The holiday of Chanukah begins this Wednesday night. In Israel, interactive billboards in Jerusalem light up chanukiot, adding another candle every night of the holiday. The marketplace smells of sufganiyot, doughnuts filled with jelly, and children gather to spin dreidels and eat chocolate gelt. Also, this week the Israel Religious Action Center, against all odds, won a case in the Supreme Court fighting the incitement of racism in Israel.
Last week, more than 3,500 people from 156 Jewish federations arrived in Jerusalem for the Jewish Federation of North America’s General Assembly. Restaurants were crowded with many people for the first time eating hummus fit for human consumption. The Kotel was at the top of the agenda and it turned out to be a huge engine that carries behind it a multitude of religion and state issues. Civil issues were central to the convention. Entire panels were dedicated to who can marry and divorce in the Jewish state, insights into the Haredi world, and egalitarianism at the Kotel and in the Israeli public sphere. Read more…
Doron Almog, Director of the Headquarters for Economic and Community Development of the Negev Bedouin, talks at the Religious Action Center
This morning, the RAC had the privilege of hosting Maj. Gen. (Res) Doron Almog, the Director of the Headquarters for Economic and Community Development of the Negev Bedouin. Maj. Gen. Almog is in charge of implementing the national policy of development and societal integration of the Negev Bedouin. Read more…
This past Monday, on Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5774, more than 800 worshippers gathered at the Western Wall to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Women of the Wall. Women of the Wall holds a monthly prayer service on rosh chodesh (the start of each new month), and their mission is “to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall.” Read more…
My first memory of being taught of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination was during the summer of 2006 as a camper in the Hebrew-immersion program at Olin-Sang-Ruby-Union-Institute. Our counselors spoke almost exclusively in Hebrew, bringing Israel to us in a way we’d never experienced before. One of the many ways we learned Hebrew was through Israeli songs. One particular morning, we were reading and translating “Shir LaShalom,” a song that calls on us to sing loudly for peace in the town square instead of whispering a prayer.
This article by Rabbi Kari Tuling originally appeared at the Reform Judaism blog on November 1, 2013.
I am packing for Israel, after a long time away. Like nearly all Reform rabbis, I spent my first year of the rabbinical program in Jerusalem, learning firsthand what life is like in the Jewish state: beautiful, complicated, ordinary, and above all else, profoundly Jewish.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu nominated Karnit Flug to be the new governor of the Bank of Israel. Flug had been passed over twice for the position before being nominated for the position on October 20, 2013. Flug was selected as the previous Governor’s deputy, Governor Stanley Fischer, and has been acting governor of the Bank of Israel since Governor Fischer’s resignation in June (which he announced six months before his resignation).
Many people focused on the long, drawn out process of nominating a new person for the position of governor of the Bank of Israel. While the cabinet still needs to confirm Flug in order for her to be named the new governor of the Bank of Israel, most are optimistic that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cabinet will do so.
Perhaps one of the biggest pieces of news to go along with this announcement is that, if confirmed, Flug will be the first woman to hold her position in Israel. Flug is the most recent woman to be named to a position as the head of a central bank in past months; President Obama named Janet Yellen as his nominee for the head of the Federal Reserve and President Vladimir Putin of Russia named Elvira Nabiullina as the head of Russia’s central bank. This is an exciting time for woman on the financial world stage!
Image courtesy of Sason Tiram/Bank of Israel via Bloomberg
Sport can be a great unifier for people. When you ask someone how they picked their favorite team, you tend to get one of two answers. The first reason is they were born in the town and just grew up as a fan, and the other is that the person became a fan when the team did something that really excited them. Engagement in Jewish life and Israel often follows the same pattern. Even for those of us born to families where Israel activism was always present, it sometimes takes experiencing something exciting to spark that need to “join the team.”