Remembrance and Renewal: Best Wishes for the New Year

The days are getting shorter, the air is cooler. Leaves are blowing in the wind and wandering birds fly high above, looking for something. The Days of Awe surround us; they fill our hearts and souls with prayers, exaltation and hope. The twelfth Hebrew month of Elul will end in two days and clear the […]

Disengagement and Creation: Essence of Israel

Seven years ago today, on August 15, 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza. Some 8,600 Israelis were asked to leave their homes–homes they had built legally following Israel’s decision to settle the area with Jewish villages. I was living with my family in Pittsburgh at the time, serving as the community shlicha (emissary). I was […]

Tourism in Israel at Highest Level

Although driving on Israel’s roads this time of the year can be frustrating, most Israelis are happy to inch along behind crowded tour buses. So far, 2012 is a banner year for tourism in Israel. Over 1.4 million tourists visited between January and May, 4 percent more than the previous record set in 2010. For […]

Israel Struggles with Illegal Aliens

Every coin has two sides. That’s the reality of our complex lives. This week, Israel dealt with a very complicated issue–the Illegal refugees from Sudan and Eretria-and it turns out that there are more than just two points of view. Some 60,000 illegal immigrants currently reside in Israel, including 35,000 Eritreans and 15,000 Sudanese. (These numbers […]

First Jerusalem Day Remembered

Last Sunday on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar (May 20), the Jewish world celebrated Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day. This holiday marks 45 years since Israel won control of the Old City in the Six-Day War of 1967 and reunited Jerusalem. Jerusalem is my home in every imaginable way: I was born and […]

The Month of Nisan Brings Redemption

A lot happens in Nisan. Ten days ago we celebrated our exodus from Egypt; five days from now, we will commemorate the memory of six million brothers and sisters who perished in the Holocaust, and in 12 days we will celebrate the sixty-fourth anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish State. At the Seder table we […]

Israeli Philanthropy Comes of Age

Right now we are in between two Jewish holidays, Purim and Pesach, both of which emphasize the obligation to care for the needy and–as far as Pesach goes–to welcome the stranger. On Purim, one of the main religious obligations is matanot l’evyonim, gifts for the poor, and during the Seder we read from the Haggadah: […]

Is Israel Facing Its Own Fundamentalist Threat?

I recently returned from a two week work visit to Florida, where I had the pleasure of visiting a few JCCs and participating in JCC Association’s Executive Seminar. As an Israeli, I was asked the same question over and over: “What is wrong with you in Israel?” Two weeks ago, a group of leaders from […]

Israeli Economy: Not Just Black and White

The world relates to Israel as a land of conflict, and the common perception is that threats by Israel’s neighbors are the country’s greatest concern. This may be partly true, but recent events clearly demonstrate that the country’s domestic battles are just as dangerous to Israel’s survival. In recent months, Israeli society is experiencing social […]

The Meaning of a Jewish Home

On the fourteenth of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan 94 years ago, Lord Arthur James Balfour granted the Zionist movement a unprecedented historical declaration. The Balfour Declaration was a result of British policy gradually becoming committed to establishing a Jewish home in Palestine (Eretz Yisrael). In his letter to Lord Rothschild, Lord Balfour writes: “His […]