Thursday, May 12, 2016

What Can I Do to Celebrate Israel Today?

The Shabbat-O-Gram is sponsored this week by Michael and Leslie Moskowitz in honor of Russell becoming Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.

This week's Shabbat-O-Gram is coming out a day early as we celebrate Israel's 68th today (the Hebrew date actually falls tomorrow, but it is moved up a day to avoid bumping up against Shabbat).  Mazal tov to Russell Moskowitz and family as he becomes bar mitzvah this Shabbat morning.  Join us for our Mediterranean Shabbat on Friday night at 7:30, featuring the long-awaited return of Avram Pengas and his group. And please do something else: Go to this Facebook event page and share it with your friends.  Go ahead.  Do it..... I'll wait right here. 


Israel is 68 today, and there are a number of things we can do to keep Israel in our thoughts...  

- Do what our 6th graders did - they have been corresponding with Arab-Israeli middle schoolers from my son Dan's classes in Lod. I am really, really proud of our kids for doing this.  You can watch their videos here.  And read Dan's amazing blog here.



- Read Benji Lovitt's hilarious and poignant 68 More Things I Love About Israel

- Join me at the JCC this afternoon, along with some of our Hebrew School classes, for a community celebration.

Become an activist.  See the ADL's Guide for Activists containing lots of background information on Israel.  See the American Jewish Committee's brief guide to the Arab-Israeli conflict and how the New Israel Fund advocates for a democratic and inclusive Israel.  It's a confusing matter, to read contrasting narratives. The Hartman Institute's iEngage project is very helpful in navigating beyond the noise.  Better yet, the radio program "On Being" placed the narratives side by side.

- Watch this video 
68 Facts You Probably Don't Know About Israel
68 Facts You Probably Don't Know About Israel

- Join us HERE on Friday night for our musical Mediterranean community celebration! Did I mention that already?

- Check out Yelp's Best Hummus Places in NYC.  All of them.  Today.

- Can't get enough of this video of Nava Tehila, our guests NEXT Friday night!

- Watch last night's official celebration on Mt Herzl
.  Even if you can't understand the Hebrew (there is some English narration) it's very moving, especially as the transition from Memorial Day to Independence Day takes place.  The torch lighters this year represented inspirational individuals and groups that have overcome significant challenges.  But most of all it's the music and choreography that I love - see at 1:19 a mash-up of opera, middle eastern and rap, based on the rap number  by the Ethiopian-Israeli band Kafe Shahor Hazak (Strong Black Coffee), "Yehye B'Seder" ("Everything's going to be OK"), preceded by a by Subliminal's "No Limits" - which in the Hebrew also can mean "No Borders," a not-so subliminal message for the one-staters, perhaps? (A less subtle message was sent a few minutes before, at 1:16 on the video, when the flag formation's formed the words "One Nation, One State"... to big applause).  But Yom Haatzmaut in Israel is essentially a politics-free zone, at least among the 4/5th of the population who observe it.  The other fifth will observe it on Saturday, under another name.

- Watch "Pillar of Fire," the classic series chronicling the history of Zionism. Episodes 1 and 2 are below:

- Read the reflective poetry of Yehuda Amichai, Israel's greatest poet, including the poem,  "Jews in the Land of Israel."

- Take a moment to remember Israel's 23,000 fallen soldiers and other victims of war and terror.

- Plant a tree in Israel.

- Download Kol Yisrael on itunes and listen to Israel's main radio stations all the time.

- Take a look at a live shot of the Western Wall and leave it on your desktop all day.

- Or how about this spectacular panorama view from the Inbal Hotel. Go there now, with the afternoon sun glowing off the Old City walls!

- Look back at some of our prior TBE Israel trips.... say 20122010, 2003, 2004, 2005 (prior ones too!)

-  Start planning your next trip to Israel.  To whet your appetite, view these video Postcards from Israel.

- Recognize, today and every day, just what a miracle it is that the Jewish people have returned to our homeland after 2,000 years.  There are lots of challenges for Israel and lots of things to critique.  But that remains the overwhelming fact.  And that's why me must celebrate today!

And Friday night too!

Happy Birthday, Israel! 

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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