U.S. Elections & Israel

March 5, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Art, Blogging 

Ouchie ouch ouch, Yaakov Kirschen. Slightly disgruntled w/the current government, are we?

Moses, Dude, Pass it Over Here!

March 4, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Blogging, History and Culture, Israeliness 

What would you say if your best friend told you he went out into the desert and had an experience.

Man, God talked to me. And like there were visuals and everything. I’m telling you: The bushes were on fire, man. It was beeaaauuuttiful! You shoulda been there. And, like, while I was chilling and watching the sun come up, God told me I gotta do something for him. But, you know, it’s secret and all. So sorry, dude. Can’t make it to the baseball game tonight.

See? You know what you’re thinking.

The same thoughts as Hebrew University Cognitive Psychology Professor Benny Shanon who theorizes that Moses was having a wee bit of a “trip” when he visualized that burning bush magic way back when.

The “perceiving of the voices” has been interpreted endlessly since these words were first written. When Professor Benny Shanon, professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reads the verse, he recalls a powerful hallucinatory experience he had when he visited the Amazon and drank a potion made from a plant called ayahuasca.

“One of the things that happens when you drink the potion is a visual experience created via sounds,” he says.Shanon presents a provocative theory in an article published this week in the philosophy journal Time and Mind. The religious ceremonies of the Israelites included the use of psychotropic materials that can found in the Negev and Sinai, he says.

“I have no direct proof of this interpretation,” and such proof cannot be expected, he says. However, “it seems logical that something was altered in people’s consciousness. There are other stories in the Bible that mention the use of plants: for example, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.”

…writes blogger israelity bites, citing a Haaretz story. Go over and check out the theory. Very interesting.

Road trip, anyone?

Life Must Go On

March 2, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Blogging, Politics, War 

Well this isn’t happiness and sunshine day at Israelity, no it’s not.

Because we can’t ignore what’s happening politically but we don’t want to get mired in it either.

As Operation Warm Winter goes into Phase II, we offer a blogshare from two friends on opposite sides of the border looking to find a solution to the life imitation of hell underway in Sderot and Gaza.

Tandem bloggers Life Must Go On in Gaza & Sderot are asking readers to sign a petition calling on Israel and Hamas to adhere to a one-month ceasefire. They feel it’ll give both sides time to cool off and figure out what to do next.

Call me skeptical but…Well never mind.

Go on over to the site, see what they’ve been writing and follow the link if you want to sign their petition.

Godspeed to both…

The Impact of Shrapnel

March 2, 2008 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Blogging, Life, Politics, Profiles 

The other night at a Writer’s Meeting I run in Tel Aviv, my pal Liza came up and introduced her friend Gila.

“You know Gila. You blogged her. … she writes My Shrapnel. Remember?”

“Nope,” I replied.

“C’mon. You blogged her.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“You did.”

“Hu uh” I nodded firmly.

“You did. I know you did. I’ll go home and look for the post. And if I’m wrong, I’ll buy you the drink of your choice at the next meeting,” Liza offered.


I started mental-imaging the drink she would buy me straight away. Because I’m not one to forget what I write about & even if I was suffering a wee momentary lapse, “My Shrapnel” is simply NOT the type title that goes MIA.

And I was right. And Liza owes me. But between you and me, in this particular case I doubled my winnings.

Because rare is the occasion that I come across a blog that compels me to finish entry after entry, search through the archives,crave more information or comment aloud (to the chagrin of my cafe comrades).

My Shrapnel is American-born Gila Weiss’ writings following her hospitalization post-Jerusalem suicide bombing in 2002. She began blogging it in January and the result is an eye opener about the embedded shrapnel in her body s-l-o-w-l-y making its way to the skin surface.

But of course, it’s so much more.

It’s a blow-by-blow accounting from her friends of the two days that transpired between Gila’s dinner no-show & their phone calls to Jerusalem’s hospitals and the morgue. It’s her casual insistence that the actual bombing was a very non-dramatic event for her. It’s the plastic surgeon exclaiming with gleeful optimism that “at least” her facial injuries aren’t “catastrophic”.

Gila writes in such an upbeat yet poignant manner that it’s tough to “put down” but sometimes not too comfortable to read.

Her blog intro:

The bombing left me with shrapnel wounds over my entire body aside from my feet. My feet were spared because I was wearing my brown leather Naot brand mini-boots that covered my feet up to right below my ankles. I bought the shoes while I was still in Ulpan. My canvas slip-on’s (purchased before I left the US for about $15) had worn out to the point that they developed actual holes in the toes and people started laughing at me, and so I gave in to the inevitable, and decided to go shoe shopping.

I called my friend Galia for shoe store suggestions and asked my friend Yael to come protect me from my sense of style. We ventured downtown in search of footwear. At first I thought of buying another pair of canvas slip-ons, but then I decided to invest (to the tune of 350 shekels-about $80) in a pair of Naot, on the basis that these shoes would last for years and years and years, during which time period I would not have to look for more shoes.

Unfortunately, I forgot to factor in the diminishing effect that a human bomb has on the lifespan of a pair of shoes. That being said, I can tell all of you interested consumers that Naot-at least the style I had-provide effective protection for your feet against suicide bombers. This is a particularly important detail if you find yourself unidentified for two days and your face is so badly swollen that your own roommate, who has seen you even at your worst moments, cannot recognize you, and has to identify you by your toenail polish.

So despite the loss of my shoes, I am nonetheless pleased with my purchase, and am considering contacting Naot and asking them if by chance they sell leather pants, shirts, gloves, helmets, underwear, bras, and full-face masks for my future outings. I suppose I could go to a sex shop, but I don’t know that the quality would be as high.

Go Read My Shrapnel.

And Liza: Strong Latte with a shot of Kahlua, please. Hell, as a gesture of thanks I’ll buy you one too.

36 Hours

March 2, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Blogging, Politics, War 

As most of you know, there’s a “situation” going on in Gaza and Sderot.

From Jerusalem Diaries comes this account of life in Sderot during the past 36 hours…A share

my friend Laura Bialis, an independent documentary film maker responsible for the new film Refusenik that will have its US premiere next month at the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, is living in Sderot. This is her latest bulletin from the last 36 hours in Sderot:


As many of you know, I am living here in Sderot, making a film about the situation through the eyes of Sderot’s musicians. I live with Avi Vaknin, one of the musicians in my film, and Aner Moss, who is working as my cinematographer.

…Below is a journal from my last 36 hours: (excerpts only…sf)

Friday, 10:00AM:
I say (out loud) that we are lucky for no Tzeva Adom this morning. A half an hour later, we are getting ready to leave the house: Tzeva Adom, Tzeva Adom. We run into the shelter. This time, we hear the whistle. Avi always told me, that the scariest moment is when you can hear the whistle, because it means it is landing right near you. After the whistle, a huge boom that rattles the house. We run out to the street, all the neighbors have come out and everybody yells, “Where did it fall?” People are running around looking. We finally realize it has fallen across the street on the back side of our house. Luckily there are no homes there, just an open field.

Friday, 4:30PM:
Right before Shabbat. Avi’s brother and his family stop by to visit. His 8-year-old twin nieces are chasing our cat around our backyard and playing catch with grapefruits they picked from the trees. Aner is filming. All of the sudden, a huge boom. It was a qassam WITHOUT the Tzeva Adom warning– one of the scariest things possible. Then it starts: Tzeva Adom, Tzeva Adom. We run into the shelter. More explosions. Close.

Friday, 10:30PM:
We are driving home. We have the radio tuned to 104fm, where after 9PM there is silence, but the Tzeva Adom is broadcast — supposedly a couple of seconds before you can hear the loudspeakers. We stop the car and run up the walkway to the nearest house. We bang on the door. Nobody home. We get close to the wall of the house, just in case. For the first time I am afraid, I can hear my own heart beating. Something about the process of trying to run and not knowing where to go.

Saturday, 2:00AM:
Tzeva adom. This is strange– doesn’t usually happen at this hour. We run to the shelter. Can’t hear a boom. Maybe its too far. I get back in bed and try to sleep. I hear helicopters.

Saturday, 5:00AM:
Tzeva Adom.

Saturday, sometime between 5 and 7AM:
One or two Tzeva Adoms. I don’t remember. I don’t get up, I don’t wake up. I just stay in bed. Screw it all. If they want to bomb me, go ahead.

Saturday, 7:30AM:
Tzeva Adom. We wake up and run to the shelter. I am so tired I can’t even stand up. Get back in bed. I can hear gunfire. Really loud gunfire… like a machine gun. Is is from a tank or a helicopter or something.

Saturday, 9:30AM:
Tzeva Adom. Okay, maybe its time to get up. I hear airplanes — really loud. Must be F-16′s.

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