Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Public Awaits...Time for Some Good Old-fashioned Hasbara*

*Public Diplomacy
So, I think the last time I posted was about 4 years ago during the Cast Lead operation in Gaza. Things are not so different now. For the past month, and really for the past 12 years, terrorists in Gaza have been bombing Israel. When our communities in the Gaza Strip still existed, they absorbed most of the bombing. Then, we withdrew from Gaza. Perhaps that would bring peace! Guess what, they simply bombed us more.
So now, after about a month of bombing, we have begun once again to fight back, to stop this terror. And make no mistake. It is TERROR. This is not two armies facing each other. The aim of the shooters in Gaza is to kill and terrorize as many people as possible. The aim of the Israel Defense Forces is to stop the terror. As our Prime Minister put it, "When we cause civilian casualties, we call that a failure. When they cause civilian casualties, they call that success."
There was a bus bombing today. In Gaza, there was cheering, singing, and sweets were passed out. The Western mind cannot fathom this. We love life, and our children, and we hate war.
So what's going on here now? For most of the country, it looks like business as usual. We're a bit preoccupied. We're checking the news sites and the live bloggers a lot ( is my favorite, but I guess he's been busy today with other things). Even in Tel Aviv, the occasional siren breaks up the day, but people are still going to work, going to school, going to pubs at night. Don't get me wrong. Hearing that siren is scary! You midwesterners would recognize the feeling. Tornado alert. Funnel on the group. TAKE COVER. It's that kind of feeling. But if  you live in the communities closer to Gaza, when you hear that siren multiple times a day, and you know that you have only 15 seconds to take cover, it kind of stresses you out. In those places, there is NO school. NO work. NO weddings. NO pubs. No normalcy.
And our army. In some ways, it is NOT a professional army. Don't get me wrong, they are excellent at what they do, but THEY are US, if you know what I mean. The guy down the hall at work who isn't around because he's somewhere on the perimeter of Gaza, waiting for the command to go in. The husband of the woman I get a ride with most mornings, who isn't going to work now because her husband was called up. The boyfriend of the daughter of my neighbors across the street. The rabbi of our small community. WE are our army. We so want our boys protected, but we want our nation protected even more.
It's OFFENSIVE when Hamas publishes a photo of an injured child, an injured Jewish child, and they claim it is THEIR child, whom WE injured. Hamas lies.It makes me sick. And then I hear from a friend in Kansas City that the news is reporting that Israel has fired hundreds of rockets into Gaza as if we are wantonly shelling the humanity there. We don't DO that. They do.
Before we attack a target, a missile launcher, an arms storehouse or the hideout of a terrorist leader, which all are usually hidden in heavily populated areas, hospitals, schools and parks, we phone the residents with recorded messages: "Get out!" We drop leaflets. We take over their radio waves. But do you hear that on the local news? Never. Not ever. It's frustrating.
I don't know how you all see Israel. I hope that my Facebook posts are giving you a different view of Israel, and opening your eyes to how little you can trust what you see on the evening news. I hope you are using your brains, asking the hard questions, and investigating. Not just about Israel, but about ANYTHING reported on the news. What is the agenda of the producer? The editor?
We don't live behind cinder blocks and barbed wire. We have a beautiful, fascinating, friendly, exciting country, even now. We are human beings and it pains us to kill other human beings. But at some point, it's family first. We have to protect our own.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Ki Yachol Nuchal!: Warning: crawly and slimy things alert

I ALSO love lizards and creepy crawlies. Except spiders. I feel about spiders the way Indian Jones feels about snakes. Chameleons are a particular favorite with me. I played the video for my office mate, who asked, "Could we see that again?" Amazing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Challenge of Body Image

There's an email going around that I've gotten a few times:
Recently, in a large city in Australia, a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said, "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"
A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.
To Whom It May Concern,
Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans.) They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia.
Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs.
They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans.
They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.
Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex? Just look at them ... where is IT? Therefore, they don't have kids either.
Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?
The choice is perfectly clear to me: I want to be a whale.
P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends. With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy.
Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, ¨Good grief, look how smart I am!¨
It's cute, right? But the message bothered me and today I finally figured out why.
I have decided that I don’t like either message. The message has to be HEALTH, not appearance and not immediate gratification. It’s not healthy for a human being to be a whale. The first time I saw this, it validated my decision to eat what I liked, when I liked, and who cares if I had to wear tents instead of clothes. But I was close to becoming seriously ill, with issues that would have become permanent.

I’ve decided that the message I’d like my kids to learn is that G-d gave us our bodies. Our bodies are loans. They are not ours to use or abuse as we like. Just as we have to take good care of an object we borrow, so, too, our bodies. We don’t try to be healthy because that will extend our life. Only Hashem decides when and where our life ends, no matter how much damage or care we put in. We try to be healthy because Hashem gave us a commandment to 'guard our souls' which is understood by many to mean that one should not endanger oneself.

What do people think?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Challenge of Many Deserving Friends

Did I say that the choices are difficult? I have another Israel-minded friend, another yearner. I'll stick with her blogger name: Lady Light. Her blog is Tikkun Olam.

Somehow, back in the mists of time, we became friends. At the first annual Jewish blogger convention I was really excited to say "hi" to her on the live feed, even though we've never met face-to-face.

Lady Light is another one of those committed, idealistic, determined people whose heart lives in Israel, if not her physical body. In fact, she has FOUR children who live here, including a daughter in the army. She has a grandchild here and another on the way. While two of her sons were in the IDF she was unable to attend a single ceremony they had - their teksei kumta (completing training and getting their brigade berets) or any other completion or award ceremony. Her sons and now her daughter were and are "chayalim bodedim". These are the amazing young men and women who come to Israel to serve in the army, to dedicate their lives to their land and people, without their families and all the support that implies. If you have ever read A Soldier's Mother you can begin to understand what Lady Light's kids don't get. Just think about Eli without his mom's care packages!

And Lady Light's blog, well, it's got a good readership and it's amazingly pro-Israel. LL finds the best stuff out there and brings it to our attention. She keeps us thinking. She keeps us striving to do better. If she isn't (back) in Israel, yet, she wants to make darned sure that everyone else is at least thinking seriously about the importance of Israel in our lives.

Lady Light loves her children, loves her People, loves the Hebrew language and shares it all with us. I think that she'd do an amazing job at presenting the Aliyah experience of another family and I'd love to give her the opportunity.

C'mon NBN. You can't go wrong! I know. Take BOTH of them - Bat Aliyah AND Lady Light!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Challenge of Hard Choices

My dear friend Rivkah of the Bat Aliyah blog, we think alike. It's nice to have a friend who is so much on the same wavelength on so many issues. However my beloved friend has a problem. She firmly knows, in her mind and in her heart, that her place is in Israel. So I really ache for her because she is making the hard choice that I was never faced with. She isn't living in Israel. Yet.

But that's not exactly accurate because a few weeks a year she IS home. The rest of the year she's ... travelling. Yeah. That's it. Travelling.

Just because her travels involve a home in Baltimore, family, friends, community, livelihood and all that goes with being 'settled' does not make her any less a traveller. Rivkah's roots are here, in Israel, and that's where her energy comes from.

But where does her energy go? That's easy! Rivkah uses her tremendous energy, brain and heart to share her passion for Israel and to help others become just as passionate until they can't take it any more. Then they make aliyah! Rivkah is the driving force behind the Baltimore Chug Aliyah and she has the tremendous merit to be the one who pushed many, many families and individuals to take that step and to commit to the land of Israel with everything they have.

So Rivkah is travelling on a spiritual journey. She's taking the long way home. I want to help her.

Rivkah's daughter is coming on the next Nefesh b'Nefesh flight. Even though Rivkah herself has just wound up a visit home, she'll be back to greet her daughter when she arrives at Ben Gurion airport as a New Immigrant. (Rivkah and hundreds of others, including senior government officials, who want to personally welcome those wonderful people filling that charter flight.) But we can do better than that!

Rivkah's turn to arrive as a New Immigrant may not have come, but she can get a seat on that flight to arrive WITH her daughter. She just has to be chosen as THE blogger to blog that flight and the subsequent initial days afterwards. I think Rivkah is the one to do it. Her blog, her whole passion, her life's purpose is Aliyah to Israel. How can she NOT be the one Nefesh b'Nefesh chooses to represent the Jewish Blogosphere on the flight?

So NBN, make the hard choice (and I'm sure it's hard. There are so MANY excellent and worthy bloggers out there). Choose Bat Aliyah, Rivkah Lambert Adler, to blog this flight!

Challenge of Blogging Revisited

OK, so. I've signed up for the 2nd annual Jewish Bloggers Convention, so I guess I'd better blog. And I will, G-d willing. I have a topic I'm stewing over. In the meantime, I have to write another post to nominate a friend to get to come to the convention on the next Nefesh b'Nefesh flight. So faithful followers (all four of you) fear not! Blog posts coming up!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Challenge for my Readers

Shmuel Greenbaum is a person who amazes. He lost his wife in the Sbarro Pizza bombing. She was one of over 100 victims that were killed or injured at 2:00 P.M. on August 9, 2001 at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem. Out of that tragedy, he founded a whole organization devoted to teaching people to be kind, and spreading the concept of kindness. Called Partners in Kindness, he sends out daily and weekly emails of stories of kindness others have done. It's quite amazing.

Now Shmuel is publishing a book of these stories and he needs your help. In his words:

Great News!
Get A Free Copy of our BookWith a Tax-Deductible Dedicationstarting at only $50
Please help us!
We need to raise $15,000
for production costs.
Book Dedications:
Kindly respond by Tuesday, February 17, 2009 Dedications can be purchased as follows:
$5,000 Full Page $500 Twelfth Page
$2,500 Half Page $250 Twentieth Page
$1,800 Quarter Page $180 Thirtieth Page
$1,000 Sixth Page $100 Fiftieth Page
$50 Hundredth Page

Sponsors donating $100 or more will receive
· Acknowledgement on Partners In Kindness website for one year
· Autographed copy of the book

Sponsors donating $50 will receive
· Acknowledgement on Partners In Kindness website for one year
· Non-autographed copy of the book
Sponsorships are tax-deductible in the United States.
For further information visit: