Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Jewish Nakba

I've been puzzled by the events that have unfolded in the last few days.

I was already confused when reading all the reports in the Israeli news about how the army/police where preparing for the Nakba. What was the big deal? Even in my uni days (not that long ago), surrounded with lots of Arabs, I never really noticed this day come and go. So why was Israel so worried something was going to happen this year?

As it turns out, they were right and Israel was in fact infiltrated by protesters from Syria and Lebanon. What's more, it looks like there was another terror attack. The perpetrator, however, is claiming it all was an accident, even though eyewitnesses seem to think otherwise.
Either way, there were significant problems as a result of Nakba day. Where were all these thousands of protesters all the previous years? Probably, Israel is right in saying Asad is trying to take the heat off himself and Iran probably is involved.

As a descendant of a Middle Eastern Jew, I have to ask, what about our "Nakba" day. What about all the Middle Eastern Jews who have been kicked out of their house, their homes, after having been in these countries for centuries, just because they're Jewish. People that had to leave everything behind. The stories my family tell sound very much like how it was for Jews during the Nazi regime before they were deported. Yet some how these horrific times are forgotten. Not only by them, but also by us. We have chosen to forget how badly we have been treated by Israel's neighboring countries and have in stead rebuilt our lives. My family, after having been one of the most richest and influential people of their city had to start all over again, and only one generation later, they have done very well for themselves. No one is living in poverty and no one is still a refugee. Yet somehow, the Palestinians outside of Israel have managed to hold on to their refugee status for three generations. They do so either willingly, or simply because their Arab hosts are denying them the right to become citizens.

I think it's time that we remind people of our tragedy, of our Nakba. Yes we have moved on and we are doing well, but if the Palestinians refugees are part of the Peace negotiations, then so should ours. Yes, it wasnt the Palestinians that kicked us out of Gaza, we did that for them. But the Arab countries that kicked us out are also the Arab countries that wont take the Palestinians in. And even if we're not considered refugees anymore, it is only because we worked hard on that. We still deserve to be recognized. We still deserve to be reimbursed for all the money and property that has been stolen from us. And if that is ever going to happen, it is time for us to stand up and make sure that no one forgets what happened.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Next Big Thing that is Banned

In general, I'm not very into the blind following of Rabbi's, especially not when they come out assuring something or other that until then was totally accepted by all.
But today I find myself posting in favor of such a proclamation by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The Jerusalem Post reports that Rav Ovadia has changed his stand on smoking.

Everyone who has ever come in contact with a chareidi yeshive knows how common spread and accepted smoking is. It reminds me of a shabbat I spent at my Chareidi, Sfardi family. Somehow the conversation drifted onto smoking and my cousins were appealing to my uncle (the retired doctor) that smoking really isn't bad for you, right? I felt like I had just drifted back 50 years in time. I know the Chareidi world isn't very into science and all that, but I was shocked to hear that they honestly believed it doesn't harm them whatsoever and that almost all their friends in yeshive and rabbi's smoke. I have to add that at this point in life my husband was also in yeshive and that no one their smoked. I think it wasn't tolerated their, though it really was a non issue, simply no one smoked. My uncle gave a little smile, but refrained from answering the original question, which was a little disappointing. I still tried to make a stand, but it was hopeless.

Now however, the hope is back, for this time it isn't a non-chareidi woman telling him to stop, but rather it's their biggest spiritual leader, Rav Ovadia. He is calling on everyone to quit and stop the practice of handing out cigarettes at happy occasions like engagements. He even gives an example of how one can try quiting.
All I can say is good for him and I hope that people will listen to this one as they usually do when things are assured.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why didn't Anyone Mention the Post-Pesach Stress?

First off, I apologize for having been so quiet lately. Things have been a little crazy, what with Pesach and general life stuff.
Things are always so crazy before Pesach; the cooking, shopping- both food and clothes and let's not forget about all the cleaning. Of course, life doesn't stop for major holidays. So I was somehow juggling this all, together with work, the kids and general daily nuisances that continue to crop up. So when chag came around, I was really ready. Ready for some peace and quiet, ready for some vacation, ready for some family fun.

Chag was good, albeit with some downsides. We went away, the food wasn't great and I didn't make it through seider cause I was sick. But on the up side, we were all together, had lots of laughs and the weather was fantastic.

And now we're back to normal, or well, sort of.
The day we came back was filled with stress, some quick food shopping and speedy unpacking. The next 2 days it was work as usual, coming home just a few hours before shabbes. Luckily, we were away for shabbes, so I didn't have to cook.

Somehow, after chag is over, I assume we'll just fall right back into routine. But I still feel a big post-pesach weight hanging over me (and not just around my waist). I haven't been able to restock a lot of the food, given that where we live I have to go to several different shops for all our daily needs and I've only made it to one. The loundry is piled meters high, especially the clean stuff that is just luring at me, waiting to be folded and put away. And today we came home after shabbes to find our fridge was left open (courtesy of one of my little helpers) and I had to throw out the majority of the food I had managed to buy. Oh, did I mention I don't live in Israel anymore but in this oh so Chrisitian place where stores arent open on Sunday? (Luckily, there is one a little further out, so I sent my husband, though I know it means half of what we need wont be bought).

I planned on spending my day restocking my freezer with all the shabbes essentials like challe and kugel and since I work so close to shabbes, this is really one of my priorities if we want to have food next shabbes. But honestly, I just feel so overwhelmed. Can I please just lie in bed and start over tomorrow? Do you think I can convince my kids to do the same?