Wednesday, April 28, 2004
"Happy Independence Day, Despite It All", by Hirsh Goodman
Living in Israel makes it almost impossible to write about Israel. By the time you have finished reading the morning papers you are exhausted, your energies drowned in a sea of headlines, one usually worse than the next. You go out for coffee or a meal with friends and you come back distraught, depressed, moods are so dark and the feeling of hopelessness so strong...
It’s not that all is great over here, but overall, considering that Israel at 56 is a work in progress that has to still sort out fundamental questions, I would say that the glass is more than half-full. We do not seem to be able to come to terms with rational Palestinians at this point, so we're consolidating. The fence is one aspect of that, the withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank is another. The unilateral withdrawal issue is contentious, as is the question of where the fence will actually go, but the mechanisms for resolving these disputes democratically are in place and in the end it is the will of the people that will decide.
What is worthy of praise this Independence Day is that Israel has finally matured to a point where it will not let its enemies dictate its agenda, and that Israel now understands that in order to survive demographically and democratically it must take its destiny into its own hands, which is exactly what it is doing. Yasser Arafat can prattle on about the Palestinian women's wombs being his people’s most effective weapon for as long as he likes. If Israel soon withdraws from Gaza, they'll have a lot more birthing to do to become effective again.
I feel very optimistic this Independence Day despite the knowledge that the security service has some 50 "hot warnings" on suicide bombers trying to get into Israel as I write. There is something about the way and the dignity with which Israel has responded to the challenges of the past three years that makes me proud. Society has come together. The immigrants from the former Soviet Union and the ultra-Orthodox have become more part of the mainstream. The country has functioned admirably. And no matter what the criticism abroad, it has behaved with integrity and decency under the most difficult of challenges.
Happy Birthday Israel, and don't let this or that detract from the overall greatness of the achievements made to date.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Right now 568 Detroiters are in Israel on Federation's "Miracle Mission 4." (check out the on-line updates
) Can we discuss how jealous I am? Celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day) while substitute teaching, is not quite the same as being in Israel. I'm so homesick...
I guess I should go to work...
Monday, April 26, 2004
"Are you, like, a hippie or something?"
--JAMD student in class today, talking to me
Thursday, April 15, 2004
"Maybe I don't like being different," Meg said, "But I don't want to be like everybody else, either."
--Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
On the way to (and back from) Pittsburgh, I listened to an audio version of A Wrinkle in Time
read by Madeleine L’Engle. So cool. Besides the fact that it made the ride fly by, it was great to hear how the author intended it to be read. I remember Mom reading it to us (“us” being my siblings and I) when I was a kid.
Let’s take a moment to discuss how proud I am of my baby brother (fully realizing that since he’s 22 I probably can no longer call him my baby brother). Last week there was an article about him in The Michigan Daily
. It’s all about EatBlue
. This is the third time EatBlue has been in the Daily, including a brief mention in a Super Bowl article
and an article
about blocking pop-up ads. Way to go, Jake!
Last night Jeff and I went to the Tigers game. I haven't been to a baseball game in years
, but let me tell you, it was so fun. Got some cool pictures too. I've been talking with my Young Judaea kids about having our kickoff event in the fall be a game. After going last night, I can't wait to go with a bunch of kids!! (surprisingly, I really don't mean that to sound sarcastic)
So I spent about an hour today on the phone with Circuit City, trying to fix my camera. It turns out that there's some weird square on all my pictures, that every time I've noticed I brushed off as being something on the lens. Something on the lens that leaves a perfect square shape in the same exact spot despite the lens being cleaned... Right... But customer service sucks, so I still have the spot, and have to call by after I change batteries. 'Cause I'm sure that's
the problem. Why didn't I
think of that? (this time the sarcasm is intentional)
I almost want them to just replace my camera, which means they'd give me money towards a new camera since my camera isn't made anymore. But since I still would have nowhere near enough money to buy the Canon Digital Rebel
, the most gorgeous camera ever
, I guess I should just deal with my old camera (which I really do love and takes awesome pictures besides the random square).
Thursday, April 08, 2004
I've eaten so much matzah that I'm going to explode... ALL I WANT IS A PIECE OF BREAD!!!
Yes, I'm already at that point. Slightly problematic since there are still 5 days left of Pesach. Oy...
On a brighter non-food note, the first two days of chag
were really nice. First night, I went with Rachel & Melissa to the Glowgower's house for Seder. Hard to not be with my family, especially at key points in the Seder (Four Questions--where was Maddy's emphasis on "leilot
"?), but it was really nice. Second night, Seder at Hillel with Rachel Roth as our fearless leader. So, here's what happened. There were three Seders at Hillel--Reform, Conservative, & Orthodox. Somehow we managed to scare everyone away from the Orthodox (read--let's do the whole Seder rather than using the Hillel "non-sexist service" Hagadah) Seder, so it was just 7 of us. It was sooo
nice. Relaxed, educational...I loved it. And then somehow we managed to piss off the Hillel staff by not ending before 11 (who ends before 11?) so we finished the Seder in the lounge. Awesome. And then yesterday was gorgeous out, lying in the sun reading Harry Potter--the best. Who says you need to go to Florida for sun? Granted today it's cold and gross out, but that is so not the point...
Last night Jeff was in Ann Arbor for a camp meeting, so I went over to visit after chag
was over. He's so cute... Bought me this stuffed bear--Koda, from Disney's Brother Bear
. I love it. He go it to replace this small one he had bought me that somehow I managed to lose while I was at Young Judaea winter camp a couple weeks back. Real smooth, right? I think another "oy" is appropriate here... Oy.
Monday, April 05, 2004
Today I got my first haircut in about two years. I've been working on taking my dreads out for the past few weeks, and I still have a bunch of them, but the hair I managed to undue was so many different lengths, and so
thin at the bottom that it looked pretty bad. Feeling much better about it now. I have real hair again!! Although there are definitely parts of having dreads that I miss. Like being able to go outside on a windy day and have your hair end up looking exactly the same. That was always nice... But looking at my hair you wouldn't know that there are dreads underneath, so that's kinda fun.
The problem with my car actually being clean, is that it accentuates every little scratch/dent/rust spot that my car has accumulated over the years. My car's getting old!! But it still runs well, and that's all that matters, right?
I'm in Ann Arbor now, on Rachel's computer, getting excited for Pesach. It's that pre-"I've eaten so much matzah that I'm going to explode... ALL I WANT IS A PIECE OF BREAD!!!"
feeling, where you're actually excited to eat Pesach food...right. By the way, I went to three (count 'em--three
) grocery stores tonight, including One Stop Kosher, and none of them had regular macaroons. What's up with that? I ended up buying some maple thing. Not happy about this situation, but I'll deal I guess. I'm sure there will be lots of other yummy things to eat.
Chag Kasher V'Sameach!!
Saturday, April 03, 2004
Almost done cleaning my car for Pesach. It's a bit insane how disgusting it was, and since I'm basically living out of my car this Pesach, it didn't seem right not to give it the same attention I would my house. Tomorrow's trip to the car wash will complete the cleaning. :)
For the first days of chag I'll be in Ann Arbor at my friend Rachel's house, then with P.A. & Kevin (also in A2) for chol hamoed, the Dorfman's for Shabbat chol hamoed, then PIttsburgh for the last two days of chag. A bit hectic, but should be fun. And somewhere in there I'm going to have to finish my final project for my photography class...
It'll be strange not to be with my family for Pesach, but it'll also be nice to get to spend some time with everyone I am
going to see. And it's good that I had an excuse to clean my car!!!
Chag Kasher v'Sameach!!!