Archive for February, 2009

How to tell your dictionary comes from Israel

February 28, 2009
How to tell your dictionary comes from Israel

Last night at dinner we got to talking about the Hebrew word "machtesh," which is usually translated as "crater."  There is a geological feature in the Negev desert called the "machtesh," apparently because they first thought it was a crater, created by a meteor, but later figured out that it wasn't — instead geologists...
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Ski Israel???

February 25, 2009
Ski Israel???

"It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion" …Psalm 133 Mt Hermon (Israel's only ski area) manages to do something I would have thought is impossible: it makes a $95 lift ticket at Vail look like a good deal. With much anticipation, the family went skiing at Mt....
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Terumah 5769

February 24, 2009

What is the nature of sacred space? Is it intrinsically holy?  Or does it become holy because of the actions of people? This week's Torah portion, Terumah, is about sacred space.  The major spheres of holiness in Judaism are time — as in Shabbat and the holidays; deeds — doing various mitzvot (commandments); and...
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Happy Purim!

February 16, 2009
Happy Purim!

Today, February 16, is a day that I celebrate my “Personal Purim.”  Purim is, of course, Judaism’s “spring time drinking holiday” when we celebrate deliverance from the hands of anti-Semites in Persia. The Jewish tradition also allows people or communities to celebrate a “personal Purim” to commemorate days when they were saved from disaster. ...
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Israeli Voting

February 10, 2009
Israeli Voting

This morning, for the first time in Israel, I exercised one of the most cherished responsibilities and privileges of a citizen – I voted. Voting in Israel is quite different than voting in the US.  Every time I’ve voted in the US, there are signs of technology.  I’ve voted on touch screens, I’ve voted...
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A vote for Lieberman is a vote for the devil

February 8, 2009

I don’t often agree with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the right wing religious party Shas, on matters of politics.  Yet here’s something we can agree on: a vote Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Lieberman is a vote for the devil.  R. Yosef said "They are people with no Torah, people who want civil marriage,...
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