I have very little artistic ability. Throughout my childhood, I tried my hand at photography, drawing, singing, clarinet, dance, and musical theater, but to no avail. Considering all these failed attempts, I was shocked when I finally stumbled upon an outlet as an adult to successfully express my creativity: cooking. I began with simple baked goods and advanced to elaborate meals that involved chopping, flambéing, braising, sautéing, frying, plating, and more.
Not only did cooking serve as my creative outlet, it also became the medium through which I learned about and gained...Read More
To the average tourist in Israel, “Ben Yehuda” is simply the name of a popular central street in Jerusalem. It is a place to grab some falafel, stop by a Judaica store for souvenirs, and overhear squealing teenagers bumping into old friends. As many people with a background in Jewish history know, though, this street was named for the primary reviver of the Hebrew language Eliezer Ben Yehuda. Recently, I visited The Academy of the Hebrew Language at the Hebrew University Givat Ram campus, which contains archives of this influential and visionary man.
Today, we take the existence of...Read More
Recently, I walked into the student lounge at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Israel, went to my locker, made some tea, and began paging through my Hebrew book. I have come to appreciate my unshakable habit of arriving to campus too early, utilizing the extra minutes to calmly prepare for another day of classes.
Another student who shares this habit walked into the lounge, but rather than leading with his typically affable demeanor, he expressed anger and pain over a political advertisement. After seeing the look of confusion on my face, he pulled up...Read More
Recently, I traveled from Israel to the United States for a conference. Boarding the plane, I felt a good deal of anxiety. My nerves were not related to typical concerns about turbulence, long delays, or to flying itself. Rather, I was concerned about a problem specific to Israeli flights: women being forced to switch seats to accommodate Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men who do not wish to sit next to women to whom they are not related.
Thanks in part to the hard work of the Israel Religious Action Center, the practice of pressuring women to change seats is illegal today. Still, even...Read More
After finishing final exams and celebrating the end of the semester, I decided to spend some of my winter break exploring new sites in Jerusalem. Although I learned a fair amount about Israeli politics over the past few years, I had never actually been inside the Knesset (parliament) building. A close friend recently started working there, and I was excited to learn from her on a guided tour.
The tour began with relatively basic questions, pitched to a public group with vastly different levels of background knowledge:
When did the State of Israel declare its independence?...Read More
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