Many of the greatest names in Israeli history belong to leaders of military battles and to eloquent spokespersons who rallied the Jewish people to fight for a modern homeland. Chaim Weizmann’s field of “battle” was the game of diplomacy. His great skill in this most delicate realm made it all the more appropriate that his final title was that of the first President of the State of Israel.
The IDF (Israeli Defense Force), was born in the heat of the Israeli War of Independence. As the brand new state was declared and the country came under attack, the Israeli government created its official fighting force from three separate, pre-state para-military units (each with its own political ideology), the Haganah, Irgun and Lechi.
Urban sprawl is one of the prominent contemporary environmental concerns. It is, understandably, a modern issue that started at the time of the industrial revolution. Oddly enough, however, it is a dilemma that the Torah appears to have considered, even in the days when many cities were growth-limited due to surrounding walls.
It’s a fact that many people spend much time thinking and even worrying about par’nassah (livelihood).Jewish tradition teaches that different seasons have different spiritual strengths.
On January 18, 1943, the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto arose in violent rebellion against further deportations. The struggle lasted an incredible three months. On April 19th, the Nazis began their final assault. Four days later, with their weapons depleted and the Nazis progressively blowing up blocks of the ghetto, the Jewish resistance was overcome. By mid-May, the Warsaw Ghetto was no more, its tens of thousands of residents mercilessly murdered. Beneath the rubble, however, remained profound exhibits of the courage, faith and strength of the Jewish people.
Tomorrow, the 27th of Nisan, Jews around the world will mark Yom Ha’shoah (Officially Yom Ha’zikaron La’shoah V’ha’g’vurah, which translates to The Day of Memorial for the Holocaust and the Heroism, generally shortened to Yom Ha’shoah). In Israel, the day is marked by official ceremonies, flags at half mast and, most famously, by a siren marking a moment of silence during which traffic comes to a standstill.
When asked to name early American Jewish poets, the first name that comes to most people’s mind is Emma Lazarus. It may therefore be surprising that the first published American Jewish poetess was a woman named Penina Moise.
Although the site of the mountain fortress of Masada, the history of which was recorded by the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus, was “discovered” in 1842, the site was not excavated until the 1960s. The dig was led by Israeli Archeologist Yigael Yadin, who was joined by thousands of volunteers. Today, this incredible archeological site is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Israel.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is ‘oil poured forth.’ Therefore, the maidens loved you. Draw me, we will run after you…” (Song of Songs 1:2-4).
Ashkenazi or Sephardi? Hungarian, Yekke (German), Lithuanian?