The Old Country

Hitchhiking now and then

August 20, 2015

Exactly 30 years ago today, I was in a car with a group of German strangers on my way to a standing room only soccer match just outside what was then West Berlin. As part of a two-month trek across Europe, I was feeling young and adventurous when I decided to try hitchhiking. Getting to […]

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Standing up to the online bullies

July 22, 2015

When I was growing up, I was frequently bullied. I had all the stereotypical markers for bullies to pick on: I was overweight, socially awkward, a klutz in sports and inevitably last to be picked, bespectacled and brainy. It didn’t help that my first name could be twisted to spell out the very insult that […]

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Smoking at an Israeli Wedding

February 9, 2015

Is this a thing: smoking on the dance floor at a wedding? My wife and I attended the nuptials of a friend’s son a few weeks ago. It was a lavish affair with an endless appetizer bar and a DJ crew that could compete with the best Tel Aviv clubs. But as the hundreds of […]

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Ireland, Identity and Avoiding Anti-Semitism

September 24, 2014

“If anyone asks where we’re from, say America, not Israel.” Those were the instructions I gave to my wife and children for how to minimize friction while traveling outside of Israel after a summer where protests bordering on (and sometimes overtly embracing) anti-Semitism raged across Europe. Our vacation – ten days in Ireland, hiking, drinking […]

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Why’d You Want to Live Here, Anyway?

July 25, 2014

An article a few weeks ago in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz questioned why someone would ever want to make aliyah from a comfortable country like the U.S. Especially these days – with the murders of the Naftali Frenkel, Gil-ad Shear and Eyal Shach still on our minds, the revenge killing of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khaider stinging at our […]

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Embracing the Third Culture

June 13, 2014

Ever since we moved to Israel 20 years ago, I’ve always felt like I don’t quite fit in anywhere. I’ll never be truly Israeli, since I didn’t grow up with all the pop culture references someone born in the country knows intuitively. And I’m not fully American anymore either, since I haven’t resided in the […]

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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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Pink Floyd Comes to Jerusalem

February 12, 2013

It was just like being at a Pink Floyd concert…maybe even better. At least that was how I felt walking out of the “Echoes” show at Jerusalem’s Zappa Club on Thursday night. Echoes is an Israeli Pink Floyd “tribute band.” That means that they don’t just play covers of Pink Floyd songs; they attempt to […]

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Buses Here and There

December 7, 2012

I grew up in a small suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area with no public transportation. This was tough because I have always been fascinated (my family would say obsessed) by buses, trams, trains and the like. San Francisco had pretty much everything a transit head like me could desire, including electric trolleys, streetcars […]

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Retiring to Protea Hills

July 11, 2012

It’s too bad I haven’t hit retirement age yet. Because when I do (and it won’t be for a good many more years), I know where I want to live: Protea Hills, a brand new retirement “village” in the final stages of construction high up on a mountain at Moshav Shoresh, about 20 minutes from […]

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