On the Road
This week I went to Ohio with my friend Lea to speak about women and the IDF and its influence on Israeli society.
On Tuesday morning Terri drove me to the bus station at Bradley University. Terri has no problem waking up at such an early hour, but for me to wake up when the sun is not shining makes me feel like I am in the army again.
As I got on the bus I recognized the bus driver and he remembered me as well, he even remembered that the meaning of my name is rose. Not bad right? A few minutes before I got to Chicago my cell phone just stop working. I had to let someone know that my phone was dead but I couldn’t remember any number of anyone I knew, suddenly I thought about the business cards in my wallet and was very happy that they had Sue’s number in it, right after that I got my smile back. Lea came to pick me up from Notre Dame University bus station, this area is amazingly beautiful! Right after she showed me her house we started to rehearse for our presentation. The next morning we drove to Youngstown, the first community in our tour, at the JCC we met Tomer and Talia the Shlichim that are known as the T&T team. “Today we are going to have the largest number of people that we have ever had for our Lunch & Learn events” Talia said. I was very excited to see this prediction come true. The lecture went well and in the end we had a large number of questions.
One of the goals of this project is to help the lone soldiers in Israel and this is the reason for me to mention the Friends of IDF organization that helps with that (as does the Jewish Agency). After the event was over someone shook my hand and handed me a check for $100 donation for FIDF and It made my day!
Since Talia and Tomer are our friends they took us to see Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, such a beautiful city! We traveled along the rivers and went to the top of the mountains to watch the view from there. That was so much fun.
This Shabbat Lea and I are going to lecture for two communities; Canton and Akron, Ohio. I hope that we will have many people over there and our talk will be significant and influential.
Here are a few pictures from our lecture and hike.
Have a Shabbat Shalom and see you on Monday at 7:00 PM at the Temple
Crazy two weeks!
Everything is happening so fast. Allow me to go backwards and report on the wonderful events that happened in this community last Sunday for Yom Ha’atzmaut.
You were welcomed by our lovely crew at the information booth: Debbie Downs, Eric Wiebrect, Beth Uretzky and Debbi Merrill… they gave you the Israel @ 65 bags with your new Israeli passport.
The Yom Haatzmaut event started with a respectful ceremony to remember fallen IDf soldiers and victims of terror in Israel. We all stood for two minutes of silence in memory of the fallen soldiers , later many of you told me that the ceremony was very moving and touching. Thank you for your warm response. I want to thank Rabbi Daniel Bogard and Steven Shaffer for their help and participation.
We started Yom Haatzmaut with the generous help of Elizabeth Miller; she was our amazing ELAL flight attendant; she put a smile on our faces in second. After watching the ELAL security movie we landed in Israel and spread out among the booths;
The Dead Sea Spa was managed by Jenny Mann who spoiled you with a Dead Sea Salt hands massage, calm music and snacks. Some of you were brave and used the mud. Thank you Jenny, it was so relaxing and fun!
Tzfat, the spiritual city of art and Judaic. This was our Arts & Crafts booth activated by Jennifer Wiebrecht and Jen Mager. These two art loving ladies did a great job making sure everyone got to create a special piece of Judaica. I saw so many beautiful things coming out of this booth. Thank you so much!
Jerusalem and Mahane Yehuda Market were run by hardworking ladies; Annette Small, Terri Broms, Michelle Eggert and Rachel Downs, Thank you! Everyone finally got the opportunity to buy some Israeli chocolate bars, Zata olive oil, Bamba and much more with very affordable prices just like you actually do in Israel. I drove specially to the Rock Island Jewish Federaiton to bring their very special Western Wall so that you could ask for a wish J
Tel Aviv the city that never sleeps. This booth was a sweet Coffee and Groove place were you could just sit with a friend and order a Wafer with ice cream and Iced coffee from one of our lovely waitress; Alena Fishkin, Sophie Miller or Stella Griminger. The café was run by LaDona Fishkin( who did an amazing job), and made that happened. While having soda stream sparkling water you could watch the guest performances; Dave Michelson the magician, Chuck Mitchell and Daniel Bogard who played Hebrew songs (so I could join them).
Galilee where the real nature and good food happens! Huge thanks to Josh Sender for sitting all day outside to make Turkish Mud coffee for all of us. Many Thanks to Sheldon Katz for making the pitas on Tabun all afternoon, and also for making the beautiful posters that will serve our community for years to come.
Thanks as well to the committee and ALL the volunteers who helped us that day. In addition to those listed above I want to thank Randi and Bree Smith, Miguel Rivera, and Eric Dilts for their help with set up. I so amazed with all of the cooperation that made this day so beautiful.
Lastly I would like to thank the one and only Sue Katz for being a dreamer with feet on the ground, you made this day happen. We are all so lucky to have you!
I had so much fun the entire time! Todah Raba – I love you all and Shabbat Shalom.
Vered’s Blog is coming to us from Israel this week, she returns at the end of the month.
Passover: Reports from the field.
Israel is getting ready for Passover.
Something happens to the state (of Israel) right before and during Passover. In the supermarkets you will find plenty of Kosher for Passover products while the Hametz (the unkosher products) is covered and hiden. Cooking shows on TV show luxury kosher recipes for the Seder night. There are special sales among shops and on the radio you will hear about the variiety of festivals for the people all around Israel.
Thinking about how special Passover is for me, I decided to ask family and friends what Passover is for them:
Adi, 25 from Ramat Gan: Passover for me is dinner with all of my relatives and also every year I like to go to the Bombamela festival. The Bombamela is a former Shanti/ New Age and currently a Mainstream festival held annually on Chol HaMoed Pesach (Intermediate Days of Passover). It is a place for meeting, experiencing and transcending social limitations through music, creation, and connection with nature. The festival is located on the sandy beach of Hof Nitzanim, between Ashdod and Ashkelon. A great variety of music genres can be heard at the festival and this is why I love to go and dance with friends.
Adva 25 from Haifa: Passover for me is a chance to get some rest during this time of year with my family. The best part for me is to go with my family to our favorite beach on the Dead Sea. I cover myself with the mud and then wash it while floating in the water. The weather over there is warm but not too much so it’s perfect. Passover is also donating Seder food for needy families through organizations that deals with hunger.
Netan’el 26 from Ariel: Passover for me is meeting my family and eating lots of traditional food such as Gefilte Fish that my Mom cooked for us. Every year my family likes to go travel, this year we will go to the Potato Festival in the south. The festival provides agricultural experiences, the option to shop at the agricultural market and children’s activities. Being there also shows support for the people of the South and strengthens their livelihood so I am very happy to do that.
Dan 29 from Tomer: Passover for me is the beautiful nature that comes back to life after the winter. The flowers are blooming and the sun is shining. My relatives from abroad are coming to Israel like every year and the night after the Seder we will go to Ahava Festival (love festival) that is located next to Dead see. We will see a concert of the most popular performancers. Most of the shows are at sunrise which means that the singers starts to perform late at night and continue until the sun rises across the Dead see and it is such a great feeling!
People are getting ready for their great Passover experiences; in most Jewish houses the Seder is playing an important role. “In every generation one must see himself as if he came out of Egypt”. When I was a child I believed in that sentence so much that I asked my grandmother “did you get out of Egypt with the Israelites?” she couldn’t eat for a few moments because she laughed. “Yes” she said “I did”.
The fact that our nation is still celebrating Passover is important “Know who you are, where you came from and where you’re going to” (Mishna, Avot); it is important for a man to know his roots and to direct his future to the right way. In Passover we ask questions such as: what has changed and what is different tonight from all the other nights? We get the opportunity to have this dialogue with the most important people to us around the Seder table and learn about the future from the past.
I am very happy that President Obama is coming to visit Israel and will report on that more in the April edition of ChaiLights.
I wish you happy Passover!
There is a great excitement in Israel about the visit of President Obama. Like a good dessert at the end of the meal, the everyday news save the best for last by ending the news break with updates about the upcoming visit of USA President.
The celebrities in Israel are signing a petition for the release of Jonathan Pollard (the American Jewish spy in prison). “Yes you Can” signs calling for the release with the face of Obama and Jonathan Pollard are scattered across the roads in Israel.
I met a couple of my friends that are students in Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva yesterday for lunch and they told me about the invitation for the student’s conference with President Obama in Jerusalem. Obama didn’t invite the students from Ariel University in Judea and Samaria “it is not a political visit” is the message from the President’s office in USA. The students in Ariel University said that they are surprised and deeply insulted by President Obama’s attitude. The President was asked why he chose to speak to students and not in the Knesset; his answer was that he chose this option among few because direct contact with the citizens of Israel, especially with young people is very important to him.
Obama’s people are amazed by the enthusiasm of the Israelis about the visit.
The President will view an exhibit of seven Israeli technological inventions, among the presented inventions he will see the Iron Dome and a sophisticated robot that can waiter that was invented by 15 year old boys from Haifa.
As to me, I just met my family this week after 6 months in Peoria. I was so excited to see my parents, sisters and brother, nephews, nieces and close friends. Most of the time this week was invested in shopping at the request of friends for Israeli products. It wasn’t easy but I got it all thanks to my mom.
In this picture you can see my first Hummus meal in Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem.
The first time I met Consul General Gilad was when I went to visit the Israeli consulate in Chicago. I ate lunch with him and he was very nice and welcoming. Yesterday Ms. Roei Gilad the Israeli Consul General in Chicago visited Peoria. I think it was a big day for the people who care about Israel and want to understand the complexity of it. The more I teach at Bradley University the more I understand it is not easy to explain about the life in Israel. Everybody knows that nothing is perfect but when you meet a Shaliach (emissary) you get to meet a person who loves his country so much, he gets to put his life on hold and fly abroad to talk about his country and to tell people that what you see from there is not what you see from here. This year opened my eyes in so many aspects and gave me the opportunity to see the big picture. Ms. Roei Gilad did an amazing job talking about Israel, he is a talented graceful man.
The Arab world is sure that Israel is the source of all the problems in the Middle East. It has been proven that this is not truth when the Arab spring started in Libya and then to Egypt, Yemen and more. The Middle East is not an easy place to talk about and for that I want to thank Bob Schwartz for coming to talk to my class at Bradley. Bob is the Senior Policy Advisor at the Israeli Consulate; he traveled to Peoria with the Consul General this week. It was fascinating for me to listen to a knowledgeable professional who does amazing work of Israeli information!
The thing that excited me the most about the Consul General’s visit to Peoria were my friends from the Jewish community. This event was important for me and when I saw them at the Consul General’s lecture I felt among family.
The next two weeks I’ll be in Israel and will write to you from there.
Have fun without me but not too much
Vered’s Blog-in costume.
The Purim madness
If it’s my love for fashion or my obsession with creative ideas, I’m not sure, but Purim is my favorite holiday since I can remember.
I can enjoy a concert very much or theater play as well and the next day I forget them, but when I meet a person who invested time and effort making a unique costume it makes me want to ask for an autograph and I will remember it for years!
Every year at school I used to take the sketchbook and began scribbling my costume for the upcoming Purim, sometimes months ahead. My mom always sewed whatever I had in my mind and it always was pretty. My favorite costume was the Waitress with roller skates. I wore a skirt and apron, holding a tray with a meal pasted to it. I skated all over school and felt so cool- I had the rarest costume!
Queen Esther, Flower girl, Captain Jack Sparrow, Esmeralda and my friend was the goat, Madonna, Firefly and last year I was Wonder Woman. Every year I get my inspiration in the last moment and I go for it.
Even during my army service I didn’t give up and invented a costume from an orange garbage bag and balloons. When I had my soldiers with me we dressed up as 101 Dalmatians.
I can’t wait for Purim. We’re having a TGIS at the Shaffer’s on Saturday, Feb. 16-you are all invited to come in costume!!!
This week Israel’s air force attacked a convoy of trucks in Syria that were carrying chemical weapons to Hezbollah.
After the alleged Israeli attack in Syria, Bashar’s opponents may plan for a military confrontation with Israel. The year of 2013 is crucial to regional stability. These incidents strongly illustrate the complex new security environment Israel will have to face in 2013. The Middle East seems to have post – euphoria of the “Arab Spring”; it is difficult to see a source of stability and peace on the horizon. The possibility that some of Israel’s neighbors will crumble and change their faces seems more likely. Civil War rages in Syria, tomorrow that war has been going on for two years. Bashar Assad’s regime controls only 25% to 30% of the country and nothing more. In the rest of the country there is no recognized body that is centrally managed to show signs of governance. Into the vacuum of this ruling is also marching radical groups identified with the ideology of al – Qaeda, which will only increase the chaos in Syria. The Damascus regime used Israel’s attack as a way to show that Israel is supporting the rebels, and to justify future (or retaliatory) strikes that Damascus may make on Israel.
You may not have seen this information on the news, so I am glad to provide it to you.
So many things happened during this week!
The top of my week was the lunch on Dr Martin Luther King Day with the American political scientist and diplomat Condoleezza Rice. I learned about America’s history from the movies and books and for me to see this woman in person, with my own eyes and not on the television screen was a moment to cherish. She is one unique example of how far the United States has come.
Titus Livy (a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people).explained why the Roman Empire survived so many years: the Roman emperor sent messengers to all nations in the empire to collect their constitutions and bring them back with them. After reading all the constitutions he wrote the Roman Empire’s constitution which combined rules from others and was inspired by them. Not only that; the Romans also changed their constitution from time to time, understanding that changes must come.
When Miss Condoleezza Rice spoke about constitutions she said “The United States did not believe in equality for everyone but our ancestors left us a constitution that allowed for the existence of equality. Knowing that time will bring changes for good is a virtue. She talked about freedom and human rights and it was very inspiring.
For me it was a great experience! Except the part of the freezing walk to the car, I don’t think I will ever get used to this cold.
Next week we will have our exciting cooking class, there is some Israeli cultural food waiting for you and it’s all delivered from Israel- Yum
The elections for the 19th Knesset (government) will be held in Israel on the 22 January 2013.
Elections means democracy, democracy means political freedom.
Political Freedom: The concept of political freedom is closely connected with the concepts of civil liberties and human rights, which in democratic societies are usually afforded legal protection from the state. (Wikipedia).
Nikolo Machiavelli a philosopher during the Renaissance, who was a founder of modern political science said: “Not every nation can deal with freedom. Not every nation wants freedom. To be free it’s hard, it’s a task and to keep it that way it’s even harder. ”
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. And so she has always been since her reestablishment 64 years ago.
Political choice is not between good and evil, but between the worst and the least worst, said Machiavelli. There are a lot of disagreements in Israel today around the elections. I saw the same tension when America faced their elections last year.
The freedom was given to us when we, the Hebrew slaves left Egypt as free people. Truth is measured by Timeline, said Erez Eshel my teacher. Look at us now, we are free.
Whoever becomes master of a city used to freedom and does not destroy it can expect her to destroy him. Where freedom and memory of the Constitution and previous institutions, not the time or force of the new governor can make it vanish from the hearts, it will always use civilians excuse and pretext for revolt. (Machiavelli)
My opinion: disagreement is one of the most healthy and important ingredients of democracy. It is all about pluralism and the balance of the majority rule to not lose control. When we disagree we get mad at each other and sometimes argue like we are brothers and sisters. But hey, we were all together when we received the Torah at Mount Sinai and I think that makes us a family.
Cheers for freedom.
Jerusalem is all well and it is very exciting. I have seen snow there before but not like that. It’s the most snow in 20 years.
Next week we will be watching the Israeli film “Footnotes”. This movie was a success in Israel and abroad. This film surprised me and after the movie was over I stayed for awhile to think about it.
Here’s a little about the movie and the director: Born in Manhattan, Mr. Cedar moved to Israel with his family in 1973, when he was 5, but held onto his pitch-perfect English. He studied philosophy and the history of theater at Hebrew University, and filmmaking at New York University. “Footnote” is his fourth film. His previous movie, “Beaufort,” about Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon, was also an Oscar finalist. (the New York times)
In my opinion, this is an unordinary film in the eyes of Israelis if only because of the cast. Mr. Bar Aba, a household name in Israel, talented actor that made so many people laugh during his acting career. In this film he is completely different. At the beginning he said he was afraid to play a serious role, “it is something that I never did, suddenly I understood its wonderful legitimacy to do something I never did before”. Not every actor gets this opportunity.
In this link you can watch him acting as Israeli tourist on his first time in New York and his English is very funny. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUz4xPhoDZE
If you want to know more about the film here is a link for that: The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/movies/footnote-israeli-film-by-joseph-cedar.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
The film was rightly nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, won 9–count ‘em 9!–Ophirs (The Award of the Israeli Film Academy), and even picked up a best screenplay award at the same Cannes Film Festival.
So come and watch it with the federation on Wednesday, January 16 at 5:45 p.m. at Peoria Public Library North Branch
Peoria, Illinois 61615
Have quiet weekend.