Monday, May 30, 2005

Interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

One of the efforts in celebration of Jews in North America for 350 years is a project called Only in America.

Part of this project are four interviews to which you can listen: Elie Wiesel & Abraham Foxman, Michael Steinhardt, Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr. and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am listening to the end of the interview with Justice Ginsburg as I write this post. It is a thorough, enjoyable and inspiring interview.

Listen to the interview with Justice Ginsburg here.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Shavuah Tov

Shavuah tov. May this be a week of remembrance, blessing and success.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Weekly Torah Portion - B'khuqotai

Yep - it is back - commentary and links to drashot on the weekly Torah portion!!

This week's parashah is B'khuqotai, a rather difficult portion closing the book of Leviticus. One of the more difficult sections is the listing of rebukes which can be interpretated as if you mess up G-d gets back at you. But, not all understand them this way.

This week's haftarah, from the book of Jeremiah, responds to the listing of rebukes through the lens of war and despair in his own day. Rabbi Andrea Lerner comments on Jeremiah's response and how we might answer the age-old question of why bad things happen to us. My Jewish Learning has a copy of a drash she wrote titled Faith In Difficult Times: Jeremiah’s deep faith despite the impending exile predicted in Parashat B’hukotai can teach us to turn to God in the most troubling of times.

Go and study and may you find comfort and encouragement from Jeremiah's words.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Hebrew University and Al-Quds University Issue Joint Statement on Cooperation and Dialogue

The Presidents of Hebrew University (Prof. Menachem Magidor) and Al-Quds University (Prof. Sari Nusseibeh) [If you don't know, Al-Quds is "The Arab University in Jerusalem".] issued a joint statement about the importance of working together rather than fostering division and separation (like the AUT boycott has).

[Thank you to Allison Kaplan Sommer for the tip.]

President of Hebrew University President of Al-Quds University

Here is an excerpt of their statement
Cognizant of the moral leadership universities should provide, especially in already turbulent political contexts, we, the President of Al-Quds University and the President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have agreed to insist on continuing to work together in the pursuit of knowledge, for the benefit of our peoples and the promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East.

Our position is based upon the belief that it is through cooperation based on mutual respect, rather than through boycotts or discrimination, that our common goals can be achieved. Bridging political gulfs – rather than widening them further apart – between nations and individuals thus becomes an educational duty as well as a functional necessity, requiring exchange and dialogue rather than confrontation and antagonism. Our disaffection with, and condemnation of acts of academic boycotts and discrimination against scholars and institutions, is predicated on the principles of academic freedom, human rights, and equality between nations and among individuals.

We therefore call upon academics here and worldwide to act in support of our mission, as one which might allow for ending our shared tragedy rather than prolonging it.

You can read the whole statement on An Unsealed Room

Monday, May 16, 2005

Israeli & Palestinian Radio!

While catching up on my blogs this morning after shabbat and a 14-hour workday on Sunday, I read Richard's post on All for Peace Radio, a radio station jointly run and programed by Israelis and Palestinians. Their stated purpose includes:

joint radio station broadcasting in Hebrew, Arabic and English, which aimed at a wide audience amongst both people and provides messages of peace, cooperation, mutual understanding, coexistence and hope.

The goals of the project include:

1. exposure of the various aspects of each side to the other side
2. exposure of interviewees, artists and topics of each side to the other side
3. emphasis on the different and the similar
4. breaking of stereotypes existing on both sides
5. discussion of common interests such as health, environment, culture, transportation, economy, etc.
6. exposure and reporting on joint initiatives and projects and on alternative ideas for the conclusion of the conflict
7. providing hope to the listeners
8. preparing listeners towards “the morning after” the conflict

I'm listening as I write this blog - go listen!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Yom HaAtzmeut in Israeli Papers

Links for Yom HaAtzmeut (Israeli Independence Day)

Some bloggers on Yom HaAtzmeut
Blurry Mind (Not directly about Yom HaAtzmeut, but on what her family is going through with her brother's recent death during his IDF service.)
Divrei Moshe
Dutchblog Israel has three posts on this Independence day
I Dream, Therefore I Am
Israel21c [A site with much about technology and life in Israel.]
Israelity: Life Beyond the Conflict
Jerusalem Wanderings
The View From Here
This Normal Life & Brian's Family Tiyul
Sha's post and top 57 things about Israel

Background & Information
Hatikva - Israel's National Anthem (Information, English text, Hebrew text, many music renditions...)
Israel's Proclamation of Independence (English)
About Israel's Proclamation of Independence
Palestine Post May 16, 1948 Commemorative Issue
Israel's Flag
My Jewish Learning Israel Index to anything you want to know about Israel

An Issue or Two
AUT (UK Professor's Union) Boycott and Consequences

Israel Geography Game (Flash)

Another blog post: In Context

Happy 57th Birthday Israel!

Today is Yom HaAtzmeut, Israel's Independence Day! 57 years ago on the Jewish calendar, the British left their mandate-controlled Palestine and Israel embraced its independence.

Israel is a complex, beautiful, amazing, little country. Young as a modern political entity, but ancient - people have lived there for over 4000 years.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

One more post on Yom HaZikaron

Gilly of If I Forget Thee... has two posts on Yom HaZikaron which are worth your time:

Yom HaZikaron
Ein Li Eretz Acheret (There is no other country for me)

More on Yom HaZikaron

You can see some pictures of the day at this Jerusalem Post article.

All forms of entertainment - theater, movies, tv shows... are closed on Israel's Memorial Day. A serious day - one which goes far beyond the bbqs and gatherings in the USA. We in the US could learn about memory from the Israelis.

Some thoughts on Yom HaZikaron

Today was Yom HaZikaron in Israel.

[Want information about today? Get basic information at My Jewish Learning or Jewish Virtual Library.]

I am reminded of the Yom HaZikaron when I lived in Israel. As is still the custom, the sirens blew twice - once at the beginning of the commemoration and once at 11 am (just at the start of the national memorial ceremony at Har Hazikaron {Israel's national cemetery}). The moment the siren begins its plaintive wail, all action ceases. Meetings, phone calls, cars, buses - everything. People get out of cars and buses, standing in the street, honoring and remembering those who have died. The sirens wail is accompanied by silence and tears cover the land, permeating thought, deed and emotion. About 7 million people live in Israel and about 22,000 have died in Israel's wars. Nearly everyone knows someone who has died - parent, child, sibling, extended family member, friend....

I attended the national ceremony around 11 am the morning of Yom HaZikaron. A large crowd was gathered at the cemetery, and there too the silence permeated by the siren was all encompassing. After the siren, the ceremonial speeches began along with prayers and wreath-laying. When the official activities ended, families fanned out throughout the cemetery, visiting their loved one's graves, crying, talking, placing stones and some lying on top of the graves. The way the cemetery is set up, one can tell which are the most recent graves. Walking by them was heartbreaking. Grief poured forth and strangers comforted one another. All in Israel, all of the Jewish people are family.

To my Israeli family, my thoughts are with you today. Your sacrifices have not been in vain and are not taken for granted by this (currently) diaspora Jew.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Baltimore Jewish Times story on Judaism & Domestic Violence

Today the Baltimore Jewish Times published the following inspiring story of individual and communal courage in fighting the scourage of domestic violence. Yes, this problem does happen in the Jewish community. It happens to women regardless of their affilation (very religious to secular to unafilliated), their education and their socio-economic status. Yes abuse happens in the Jewish community.

CHANA, an organization working in support of women abused by their husbands, marked their 10th anniversary with a keynote address by Dr. Amy Robbins Ellison. You can read about her story and the anniversary at the Baltimore Jewish Times site.

Let's hope and pray that Rabbi Weinreb's words which close the article will soon be true - that soon their will be no more abuse and no more need for organizations like CHANA.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

New Resource for Peace in Israel/Palestine

There is a new web resource for Israel/Palestine by Richard Silverstein of weblog . You can go to and see their forums, blog links, links and the like.

Best wishes on the endeavor and I look forward to following its progress.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Poignant and Powerful Story

Waiter shares a story about death, life and friendship today that is worth reading. You can find it on his blog Waiter Rant, titled Burying the Dead.


Shalom, ya'll. I'm back to blogging and happy to be here again! Look for more posting to come.

May your days of counting the omer be filled with learning, friends and an awareness of the gifts of everyday.