a different side of Israel

Tag: Jewish

The Future

A fascinating conference was held at the impressive Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzilya. The topic was “Jewish Peoplehood circa 2110“.
Such futuristic issues were touched upon as: tensions between religious and secular populations, the reconciliation of democracy and a Jewish state and other issues about demographics.

The panel was made up of the following Jewish intellectuals:
Dr. David Passig: An occupational futurist and author of the forth-coming book “2048”. A professor at Bar-Ilan University, who describes himself as optimistic, even in the face of all the challenges which face the Jewish people today.

Dr. Noam Lemelshtrich Latar: The Dean of the School of Communications at IDC-Herzilya. Some might have perceived him to be the “resident pessimist” of the conference in his fearless readiness to challenge the assumptions of the questions put to the panel.

Leah Biteolin: An employee at the Jewish Agency for Israel; a 1984 Jewish Israeli immigrant from Ethiopia. Leah shared her personal story of returning to Zion.

Jewish Peoplehood circa 2110 – Leadel LIVE Panel from Leadel dot Net on Vimeo.

Unique Israeli Artist Jack Jaget

Jack Jaget is a graduate of Music and Art High School and the Cooper Union Art School of New York. For some years he was the Art Director at the World Publishing Company. Once, this master designed books for most major publishing companies in the States, for which he won many awards, among these:

Best 50 Books – American Institute of Graphic Arts, AIGA children’s book selection (A total of 14 books), honor book for the Caldecott Medal, and he was a member of AIGA and the American Heritage of Graphic Arts.

In 1974 Jaget, his wife and three children immigrated to Israel and founded a graphic studio which turned out designs for companies, hotels and banks such as the Sheraton and Carlton Penta, Bank Hapoalim, the BIRD Foundation, and others.
Hebrew Wood Mezuzah Case by Jack Jaget
Wood-working has long been Jack’s great love – so he turned it into an occupation. Each Jack Jaget piece is individually fashioned in various woods and decorated with gold leaf. All of the metallic parts are gold plated. He uses the finest lacquer finishes, to give his creations a unique and mysterious Middle Ages aura.

A number of Jack’s pieces have been presented to CEOs and notable scholars. Among well-known personalities who were the recipients of Jack’s books are, the late King of Jordan, as well as US President George W. Bush.

His work includes; Bibles, Tehillim, Sidurim, Pesach Haggadot, Machzorim, Tzadakah Boxes, Torah Pointers and Mezuzah Cases.

Levels of Jewish in Israel Explained to “Strange Workers”

Yair Nitzani explains to foreign workers in Israel (Strange Workers) about the different levels of Jewish in Israeli society.


Rabbi uner arrest
Last week’s arrest of more than 40 people in New York and New Jersey on a massive money laundering and corruption rap, could not have come at a worse time for both Israeli and American Jewry, especially with the 150 year sentencing of Ponzi scheme master Bernard Madoff still very prominent on peoples minds. The bust, which came after a long investigation by the FBI and other legal authorities, not only includes a number of prominent area Rabbis (including one aged 87) but several legal and political figures as well.

The various charges against these people include an extensive money laundering operation that involved underworld crime families and stretched from Mid-America to Tel Aviv and back. Money that was supposed to be contributions for various charity organizations is now said to have been actually monies for underworld sources and funneled though Swiss banks into Israel, and then out again, had been orchestred by a prominent member of the Syrian Jewish Community, Solomon Dwek, who later cooperated with the Feds and even helped to garnish the necessary evidence to nail many of the accused, including the spiritual leader New York’s Syrian Jewish community, Rabbi Saul Kassin, 87; who was later released after posting bail:


Dwek, appears to have a history of being involved in shady dealings; despite the fact he has once a prominent member of the Shas political party in Israel. He decided to cooperate with the FBI after losing a considerable amount of money (other people’s) and passing several bad checks for considerable sums. Beside the other four Rabbis involved, including Rabbi Edmund Nachman of the Deal Synagogue, Mordechai Fishman of Congregation Sheves Achim, and Rabbi Ben-Haim of Congregation Ohel Yaacub, some well known non-Jewish personalities were also busted, including Hoboken N.J. Mayor Peter Cammarano III, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, state Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith and state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt.

One charge that apparently has enraged many people is the one involving Levy Yitzhak Rosenbaum who is being charged with dealing in human kidneys which were supposedly “donated” to him for around $10,000, and later sold to recipients for amounts ranging up to $160,000, with the “profits” going to hospitals and surgeons, after Rosenbaum’s “commission” was deducted.

The corruption side of the story, involving various politicians and legal persons, only further exposes the amount of corruption going on in states like New Jersey, made known during the six year successful television series, The Sopranos, which dealt with the activities of a fictional New Jersey Mafia family headed by a colorful character named Anthony (Tony) Soprano.

But anyone who hails from this neck of the woods is aware that these kinds of activities have been going on for a long, long time, despite New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine saying:

“The scale of corruption we’re seeing as this unfolds is simply outrageous and cannot be tolerated.”

Really now, Jon; are you saying you were totally unaware that these kinds of activities have been going on? Are you really so innocent and lily-white; as compared to such people as former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, now facing charges of racketeering, extortion, and fraud? Didn’t you yourself watch the exploits of Tony and the Gang during their 6 year TV stint. We bet you did!

But the fact that this big bust is happening now, presents a worrisome picture of what could be in store for Jewish communities in America in the coming months, as more efforts may be made by “zealous” US governmental agencies, under the ultimate control of the US Department of Justice – and of course the White House – to uncover activities which may have been even accepted as being commonplace among many communities; especially in cities like Hoboken and Trenton New Jersey. Notwithstanding that the area’s Muslim population, which is also quite large and has many Islamic charities and other organizations; has also been said to be involved in similar activities as well, including sending large sums of money to radical Muslim groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and even Al Qaeda.

But for the moment anyway, this subject appears to be under wraps, while the media and US legal authorities appear to be having a field day in “nailing the Jews”. The bottom line to this entire scenario is that things have changed for the American Jewish Community, and for Israel, since the new US Administration has taken over in Washington – and definitely not for the better.

Tefillin Anime

This lovely video was made by Yoav Lustig. It depicts a young boy attempting to wear the traditional Tefillin.

Not Jewish?! What are you doing here?

Jill Cartwright is a 31 year-old non-Jewish woman from England who lives in Tel Aviv, where she works as a sub-editor at Haaretz newspaper and lives with her boyfriend, the Israeli singer/songwriter Saar Badishi. The following is the first part of a mini-memoir that recounts how and why she moved to Israel in the winter of 2001, at the height of the second intifada, and what it’s like to be a non-Jew in Israel.
Send email to Jill:

One day after purchasing my open-return ticket to Tel Aviv, in the winter of 2001, I was sitting in the spacious living room of my parent’s North Yorkshire home watching the news. Images of panicked Israelis queuing up for gas masks filled the screen. A few days previously, a Palestinian bus driver had driven into a line of people waiting at a bus stop, killing eight, and just a couple of months before that, Ariel Sharon had made his infamous visit to the Temple Mount and kicked off the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

My Dad slowly turned his gaze towards me, lifted his eyebrows and gave me a “What the hell are you doing?” look. It was the first such look – but definitely not the last. From then on it was normally directed at me by one of those guys who stroll Tel Aviv beaches looking for unsuspecting single girls reading a book in a foreign language. They know foreign girls will be more polite to them than any self-respecting Israeli girl who would tell them exactly where to go (but more of that later):

Guy: “Where are you from?”
Me: “England.”
Guy: “What is your name?”
Me: “Jill”
Guy: “Are you Jewish?”
Me: “No.”

Then the eyes squint into an involuntary spasm of perplexity, the forehead wrinkles, the jaw drops loose, the shoulders shrug and the palms turn out, the head starts to shake from side to side and they just can’t help themselves: “Then what the hell are you doing here?”
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