Blog Archives

Shavuot by Tnuva

AS ONE MIGHT expect of the Jewish state, the holy days of the Jewish religion are national holidays. A good example of this is the holiday of Shavuot (Pentecost) which begins this year on Saturday night, May 19. While it is possible to go about one’s business in the diaspora without even realizing that Shavuot has come and gone, this ... Read More »

OUR FAMILY’S DOCTOR

 OUR FAMILY’S DOCTOR is retiring. After 25 years of service to Givat Ze’ev, and 45 years in the profession, Dr. Rafael (Rafi) Hamburger, 71, was to have seen his last patient at the end of March. Ever since our aliyah in the summer of 1997, Dr. Hamburger has been there for our family—all seven of us. He treated our kids ... Read More »

Milky on My Mind

THE MILKY NAME is one of the most highly recognized brand names in Israel. Over 6,000,000 Milky products are sold each month (representing almost 1 for each citizen of Israel). Not that familiar with Milky? You’re in luck. Forthwith: A Milky Primer. Milky, manufactured by the Strauss food company, is the brand name for a score of dessert puddings. The ... Read More »

The Sephardim

A STRIKING DIFFERENCE between Jewish life in the States and in Israel is the relative lack of Sephardim in the U.S. This difference gets expressed in Jewish religious life as well as in other aspects of Jewish culture (music, food, clothing, etc.). It also gets expressed in one’s consciousness of what a Jew looks like and what it means to ... Read More »

Israel & Christmas

SOMETIMES CHRISTMAS COINCIDES with Hanukah, sometimes it doesn’t. Last year it did, this year it doesn’t. This lack of contiguity matters a good deal to American Jews but largely goes unnoticed in the Jewish State.  In America, when December 25th falls within one of the eight days of Hanukah, Jews are in sync with their surrounding culture–they celebrate at the ... Read More »

Ayar’ing, Maysik’ing & Gedid’ing 

MANY AMERICANS HAVE lost touch with the origins of Thanksgiving. When you ask someone to explain the reason for the holiday, more often than not, the holiday will be linked to American ideals like democracy, pluralism, and freedom of religion. Since most Americans live their lives far removed from agriculture, few remember that Thanksgiving grew out of the same impetus ... Read More »

The Big Move

senior woman and caregiver go walking outdoors

  A CENTURY OF my family’s living in Brooklyn came to an end recently, when my parents moved out of their Flatbush home of 41 years to the Gurwin Jewish Assisted Living Community in Commack, New York. My paternal grandparents, who married in 1917, raised four children in Brooklyn, three of whom elected to raise their own families there. Of ... Read More »

Casting Off

Honey jar with fresh apples

AS I SOMETIMES do for holiday columns, I turn to my friend and teacher Rabbi Lior Engelman for this year’s Rosh Hashanah column.  A note about Tashlich:  This Hebrew word means “casting off,” and it denotes a ritual (traditionally performed on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah) whereby one symbolically casts off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces ... Read More »

Twenty Years of Aliyah

0817_SGPV_5_Feature_Aliyah

ON JULY 29 we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of our aliyah. When we first told people that we were moving to Israel, almost everyone was encouraging–aside from the four people who would now have to board a trans-Atlantic flight in order to see their grandchildren. Some friends offered us advice on the order of: Things might be very hard at first, ... Read More »

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