The End My Friend

•December 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well after being used and abused by Israeli security, here I sit at gate C8 with about an hour till boarding starts. I look back on my five months in Israel and it still has yet to hit me that I am just a few hours from America, from home. Yesterday we said our tearful goodbyes, our see ya laters, and now we face the reality of not seeing the people we have seen everyday for the last five months. Alas I look forward to returning home for my two month hiatus. So Shabbat Shalom, this is my last post from Israel, I will write from America, and I will see you again Israel, when we do all of this over again in two months!

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Take Another Peace of My Heart

•December 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As the Arab Spring devolves into the rise of Islamic extremism, the idea of peace in the Middle East seems more distant and unreachable than ever. With the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Nour winning the vast majority of seats in the new Egyptian parliament Israel faces the most hostile government since a state of war existed between the two countries. The only question that remains is whether their Islamic ideals will force their own destruction, to what lengths will Israel tolerate cry’s for a new Holocaust in Tahrir Square. As Assad’s government in Syria crumbles Israel finally had a chance to cripple Hamas outside of Gaza, to force them to run across the Middle East with no home or base. That is until the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, offered them safe haven in Amman. What fragile peace Israel has with these nations appear to be heading towards their greatest test. Iran is within months of developing and having launch capabilities of a nuclear weapon, and an Israeli strike seems ever more likely. There is tension in the air and the fate of the region seems uncertain in the best of terms, so it seems as though these events lead inexorably to a certain end. It is in this time, I am reminded of W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming”. This is one of my favorite pieces of writing, and to me fits the tone and timbre of currents events. I have posted the poem below to allow you the chance to read it, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this, and the situation in general. I do not want you to think I am an alarmist though, I do not believe this is fire and brimstone the end of days. But the air surrounding the events of the past several months has changed decidedly, the war drums can be heard, if at a distance, and so we wait for St. Gabriel’s horn (reference made in  good humor).

The Second Coming

By W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Tinker, Tailor, Jew, Atheist

•December 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

What spurs a day of introspective thought more than an existential discussion on the existence of a god? This cogitation was precipitated by the simple assertion that the scientific man could be no more an atheist than he could be religious. Though I consider myself a scientific man, I could not bring myself to agree with this sentiment. I was raised in the circumstance of militant atheism (I say this with a limited amount of levity) and science as a basis for all reason. For many years I have struggled with the issue of belief. Never straying into the religious, I always roamed between the no mans land of agnosticism and atheism. Continue reading ‘Tinker, Tailor, Jew, Atheist’

Thanks for All the Fish

•November 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

On this the 24th of November, the fourth Thursday of the month, like every year we are asked what are we thankful for? And every year it seems like the answers remain the same, our families, friends, jobs, and health. I ask myself sometimes what is the point of being thankful, year after year, for the same things? As time passes material things come in and out of our lives that we may secretly be thankful for, but feeling too shallow we never voice those thoughts. So what makes these things, family, friends, jobs, and health so immortal in the eyes of giving thanks? Maybe it’s that we know these things might not always be there, but when they are, they make us the epitome of our own selves. A family is unerring, and though at times tedious, will always be there, no matter what situation you may be in, no matter where you may be in the world, no matter how stupid you may have been, or blase of their care in the past, family is always there. Friends because when you need more than just your family, friends are there to tell you the thing you are about to do is stupid so you don’t have to call your family, friends are there so you can share your adventures, friends are there to reminisce about old times, and think about the future, though they change and grow, friends are always there. Jobs because a job is not being employed, it is doing the work to make the people around you  better, it’s doing the little things, the things no one notices, and you don’t get paid for, it’s remembering to turn on the dish washer, or taking short showers when the propane is running low, it’s making time to do those jobs that is satisfying, because having a job is not being employed, it’s always being there. Lastly it’s health, because even though we know when we may not be healthy we will have our family and friends, it is our health that allows us to do all the other things for which we give thanks. So on this Thursday evening, when I have no Thanksgiving food, no family nearby, and it passes like any other night, I give thanks for my family, my friends, my jobs, and my health. Without these things I would not be the person I am.

A Plague

•November 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

There is a plague, and it is rampant across the world. This plague is the modern day resurgence of antisemitism. In many ways this resurgence is more subtle than in the past, no longer is the Star of David plastered on the windows of Jewish businesses,  no longer are caricatures and misrepresentations of the Jewish people published in newspapers, and no longer are we openly ridiculed. Instead today we face accusations of apartheid and Nazi-esque treatment of minorities. Do not be fooled by these statements and others that deride Israel, it is the deepest form of contempt, for the Jewish people, to say that they are intolerant of another population, or even making the slightest semblance between Israel and the Nazi’s . I beg you to understand that someone who says they are not Continue reading ‘A Plague’

Catching Up

•November 20, 2011 • 1 Comment

So over the past few months I may have to some degree neglected this blog. That’s not to say I haven’t missed all my readers, I was in some sense of the word or another occupied. Well let’s just do a quick recap of the event of the past few months. First some friends and I went on a 2 day tour of Palestine where we went to Hebron, Ramallah, and Nablus. In Hebron we went to the Cave of the Patriarchs, Continue reading ‘Catching Up’

A Wild Weekend and an Unsure Future

•August 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I apologize for the time it has taken me to write another post, but here it is. Today’s topics vary and I may jump from one to the next without great transition. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post a comment at the end or send me an email. I’ll start with the adventures of Tel Aviv. Bright and early in the morning (8:30) I rolled out of bed and walked half asleep to where the bus was picking us up. All I can say is, I’m lucky I packed the night before. We got on the bus and proceeded to fall asleep. Our first stop was the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot, the history of this place and what it was used for is truly amazing. Continue reading ‘A Wild Weekend and an Unsure Future’