This is not goodbye, it’s a see you later!


Today is the last Israel corner I will write to you.

After two years as the Israel program Associate at Hillel of Metro Detroit, I am leaving to go back home to Israel and on to my next adventure.

Thank you for joining me on this journey through Israel’s holidays, experiences and innovation.

It has been an absolute pleasure!

Lehitraot (See you later!)

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Happy 70th Birthday Israel! you don’t look a day over 60!


Israel is 70 Years old! and do we know how to party!

This past week the Jewish community in Michigan has been celebrating Israel 70th Birthday (and there is more to come!), but how did Israelis celebrate our beloved country’s birthday?

Well, a picture is worth 1000 words, and a video is a whole story! so here are a few videos from Israel 70th for you to enjoy.

Halleluja – The Israeli song that won first place in the Eurovision in 1979, was chosen to be the official song of Israel 70th celebrations. The original writer even added two new verses that talk about Israel today. Here are the two new verses (translated by me):

Hallelujah, Israel
Hallelujah, the heart marvels
from a lonely small countryYou turned to a legend over nightAnd we came back to you from all corner of the earth
הללויה, ישראל
הללויה, הלב מתפעל
ממדינה קטנה, בודדה
היית בן ליל לאגדה
ואלייך שבנו מקצוות תבל
Hallelujah, here is your blessing
Your Birthday is a day or promiseOf a homeland, and people and hopewill sing you full of love

Hallelujah

הללויה, שאי ברכה
יום הולדת, הוא יום הבטחה
של מולדת, ועם ותקווה
נשיר לך באהבה
הללויה

We’ll continue with Israeli music and special project that happened last week, and watch Kululam, a musical social project, that had 1,200 people in one stadium sing one of Israel most beloved songs:


Every year on Independence day the Israeli Air Force has a special airshow that happens in the Israeli sky and is visible from everywhere, this year, it is also visible on youtube for us to enjoy:

The Israel Democracy Institue have created a special project to celebrate Israel 70th with The Democracy Pavilion that is a unique multi-media experience, in full 360-degree technology, showcasing the values embedded in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and the historic highlights of 70 years of independence. Watch as it is built, and if you plan on visiting Israel before the end of the year – you can experience it yourself!

As you know, every year between Yom Hazikaron and Independence Day there is a unique ceremony in Israel, The lighting of the torches ceremony. Here is the full Ceremony if you want to watch it, It is almost 3 hours long, and unfortunately there are no English subtitles as of now.

Here is to 70 more wonderful years!

Until next time…

Or

Yom Hazikaron – Israeli Memorial Day


בהפרש של שבוע / צור ארליך
שְנֵי יְמֵי זִכָּרוֹן סְמוּכִים כָּל שָנָה
לְטוֹבַת הַחִישוּב הַכְּלָלִי:
כַּמָה עוֹלֶה לָנוּ עִם מְדִינָה,
וְכַמָּה עוֹלֶה לָנוּ בְּלִי.

A week apart / Tzur Erlich
Two annual memorials, close in date,
Help to clear any doubt,
How much it costs to have our own state,
And how much does it costs without.

 

(Please turn on English subtitles while watching the video)

Until next time…

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Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day


Today begins the Israeli Holocaust Rememberance Day. There is not a lot to day that hasn’t already been said, soI am going to leave you today with a very touching video.

Koolulam is an Israeli Social Organization that brings people together through music. This year they partneres with Zikaron Basalon (Memory in the living room) and Invited 600 Holocaust survivers, their chidre, grandchildren and grand-grandchildren to Jeruslam and taught them the song Chai (Alive) by Ofra Chaza.

 

Until Next week…

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Happy Passover! Can’t find anything to eat? are you sick of the plain dry Matzah? Here is my favorite Passover recipe!


Welcome to Passover, where everything is a potato and there is nothing else to eat.

So, I decided to share my favorite Matzha recipe and my favorite cake recipe (yes, you’ve read this right! Cake!)

The first recipe will be good as a dinner (or lunch… or breakfast really.)

So, what do you need for the matzha?

  1. 4 wet matzahs
  2. 3 different kind of shredded cheese
  3. Toppings/fillings
  4. Oven pan

Set your ovens to bake at 350 F. Take 2 wet matzah, and lay it over an oven pan, spread cheese all over it (and I mean do not leave a corner untouched by cheese), add your toppings (my favorites are green olives and hard boiled eggs), add some more cheese (it’ll make the 2 matzah layers stick) and then put the 2 other matzah on top (you can add more cheese).

Put in the oven until all the cheese has melted.

Serve hot with a salad on the side (because something has to be healthy during this holiday).

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The second recipe is a dessert. It’s chocolate heaven and I recommend not using a sweet frosting – because there is such a thing as too sweet, and no you do not want to experience it! (side note: it is not my recipe, I saved it from Pinterest)

So’ what do we need:

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)

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Have a delicious Passover!

Until next time…

Or

Spring has sprung and it is amazing!


Even though it doesn’t feel like it – Spring has Sprung!

You know how the spring looks here in beautiful Michigan, but how does it look in Israel? You already know that most of the seasons look alike in Israel… the heat and the dryness… but spring? Spring is beautiful!

The country is full of color, carpets of green grass and colorful tulips, roses and every other flower you can imagine!

So, there is a way of know when it’s spring in Israel, every kid knows it! Why? Well because we have a dong for it! (just like any other thing in the Israeli culture)

Here is the video and I have translated the words for you:

How do you know that spring has sprung?

You look around you look around

And if you see there is no more muddy trails

And if you see there are no more coats

And if you see the poppy and daisy blossoms

Decorating Israel for the holiday

Then you know (then you know)

That spring has sprung (that spring has sprung)

Then you know

That spring has sprung

 

How do you know that spring has sprung?

You look around you look around

And if you see a lot of working hands

Carrying heavy baskets with Matzah and wine

And if you hear “joy oh joy” (“joy oh joy)

Spring is here and so has Passover

Then you know (then you know)

That spring has sprung (that spring has sprung)

Then you know

That spring has sprung

 

So, what do Israelis do in the spring? We go flower picking! You can pick Tulips and Anemones and every flower that grows in Israel. Now it’s not an illegal flower picking – The field owners want us to come help- this way it’s a fun activity for the family and they get assistance with picking the flowers – and you go back home with a beautiful flower bouquet!

We also travel the country (and sometimes outside of it) and spend time with friends and family – after all it is Passover but that’s for next week’s post!

Enjoy the spring in the air!

Until next time…

Or

A tale of love and darkness


Amos Oz is an Israeli writer, novelist, journalist and intellectual. He is also a professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, he is regarded as Israel’s most famous living author. Amos Klausner (later Oz) was born in 1939 in Jerusalem. Oz did his Israel Defense Forces service in the Nahal brigade, participating in border skirmishes with Syria. After concluding his army service, he went to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he studied philosophy and Hebrew literature. He graduated in 1963 and began work as a teacher of literature and philosophy. He subsequently served with a tank unit in the Sinai Peninsula during the Six-Day War and in the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War.

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A Tale of Love and Darkness is an autobiographical novel by Israeli author Amos Oz, first published in Hebrew in 2002. The book documents much of Oz’s early life, including a number of events he previously hadn’t communicated. Oz chronicles his childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel, and his teenage years on Kibbutz Hulda.

His parents, mother Fania Mussman and father Ariyeh Klausner, feature as prominent characters within the book. Importantly, his mother’s 1952 overdose on sleeping pills becomes the point of exploration for the novel, launching the deep probing into other parts of his childhood and youth.

Told in a non-linear fashion, Oz’s story is interwoven with tales of his family’s Eastern European roots. The family’s name was Klausner. By changing the name to a Hebrew one, Oz rebelled against that European background while affirming loyalty to the land of his birth.

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A production company owned by Natalie Portman acquired the film rights to the book. Portman began shooting the movie in February 2014 in Jerusalem. The film marks her directorial feature film debut; she also played the role of Oz’s mother, and Amir Tessler played the young Oz.

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Who here doesn’t know Natalie Portman? The Israeli actress who made it big in Hollywood before it was cool? Portman was born on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem. Her original given name was Neta-Lee, a Hebrew name. She is the only child of Shelley (née Stevens), an American homemaker who works as Portman’s agent, and Avner Hershlag, an Israeli fertility specialist and gynaecologist. Portman moved to the United States when she was three years old.

In an Interview she did with Vogue in 2016, we learn some things about her that we didn’t know, such as that Natalie Portman was discovered at the age of 9 when a scout for Revlon approached her in a pizza parlour and asked her if she would be interested in modelling. “No, but I would like an agent,” was Portman’s response. “I kept my cool,” Portman later recalled. “I told him that I wanted to act.” Portman initially turned down the role of Ann August in Anywhere but Here (1999) because it included a love scene with actor Corbin Allred that required nudity. But Susan Sarandon, who had co-star approval, refused to do the film opposite anyone other than Portman.

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Here is the trailer of the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it.

Until next time…

Or

Here it is! The Israeli song for 2018 Eurovision!


But, wait! What is the Eurovision you ask? Well, that is a very good question! The Eurovision Song Contest began as the brainchild of Marcel Bezençon of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union). The Contest was based on Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival and was designed to test the limits of live television broadcast technology.375px-Eurovision_Song_Contest_2018_logo.svg

The first Contest was held on 24 May 1956, when seven nations participated. With a live orchestra, the norm in the early years, and simple sing-along songs on every radio station, the Contest grew into a true pan-European tradition. In the beginning, it was obvious for the participants that they should sing in their country’s national language. However, as the Swedish entry in 1965, Absent Friend, was sung in English, the EBU set very strict rules on the language in which the songs could be performed. National languages had to be used in all lyrics. Songwriters across Europe soon tagged onto the notion that success would only come if the judges could understand the content, resulting in such entries as Boom- Bang-A-Bang and La La La. In 1973, the rules on language use were relaxed, and in the following year, ABBA would win with Waterloo. That freedom of language rules would be soon reversed in 1977, to return to the apparent permanent status in the 1999 contest.

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In 2015, the Eurovision Song Contest celebrated its 60th anniversary. The BBC hosted a grand anniversary show in London, featuring over a dozen former participants. And to honour the country’s Eurovision Song Contest commitment for over 30 years, the organisers admitted Australia to participate for the first time ever.

Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 40 times since making its debut in 1973 and it was very successful, with Ilanit finishing fourth. Israel then achieved back to back victories in 1978 and 1979, with wins for Izhar Cohen and the “Alphabeta”, with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” and Gali Atari and Milk and Honey, with “Hallelujah”. The country’s best results in the 1980s were the second-place finishes for Avi Toledano in 1982 and Ofra Haza in 1983. Former winner Izhar Cohen returned to place fifth in 1985. Duo Datz finished third in 1991, before Israel achieved its third victory in 1998, with Dana International and “Diva”. Eden then finished fifth in 1999. Israel has hosted the contest twice, in 1979 and 1999, both times in Jerusalem. In 1980, the IBA declined to host the contest for a second successive year for financial reasons. Instead, the contest was held in The Hague.

Dana International in the 1998 Eurovision

This year Israel is sending Netta Brazilai (that won Israel reality Hacochav Haba to Eurovision) with the song “Toy”. The song was co-written by Doron Medalie that spent much of the last decade, he’s directed Israel’s Eurovision entry, and also wrote three of the songs performed by Israeli contestants, including “Golden Boy” performed by Nadav Guedj for Eurovision 2015 and “Made of Stars” with Hovi Star in 2016. He also wrote “Tel Aviv Ya Habibi Tel Aviv,” and songs for Shlomi Shabat, Eyal Golan, Omer Adam and others. But his intention with “Toy” was to create something different, lighthearted, joyous and catchy. Once Medalie and his writing partner, Stav Beger, found their beat for “Toy,” they began working with the toy theme, a motif that Medalie couldn’t find in any past Eurovision song, much less any pop song in recent history. “That’s a bingo for me,” he said. “And when Netta looks and behaves the way she does, so it turns toys into ‘I’m not your toy, don’t play with me.’ Let’s use toys to say something different about the #MeToo movement.”

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Well, I know I have sparked some curiosity in you about Israel’s song for the competition. so here it is for you to enjoy: Toy.

Until Next time…

Or

Women in Israel


Women in the Workforce

In Israel, approximately 50% of women participate in the workforce, as opposed to 62% of men, However, for the Israeli Arab population, severe unemployment is a major issue for women only 22% of Arab women work. Women residing in peripheral regions and middle-aged women aged 45-64 suffer from low unemployment as well. Women also face a large salary gap.  The salary discrepancies between male and female workers are approximately 25% in public sector and 35% in the private sector. However, women’s rights in regards to pregnancy and birth are far from ignored.

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Women in politics

In Israel, the representation of women in the Knesset, the government, and municipal authorities is very low in comparison with other democracies. Although it passed the 10% barrier in 2000, the maximum representation of female members in the Knesset was 18%. Israel is ranked 100th place among the nations of the world, falling far behind European, South American, Asian, and African countries. Aside from having a woman Prime Minister, Golda Meir, in the 1970s, Israel is still far behind its competing countries in the progression of women in government. It is important to note that Meir while breaking the barrier for Israeli women, was an exception and did not advance a feminist agenda as Prime Minister.

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Women in the IDF

The patriarchal worldview views men as fighters and nurturers. Women’s movements have called this “social order” into question, with two main objectives:

  • On one hand, the feminist movement generally opposes war and militarism, and instead emphasizes values of humanism, finding common ground, and mediation.
  • On the other hand, women have claimed that as long as countries have militaries, service should be open to women as well to ensure equality and to refine the behaviour of combatants in training and in battle.

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Israel is the only country in the world with compulsory military service for all men and women when they reach the age of 18, or complete their studies. Men serve 36 months and women serve 20 months. The 1986 Defense Service Law establishes that religious women are exempt from military service. Those who wish may enlist in the National Service, where they are active in community service. In 1995, Alice Miller, together with the Women’s Lobby and women Knesset members, led a campaign against the IDF over her right to join flight training. The IDF argued that women were physically incompatible for the flight course and that the State would have to shoulder a large cost to adapt the program for women. The High Court of Justice ruled that the principle of equality, which comprises one of the state’s cardinal values, justifies and demands the financial investment since 1995, the flight course, and in its wake, the Shayetet Naval Special Force Unit now enlists women. In 2000, a law was passed requiring the IDF to open combat service roles to thousands of women.

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Achievements in the Advancements of Women in Israel

  1. The entry of women into the labour market broadening their importance in all sectors
  2. Israel’s legislation is amongst the world’s most progressive, raising awareness, oversight, and institutionalizing supervision
  3. Providing greater protection to women by intensifying the struggles against violence towards women, sexual harassment, and the trafficking of women
  4. Strengthening the voice of women in social-cultural formation; women in literature, the media, religion, peace, and war
  5. Approaching equality in the number of students in higher education, including doctoral students, and instituting Gender Studies
  6. Advancement of sexual equality in the military; this constitutes the jumping-off point for women into their civilian lives
  7. Supreme Court rulings on representations of women in religious councils, a flexible retirement age for working women, affirmative action and others precedents that have expanded women’s rights

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Until next time…

Or

Purim – The one day a year that you can see a mermaid, a pirate and a princess taking the bus – and it all makes sense.


Purim in Israel is not like the holiday that you are accustomed to in the United States. In Israel’s primary schools, Purim is a whole week long of events! Every day, the kids need to come with a different costume to school according to a theme that was created in advance by the teachers. For example: there is a PJ’s Day, Colors day, crazy hats day and so on.

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Not only do parents need to make a different costume every day – they also need to make a Mishlocah Minot. That is not a simple as it sounds. Purim is when Israelis play their version if “Secret Santa” or “Hanukkah Harry”. We call it ‘The Dwarf and the Giant’ – where the dwarf gives the giant one small gift each day and then during the Purim festivities the dwarf gives the giant his Mishlocah Manot.

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All this is fun and games – but what happens when you go to the army? Is there Purim in the army!?

Of course, there is! Purim is a religious holiday, so that means that everyone in Israel celebrates it! You might not get days off in the army (or university, or work) but there will be one day of festivities where you wear costumes, exchange Mishlochei Manot and enjoy the Purim vibe.

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When University starts, things get really fun!  Most universities have a Purim party, some of them have a Purim Ball, but mine (Ben Gurion) had a four- hour long party on school grounds. All classes stopped at 2PM and every single student came to campus with some of the most elaborate and original costumes you have ever seen (when the first prize is a vacation abroad – you go all out!).

But by far, the cutest things at the Ben Gurion party are the puppies wearing Purim costumes.

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And let’s not forget the biggest Purim parade that happens every year in Holon where everyone comes wearing costumes to enjoy the Purim atmosphere.

Until next time…

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