As Israel celebrates its 71st birthday, some of Schechter’s faculty share what “Israeliness” means to them. May Israel go from strength to strength!
For me, being Israeli means to live in a situation where one’s actions, in every moment of life, impact the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish people’s contribution to the future of humanity – for good and for bad. To the extent that we consider our “Israeliness” in a manner that expands our humanity and our culture; to the extent that we direct our lives to the ideals of justice and truth, to that extent we will broaden our Jewishness and our humanity. But the opposite is also true: To the extent that we understand our Israeliness in narrow and fanatical terms, to that extent we will destroy our Judaism and our humanity.
Israeliness is best expressed in its contrasts:
On the good side- solidarity, brotherhood, a willingness to help and so much love of country. And on the less good side- lack of patience (particularly on the roads) roughness, and a way of speaking that is not the most dignified. But at the end of the day, we have no other country! And it is always possible to improve, even at age 71.
Being Israeli is friendship and willingness to open you home and heart to people who you don’t even know. Some examples: attending funerals and weddings of people who don’t have relatives in Israel to offer comfort or to celebrate; visiting a grave of a fallen soldier on Memorial Day who doesn’t have relatives; the dancing in the streets of Israel, all the different dances even after 70 years of Statehood; nights of singing; Shabbat and holidays all over the country, even in Tel Aviv there is a quietness that suddenly descends.
Dr. Gila Vachman, lecturer in Midrash and Aggadah, sheds light on this sensitive issue. The Kohanim who were physically “blemished,” actually received symbolic tasks within the temple rituals.
Passover, the Festival of Freedom, celebrates liberation from bondage. This past December, Dr. Levana Libi Milon, a TALI school principal, traveled from Jerusalem to New York to experience a new type of freedom. Read more about her journey.
Dr. Einat Ramon, Senior Lecturer in Jewish Thought and founder of the Marpeh pastoral care program, discusses the complicated relationship in Parashat Pekuidei between physical esthetics and spiritual sanctity.
The purpose of the trip was to learn about Jewish education in the Diaspora in order to broaden their perspectives on issues of Jewish identity in the State of Israel. I didn’t realize then that the choice to begin my visit specifically here would be a defining moment which would accompany me throughout the week.
Justice is not merely distribution, it is retribution. Welcome to Parshat Bo. The Torah states that Moses, after turning their water into blood, filling their hair with lice, killing their cattle and crops, and doing a variety of other nasty things, not surprisingly became a very big man in the eyes of the Egyptians.
Dr. David Frankel, Senior Lecturer in Bible at The Schechter Institutes, shares with us his fascinating interpretation of the mysterious phrase. According to him, God is elusive; we can never pin him down to a spot or know exactly how to access him.
3 Online Sunday Morning Lectures in English. All lectures begin at 9:30 am PST; 10:30 am MST; 11:30 am CST; 12:30 pm EST.
On December 4th, 2018, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Israel demanding that authorities act to curb sharp increase in violence against women. This is the time to remind ourselves that Jewish tradition honors strong women. Let us look in depth at Eshet Chayil, the proverbial woman of valor – what are the qualities she is praised for?