Tag Archive: jerusalem
The Midrash (Mechilta, Beshalach 4) relates that the sea did not simply split in one place for the Jewish people as they exited Egypt. Rather, there were twelve tunnels and each shevet, tribe, went through their own tunnel. This is perplexing given that the Torah tells us that the Jews left Egypt as one nation. In fact, we are praised for arriving at Mount Sinai as a unified nation! The answer that has always settled best with me is that each tribe entered and left Egypt as both individuals with their own personalities and yet unified brothers as well. In contemporary times, our nation at large struggles to find our Jewish identity. Indeed, aside for who is a Kohen or who is a Levi, a large portion of Jews do not know their individual tribal identity. And so, when we call out to Hashem and pray we daven in the Nusach we have received, and hope that this is sufficient.
Today, Erev Yom Tov, I went to the Western Wall and witnessed that now thousands of years later, while we look, dress, and pray differently, we can come together in unison through our prayer and thanks to Hashem. This point really struck a cord with me not when I saw the throngs of different yarmulkes, hats, or shtremels. Rather, it was when I went to grab a Siddur and saw all of the various prayer books laying there unified in one cause: waiting to be used by Ashkenazim, Chassidim, Sephardim, who will read the holy words and communicate their love, awe, and thanks for allowing us to be FREE!
The word technology is not often found in the same sentence as Meah Shearim. In fact, this famous Jerusalem neighborhood and its environs, are commonly painted as abhoring anything to do with computer systems, the internet, or any other vestige of technology that you or I may take as a given! That said, I recently needed a place to daven Mincha and chanced upon the legendary Zichron Yehudah Shtiebel. This Shtiebel is located in a neighborhood that was originally referred to as Meah Shearim HaChadash, but is commonly known today as Beis Yisrael. For more on this area and its expansion I encourage you to read this post by Varda Littman here.
In any event, I noticed that there was not the usual chaos that one typically experiences at a Shtiebel. I didn’t need to scurry from room to room trying to ascertain when the next Mincha was going to begin. Instead, this Shtiebel had unique technology in place that allowed for an automated system that would simply announce the beginning of a Minyan, followed by the room number. However, in this case, it wasn’t a room number. Rather, it was one of the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet! As you can see from the picture to your right, the Hebrew Alphabet letters were lit up in bright neon colors and allowed for a calming presence to be felt throughout the building.
It was then that I realized that this use of technology is in line with how this neighborhood views technology. Simply put: if it helps one get closer to Hashem, I’ll use it! If not, keep it far…far away!
I am honored that The Jerusalem Life magazine decided to feature me for this month’s, Who’s Who: Personalties Around Jerusalem column. This periodical is enjoyed by thousands in Jerusalem and its surrounding cities, and always seems to contain practical articles relating to educating ones children within the framework of Israeli society, insights into family development, and much more. Hence, when a number of months ago, Mrs. C.B. Gavant, a writer for The Jerusalem Life, contacted me hoping that I would agree to be interviewed for the Who’s Who: Personalties Around Jerusalem column, I decided to comply with her request. In so doing, I granted her access into my daily life as well as a bit of the back story into how we settled in Eretz Yisrael!
Now months removed from the interview, I remain truly humbled with how the final piece came out. Likewise, I thank all of you who already read the article and called or emailed saying how much you enjoyed the piece.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t reiterate what I was quoted as saying, namely that, “I wouldn’t be here if not for her [my wife].” And so, although the title of the piece referenced me as a “rising star,” I want to express my thanks once again to Hashem as well as the true star in my life: my wife! After all, it is she who allows and enables me the unique opportunity to wear the various hats mentioned in the article.
Click here to read the article at a larger size/resolution.
As illustrated in my Twitter Update here, I love Sukkos! Truth be told, the best place to celebrate this holiday is in the holy city of Yerushalayim. The weather is great this time of year, a spirit of excitment and Kedusha permeates the air, kids are off school, people are visiting from countries ranging from America to Argentina, the concerts are eclectic as well as legendary, and I could just go on and on…if you’ve never been here before for Sukkos, you’ve gotta come and book your ticket for next Sukkos!
Thankfully, we have been doing a lot of walking around the city over the past couple of days. Indeed, we’ve walked from Ramat Eshkol to Shaarie Chessed on more than one occasion. Here is a map of the route that we took:
View Larger Map
Walking has enabled us to not only exercise (Sukkos, like many Jewish holidays, requires one to eat many festive meals, and if you don’t exercise a bit, you may find yourself putting on a couple of unwanted pounds ) but it has also allowed us to enjoy the many beautiful and diverse neighborhoods of Jerusalem. As such, we have been privileged to see many festively decorated Sukkah’s. Accordingly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you the coolest/most original looking Sukkah that we came across. We found it in the Nachlaot area of Yerushalayim. My kids (you can hear my son Eliezer in the background of the video below) have aptly called this Sukkah, “The Windmill Sukkah.” Enjoy the short video below…and Chag Sameach!
As many of my faithful readers know, we live in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol. Indeed, while we have not lived in this area for several decades like some of the original Anglo-Saxon Olim who established the Beit Yaakov Synagogue founded by the late Rabbi Dolgin, we still have seen it change, and drastically at that.
Case in point:
- I remember when there weren’t any Sukkah Porches on the buildings.
- I remember when the only Mehadrin restaurant on Paran was Nina’s.
- I remember when there weren’t yeshivas and minyanim on Ramat HaGolan!
Anyways, the list can continue, but on to the song below which is a funny spoof on how Ramat Eshkol is nowadays…
And so, out of all the months to share some humor, there isn’t a better one then the month of Adar!
In continuation of the post here, we will now continue to discover various methods of recycling in The Holy Land. To that end, here are two photos of what the plastic bottle recycling bins look like in Jerusalem. Frankly, in my neighborhood I’m pleased to report that there’s an ample supply of these containers that seem to fill up and get emptied several times a month. The orange sign petitions people to recycle their plastic bottles because, “You pass me every day!”
Welcome to the first of a series of posts that will explore how The Land of Israel does its part to “Go Green” and help the environment.
To your right is a picture of a recycling bin that reads:
This container is for all types of paper.
To empty the container call 02-653-5944.
Thank you for your contribution towards improving the environment.
The Sanitation Department of the City of Jerusalem.