BY RABBI NOAH ARNOW, JTS, for myjewishlearning.com
In the Priestly Blessing, Seeing Parenthood’s Trajectory
A prayer for yesterday, today and tomorrow — all in one.
The journey of parenthood is strange and winding. At first we are responsible for these tiny, precious bodies that rely on us completely. Then, they slowly grow, and become increasingly independent, and somehow don’t need us anymore. They become our peers, looking us eye to eye, borrowing clothes, debating us. And before we know it, they have surpassed us — in height and accomplishment. Eventually we find they are taking care of us..
I think of myself and my children in these three stages every time I bless them with the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26) on Friday nights (well, every time I bless them and no one is crying, which, thankfully, is happening more frequently).
By Inbal Arieli for Israel21c
Israeli youth age 12-18 have a clearly delineated period where they are afforded an opportunity to act stupidly without harsh consequence.
When you think of yourself at age 15, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Or better yet, if you have a 15-year-old at home — like I do — how would you best describe him or her?
I have to admit I found an entire range of relevant adjectives, varying from “crazy,” “inspiring,” “funny” and “deep” to “irresponsible” and “committed.” How can these terms all be relevant to a single individual?
Film maker and football analyst Yogi Roth crisscrosses Israel to hear how people define love, and refines his own definition through visiting his mom’s birthplace in Haifa.
What happens when a 35-year-old California football analyst, filmmaker and motivational speaker asks random Israelis what it means to love? Click on the video to discover straight-from-the-heart insights shared with Yogi Roth by young and old of all faiths.
Kobi Nachshoni for YNETNews
A new Israeli site is meant for gay and lesbian religious Jews who want to have a 'traditional' Jewish household with somebody of the opposite sex
A new dating site for gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews seeks to enable them to meet, have children, and raise them together in a "traditional" setting. Thus far, nearly 50 users have signed up, hoping to enter into a halachic Jewish marriage with a person of the opposite sex, despite their sexual orientation to the contrary.
The Czech Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling on the country’s government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
A majority of lawmakers voted for the measure on Tuesday ahead of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the Czech news agency CTK reported. The report did not include the text of the resolution, which also did not appear in the relevant section of the website of the Czech Parliament.
According to CTK, the resolution states that the Czech government should advocate a position respecting Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and impede steps that distort historical facts and are motivated by an anti-Israeli hateful approach.
by Gerri Miller for FromtheGrapevine
New National Geographic miniseries reveals the story of the man often called the world's first international celebrity.
Known worldwide for his theory of relativity and the equation E = mc2, Albert Einstein is arguably the most famous scientist in history – and with his wild halo of hair, the most recognizable. But beyond the brilliant mind and distinctive mane, most people don’t know that much about him. That’s about to change with the premiere of “Genius,” a 10-part series that chronicles his scientific accomplishments but also paints a very personal portrait of a passionate man.
Based on Walter Isaacson’s critically acclaimed book “Einstein: His Life and Universe” and premiering April 25, “Genius” is National Geographic Channel’s first scripted series. It features A-list talent behind the scenes, with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard as executive producers (Howard also directed the first episode) and Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (“Shine”) sharing the role with Johnny Flynn as the young Einstein.
by Eileen Lavine for Moment
While cheesecake has long been popular among Jews with a sweet tooth, the creamy, rich indulgence is now as American as apple pie, a symbol of how thoroughly Jews have integrated into American life. As cookbook author Joan Nathan says, “Jews like cheesecake because they like to eat good rich dishes, even if they shouldn’t”—but then again, who doesn’t?
What’s Jewish about the storied cake? “Cheesecake became a tradition for Jews because of the cycle of the year, when Shavuot welcomes the plentiful milk of springtime with dairy dishes,” says Nathan. Explanations abound for serving cheesecake—and other dairy dishes—at Shavuot, the holiday commemorating the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Among them are that Abraham served cottage cheese and milk to the angels at the first meal in Genesis, and that King Solomon’s Song of Songs compares the Torah to milk and honey.
In The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray argues that the continent is committing suicide—in part because of the decline of religion and its replacement by a public dogma of human rights completely detached from theology. A very different book, Yuval Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, likewise acknowledges the Judeo-Christian roots of liberal democracy, while putting on display its author’s contempt for religion. Discussing both books, Jonathan Sacks notes that Harari in fact demonstrates precisely the dangers of secularism against which Murray warns.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Construction Innovation Zone initiative aims to infuse real-estate development and construction with Israeli-style startup innovation.
The Israeli launch of the world’s first construction-tech hub aims to provide construction companies and real-estate developers everywhere access to disruptive high-tech innovation.
Announced on April 27, the Construction Innovation Zone is a unique joint project of the Israel Builders Association, the Tel Aviv-based SOSA platform for global startup ecosystems, the Israeli Construction and Housing Ministry and the Israeli Economy Ministry.
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily
by Rabbi Robyn Frisch
“Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
These words, spoken by the young widow Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi, are among the most well known and most powerful words in the Bible. They express Ruth’s commitment to Naomi—and to Naomi’s people and Naomi’s God. With this declaration, Ruth the Moabite cast her lot with the lot of the Jewish people, and she recognized the God of Israel as her God.
From Coffee Shop Rabbi
Shavuot [sha-voo-OHT or sh-VOO-us] is coming. Even though it is a major Jewish holiday, only the more observant Jews will even be aware of it.
That’s a shame. It’s a beautiful holiday – and in real ways, it is the completion of the journey we began at the Passover seder. The trouble is that unlike Passover, it didn’t see as successful a transition to the new realities Jews faced after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.
HISTORY Shavuot combines two ancient observances: a festival for the first grain harvest of the summer and the chag, or pilgrimage holiday, celebrated in Temple times. All Jews who were able traveled to Jerusalem to observe the sacrifices and bring the first fruits of their harvests, remembering and celebrating our acceptance of the covenant at Sinai and the giving of the Ten Commandments. The drama and pageantry of the holiday made Shavuot a major event in the Jewish year.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Inflight, on-demand hydrogen production could mean ‘greener’ commercial jets for the future.
Israeli aerospace engineers have developed and patented a process that can be used onboard aircraft while in flight to produce hydrogen from water and aluminum particles safely and cheaply. The hydrogen can then be converted into electrical energy for many functions of the plane.
The significance of this invention is that it could pave the way for less-polluting, more electric aircraft in place of the current hydraulic and pneumatic systems typically powered by the main engine.
By Ross Arbes for The New Yorker
About an hour’s drive north of Seoul, in the Gwangju Mountains, nearly fifty South Korean children pore over a book. The text is an unlikely choice: the Talmud, the fifteen-hundred-year-old book of Jewish laws. The students are not Jewish, nor are their teachers, and they have no interest in converting. Most have never met a Jew before. But, according to the founder of their school, the students enrolled with the goal of receiving a “Jewish education” in addition to a Korean one.
BY RABBI IRWIN KULA for myjewishlearning.com
Through The Wilderness
The stage of journeying through the wilderness is an essential part of the transformation from slavery to freedom.
The Book of Numbers, Bamidbar, describes the Israelites’ 40-year journey through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. Why devote an entire book to the desert experience?
Bamidbar represents an important stage in the journey of the people from slavery to freedom. The wilderness, far beyond its geographic or historic reality, enters the Jewish experience as a central metaphor for understanding who we are and what we must do.
By Jonathan Zalman for Tablet Magazine
We’ll find in out HBO’s upcoming documentary, ‘If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast’
Initially I felt two things when I watch the new trailer for HBO’s upcoming documentary, “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” which features some well known Jewish entertainers are asked (by Carl Reiner) to answer the question: What’s the secret to living into your ’90s? I felt a mixture of sadness and love for relatives and friends I’ve lost throughout my life, then an undeniable appreciation for the numerous stars featured in the doc who remain, well, inspirations. We’re talking: Reiner, Mel Brooks, Betty White, Stan Lee, Dick Van Dyke, Tony Bennett, Kirk Douglas (the oldest, at 100), Fyvush Finkel, composer Irving Fields (who died in 2016 at the age of 101), actress Patricia Morison, and Jerry Seinfeld who, though he isn’t even close to 90, has “already reserved the stage at Caesar’s Palace for his 100th birthday show,” which just makes so much sense.
By Gabe Friedman for JTA
Tell us how you really feel, Debra Messing.
Accepting an award from GLAAD, an LGBT advocacy group, on Saturday night, the Jewish actress implored Ivanka Trump to stand up to her father, President Donald Trump, on a number of issues, from healthcare to immigration policies to LGBTQ rights,
Messing, who starred on the TV show “Will and Grace,” quipped that Ivanka was secretary of state before calling her out for inaction.
Dovid Margolin for Mosaic
Now that Americans can easily visit the “Latin paradise,” I jumped at the opportunity to see first-hand the reality of life for its few remaining Jews. It isn’t pretty.
Less than four hours from New York by plane, the dreamy island destination of Cuba—fabled home to vintage American cars, Hemingway mojitos, and charming pastel-colored buildings, and so long closed off to the average American—is easy to get to today. I landed in Havana on the December 2016 day when Fidel Castro’s ashes were buried in the city of Santa Clara, the culmination of nine days of state-imposed, nation-wide mourning.
For generations of leftists, Havana’s fading glory—so unlike the austere grayness of the former Communist eastern bloc—carried a special allure; Cuba under Castro, wrote the late French historian François Furet, “represented a Latin paradise and communitarian warmth.” Now that Americans can easily visit this “Latin paradise,” where the propaganda posters continue to function as ever-present reminders of just who’s boss—yesterday Fidel, today his brother Raúl—I jumped at the opportunity to see first-hand the realities of life for, in particular, its remaining Jews.
By Samantha Quint for The Forward
Arguably some of Israel’s greatest exports over the years have been outstanding films. Test your knowledge and discover new tidbits about Israeli cinema!
The Nosher for myjewishlearning.com
When you’re traveling through Israel, it’s hard to find a restaurant or home that doesn’t sprinkle za’atar on everything from pizza to salads to chicken. What is za’atar, you might be asking? It’s a blend of dried thyme, oregano, sumac and sesame seeds. It’s delicious and very versatile.
Here in the U.S., a love for za’atar is finally starting to catch on, with dozens and dozens of recipes cropping up and restaurants finding innovative new ways to use the quintessential Middle Eastern spice blend.
If you haven’t yet jumped on this bandwagon, here are 23 drool-worthy ways to start adding za’atar spiced dishes to your weekly menu.
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE for Kveller
- (Note from JVillage:) Nothing inherently Jewish about this, but we thought it might be a fun thing to do with your kids, sitting down and interviewing them on subjects and getting their opinions.
Don’t you actually want things, like toys and kids’ movies, to actually be rated by kids themselves? Well one dad has done it. Hamilton Leithauser, a musician (formerly in the band The Walkmen), made a video where he and his daughters talk pretty seriously about the movie “Trolls,” pizza, dad on dad fights, sleeping in the car, the Barbie Dreamhouse, play-doh, the kids’ menu and more in the latest episode of “Over/Under” on Pitchfork.
The Barbie dreamhouse, for instance, was determined to be: overrated. His older daughter said, “I hate it!! I don’t like it at allllll.”