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Recent Posts from our participants (66167 total posts)

Advocate for Israel

I voted for Israel because it's the homeland for the Jews provided by religion, education, food and culture from all around Israel. I voted for HABAYIT YEHUDI because with these four main topics: Israel is the Jewish homeland to live with families, to pray God for the sources of food, water and the Jewish education including Jewish Ancestors and to serve their country in the IDF to save the State of Israel. Israel should not concede land because of the vow differences between Hamas saying for his refusal of giving up one inch of land of Palestine and Mashaal when he arrived in the Gaza Strip for the first time said that Palestine from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, is their land and they’ll never give up one inch of land of Palestine. Combat terror happens from when Hamas outlawed USA as a “terrorist organization” has pledged to Eygpt by combat terror in Sinai with President Mohammed Morsi vows to stand with Hamas “as one”. Improve Jewish education from across our community’s synagogues, schools, agencies and organizations for learners of all ages. The three main things are: To inform by generating, analyzing, and disseminating knowledge about effective practices. To involve by convening and creating networks for Jewish professionals, lay leaders, and institutions across the community. To Inspire by modeling innovative approaches and programs to inspire Jewish individuals and families.

Advocate for Israel

http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/education/international_projects/index.asp I believe The International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem is a great contribution Israel has to offer to the world. Seeing as only 5 states in the USA currently require their public schools to teach about the Holocaust, it is very comforting as the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor to see establishments such as the International School for Holocaust Studies trying to promote Holocaust education across the world. When my grandmother decided to write her book containing the compilation of letters she secretly wrote while in Terezin, she decided to do so for the sake of posterity - for my father, my aunt, my sister and I, and my cousins. Not only did this book provide our family with great insight into the world in which my grandmother was incredibly lucky to have survived, but it provides evidence for my future children, and my sister’s future children, to learn about their family history, since they will unfortunately not have the opportunity to hear about it directly from my grandmother like we did. I never truly realized the importance of this book, however, and of other Holocaust memoirs, until my grandmother’s funeral. Listening to the rabbi speak at the event, (ironically on Yom Hashoah), I came to the realization that this book and her paintings are the only real things we have left to remember her by, and to remember this grave time in history which must never be forgotten. The same goes for all other memoirs - without them, we would never truly understand the importance of the meaning “Never Forget”, and would only know the facts which are provided to us by the hard evidence. The details in these memoirs, however, give us reason and implore us to share them with future generations, and to always remember the complexities of the event, which is another main reason why many survivors choose to write their narratives. They write because they feel they have an obligation to future generations to provide them with the knowledge and historical evidence to prevent them from re-living the same fate. Since there will soon no longer be any survivors left, it is now my generation's responsibility to educate the world about this grave event, and I take comfort in knowing that there are projects out there, especially some of the ones being done by Yad Vashem, that are working towards educating the world about this horrific event in time.

Reflect back on your Birthright Trip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNomlbhfs_g

Advocate for Israel

http://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/107/despite-rejection-and-isolation-israel-keeps Israel's contribution to our world, and religions is far from few. One of the more significant things I feel Israel has given us as a culture is a homeland, and someplace that despite the views of anyone else in the world, we can remain united as one and stand up for what we know is true and right. After reading the article it has also enlightened me about Israel "turning the desert green", with conservation being one of the closest things to my heart knowing that Israel is helping its land, people, air, and world by planting tree's educating on agriculture and farming and remaining entirely self sustained is incredibly inspiring and makes me love Israel that much more! As the young country that Israel is, it stands as a symbol of Peace, and what it is to know in our heart that this is spiritually our home and Israel will protect to in every way shape and form they possibly can, It truly connects me and inspires me to do whatever I can to continue Israels progression to peace.

Jewish Rituals

After attending the recent birthright trip, my sister Gabby and I extended our trip for 6 days and stayed with my American cousin Avi in Givat Sh'muel. During our extended stay Avi wanted take us to the alleged burial grounds of our ancestors, The Cave of the Patriarchs where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob, Leah, and Rachel are said to. We had to travel on a bulletproof-windowed bus to cross into the West Bank and travel to Israeli-controlled Hebron in the middle of a Palestinian-controlled zone. after we looked around inside someone asked me if I wanted to wear tefillin and say a prayer. I told them I've never used one and him and my cousin got really excited and told me its a mitzvah to wear tefillin in the homeland of your ancestors and since it would be my first they gave me a mini-bar mitzvah. I wrapped the tefillin around my arm and chant and began chanting the V'ahavta with a crowd of Israeli soldiers joining in on the celebration and after I was done we danced and sang with the soldiers. I was really happy I could take the opportunity to join in on a true Jewish aspect of our birthright to our ancestral homeland. Putting on the tefillin really helped me realize my commitment to perform mitzvot by supporting Israel and Tikkun Olam.

David Shaw

UH-32-566

Your Holiday Experiences

I have gone to Yom Kippur services in a synagogue every year of my life, and at age 13 and beyond I fasted during the entire day. Since both my parents work as synagogue educators, I am used to spending the entire day at synagogue and in services. The same thing occurred this year. I went to synagogue with my family, I attended all the services from Kol Nidre through Neilah, and I fasted the entire time. During the youth service (this is Reform congregation), my younger sister performed Kol Nidre, and my father did half of the reading for the book of Jonah. In between services I had time to see other Jews from my area that I hadn’t seen in a while and catch up. Strange as it may seem, the most meaningful part of the Yom Kippur service is always the combination of our Yizkor (memorial) service and Neilah service. The Yizkor service is a big thing because I tend to limit the amount of time that I spend thinking about friends and family that have passed during the rest of the year, and this service gives me a chance to relish my memories of them and allow myself to give in to some of the pain from their absence. Then, climbing out of this kind of emotional experience and having thought all day about what I can do to improve myself, Neilah services come as a final sprint and release from the emotional pressure that I put myself under during the rest of the day. Being surrounded by my family while this goes on makes it an even nicer, more personal experience.

Discover Rosh Hashanah

I read this article and thought about the tips and their relation to my experience during the Rosh Hashanah synogogue service. The first tip that really resonates with me is tip 1 - that five minutes of prayer said with understanding, feeling, and a personal connection to the words and their significance means far more than five hours of lip service. It is difficult for me to really feel connected and comprehend the meaning of some of the prayers and a lot of them seem so repetitive. However, I make an effort to really identify with and understand a few prayers and feel spiritually connected, which contributes to an overall meaningful spiritual experience. The second tip that resonated with me is tip 6 - "As you sit in your synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur you are joined by millions of Jews in synagogues all over the world. You are a Jew and you are making a powerful statement about your commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people". The idea of unity is a very powerful concept and I really appreciated it during my birthright trip in Israel. It is incredible to think that Jews from all over the world are united by this. I also have an appreciation for tip 5 - "You’re not that proficient in Hebrew? Don’t worry, G-d understands whatever language you speak. And, like a loving parent, He can discern what’s in your heart even if you can’t quite express it the way you would like." This resonates with me because I know how to read hebrew and would make an effort to read in hebrew in synogogue, but I then switched to reading the english so I can actually understand what I am saying, which adds more meaning. A tip that I would suggest to make someone's synogogue experience more meaningful would be to read commentary and insights about the prayers if they are available in the prayer book. The book I used in synogogue had alot of fascinating commentary from different rabbis explaining the meaning/ history of certain prayers and I found it to be very interesting and it certainly added meaning.

Discover Rosh Hashanah

As awful as it may sound, sometimes it takes a tragedy to truly change us, to help us understand the meaning of life or the significance of appreciating every day that we have. We can see people in pain around us and think, 'Oh, that's terrible,' or 'I feel so sorry for them,' but so often, that response is followed by another thought, typically along the lines of, 'I can't even imagine what they're going through.' Sympathy is often a far cry from empathy. Dr. Rosen was a brilliant, confident chief resident in the eyes of Jackie, a medical student who worked alongside him for six weeks. He often faced very difficult medical cases and couldn't save every patient he tried to help. Understandably, doctors like David Rosen were at times desensitized. They couldn't always see their patients as good people with loved ones. Facing that reality would make their job so much harder. It wasn't until Dr. Rosen lost his own sister to cancer that he changed- change that was apparent to Jackie simply by the change in his physical demeanor, by the lost light in his eyes. A few years after losing his sister, Dr. Rosen started teaching a seminar titled, "Morality in Medicine: How to Apply the Human Touch to Surgery." His sister's death changed his entire outlook on his career, and on his life. Rosh Hashanah symbolizes a new year- a time for new beginnings, for change, and for growth. The last few lines of the story alluded to Dr. Rosen's ability to change and reminded me of the most life-changing moment of my life. Like Dr. Rosen, I too have lost a loved one to cancer. After a three year battle, my mother was taken from us five years ago. When tragic things happen in our lives, all of the cliche sayings come out. 'Life's too short.' 'You have to live each day to the fullest.' And while it almost sounds like I'm mocking these sayings, these words really do hold weight. It kills me to think I wasn't living my life this way before my mother passed, and we did share many unforgettable experiences and moments together. But I do know that over the past five years, I've made an effort to live life to the fullest, whether it be by traveling the world with my sister or spending as much time as I can with family members and friends. In other words, living my life the way my mother would have wanted. Now that the New Year is here, I only hope I can continue to savor every moment. I really loved reading this story and appreciate the fact that it forced me to reflect on some of my deepest thoughts and experiences.