Posted on April 1, 2012 by Derek Kwait
Tuesday through Thursday, we were in the Golan. Unlike our last two tiyyulim, the Golan, Israel’s back 40, is the anti-desert; especially now, in the springtime, the place is so overflowing with life and water and cow dung, you can’t take one step outdoors in the entire region without stepping in one of the three. Continue Reading »
Posted on December 9, 2011 by Derek Kwait
(X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) (In no order) *People here really look out for you. I know I’ve written about this at least twice before, but I really can’t get over it: Last week, when I went to pay utility bills at the post office, when I finally got to see the Continue Reading »
Posted on October 30, 2011 by Suzi
Here’s something I wrote on my first day in Israel, standing at the Kotel, my hand pressed against the stones and clutching my steno pad. I couldn’t seem to let go of the ancient wall. I thought I’d publish this on These&Those, and challenge y’all to share your own first impressions of the country. On Sunday, June Continue Reading »
Posted on October 29, 2011 by Derek Kwait
Ever since I’ve arrived here there’s been stuff I wanted to talk about but just didn’t have room for in that week’s blog post. Since this was a relatively slow week, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of them, but I’ll start with the biggest story from this week: *So Continue Reading »
Posted on September 12, 2011 by Shibley
Since arriving in Israel last July, I have repeated numerous times the phrase, “The only thing worse than an Israeli driver is an Israeli driver in training.” They fly or creep down my street with the big lamed on top of the car. Sometimes multiple students are in the back seat. The instructor often has Continue Reading »
Posted on April 20, 2011 by Aviva P.
Note: I began writing this post almost a month ago, a day following the March 23 bombing at a Jerusalem bus station I call the first time I came to Israel, the last “Golden Year” of summer programs. I was here in 2000, several months before the start of the second intifada. No one thought Continue Reading »
Posted on January 30, 2011 by Tamara Frankel
Dear Friends, I hope you are all well and had a good week. This past week was my first back at Pardes after the semester break, so it has been a bit of an adjustment: new classes, new people and new schedules. Having said all that, I’m very excited to be back in the Bet Continue Reading »
Posted on December 14, 2010 by Drew
Crossposted from Jewschool and the J Street U Blog “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and those that return to her in righteousness.” —Isaiah, 1:27 Three years ago I moved to Jerusalem. I grew up as an involved member of the Reform movement in Connecticut, spent my college and post-college years working in Jewish education Continue Reading »
Posted on December 13, 2010 by Barer
I’d like to focus on something I mentioned very briefly in my overview of Chanukkah which has been coming up in my mind as I consider life back home: namely, Hityavnut or Hellenization, or what would today be called assimilation.
The word gives varied messages manifested in different languages. Hityavnut is an example of a word that I find to have a different and deeper feel to it in Hebrew than its counterpart in English. “Greekify” hardly implies assimilation, and yet that is what Hityavnut would mean, on an extremely literal level. But that is not the most noteworthy part of this Hebrew word. Rather the fact that, as far as I could tell being around Israelis discussing issues of modern assimilation, Hityavnut is a word that means not only Hellenization (only meaningful in the context of discussing the Chanukkah story) but its modern meaning is also assimilation. I guess this could just be me falling for the allure of a language whose words encapsulate the history I learned growing up in Jewish day school, but which had no connection to the language I was speaking. I find it fascinating that I can understand the meaning of Hityavnut without understanding what the denotation of the word ‘assimilation’ as long as I know the Chanukkah story; English has nothing like it.
Returning to the content of this appealing Hebrew term, I have what amounts to a simple concern about living in a Jewish and a secular world simultaneously. Can one live in both worlds without being swayed ‘too much’ by either? What is ‘too much’? Can one have purely secular, non-Jewish interactions as well as purely religious, Jewish interactions and still keep all the varying world-views and lenses together in one’s head? While such questions have undoubtedly been asked endlessly by anyone who is not content to live in exclusively Jewish surroundings their entire lives, each time, and for each individual, it is slightly different based on each individual’s circumstances.
What should one’s goals be in living simultaneously in both worlds? The discussion with Israeli teenagers mentioned the Westernization of Israel in ways exemplified by the prevalence of Gap stores and other Americanized companies, and the fact that they are in English for the most part. No doubt language is more than the sum of its parts, and losing a language means so much more than losing the words, as the example of Hityavnut shows. But if recent news is any indication, we need more people that are deeply aware of more than one culture’s needs and concerns.
Posted on November 29, 2010 by Jean
Jerusalem graffiti often consists of elaborate images created using stencils and spray paint. Israelis take it for granted. “Why do tourists always take a picture of that?” Here are two of my favorites. The first is on a side street near Emek Refaim. It says, “Idolatry, I won’t save you, but you drink me.” The Continue Reading »