On Yom Kippur in 1967, the Year of Forgetting, I put on my dark holiday clothes and walked to the Old City of Jerusalem. For a long time I stood in front of an Arab’s hole-in-the-wall shop, not far from the Damascus Gate, a shop with buttons and zippers and spools of thread in every color and snaps and buckles. A rare light and many colors, like an open Ark. I told him in my heart that my father too had a shop like this, with thread and buttons. I explained to him in my heart about all the decades…Read More... | 4 Comments
"It was different with Papa. He celebrated all the major holidays — Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Pesach — and he loved telling me Bible stories, but religion didn't have a very important place in his life. Once, during Mama's illness, I asked him if he believed in God. He gazed at me with that tender look, a look that spoke only of the powerlessness of love, and said, "You know, Sara, God doesn't need us to believe in him. All he wants is for us to act as if he were there." — from Paths of Desire, a novel by Emmanuel…Read More...
For Jews, Yom Kippur is a time to ask forgiveness from those one has harmed during the course of the year. The Israeli army has a hard time with the concept of saying it is sorry or asking forgiveness. Regretful? Sure. Sorry? Not when the victim is Palestinian. By Noam Rotem Ma’amoun al-Dam was 12 years old when he left his house to play in a nearby field and an inexplicable chain of events led to an Israeli Air Force jet shooting a missile at him, killing him on the spot. “We found no fault in this attack, despite the…Read More... | 16 Comments
Tensions in Israel are increasing as the Jewish fast and the Muslim feast are set to take place on the same day. But should Muslims give up their holiday joy just to ensure that Jews are not disturbed? (Translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe) Once every 33 years it happens: Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, and on the same day the Jews are engaged in introspection each looking at their relations with others in the world, and seeking forgiveness, on Yom Kippur. Jews fast while we feast from dawn to dusk in a rare and inexplicable…Read More... | 12 Comments
Growing up and living in Jewish towns in Israel (Haifa, Ra’anana, Tel Aviv, Givatayim and now Bat Yam), my Yom Kippurs were always of the quiet kind. Silent streets, clean air and kids riding bikes. But on this Kippur, I ventured into Jaffa and saw another world. Maybe the real world? It was noisy as hell (no pun intended). Cars were speeding, music was blasting, shops were open, families were picnicking on the street and smoking nargilas. At times, it almost seemed like there was a rebellious air to the scene. As I passed the locals on my bike, I…Read More... | 11 Comments
From attacks on our site to talking points for rabbis: thoughts for the Jewish New Year. So it's that time of year again, when Gerald Steinberg writes an article about us. Steinberg, the head of a right-wing organization called NGO Monitor, has been using +972 (along with a few of other organizations) as tools in his efforts to demonize the New Israel Fund (following its decsion to add us to their donor-advised list). This is what he has to say: A number of +972’s bloggers have invoked the immoral and false “apartheid” analogy, and in a February 2012 interview in…Read More... | 49 Comments
Every year around this time – the Jewish High Holy Days – I send out a note of reflection. This year, I’ve made use of my resources and friends and put the whole thing to video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r_k-qfmWr4 However, if you are still inclined to read, here is the text... Hello and Shana Tova. A Happy New year to all of you. Each year, in the ten days between the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana and the Holy Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the Jewish people traditionally reflect on the year that has passed. For the last few years, I have…Read More... | 2 Comments
When new media activist Daniel Sieradski, a.k.a. the Orthodox Anarchist, a.k.a. @mobius1ski , suggested having an ad hoc Kol Nidre minyan on Wall Street, in solidarity with the Occupied Wall Street movement, he wondered if he would succeed in attracting 20 participants (an egalitarian minyan of 10 men and 10 women). To his amazement, over 1,000 Jews of all ages and backgrounds, from secular to observant, showed up for an exhilarating experience which, judging from the tweets (hashtag: #OccupyYomKippur), had many people feeling as though they were practically levitating. Several friends told me it was an incredibly moving experience. @aimeeweiss…Read More... | 38 Comments
The text below is something that I share with many wonderful people in my global network of friends, colleagues and loved ones. This year, I thought it appropriate to post it to my virtual network, as well. Dear friends, And so another year has passed. And so another cycle has ended, even as a new one begins. As I did last year, and the year before, and the year before that, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the Jewish High Holy Days. And in doing so, I would like to share some of those thoughts with…Read More...
André died the day before Rosh Hashana. He wasn’t Jewish, but an American of Hispanic descent, born Catholic; although he delighted in displaying insider knowledge of the tribe. I found out about his death on Facebook. It was a terrible déjà vu. About two years ago a childhood friend who had reconnected with me on the ubiquitous site died naturally and inexplicably, midway through her first pregnancy and deeply in love with her husband. The blunt message from her brother on her wall left me gaping, and then sobbing for days. I was angry at Facebook for making a terrible…Read More... | 12 Comments
Netanyahu's Pravda - also known as Yisrael Hayom in some circles - let some public figures ask for forgiveness and repent on their paper ahead of Yom Kippur. I've chosen my three "favorites". The activist Here's what Arieh Eldad, a right wing extremist member of Knesset, had to say: "I'd like to ask forgiveness from the citizens of Judea and Samaria. My colleagues and I did not prevent the prime minister of Israel from freezing construction in the Jewish settlements for the past 10 months". Mr. Eldad, I hope - with G-d's help - that you will in a few…Read More...
Yom Kippur, my favorite Israeli holiday, is here. While rooted in that archaic construct called Judaism, Yom Kippur is as secular as Chinese food and a movie on Christmas. That's Christmas in America and Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv. As a kid I would spend the holiday in somber observance, fasting, with my head in a prayerbook at some linoleum-tiled suburban synagogue. I sure was a sucker back then, spending hours sitting and rising from the most uncomfortable chairs to the ear-splitting trill of the dentist turned Cantor for cash. My extended family would hold the break-fast in the afternoon,…Read More...
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