The Purim Story Like You’ve Never Heard

For those of you who would like to read the Purim story with an “international” flavor, here it is at DaledAmos.

For those of you who like rap, here is a version of the Purim story that you’ve probably never heard before:

Remember Social Studies?

I am probably dating myself, but when I was a kid we learned, in addition to the three r’s, what was called social studies. I am not sure if there was a specific curriculum set out, but my teacher decided one year that we would learn all about the Iriquois Indians. I grew up in upstate New York, so the teacher thought it would be appropriate to learn about the people who used to live in our “neighborhood.”

Looking back on it as an adult, I am a bit confused at the choice of subject matter. Although I was not religious at that time, my parents sent me to a Jewish school. All of the kids were Jewish – we didn’t have a native Indian in the whole place. So while the subject was interesting – it had nothing at all to do with my heritage.

One of the reasons for our making aliyah was for our kids to be exposed to their Jewish roots – and not only through books. Where else can you literally go to the places that resonate in Jewish history?

Now the Knesset has approved a plan to refurbish the places in Israel that represent our Jewish heritage, and they even have a plan to create walking trails from one to the other. I think it sounds great! Someday I’d love to take my kids (or grandkids, depending on how long it takes to set these up!) on walking tours over the summer vacation.

This is part of a plan to re-acquaint Jews with their roots – especially those who may have been “lost” to post Zionism. It certainly is easier to be proud of your country when you are aware of your own people’s history. What greater way to do that than by “walking the walk”?

Right in Time for Purim..

This month’s Kosher Cooking Carnival has come out right in time for Purim, with lots of good ideas for mishloach manot (the gifts of food that we traditionally give to each other on this holiday).

Ruti Does A Great Job

Ruti does a great job hosting this week’s Havel-Havalim. Go on over and enjoy!

Don’t Forget To Send In Your Pro-Israel Posts!

Just a reminder to send me your pro-Israel posts for the roundup I am putting together. You can send them to westbankmama at fastmail dot fm.

I will be posting the roundup on Shushan Purim, which is Monday, March 1st. Please get the posts to me by Thursday afternoon, February 25th.

Anything pro-Israel is fine – even old posts. Thank you!

Rabbis Aren’t Rock Stars

Rabbis aren’t rock stars, and they certainly don’t need groupies.  I am always skeptical when people overly enthuse about a certain Rav, and begin to see too much in him. This sometimes leads to extremes in behavior that is dangerous, as Jameel posts about here (it seems that Rav Lichtenstein has received death threats because of his participation in Takana).

Yes, I enjoy a good speech or a well-written book, and I am grateful if it helps me in my avodat Hashem (serving G-d). But I always keep in mind that my relationship with G-d doesn’t need any intermediaries.

ADDRabbi has a good post where he explains why he is skeptical about charismatic Rabbis - and I agree 100%.

Links and Things

Here are some links on this very busy Tuesday afternoon. First, Dore Gold has a new internet site - an important addition to your blogroll!

A Knesset panel has approved the NGO Transparency Bill - a first step towards forcing NGO’s to be upfront about where their money is coming from. This is in response to Im Tirzu’s report about the connection between Israeli NGOs connected to the NIF and the Goldstone Report.

The Muqata has a very even-handed post about the allegations against Rabbi Moti Elon. Please follow the links he provides, especially to Takana.  Does anyone know if there is an English translation to this site? I would love to link to it. If not, perhaps I will translate parts of it – especially their reasoning behind setting up the Forum.

Tales From A “Trampistit”

For the uninitiated, hitchhiking in Israel is called “getting a tramp” and a male hitchhiker is called a “trampist”, a female one a “trampistit”. Hitchhiking here has differenct connotations than in America. It is far safer, depending on the time of day and the neighborhood. For those of us living in Yehuda and Shomron without a car (or in our case, with two adults employed and with one car) tramping to work is a necessity.

I have read posts before from the perspective of those giving rides to others, and the etiquette involved. I’d like to write a post from the perspective of someone who gets these rides on a frequent basis (at least twice a week).

First, I am always grateful for those who stop to offer rides. That said, I have some pet peeves that I will express here – as I can’t really do that while riding in the passenger seat!

One, please don’t offer a ride if it is really inconvenient for you. I can’t count the number of times when someone stops and says, “ok, get in quickly, I am really late”. I then take a deep breath and know that I will be riding with someone who is going to channel their inner Mario Andretti. Even those who do not claim to be late sometimes drive so fast that I make a mental note never to accept a ride with them again.

I also dread riding with the multi-tasker. Sure, most people can handle talking on the cell phone and driving, especially if there is a “diborit” (hands free setup in the car). But most people can’t drive and use an electric shaver at the same time – especially when they need to check their progress in the rearview mirror every once in a while.

Another pet peeve of mine, which is not related to a safety issue, relates to the the radio/CD player. It’s  your car, you can choose the music, no problem. But, please, choose the music or the radio station, and then STICK WITH IT. Like the person who has hundreds of tv channels and nothing to watch, there are people who can’t seem to find something good to listen to. They listen to half a song and then change the channel, over and over again. I personally find this so annoying I end up biting my lips until I can get out of the car.

Finally, I don’t like being put in the “hot seat” when it comes to news of my yishuv. Pleasant small talk is great – I’ve met some really nice people that way. But I don’t like being pumped for gossip, especially about sensitive topics.

Havel-Havalim, the Rosh Chodesh Adar Edition

Batya hosts this week’s Havel-Havalim, just in time for Rosh Chodesh Adar.

Seven Reasons to Support Israel – Joyce Kaufman

Ok, I couldn’t wait. I started putting together my roundup of pro-Israel posts that I will G-d willing put up on March 1st (yes, people are already sending me posts…what about you?) Someone told me about this video and after I saw it I decided to put it up already. Enjoy some straight talk!

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