January 17, 2012

Good News of Tolerance

I live in the middle east in a tiny country the size of New Jersey. I live in a country that is hated by most countries in the world.  Perhaps it is because many people are ignorant about the history of Israel What is surprising is that the academia and the educated, those who should know better, have embraced newly invented propaganda that seeks to destroy the tiny land I live in.

I have now decided to ignore all media. It is mostly lies, invalidated information that is presented as factual.And it is  usually filled of bias. Reading threats and increasing hate against Jews and the land of Israel give me an ulcer. 

And what  can I do to change the situation?

So with nuclear warheads itching to eradicate us from above, rockets pummeling Israelis in the south, and a growing  arsenal of weapons being pointed at the north, I do not need more hateful news. I just want to know when to run for my bomb shelter;  and since it is also my wine storage room, I need to remember to bring a cork screw if the air aid siren ever goes.  

Adding fuel to the fire, the media both in Israel and abroad has lingered on a recent story, savouring it like a fine wine. As it blows out of proportion, it strengthens our enemies. The story is about a handful of uneducated hooligans in Beit Shemesh who feel they can use force and intimidation to win a battle. 

Here in Israel, we all know they are a small group.  And we also know that their black hats and coats mean nothing. They are not religious;they are just dressed up as Orthodox Jews. Violence, threats and treating others as inferior are not Torah precepts, so these people are fakes.

I do not want to enter into politics or hatred. I just want everyone to understand each other and live together in spite of differences. 

There was another news story, but since it was good news, it probably did not interest the media. 

Last week, a hundred religious and no-religious women and girls gathered together in Beit Shemesh for a flash mob dance. The message? We can live together, we will respect each other, and we are a strong united female voice. We love dancing, we love singing and we love life. 

This is the majority view here in this tiny country the size of new Jersey-and this is what people should be watching all over the world. Please watch this flash mob video and smile.

January 12, 2012

A Return to Within

Today I had a pure, clean run. Usually I am all wired up, ipod strapped to my arm, a cord snaking up my sleeve to headphones which perch uncomfortably behind my baseball cap. And with every stride, the ipod case slowly slips down my arm and the ear buds pop out.  

And if I become overheated and want to peel off my sweat shirt, it becomes a real production; I practically need a stage crew to help me change set. 

And if I am jogging with my excitable Labrador Retriever and want to extricate myself from that sweaty sweat shirt without losing the rhythm of my music, it becomes dangerous. (I once tried to hold him back by stepping on his leash, but just as I was pulling the sweat shirt over my head, he bolted after a cat. Blind-folded by fleece and twisted up in wires, I spun around like a top and pirouetted to the pavement with a clunk.)

I know I am technically challenged, but these contraptions do not add ease, tranquility or speed to my jogging life.

So today I ran out the door clean. Wireless, music less, and serene. I had the over-excited, tongue wagging, tail flapping dog--and yes, he stopped at most trees to sniff and leave his calling card. But the morning was fresh, calm and quiet.

It had been raining heavily the day before and the parched earth was bathed, giving off a rich, fresh, fertile smell. The hibiscus flowers looked brighter, the blue lavender fuller and the purple lantana deeper. Birds chattered from the date palms. My feet padded across wet sidewalks, skirting puddles and my mind wandered and darted, free as the parrots that darted overhead.  

I felt expansive, grateful, free. No distracting phone calls urging me to stop. No bbms pinging me and no percussion drumming into my brain. Silence. It is a rare commodity in these times and if we don't stop to listen to it, we can so easily become frantic, off balance, ill.

The world continues to race along as technology works faster.  And us? We are being pulled away from the ground and becoming tangled in its wires.  Turn off the phone and listen to the birds. Be it celebrating Shabbat, taking a run in the park, and a walk on a crisp, fresh morning, we must pull back and return to that pure, clean place within.