June 11, 2012 by Robbie Gringras
Thinking towards the Global Jewish Forum on Liberalism and Zionism.
One song and two clips has got me thinking.
Here Ella Fitzgerald sings Don’t Fence Me In. It’s a jaunty declarative and celebratory song, loving the open spaces, remembering the pioneering days of being able to walk freely in one’s own land. On the one hand it extols freedom, and on the other hand it extols sovereignty – the ability, right, and power to do as one wishes on a huge swathe of land.
June 11, 2012 by Rabbi Benny Lau
The first Reform Rabbi will now receive a salary from the State, it was decided last week. Rabbi Benny Lau, a modern orthodox leader, wrote this article in response. It first appeared in Hebrew in Makor Rishon, a newspaper closely identified with the National Orthodox public.
The decision of the Legal counsel to the government, to permit local councils to employ non-orthodox Rabbis on the payroll of the State, allows us to open up the subject of funding for religious services in Israel. It is no secret that the deep connection between politics and religion means that religious services arouse both concern and distaste. The issue of Rabbis’ salaries gives the public an ever-growing feeling that there is no correlation between those receiving salaries and the people who are supposed to receive their services. Too many times we find that someone can be sitting in the office of Community Rabbi, when no one in the neighborhood even knows his name. To Full Post
If We Build It, They Will Come: A Case for Developing the Field of Jewish Service Learning in Israel
June 10, 2012 by Dyonna Ginsburg
Dyonna Ginsburg is the Director of Jewish Service Learning at the Jewish Agency. Previously, Dyonna served as the Executive Director of Bema’aglei Tzedek, an Israeli social change organization, and was a founder of Siach: An Environment and Social Justice Conversation, an international network of Jewish social justice and environmental professionals.
Currently, the field of Jewish service-learning in Israel is characterized by a handful of programs that target young North American Jews and that are officially recognized and funded by Repair the World, an organization founded in 2009 to “make service a defining part of American Jewish life.”1
Although these programs are known for their high educational standards, many have struggled to fill their ranks and reach financial sustainability. Alongside these accredited programs are others, often larger and better endowed programs that include some aspects of volunteerism, but have yet to adopt the more stringent Standards of Practice for Immersive Jewish Service-Learning Programs developed by Repair the World (Repair the World, 2011).
Many—myself included—believe that the time has come for a concerted effort to build the field of Jewish service-learning (JSL) in Israel—exploring ways of expanding the smaller, high-quality, service-learning programs; adding necessary depth and authenticity to the larger, volunteer-oriented ones; and identifying additional program areas that can appeal to core concerns of young Jews not addressed by existing program offerings. To Full Post
May 24, 2012 by Robbie Gringras
A few years back I had a bad experience at my bank in Carmiel. There were about 9 people milling around the teller’s desk. No line. No queue. I was familiar with the requirement. You ask “Who’s last?” and then assume that you are the next in ‘line’. It’s a mad system. At some predictable point it disintegrated into chaos. Someone had asked “who’s last” and then gone out shopping. When she returned, she expected to be able to reclaim her place, but no one remembered who she was. Much shouting ensued.
Everyone in the crowd/line was annoyed with someone else in the crowd/line. But really we should all have been annoyed with the bank. For not laying on more tellers, and for not arranging a more efficient and transparent method of waiting. (Since then the bank had a face-lift, and you take a number…)
I was reminded of this incident last night, when I picked up news of the anti-immigrant riots in South Tel Aviv. I was horrified, but not entirely surprised. To Full Post
May 21, 2012 by Robbie Gringras
Okay, so first of all I have to admit that I have read Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism.
I’m not talking about the reviews of it (though I’ve read a lot of them, too) I read the actual book.
May 8, 2012 by Robbie Gringras
The photo almost looks like it was born for a captions competition, doesn’t it?
A thought-bubble from the young Haredi’s head might read, “Now where did I put that rock?” or the woman might be thinking, “Jeez, living in photoshop is so radical!”
As you might have gathered, my first reaction when looking at this poster at a Yom Ha’atzmaut event, was incredulity and not a little frustration.
April 1, 2012 by Robbie Gringras
I was invited to be on a panel about Israel education at this year’s J Street conference. Sadly I couldn’t be there, but here is what I had been planning to say…
March 15, 2012 by Robbie Gringras
How can you find the deep conversation when there are so many burning facts flying around?
- Fact: the Haredi population in Israel is doubling every decade.
- Fact: Over 20% of school children in Israel are at Haredi institutions, which teach neither English nor Math, let alone Citizenship.
- Fact: Over 60,000 young Haredi men are granted automatic exemption from army service every year, under 50% of all Haredi adults work, and those that do so work fewer hours than anyone else in the country.
- Fact: Over 90 “Mehadrin” bus lines throughout the country require women to sit at the back of the bus.
When Makom was faced with the challenge of creating and running a 5-hour symposium on “Haredim and the Jewish Collective” for the Global Jewish Forum of the Jewish Agency, we wanted to avoid throwing oil on the already blazing fire.
February 2, 2012 by Robbie Gringras
I don’t normally like Israeli songs that are written and performed in English.
I’m a great fan of Tamar Eisenman’s artistry, and of Asaf Avidan’s surreality, but what can I tell you – I’m an old-school Zionist. I’m big on our developing and Israeli-Jewish culture in Hebrew. You don’t need to – even I call me old-fashioned. I kind of think that if we can’t even create our own renewal of Jewish culture here in the Holy Land, then really what are we doing here?
But just now a great song came out by an Israeli woman who writes and performs in English. This one made it past my usual barriers. It’s one of those rare Israeli songs that while escaping the particularity of Hebrew, doesn’t feel the need to escape Israel and her issues. To Full Post
January 30, 2012 by Jonathan Boyd
It seems like the overarching story will run and run.
As the UK’s Jewish Chronicle uncovers incident after incident of Jewish individuals and organisations ‘fraternizing with the enemy’, the mutterings in opposition to its stance grow louder and louder. You can almost see the two sides drawing their swords, shaping up for battle, determined to prove at all costs the objective truth of their position.
I don’t think this is going to end well.
Perhaps, fundamentally, the issue is about the extent to which we view the world with suspicion or trust. To Full Post