Israeli winters are admittedly short if you compare them to, well, anywhere else in the world. For a few months every year, however, we have our fair share of storms. As I write this, I am sitting at the Aroma Coffee Shop at the Tel Aviv Port, watching the ferocious winds throw waves onto the pedestrian walkways. I am happily inside with a hot cup of coffee to warm my hands on.
With the south of Israel returning to the routine of every day life, I wanted to take this opportunity to feature the amazing industry that comes out of the arid Negev Desert.
“Israel is like a distant cousin that I care about but I never call.”
This is one of the best descriptions I have ever heard about the relations between Jews in the diaspora and Israelis. Jews in the diaspora care about Israel. They donate money, attend demonstrations, sign petitions and even help pass laws that will help our little country. But the one thing they don’t have is a person to talk to, an Israeli that can share their thoughts and experiences of life in this beautiful, if not somewhat tumultuous country.
This, quite simply, is the reason for personal tourism. To introduce YOU to Israelis so there is someone to call. A new friend that can tell you what’s happening and can be warmed by your message.
If you have ever felt like you want to do something meaningful but are not sure how, this is my suggestion. Engage in a Personal Israel Phone-a-thon.
- Go to your federation and get the phone numbers of Israelis in your partnership community.
- Organize a group of friends (don’t wait for an organization to do it for you)
- Call (don’t email) and say: “Hi, my name is Dan and I’m calling from San Diego. I just wanted you to know that we are thinking of you here.”
If you’ve ever participated in a fundraising phone-a-thon, you already know the feeling. It may feel a little embarrassing but believe me when I say that the reward of this phone call will be so much greater than pledgine $1000 donation.
It is important to call and make it personal. If you want to practice, give me a call. I would love to hear from you. 054-256-6877
Living in Israel at times like these can often feel lonely. A few kind words from someone abroad can make all the difference. So pick up the phone today. I look forward to hearing from you.
Nazareth, or Natsrat as its name is pronounced in Hebrew, is the cradle of Christianity, the city where, according to tradition, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the place where Jesus spent his childhood and youth. Nazareth, in the lower Galilee, is located in the heart of a valley surrounded by mountains that embrace several of the most important Christian sites in the world. This is a city of religion and faith, of spirituality and holiness, but also a city with a rich history, fascinating archaeology, modern culture and Middle Eastern charm.
The Bible, geography and ancient and modern history in the Jezreel Valley are perhaps more closely entwined and visible than anywhere else in the country.
The Druze, a religious minority that lives in harmony in Israel, is an ethnic group known for their hospitality and warm welcome of visitors. If you have the opportunity, a traditional Druze meal is one of the most delicious experiences known to man!
King David Street with the Montefiore Quarter in the background, taken May 1, 1948 (Courtesy: State of Israel’s national photo collection/ Shershel Frank)
The Montefiore windmill is one of those quintessential Jerusalem landmarks. It’s a cupola-capped English-styled mill located in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, part of Yemin Moshe — the first Jewish neighborhood built in the late 1800s outside the walls of the Old City by Moses Montefiore, the English banker and philanthropist.
Yom Kippur is a solemn day. A day spent asking for atonement, asking forgiveness for our sins and forgiving those we have mistreated. While I could take this time to elaborate on all this, I’ve decided to take a slightly different route. As important as it is to atone, after a 25 hour fast, my stomach is grumbling and all I can think about is the meal that will end the pains.
It was a Friday afternoon, late into the Israeli summer and, unlike every other Friday, we were free of obligations. No work, groceries already in the fridge and food prepared for shabbat in advance. So we opted for spontaneity. We packed a cooler with cold water, melon and delicious nectarines and piled into the car, ready for adventure.
My milestones are the milestones of Zionism. This picture was a new year’s greeting sent by my Grandparents, Moshe and Rachel Strasburg in 1931 to all their relatives that remained in Poland.