Cycle of Life
We arrived last week to our 2nd home...
Israel. or, depending how you look at it, our 1st home but sadly we were greeted with the news that Hannan's uncle (his mother's brother) had died that day. Since Jewish burials must occur within 24 hours, our first day was filled with a drive up to
Haifa to attend the funeral at a crowded municipal but immaculate cemetery. Israeli funerals (free, if you use the public system) are quite different from the ones we are used to in the States. Burial space is limited so plots are stacked on concrete rows of tombs and as Israeli tradition dictates, coffins are replaced with white cloth bags. Rest in peace,
Yosef Segal z"l.
The rest of the week was filled with family, friends and food and last night we witnessed Mataan's army swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall. Pictures speak louder than words so here are some photos from his ceremony.
Mataan is siting on the ground, far right.
By the way, there is a very interesting documentary call
Beneath the Helmet which spotlights the training camp where Mataan is currently stationed. Also, this film was just listed as the 5th Best Military documentary on Netflix.
The backdrop to the ceremony was the newly "egalitarianized"
Western Wall (HaKotel). For years women (of the Wall) and non-orthodox worshipers had been trying to secure a pluralistic space at the sacred Wall so both genders can pray together and women are free to wear tallit (prayer shawls) and read Torah. After years of stagnant orthodox policy, the Israeli Cabinet finally blessed this progress with a vote of 15-5. The government will provide 35 million Israeli Shekel to create the new space with all the necessities. This is a significant achievement and deserves much praise. Here is a short video explanation of the effort and while watching it I noticed our own Michigan Rabbi Arnie in one of the segments.
And for more info on this issue, you can read this article:
Jerry in Israel
Everything in Israel is either "no problem" or "impossible". This is true and was observed by
Jerry Seinfeld when he was here in December. He shares his thoughts with
Trevor Noah on Israel, Aging and Comedians in Cars in this clip:
Israelis never find it impossible to engage in
(healing the world) as they will go anywhere to help anyone even if the victims don't perpetually like Jews or Israelis.
an example of this selfless efforts and here is a beautifully filmed video of explaining this incredible organization:
Birds Love Israel
As you can tell, Israel is the theme of this week's email and for my last segment related to our homeland, check out this bird story. A small swath of land in the north of the country called the
Hula Valley is home to the migration of 500 different species and is a "mecca" for birdwatchers each year.
Ornithologist (bird expert), study and help protect these birds, they often attach transmitters to assist in this effort. However, some Israeli neighbors are unfamiliar with ornithology and thought a vulture captured in Lebanon was an Israeli spy.
As everyone knows by now, Iowa's big winner was
Ted Cruz with Trump and Rubio as close contenders and though
Hillary Clinton came in first, by a split hair, Sanders is still a strong opponent. Huckabee, Paul, Santorum and O'Malley all "suspended" their campaigns which we all know is a euphemism for "threw in the towel". We are down to 2 Dems and 8 Repubs. My prediction is that
Michael Bloomberg will NOT enter the race if it looks like Clinton and Rubio will secure their nominations. Onto New Hampshire and the rest as we keep tabs on this crazy race.
Here is some wonderful Israeli music to enjoy:
Wishing you and your family a
Sweet Shabbat Shalom
P.S. Heard the good news that Punxsutawney Phil predicts any early Spring.
P.P.S. Correction from last week, Abe Vigoda played Sgt. Fish on Barney Miller. Hal Linden played the lead character.