Stirred to action, behind the mechitzah

As I entered the room, I was directed outside. The minyan was improvised in someone’s home, so there was no actualmechitzah, and a couple chairs had been set up in another room. The window was carefully draped over with fabric, and I could only catch a glimpse here and there of what was happening on the other side. The men had dropped off their children in the room I was in, so I could only hear the shaliach tzibur through the intermittent silences in the children’s play. Each time a latecomer Read more [...]

Why I do not call myself Orthodox

The last couple of months I have been asked several times if I am Orthodox. It happened when I was telling someone that I will be studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem next year, and he asked if the reason I had chosen Jerusalem over Tel Aviv was because I was Orthodox. It happened with acquaintances who learned that I had become more observant in college and wanted to know what movement I now identified with. In every interaction, I hesitated, unsure what to say. I wasn’t unsure because Read more [...]

Update

Hi everyone!

A bunch of friends have been asking me about my blogging, so I wanted to post something here. I will be resuming blogging again, I have been very busy with school/ internship, etc but am hoping to write something on Times of Israel this week. Stay tuned!

Josefin

The violent rhetoric of Israel Apartheid Week

Two weeks ago the Pro-Palestine group at Cornell organized Israel Apartheid week. This is an event that happens at college campuses all over the US, and I can’t speak for what happens at other colleges, but the way the week was advertised and executed at Cornell spoke to the larger issue with campus pro-Palestine advocacy: its violent and destructive rhetoric. The week before Israel Apartheid Week, Cornell Hillel planned Israel Week, which is meant to showcase Israeli culture and included events Read more [...]

An egalitarian and observant community

I spent part of my winter break learning at Yeshivat Hadar in New York City. Yeshivat Hadar is an egalitarian, nondenominational yeshiva that is also very serious about and committed to Halakhah (Jewish law). Several people had told me that it would be a good fit to me, so I was very excited to check it out. For a while now, I have been struggling with being able to incorporate my passion for egalitarianism (in all aspects of Jewish life, including tefilah) with my desire for a more observant Read more [...]

Hypocrisy at the Kotel

A couple of days ago, Jewish women were detained and arrested for praying openly. This did not happen in Iran or Egypt, but in Israel. The women were arrested because others were offended as they raised their voices in ancient Jewish prayers. They were arrested because they wore religious garbs that some believe should only be reserved for men. They were arrested because they were praying to God the way they could, the way that felt meaningful to them. They were arrested for disrupting the peace, Read more [...]

Are fragile interfaith relationships better than none at all?

An interview with someone for an article I'm writing got me thinking about my thoughts on interfaith relations and discussions. In a previous post I wrote about my disappointment with some interfaith events I had experienced at college. The events were for Jews and Muslims supposedly to build relationships and break down barriers and stereotypes. Instead I found that people from both groups were very tense, and that the conversations were so shallow that they felt useless. I felt that I would rather Read more [...]

No more hummus for Palestinian activists

Some gems I learned at an event by Cornell’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter: No matter how delicious it is, Palestinian activists must boycott Sabra hummus. There is no anti-Semitism in Gaza, and Jews have been living there safely for decades. Israel’s founders were not Holocaust survivors, but rather part of a “Jewish capitalist bourgeoisie.” I had thought attending the event would make me irritated, but I found myself laughing more than trying to contain my anger. The ridiculousness Read more [...]

The only Jew in the school

 I previously wrote about my experience at college, where I found myself deeply involved in the Jewish community rather than in a more diverse one. The more I think about my response to becoming involved in this community in college, the more see it as a contrast to my upbringing. I grew up in a town with a small Jewish community and became used to explain my basic beliefs and answer (sometimes offensive) questions about my religion to my non-Jewish friends. My Jewish identity became the answers Read more [...]

Watching the conflict from afar

This day has consisted of checking Facebook, Twitter, Israeli and American news outlets. I found out about the rockets raining in from Gaza last week but certainly did not expect it to escalate so quickly. It's hard to follow conflicts happening in Israel from abroad. My homepage is set to the New York Times, so I don't get too much Israel coverage unless I remember to go to Times of Israel, JPost, etc. Today I watched my Facebook and Twitter feeds fill up with declarations of "Am Yisrael Chai," Read more [...]