October 23, 2014

In Tel Aviv: At my friends' wedding, both grooms are Orthodox Jews


Mazal tov to Oz Vadee and Aron Bilek — adored and adorable, loved and loving newlyweds. Tonight in Tel Aviv, they exchanged rings and Tallitot/prayer shawls, and smashed underfoot two glasses — a custom that in our joy, we remember to help repair brokenness in the world. 

Blessings traditional and groundbreaking were offered as the couple's happiness radiated among hundreds of cheering and clapping exuberant family and friends at the elegant East Tel Aviv venue. In the photo, Member of Parliament Ruth Calderon reads aloud the Ketuba/marriage certificate, the couple's innovative retooling of the ancient document, here attesting to the marriage of two Orthodox Jewish men according to "Am Yisrael/the Jewish people!"

October 07, 2014

Ceremony recognizes new IDF Intelligence Officers, (sweet cousin) Ohad Zohar among them

At the ceremony recognizing new IDF Intelligence Officers,
the woman leading the marching band holds high her baton.

Mazal tov, cousin Ohad Zohar on completing the IDF Military Intelligence Officer's Course! Proud of you and privileged to attend the graduation ceremony at the Glilot military base.

While you got a stripe today, I wore stripes!


At the IDF induction ceremony exactly two years ago at the Tzrifin military base, I wore my floppy lavender hat under the blazing sun.


May you continue to go from strength to strength!

Related post (includes links to three more)

September 16, 2014

Let the [Jewish] New Year and its blessings start | תָּחֵל שָׁנָה וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ

Honey in Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda open-air shuk,
adding sweetness for the New Year
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls on Tishrei 1 and 2 in the Hebrew calendar. In 2014, it begins Wednesday evening, September 24, and concludes Friday evening, September 26.

Dear Tamar, 

Let the [Jewish] New Year and its blessings start | תָּחֵל שָׁנָה וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ | Takhel shana u-virkhote-ha*. The word Shana in Hebrew comes from the word li-shnot (to repeat) but it also sounds like le-shanot (to change). I think that's the main idea every Rosh Hashanah: it's our chance either to repeat our mistakes or to change, and to keep the good or let it go. I hope your New Year will be filled with good choices. 
Shana Tova 5768

* From אָחוֹת קְטַנָּה | Akhot Ktana | Little Sister. In this 13th century piyyut (Jewish liturgical poem) by Abraham Hazzan of Gerona (Girondi), Spain, each verse ends with a one-line chorus: Let the year end with all its curses | תִּכְלֶה שָׁנָה וְקִלְלוֹתֶיהָ | Tikhleh shana ve-killeloteha! The last line concludes: Let the new year and its blessings start | תָּחֵל שָׁנָה וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ | Takhel shana u-virkhote-ha!

I first published this post September 12, 2007.

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August 06, 2014

From southern Israel to Tel Aviv: green and fresh straight from the field


"Thank you very much for your support in these times. We'll be happy to supply you with our organic vegetables straight from the field in better days as well. — Meshek Damari" [an organic farm in southern Israel about a mile north of Gaza]

Meshek Damari, neighboring Kibbutz Zikim, and the region experienced steady rocket attacks the past month endangering lives and hurting businesses. The farmers are thinking out of the box and expanding their market to the country's center. Tel Aviv residents responded to their FB message, buying fresh produce delivered straight to the door.

One of two boxes Dudu delivered to me last night;
one for me and one for Yehudit my neighbor


July 13, 2014

In South Tel Aviv: the shelter of humans

With Philmon Haile in his South Tel Aviv kiosk
I sought shelter from the flaming heat of rockets, missiles, summer temperatures, and vile speech. Visiting my friend Philmon Haile, an Eritrean asylum seeker, in his South Tel Aviv kiosk (cigarettes, phone cards, popcorn kernels, costume jewelry, condoms, sugar, earbuds, shampoo) brought compassionate, gentle, human warmth. And updates, laughter, and a meeting with the lovely Helena Woldu. (A Californian Celtics fan, the Eritrean-American is doing research for her University of Maryland bachelor's degree.) Sitting in front of the sweetest golden cocker spaniel on the bus home extended the warmth. 

While composing this post, sirens wailed, sending me to cover till hearing the distant boom sounds of  the Iron Dome antimissile system intercepting missiles. All clear, till ?

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