Controversial Israeli Films Fail to Win Oscars

Two Israeli films that contain controversial content (Israel bashing, of course, what else?) have failed to win the Oscar award. They join other Israeli films that portray the IDF in a bad light who have been nominated but have not won the Oscar in the  past.

A pr0-IDF group has put out a spoof of this phenomenon (sorry, no English subtitles yet). For those of you who do not understand Hebrew, the directors of the film keep cutting the scenes when the soldiers tell the truth about what happened, and only put in what makes the IDF look bad. This spoof is funny, but sadly enough, true.

Mazel Tov!

I like to share good news on my blog – even if I don’t know the people involved personally. It is nice to have a balance to the bad news which I am forced to write about (terrorist attacks, rockets falling, etc.).

Likud Knesset Member Tzipi Hotobeli has announced her engagement. Hotobeli is an Orthodox woman who is a staunch right wing member of the Likud, and is the highest ranking woman on the Likud list. The media will probably have a field day with this…..I hope they give her a bit of privacy….

Last month the comedy show Eretz Nehederet (very anti-right wing and extremely insulting on the whole) went after her to tease her about her single status (disgusting, no?) and she told them that this would change soon.  After receiving a lot of good wishes she had to calm everyone down and she announced that you should take everything said on Eretz Nehederet with a grain of salt.

I Love Happy Endings

Elisheva Hai, the widow of Rabbi Meir Hai, who was killed in a terrorist attack a few years ago, remarried yesterday.

She is the mother of seven children, and she showed great courage in picking up the pieces of her life and moving on. She continues to live in Shavei Shomron, a yishuv near Kedumim, and her new husband will join her there.

What I find remarkable and inspiring, is that after the terror attack she not only put her life together – she went on to volunteer to help others. At one point she decided to do chesed by helping to arrange matches. After setting up her future husband with others, it was suggested that she go out with him herself, and the rest is history.

People sometimes wonder how Israel survives all of the terrorist attacks aimed at us. The answer is twofold – help from G-d, and the strength of our people. Elisheva Hai is just one example.

Another Son Coming Home

I loved this opinion piece in Ynetnews today, written by an Israeli who has decided to move back to Israel from New York. The best quote:

Despite this never-ending comfort, life abroad accentuates the sense that you
don’t belong to the society in which you live; it intensifies the longing for
the good and bad of the people of Israel. Living abroad reminds you that only an
Israeli can understand what it means to be Israeli. Only in Israel will you
understand what true friendship is. And even if you did not serve in a combat
unit, you know that Israelis have a stronger sense of responsibility for their
compatriots.

Once an Israeli who lives abroad realizes this, the comfort becomes much less
appealing, perhaps because at some point you come to terms with the fact that
choosing comfort, success and freedom on the other side of the globe really
means choosing to be all alone. And for me, being alone is not happiness. So,
after a few years abroad, I decided that I am “making aliyah.” I am returning to
Zion.

This reminds me of the feelings that I had just a few days after coming to Israel for the first time at the age of 20. I was learning in Jerusalem and we lived not far from the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva. A few friends and I decided to go there for Friday night services. I walked into the women’s section and went up to the balcony. The mechitza (partition separating women and men in Orthodox synagogues) was high so that I had no idea what the men’s section looked like. When it came time to sing “Lecha Dodi”, the sound of hundreds of men singing hit me like a tsunami. I quickly went to the mechitza and parted the curtain a bit to look down. I had no idea how large the yeshiva was. The overwhelming feeling I had was “I am not alone anymore”. I had become Orthodox in my community in upstate New York, and was the only religious Jew in my family (for awhile) and in my high school. Although I went to Stern College with quite a few religious women, I still felt part of a minority. After all I was living in Manhattan and surrounded by literally millions of non-Jews.

I did not know it at the time, but on that Friday night I was hooked. Today, twenty one years after making aliyah, I am still thrilled to realize that I am home.

Israeli Know-How Does it Again

Here is a great article on the Times of Israel about an Israeli hi-tech company that helped keep businesses running even during hurrican Sandy. I always like reading something positive….

A Southern Boy Fulfills A Dream

The IDF website has some great videos, including this one about an American boy from Alabama who has fulfilled his dream by joining the paratroopers in the IDF. He came to Israel for the first time with Taglit – Birthright, and that sparked the dream the he has fulfilled now. (The video is in English…go ahead and enjoy!)

With Love, From Ireland

Barry from Ireland sent along this video, and says that not all of the people in Ireland hate Israel. Thanks Barry!

Help for Immigrant Soldiers

Every once in a while I go over to the IDF blog, which I find fascinating. Today I found an article about a special liason officer who specializes in helping new immigrants deal with joining the army.

I remember the difficulities of the first year after we made aliyah, and I cannot even imagine going through this transition while serving in the army. Just learning the language is a challenge – and my most stressful time was trying to understand the tellers in the bank or the grocery check-out lady! I don’t know how I would have coped with a drill seargent yelling at me – in a foreign language.

On the other hand, I do understand the motivation of young people who want to serve. One of the many reasons to make aliyah is the bone deep connection that you feel with the other Jews who live in Israel, and the desire to contribute.

Good luck to the new olim out there who are joining Tzahal (the IDF) and don’t be shy about asking for help!

Another Israeli Innovation That Saves Lives

Another innovation by Israeli researchers that saves lives. This one is a device that detects respiratory distress in premature babies, before damage is done. This one was developed by the Technion and Carmel Medical Center.

I found this article on NoCamels, a website dedicated to news about Israeli innovations. (Just think about that – there is a continually updated website just for the new things coming out of Israel!).

Jerusalem and Zfat Are Third

Zfat received a nice amount of rain and reached 100% of annual rainfall this morning, but the real eye-opener is Jerusalem.

It received an amazing 76 mm of rain yesterday, and is now at 103% of annual rainfall. Just for a bit of perspective, the annual rainfall in Jerusalem is 537 mm. That means that two days ago it received a bit less than 10% of its annual rainfall, and yesterday it received a bit less than 15%. Almost 25% in two days is quite a record.

The Kinneret rose another 9 centimeters over the past day, and is now at -212.28.

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