This week at Hartman, we took our exploration of Justice outside of the classroom and into Israeli society. Some colleagues went to south Tel Aviv to learn more about the issue of African Asylum Seekers. Others focused on the inclusion of the physically and mentally challenged in Israel. I went to the town of Kiryat Gat (Chicago’s sister region through JUF) to find out more about the issues that the Ethiopian Jewish community continues to confront. This seemed especially relevant after the protests of racism by the Ethiopian community in Tel Aviv which coincided with the protests of racism in Baltimore. http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-failed-ethiopian-community-president-says-at-memorial/
My time this summer at the Shalom Hartman Institute as a fellow in the 5th Cohort of the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative has been alive and inspired by the famous phrase by the prophet Micah in this week’s haftarah:
What does Adonai require of you?
Milat Hayom: Hag
Word of the Day: Holiday
This past Tuesday was Tisha B’av. Not exactly a holiday. Actually it’s a taanit (fast day). I have always wanted to be in Israel for a holiday. To experience what it is like for a whole country to celebrate (or mourn) together. This was as close I have ever come. I have observed Tisha B’av in the past, but only at camp since it always falls during the summer months. At camp there is a familiar ritual. We use a Torah scroll to represent each of the major events that we mourn on Tisha Bav (the destruction of the temple, expulsion from Spain, etc.) We walk around slowly in a circle and sing the song “By the waters of Babylon, we laid down and wept, and wept for thee Zion…” Though the subject matter is serious, it still gives me the giggles to think about this ceremony, somewhat devoid of meaning in absence of a strong connection to the events.
Milat Hayom: Shuk
Word of the Day: Market
On Fridays, it is common practice to go to the outdoor market (Shuk) which is called Machaneh Yehudah to do shopping for Shabbat. It is a VERY busy place on Fridays–full of locals and tourist, many birthright participants. There are some great restaurants there also. I went shopping with my friend Ayala last Friday and we got some groceries, challot for dinner, rugalach for seudat shlishit the next day, and some produce. I like to get the kibukim (sometimes called American peanuts) They are my favorite! Luckily I was with a local who told me which vendor to buy them from, because the first place I stopped, she told me, is underneath where the birds perch. Yuck. We had a very nice lunch where we overheard a conversation (in Hebrew, of course) where a guest told the owner, “we came from very far to eat here!” and he asked, “oh really? From where?” they answered a town about 45 minutes away, and the owner said, “that’s nothing! I have people who come from America here all the time!”