Moshe Lion vs. Nir Barkat: Twisting the Numbers

August 18, 2013

It’s only been a few weeks since the race for Jerusalem mayor, which was assumed to be a slam dunk for incumbent Nir Barkat, due to the lack of any competition whatsoever, heated up with the entry of a serious contender, Moshe Lion, the former chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority. Suddenly ubiquitous billboards showing […]

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Dan Ariely and the Black Market

June 23, 2013

The most thrilling session at the Israeli Presidential Conference last week was not the panel on “Should We Wait It Out: Israel and a Changing Middle East” which featured three U.S. and Israeli ambassadors and a former head of the Mossad. It was not Yair Lapid’s speech on how integration of the haredim will produce an economic […]

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Dirty Diapers of Shavuot Past

May 13, 2013

It was Shavuot 1985. I had finished college and had come to Israel the year before, where I was in the flush of religious epiphany. Everything was new, exciting and, as I gushed to family and friends back home, true – my opinions still untarnished by politics, the wisdom that comes when you’ve got more than 23 years of […]

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Troubles at my Alma Mater

March 13, 2013

My alma mater was all over the Jewish news last week, but not for good reasons. Oberlin College, which I attended as an undergraduate some 30 years ago, has inexplicably seen a number of racist and anti-Semitic incidents in the past month. On February 15, students found a note reading “Whites only” tacked above a […]

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Jerusalem Youth Chorus Records with Israeli Pop Superstar David Broza

January 31, 2013

I’m not sure what who was more excited – our 15-year-old-son Aviv who was about to meet one of Israel’s biggest pop stars, or his parents, given that Aviv had actually never heard of said star. But we had – my wife Jody’s mom even has a picture of her with David Broza from a concert he […]

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Election Day “Live Blog”

January 22, 2013

(I decided to “live blog” election day from the Blum family perspective. The first part appeared on the Israelity website only. Here’s part two.) I don’t know if it was the fresh air or the physical exertion of our two-hour  hike earlier in the day (see the previous post), but we did it. We all made up our […]

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Christmas Carols and Coexistence in Jerusalem

December 26, 2012

I can’t remember the last time I heard Christmas Carols sung live – not in the 18 years that I’ve lived in Israel and before that probably only on TV and radio for years. But this Christmas Eve, we attended the YMCA’s annual Christmas Carols Concert. The official reason: our 14-year-old son, Aviv, was performing […]

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Bagels, Politics and Personal Ownership, Here and There

November 7, 2012

While all eyes today have understandably been focused on the U.S. elections, sometimes it’s the little things that are elevated to true shmooze status. And for fast foodies in Jerusalem last week, it was the closing of Tal Bagels on Emek Refaim. Let’s face it, no matter who’s president, you still have to eat bagels…at least a […]

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No more lying for “religious” girls

February 10, 2012

We know a girl named Liat who lied to get out of doing army service. Despite living a secular lifestyle, she told the army she was religious, which gave her an automatic exemption. She then made matters even worse: instead of signing up for national service, which most non-haredi religious girls do, she instead fled […]

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Hanukah, Extremism and Light

December 27, 2011

Hanukah is probably the most confounding holiday on the Jewish calendar. If we move beyond the toys and the gelt of 20th century Christmas catch-up, the story itself has been interpreted in so many ways that it’s difficult to get a lock on the pshat (the simplest understanding). For what is Hanukah? Is it the […]

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