Havel Havelim Blog Carnival: Of Springtime, T’fillin, and Politics as Usual

Looks like we’re only a week away from seeing A Damage Mirror in print!  The first author’s proofs will be coming home from New York with Don this week.  There will no doubt be a flurry of last-minute tweaks, but to all intents and purposes, the hard part’s done!  Is it too early to start asking “What next?”  Well, yes, I suppose it is…  Still too much to do.

In fact, there’s still so much to do that the best way to keep from doing any of it is to sit down and post this week’s Havel Havelim!  And so, for your reading pleasure, I bring you all the blogs taking part in this week’s Blog Carnival, supplemented by a few others that just struck my fancy for one reason or the other.



Batya of Shilo Musings asks: “Does G-d Need Those Written Notes?” and answers: “According to Judaism, we do not need intermediaries between ourselves and G-d,”  and that includes notes inserted between the stones of the Kotel.

On a somewhat related note, in “Jews, Israelis, We’re Failing G-d’s Qualifying Test” Batya writes that “We must pass the same test the second generation in the wilderness had to pass. We must be independent of foreign rule/influence and we must show full faith in G-d.”

And speaking of tests, New York’s Ramaz Jewish school recently moved to dis-invite Rashid Khalidi from speaking at the school’s politics club.  Rabbi Eliyahu Fink of Fink or Swim discusses the pros and cons in Ignorance is Death, and argues that high school kids who routinely dissect a page of Talmud can be trusted to weigh sensitive political issues as well.

And if we’re on the subject of controversies, one that refuses to die down is the issue of women donning T’fillin.   In Gender and tefillin: Possibilities and consequencesRabbi Ethan Tucker presented an interesting take on the sociological angle behind the issue. “Put simply, tefillin, at its core, encodes full citizenship in the world of learning. …. Those who wear tefillin thereby demonstrate their full responsibility to transmit and produce the next generation of Torah.”

This was answered by Rabbi Shlomo Brody in Women and tefillin: A reply to Rabbi Ethan Tucker. He argued that “contrary to the impression given in the essay of Rabbi Tucker, the dominant position within the Talmudic literature – and particularly within the Babylonian Talmud….  is that women can indeed don tefillin, either out of obligation or out of choice.”

Interestingly enough, although they differed on the significance of the act, neither rabbi argued against women laying t’fillin.  Hmmm….

Only in Israel

As I come down the home stretch toward getting the book into print, certain issues are bound to be uppermost in my mind, so it’s no surprise that this one caught my eye:  “Is it time to “get over” the Holocaust?”  asks Paula Stern. Her poignant response is that some things simply don’t go away. Ever.  “My husband will never ‘get over’ what was done to his parents and the impact on children of Holocaust survivors is well known and documented. And on it goes, to each generation. My four-month-old baby granddaughter will one day learn that she carries the name of a 12-year-old child who was murdered with her parents in Auschwitz.”

And yet, life goes on, and no one knows how to celebrate the onset of Spring better than Israelis.  Reesags World gets us in the mood with a light-hearted look at what the season has to offer in Countdown to Success . “In southern Israel, spring lasts almost two days. Some years, however, we’re lucky to have spring pay us a half hour visit before summer comes barging in.”

Tzivia Jennifer MacLeod of Adventures in Aliya Land, blogs about “Why winding up in Haifa might not be a bad thing after all” in: My new hometown: Haifa, a mixed-up love story.

Speaking of love stories,  Valentine’s day isn’t really an Israeli affair, but still…. Sarah Tuttle-Singer posted a pictorial love letter to Israel in  We love Israel. And here are the pics to prove it .

And if we’re already on the topic of photos from Israel, Batya of me-ander.blogspot posted some lovely photos of Jerusalem’s Bridge of Strings. Now, I’m no great fan of the Bridge of Strings, but lately, I’ve been warming to it.  These pics may feed that warming trend a tiny bit, but I still think the structure was one more bit of… shall we say, “over compensating,” by a certain former Prime Minister….
Batya also reviewed a unique Jerusalem eatery, the Ben-Yehuda branch of Cofizz, where all items are just 5 shekels. What can 5 shekels buy you? Find out at: Five 5 Shekel Food Place on Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem, A Review.
Meanwhile, Gayla Goodman of A Jewish Israel reports on a new collaborative effort between the Israeli high tech company Compugen and Bayer pharmaceuticals to investigate new treatments for cancer.  In Collaborating for a Cure, Goodman writes: “As opposed to conventional therapies, which can only target cancer cells,  this new approach is expected to give long term relief to those suffering from cancer, and with fewer instances of recurrence.”

Israeli political scene

It’s another of those “First time in two thousand years” moments:  the Israeli Knesset is poised to discuss the status of the Temple Mount.  “The status of Har Habayit has never come up in the Knesset. Ever,” writes Settlers of Samaria. “This is the first time since the destruction of the Temple that a Jewish authority will even discuss it. So how did it happen?”

Yoel Meltzer discusses the demographic myth and its application to the peace process in http://yoelmeltzer.com/demographic-nonsense/

That concludes this edition of Havel Havelim,  the Jewish Israel blog carnival, which floats around the internet.  We organize it on our facebook page.  Links can be sent via blog carnival.  Submit your blog article to the next edition of jewish-israel blog carnival aka havel ha using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.  Don’t forget to log in before submitting an article!


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