It’s Us vs. Them ?>

It’s Us vs. Them

I grew up in a very tight-knit orthodox bubble in New York and since then have moved to a relatively tight-knit orthodox bubble in Israel. Here I meet people of all types of backgrounds, but having left America at 16 and never really having met a Reform or Conservative Jew, I’ve come to idolize the other streams a bit. In my childhood mind, there were two types of Jews; Orthodox and non-religious. I had no knowledge of the fact that other…

Read More Read More

My first terror attack ?>

My first terror attack

See me up there? That guy on the left with the grey shirt,  orange shorts, tzitzit, and pride flag sticking out of his backpack? That’s me looking pretty bored at my first terror attack. After work I came in from central Israel to attend the march on my own. I grew up in Jerusalem and felt it was important to stand by my city and by the values I l believe in. The only pride parades I’ve attended have both…

Read More Read More

A Critique of The Left: Israel is a Country Too ?>

A Critique of The Left: Israel is a Country Too

I went on another march last Friday. For a quick recap, it’s a monthly march hosted by Combatants for Peace with the vague agenda of ending the occupation. I woke up at 10:45 that morning, with the bus leaving at 11:45 from Tel Aviv, so in my haste, I forgot my Israeli flag that I brought last time. At the start of the march, unlike last time, a Palestinian started handing out Palestinian flags. Loads of them. I immediately felt uncomfortable…

Read More Read More

Pesach, Purim, Yom HaAtzmaut, and Beer ?>

Pesach, Purim, Yom HaAtzmaut, and Beer

At the seder night, we spill some of our wine to commemorate Egyptian suffering [1]. Contrast this with the Purim seudah where even though the violence carried out against our non-Jewish neighbors was no less severe, the only wine spilt is by accident. This makes sense; Purim is about Hakarat HaTov and when all we are doing is expressing thanks for a miracle, there is no place for remorse. Pesach also has an element of Hakarat HaTov but it is…

Read More Read More

A General’s Lesson from the Holocaust ?>

A General’s Lesson from the Holocaust

Sometimes you experience something so traumatic and horrible that you trivialize any subsequent suffering that you experience or see others going through.  I see this behavior often in myself and in friends of mine who served in combat.  Upon returning to civilian life and seeing people get upset or depressed about school, work or relationships it’s often difficult to relate, because to someone who’s gone through so much, these things seem like trivial matters.  Is there really anything worth getting…

Read More Read More

Labels, Boxes, and Understanding My Love for Israel ?>

Labels, Boxes, and Understanding My Love for Israel

In recent years I’ve felt a constant tension between the way I identify myself and the labels that others throw at me. Labels like “anti-Semite”, “anti-Zionist”, or “anti-Israel”. When people tell you from all sides what you are, it’s not easy to hold it back from soaking in; “am I really against Zionism? Am I really against Israel?”. I know my beliefs, but no one is immune to this. Although I strive to not give in to these type of trappings, everyone…

Read More Read More

The Four Children ?>

The Four Children

The Haggadah speaks of four children. The wise child knows that she does not understand and that she needs to learn. “Teach me everything”, he demands, “because there must be more.” “What is the nature of the blockade on Gaza? What exactly went down at Camp David between Barak and Arafat? How many people were forced out of their homes in 1948?” The wise child will learn all she can from libraries and when that is not enough, she will…

Read More Read More

Soldiers, Flags, and a March Against The Occupation ?>

Soldiers, Flags, and a March Against The Occupation

On Friday the 1st of April I decided to attend what was called a Freedom March hosted by Combatants for Peace and Standing Together. It was a monthly march, but this one was “special” since it fell out two days after Palestinian Land Day. I was extremely hesitant to join the march in general, and particularly because I wasn’t sure about this Land Day. It felt as if it took it from a march of equality to a one-sided march of Palestinian…

Read More Read More

My Fears ?>

My Fears

Story 1 I was walking across the bridge from my home in Givat Shmuel to Bnei Brak. Walking towards me was an Arab looking teenager. Hands in his pockets, jeans, sneakers, hood, walking right towards me. I instantly noticed my heartbeat and started sweating but I forced myself to walk straight. “Everything’s okay Binny. He’s just a kid walking somewhere”. I take my headphones off as I do when I’m in Jerusalem and as I get close to him he turns to…

Read More Read More

Mordechai Elon, we will not be silent ?>

Mordechai Elon, we will not be silent

This past Shabbat, Shabbat Zachor, I had one of the most meaningful and memorable Seudat Shlishit that I have had in a long time.  After Mincha I went with a group of close friends and stood outside the Heichal Rachamim Shul in Givat Shmuel where dozens of other Gabash residents had already gathered. Men, women and children of all ages had all come to spend their Seudat Shlishit here in protest of the appearance at a communal event of Mordechai…

Read More Read More