Was this really me, committing to two weeks in Israel as a volunteer working on an Israel Defense Forces base? Completely out of character, but I was leaving my husband, children, and grandchildren for an experience beyond anything I could have imagined.
A remarkable new survey was released just before President Obama’s visit to Israel. According to the poll, Americans heavily favor the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64 percent vs.
History demonstrates that the events of the Holocaust served as an impetus for the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. For this reason, Israel’s civil calendar first acknowledges Yom HaShoah, which commemorates those whose lives were lost during the Holocaust.
I had come to Israel to join my friend Anat Hoffman, who is one the leaders of the Women of the Wall. The previous month, there had been a random decree that as women were coming in, they were not allowed to wear their prayer shawls, their tallits. I’ve been wearing a prayer shawl since I would say the late '70s, a long time. And it’s just considered a regular part of my ritual in prayer. In 1968, the Orthodox rabbinic created a mechitza, which is a separation between men and women at the Western Wall. And the understanding here in a very traditionally observant manner, in an orthodox manner, is that men are obligated to pray. Women are not. The Orthodox have deemed this site to be a synagogue.
“Did you know?” asked my husband’s Israeli granddaughter, at 16 indignant and adamant. “Reform Jews don’t believe the State of Israel should even exist!”
My love affair with Israel began in 1972 when I journeyed for the first time with my immediate family. My parents had been for the first time in February of 1968, six months after the Six Day War. We also were there six months before the Yom Kippur War.