Col. Richard Kemp on the U.N. Goldstone Report

I admit I was teary-eyed from watching this video. There are two things that are touching about it. First, what a feeling to actually have someone acting outwardly and proactively supportive of Israel. And, I feel so proud to be part of this country, the country that, according to Col. Richard Kemp, made more effort in the Operation Cast Iron in Gaza to protect the civilians of the other side than any other army ever has.

I hope you’ll watch this and pass it on so that maybe it could make a difference. Just in the last few hours it’s gotten thousands of views. Not too shabby.

Am I living Srugim?

Or is Srugim living my life?

Srugim is a TV show about the life I have just re-entered; the single’s life in Katamon, Jerusalem. I’ve watched TV shows about New Yorkers, LAers, even Canadians but I’ve never seen a show that is so connected to me personally. From what I know of Israeli TV (I barely watched any even during my first 16 years living here), this show is a breath of fresh air. In most Israel TV, the stories surround Tel Aviv and a pretty specific culture and community in that city. Srugim, being based in Jerusalem and around the religious community, is pretty much clean and the dialogue, from the admittedly little I’ve seen on youtube, is sweet, funny and touching. I will hopefully soon be making a point of watching the whole first season.

Here is a scene where two women are discussing their faith in God. It’s a good conversation, in my opinion.

Srugim has become very popular, not only amongst religious people. It won many awards for its first season. (Click on this wikipedia link for information about that.) It’s amazing and exciting returning to Israel to this new reality of a religious TV show finding its place on regular TV. They are currently filming the second season which I know because one scene was filmed at the cafe next to my house and another scene had my now-famous sister-in-law play in a lead role… You will see her as an, well, an extra this season! (But such an important extra!)

Of course whenever anyone tries to depict the Orthodox community, there are hesitated reactions because there is fear of negative PR. But this show is written and directed by men with kippas and women in shirts. Actually, the woman in the skirt, one of the co-producers, Chava Divon, her adorable little son was in kindergarden with my adorable little sister a few years ago, so I even know who she is. And though, like any show, it’s not 100% accurate – we don’t have such witty dialogue on such a regular basis, for example – it’s really just a fine little window into that world.

As for those of us in that world, it puts a whole new twist on TV watching, having a show that is so close to home. I like.

As for my Srugim life, two nights ago I went to my third group Katamon meal. It would be much simpler if I just called it a singles’ meal but I hate admitting that that is what unites all of us at these Shabbat meals. I lie to myself saying that theoretically there could be married couples at the table it’s just that for natural reasons, they end up hanging out in different social circles. Which makes those meals not singles’ meals but meals with singles.

Whatever! Whatever way you look at it, last night I went to my third singles meal since my return to Israel exactly a month ago. Eleven singles around a Shabbat table eating food prepared by a few of us including challah by yours truly, fyi. Again, just like at the other two meals I’ve been to so far, I had a wonderful time – I met some amazing new people which, as some of you know, makes me very happy – but I’m so freakin’ scared! I know you can never know when you’ll meet the right person. Who knows, maybe I already have. But I’m so scared this is going to be my life for a much longer time than I would prefer.

But, my bro gave me great advice which, if I could implement it, I do believe would serve me well. He said, it’s so hard to find the right person that meanwhile you may as well throw all caution to the wind. (Wine prior to my arrival at this past meal helped me implement those tactics. It was like my training wheels!)

Granted, I wouldn’t go that far, to throw all caution to the wind. I will make an effort, as much as I can, but there is truth in what my brother says. Meanwhile, having a good time is key! As long as, at the same time, you don’t lose sight of what you really want. Sometimes it’s just really hard to have a good time.

As for Srugim, will it be like comics and so many TV shows where the people never actually move on to new states in their lives? Now that would be depressing!

And to finish, here is a very cute scene that is 100% accurate with reality (um, yeah right) about a girl who doesn’t want to buy a new bed, even though she desperately needs one, because you only buy a new bed when you get married. Good to know.

Thinking about Gilad Shalit, the captive Israel soldier

It’s because of topics like this that I feel guilty for not keeping up more on the news. Is it not good, at least once a day, to stop by a news site and check the headline?

I say this because I don’t know exactly how things progressed to get to where they are today in regards to Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping over three years ago. But, I watched the video the terrorists took of him to prove to Israel that he is still alive. I’m sure there are many moral questions around the kidnapping by terrorists. But the most basic one is, in this case, do we exchange terrorists for his release? Israel already released 20 female terrorists just to get this video.

My opinion? You have to think about now. Right now we have a beloved Jew who is in danger. We must get him back. At any price? Maybe not. But considering there are so many terrorists amongst them, and such a large percentage of the “Palestinians” want us driven into the sea anyway, I’m not sure it’ll make the biggest difference to set some more of these haters free.

The fact that it sets a precedent, that is definitely a problem. If only we could act stronger so they knew that, on the one hand we’re willing to do whatever we need to in order to save a life, but on the other hand we won’t be pushed around.

There, I got political on blog midrash. How can I worry about being “too” political when Gilad Shalit has gone through hell for over three years? How selfish would that be?

Israeli hasbara – a very funny video

Hasbara is the term used for the explaining that we do, officially or unofficially, in order to try to portray Israel in a more positive light, despite all the bad rep we often get on the news.

Many cringe at the lack of proper, intelligent hasbara for Israel. Many times, the tactics used are just painful. This video makes fun of this. There really have been times when scantily-clad women were used to try to up our ratings. Don’t underestimate the creative powers of the Israelis in charge of hasbara.

P.S. It is probably worth learning Hebrew just to be able to fully understand this video.

Last Jew in Afghanistan and SHALOM!

OK, well here is the most random post ever. For a while I’ve been meaning to post this video about the last Jew in Afghanistan. While I’ve heard at least one person say that this man is very brave, I cannot help but find his story simply depressing and I’m wondering why he doesn’t “just” move. I know, believe me, it’s hard to move. I’m right now trying to psych myself up to move. But, thank God, I live in a great city, in a great apartment with pretty great (OK, good) jobs. I have a community and friends. What does he have there besides his flowers? :(

Here’s the video

So what is random about this post? Well, the video embedding wasn’t working so I searched on youtube for any Jewish video to use its URL and test to see if it was a problem with the blog or maybe just with this specific link. Well, it turns out it’s just a problem with the link and meanwhile I thought it was be amusing slash disturbing to post the tested video here as well. It is strange, I’m warning you.


Birkat hachama systematic explanation

Birkat hachama, the blessing of the sun, is a custom that Jews can perform once every 28 years. It is believed that every 28 years the sun returns to the place – relative to earth – where it was created. Why once every 28 years? It has to do with the day of the week, the season and the time of day… It gets complicated. But a friend of mine sent me this video that explains it really well. It is around 45 minutes long but very worthwhile.