rome, there was a rally in support of Israel held by the historic Roman Jewish community. Traces of trauma from World War II are here, scattered throughout the cobblestone streets in gold plaques marking former homes of Jews murdered over the tortuous last years […]
Army. This is the first word in my reading of Parashat Bamidbar, and it’s the most remarkable word. It is of course not a new word in the Torah, but it is a new concept. The Israelites are turning into a nation, and as such we need an army! Following God’s announcement to Moses about […]
While I am energized and inspired by the way the holiday of Tu B’Shevat has become catalyst for the Jewish environmental movement, since returning a few weeks ago from five months in Israel I am conscious of other issues, values, and difficult discussions the Tu B’Shevat seder might provide a forum for. Trees in Israel are often a political issue and have become the focal point in strategic policies in the ongoing Conflict that plagues the country. This year, as I celebrate the New Year for the Trees and meditate on the themes of renewal, my thoughts are drawn to two memorable encounters I had with trees in Israel and the deep insight into the Conflict that these experiences gave me.
A few years ago I was going through a very hard time. I said to my father, “I just want my dignity back!” My father, a Navy survival instructor, replied, “Jenny, no one can take away your dignity! Even if you are hanging by your toes in a prisoner of war camp, your dignity is […]