Writing

A Very Narrow Bridge

The morning in Selma, Alabama was extremely foggy. It was hard to see the Alabama river below the bridge into town. We turned off the bridge onto Water Street. Stepping down from the bus, we entered one of the old brick buildings along the waterfront.…

Southern Jews and Jewish Values

The American South hosted Jewish immigrants hoping to live the American Dream. German Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, and Sephardic Jews all found refuge below the Mason-Dixon line. Yet, their American dream included the dual terrors of discrimination…

Entering Alabama

Crossing from Georgia into Alabama on I-75, our group of rabbis entered the first rest stop. A large carved stone reads: “Alabama We Dare Defend Our Rights.” Alabaman’s defense of rights? Whose rights are these Alabamans daring to defend? …

Reconciliation to Save US

Yom Kippur teaches us the process of teshuvah. One element of our repentance is reconciliation. More than making amends for past wrongs, reconciliation demands education, understanding, and caring in the formation of a relationship based upon…

Israel or New Zealand?

If a fascist were to be elected President, would you move to another country? If so, what country would that be? For Jews, the safe choice is assumed to be Israel. Jews around the world are answering similar existential questions. 17,000…

Listen to Me!

Many Israelis and Palestinians are no longer looking for grand solutions to existential problems. Yet, the lack of a “peace process” does not mean that efforts toward peace have been abandoned. Across Israel conversations in more intimate…

A Tale of Just Two Women

Lod is an ancient city with modern problems. Lod was first known to Americans as the location of the main airport. An important perspective of modern Israel is found in Lod, its history and histrionics. Two such perspectives were shared by two…

You look like a movie

I felt special, privileged, and honored, to meet someone whose life story was noted by Hollywood. I met a man named Takele Mekonen whose life story is worthy of a feature film. Takele is a slim, energetic man. His sharp facial features frame…

Unraveling

Today’s goal was to unravel the knotty mess that is Israel. That goal is utterly unrealistic. In Jamaica, they say “Ya Mon”. In Costa Rica, they say “Pura Vida.”  In Israel, they say “it’s complicated.” We began our day exploring…

I’m here, I’m home

Where else can I be six thousand miles from my house and yet be home? Stepping out of Ben Gurion Airport in Israel feels like coming home. The feeling lasts through the tedious arrival process and traffic to Jerusalem. Here I’m both happy…