Tag Archives: Israel

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

While Standing on One Foot: A Compassion Practice

I have spent the last week grieving privately. Horrified — nauseated, actually — by the two murders that took place in Israel last week. The first victim: Shira Banki, a 16-year-old girl, stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox Jew at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last week. She succumbed to her wounds this past Sunday morning.  Five other young people were injured in the attack. The second victim: Ali Dawabsheh, an 18-month-old from a Palestinian village… Read Article →

prozdor at the kotel

Traveling with Prozdor

  Back From Israel! In late February, a group of Prozdor students spent 10 unforgettable days in Israel. We started the trip by celebrating Shabbat in Jerusalem. We took a late night walk to the Western Wall, explored different neighborhoods of the city, and caught a glimpse of the vibrant nightlife on Ben Yehuda Street. From there, we traveled up to Haifa for a week-long exchange with The Hebrew Reali… Read Article →

Hebrew College Tablet Logo

A Wintry Mix

Last Friday, after an overnight flight from Philadelphia, we arrived to an overcast sky in Tel Aviv and by the time we reached the Jerusalem hills the skies had darkened, the rain fell, and the windows were fogged up from the heat trapped inside the bus. For those that had never been to Israel before, it probably felt surreal- a long transatlantic flight, a dark and rainy drive to a… Read Article →


Envisioning a Jewish Future

This article originally appeared in Looking Forward, the journal of the Aspen Center for Social Values. Let us begin by distinguishing between two questions. The posed, “What will American Jewry look like in 10 years?” includes various elements — deeper assimilation, higher intermarriage rates, increasing disillusionment with Israel, etc. — all of which seem quite inevitable despite our great efforts to prevent them. “What might American Jewry look like in 10 years?” is a… Read Article →


Religion and the Enemy

Common wisdom has it that much violence in the world is driven by religious passion. Though there is good reason for this claim, deeper reflection reveals a more complex picture of what religions have to say about relationships with the enemy. This week’s Torah portion brings us one of Judaism’s core texts on the paradigmatic enemy of the Jewish people: the people of Amalek. Shortly after the Exodus from Egypt,… Read Article →

Name Tag

These Are My Names

When my husband and I made aliyah last August, I was looking forward to bringing my name with me to Israel. I felt confident that my name would feel at home here immediately, even if I did not. While “Minna” is not a common name in Israel, it’s easily understood and certainly not the oddity that it is in the US. Unlike the stories of immigrants having their names mangled… Read Article →


Gates of Tears

In this week’s parsha, we are deep in a difficult family story. Yitzhak and Rivka struggle to conceive and after she conceives, the struggle continues in her womb. It gets no simpler once their sons are born. Esav emerges first, hairy and red, followed closely by Yaakov, clinging tightly to Esav’s heel. The boys are quickly caught up in a multigenerational cycle of favoritism and deception. When Yitzhak has grown… Read Article →

Grieving in the First Person Plural

To speak at all in this moment feels tricky, treacherous even – but I feel compelled to try. I alternate between feeling there is really nothing to say, and feeling there is too much to say – what has happened, what is happening in Jerusalem is such a terrifying and tangled web of human suffering that to tug on any one thread – any one aspect of this tragedy that… Read Article →


The Forgotten Miracle of Hanukkah

Why is this month (Kislev) different from all other months in the Jewish year? It offers us a holiday (Hanukkah) that (at least in the Northern hemisphere) resists and subverts the natural order. At the darkest time of year, we celebrate light. And the stories we tell to explain our rituals of creating light emphasize the overturning of “natural” expectations. A small band of improvised fighters defeats an imperial army…. Read Article →

Amos Oz Don't Call It Night

Israel: A Love Affair

I just celebrated 40 years of visiting Israel! I was there recently visiting our Hebrew College education and rabbinic students who are studying in Jerusalem this year. It was a short but delightful visit; packing in countless scheduled and spontaneous meetings with colleagues and friends, wandering the Jerusalem streets as sukkot were erected, the boys came out with their lulavim and etrogim to sell and the early morning predawn call… Read Article →