Monthly Archives: November 2015

Israeli Cats—by Peter Eisenstadt

In Jerusalem
In Jerusalem

Last year when I was in Israel, I fell in love with Israeli cats. My wife is a cat fancier, and wasn’t traveling with me, so I thought I would take pictures of every stray cat that crossed my path. I took a lot of pictures. There are a lot of stray cats in Israel and the West Bank. They were in every city we visited, particularly in the alleyways of shuks and old makets; on the beach in Jaffa, crossing busy thoroughfares in Tel Aviv, hanging out near butcher shops in Akko and Bethlehem. When we visited the Temple Mount, there were a group of cats, sublimely and insouciantly indifferent to the hubbub and tension around them, sunning themselves in front of the Dome of the Rock. In Hebron, the IDF didn’t seem to care that cats were passing from the Palestinian to Israeli-controlled parts of the city. They were always underfoot, and generally tolerated. read more



A talk with Alan Elsner, J Street VP for Communications.
Presented by J Street Rochester

Tuesday, November 17, 7:30 pm at the JCC, 1200 Edgewood Avenue, Rochester N.Y.

With the current horrific violence in Israeli and the West Bank and Gaza, many Israelis, Palestinians and American Jews have given up on ever reach peace. Yet, according to Alan Elsner, the two-state solution remains the only viable way to resolve the conflict. This talk will examine why the current situation is unsustainable. Elsner believes that if the parties continue on their present course, Israel’s future as a democracy and Jewish homeland will come under increasing threat. His lecture is entitled:
“A Positive Agenda for Israelis, Palestinians and American Jews” read more

David Ben Gurion: Samuel, a Leader of the Old Order—by Matia Kam

Tomb of the Prophet Samuel
Tomb of
the Prophet Samuel

The Book of Samuel marks, according to Ben Gurion, a new era in the history of the Jewish people that he defines as “a period of national cohesiveness, independence and a growing desire for kingship.” As the architect of the state of Israel, that period described in the Book of Samuel was particularly close to his heart. He said that the beginning of the book was anchored in what has been known as the rule of the Judges, yet even then the people aspired to come together, to unify and to look for a king. This growing public sentiment was brought up to Samuel who was a prophet and judge at that time; Samuel strongly rejected it, “it was wrong in Samuel’s eyes that they said, ‘give us a king to judge us.”* read more

Jewish-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue Series

Sunday, November 8, 2 pm
at the Turkish Cultural Center of Rochester
2692 Dewey Avenue

Topic for discussion:
“Notions of the Afterlife”

Dr. Ahmet Celenli, UR Muslim Chaplain
Rabbi Drorah Setel, Temple Emanu-El

Kosher and Halal refreshments will be served

the public is invited to attend

co-sponsored by:
Congregation Beth Hamedresh – Beth Israel
Temple Beth Am
Temple Beth David
The Turkish Cultural Center of Rochester
The Peace Islands Institute of Upstate New York

with support from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation read more

Choosing Life Over Land in Genesis: Following Abraham and Remembering Rabin —by Ayala Emmett

A man who claimed to love God and hate peace, murdered Yitzhak Rabin Israel’s Prime Minister. The shooting took place twenty years ago at a peace rally at the end of the Sabbath known as Shabbat Lech Lecha, [Genesis 12-17], the very Sabbath in which Jews in synagogues around the world read the Torah portion that opens with God’s call to Abraham to literally take himself off from his home and go to the land that God would show him. This dramatic call frames Abraham’s grasp of the ethical obligations attached to God’s promise when he is faced with a dangerous land dispute. read more

An Open Letter To The Israeli Left: What We Must Do to Become Relevant and Bring Hope—By David Langerman*

This letter is about facts, action and hope. The fact is that we in the Israeli Left have become irrelevant in both domestic and foreign policy; decision-making is completely dominated by the Right and far-Right parties. My goal in writing this letter, however, is not to spread pessimism and certainly not to surrender, but to advocate action and hope.

Let me begin with what seems self-evident but needs a reminder-the only thing that matters in a democracy like ours is winning elections and we in the Left are losing them faster in each cycle. Meretz, our signature political party, has barely made it in recent elections; we squeezed in, thankfully getting the mandatory five seats in the Knesset. I have enormous respect for Zehava Galon, but I do the math, 5 out of 120 does not make a political dent. If we continue on this path all our commitments to democracy, peace and social justice will at best be completely marginalized and irrelevant. read more

Hebron—by Peter Eisenstadt

Last year, I spent a day in Hebron. When we arrived at our destination, at an apartment rented by the Christian Peacekeepers Team, a woman from the flat next door offered us a cup of tea. She told us that for many years now, her front door had been welded shut by Israeli authorities, to prevent her exiting or entering from Shuhada Street, a street with several Jewish settlements. A man in his 30s told us how his wife’s family was prevented from using their land, since Israeli authorities had for several years declared it a potential archeological site, though he claimed that this was spurious claim. A while later, when we stood on the roof of the building, an Israeli soldier told us to get down. When we made our way to the center of the Old City, seeing all the ways Israel has hemmed in and restricted access to the Palestinian area of the city. To get to the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, we had to pass through several IDF checkpoints, and we saw various barriers, in the street in front of the tomb, indicating that Jews should keep to one side of the street, Palestinians to the other. read more