?

Log in

Eitan Halevy [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
eitanhalevy

[ website | Approaching Emunah Shlemah ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Outreach... ? [Mar. 11th, 2009|09:54 am]
eitanhalevy
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Current Location |Noqdim, ISRAEL]
[mood |perplexed]
[music |L'shem Yichud - Raz Hartman]

In case anyone was wondering, yes, we did get a Mishloach Manot (food basket) from our neighbor Avigdor Lieberman for Purim. Unfortunately it was not personally delivered. Lame.

On to something completely different: I read two articles this morning about different groups trying to get young Jews involved in... er... each other? One was a Purim party at Berkeley run by the local Hillel, which was basically a big, secular costume/dance party. The invitation had a picture of a young married religious couple and implied that this outcome was frightening, so come have fun instead. Yeah... The other was an article about a European company which runs snazzy getaway weekends and parties and whatnot for European Jews (Absolut-Events). Essentially they're all doing the same thing. They are trying to get young, secular Jews involved, not so much in Judaism as in other Jews, providing a context for them to meet, grind up against, and otherwise interact with other young, secular Jews.

Cut for LengthCollapse )
link6 comments|post comment

G-d: Don't get too comfortable... [Feb. 11th, 2009|09:54 am]
eitanhalevy
[Tags|]
[Current Location |Noqdim, Israel (Home)]
[mood |Awed]
[music |Sound of Silence - G!D]

I think Hashem doesn't want me to get too comfortable, too secure in my abilities to take care of myself. No sooner had we successfully moved into our new, beautiful home than the problems started. At first we still didn't have a stove-top, but that was supposed to come in a day or two, but then there was a problem, and another problem, and now we have the stove-top but still no gas with which to use it. Then the phone line+internet was supposed to be an easy, instantaneous switch from the old place to here, but that didn't work. Now we're still without a land-line and anything resembling regular internet service (I am typing this offline, hoping to post it during one of the random times we are able to pick up and piggy-back on a neighbor's wifi signal). A few nights ago our car was stolen (see my previous entry). And last night we arrived home after voting during a big rainstorm to find many leaks of water into the house, ending with water getting into the electric box and us having to turn off power to the entire house. This morning we managed to get the power back on, after some difficulty, and the contractor and electrician are both scheduled to come at some point during the day. It seems that everything in the fridge/freezer survived the night. B"H, we have nice, responsible landlords, who are taking care of the problems with the building. This was the first big rain around here since the place was finished, so we can cut THEM some slack, but not the contractor. I think water-proofing a house is sort-of an important thing for a contractor to take care of. So, this morning, being without electricity and without gas, I walked downstairs to our landlords' house with a cup with turkish coffee and sugar in it, asked for hot-water, then told them what was going on since last night.

Lesson: So, what am I supposed to be learning from this? Nothing happens to us randomly, and every challenge is meant to teach us something. It seems to me that perhaps the lesson of these challenges is not to be too comfortable in our man-made comfort, not to think that we can insulate ourselves from the power of chance which only G-d can control. Perhaps the lightning and thunder storm last night was meant to highlight this, the blessing for hearing thunder being "Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, whose power and strength fill the world." Perhaps the lesson is one of humility, so that we not say, 'By my hand was all this done.' I try to think of how, in the grand scheme, these challenges are so small, so trivial. We still have a nice home, money for the things we need, our health, a baby on the way, etc. These are really all, in different measure, things we can live without (in the case of electricity, at least for a few hours at a time), and all temporary--in different measure--inconveniences which will pass. I hope that when we solve these problems, I can continue to carry with me the lesson of our precarious dependence on Divine Will, and remain conscious of all these things as gifts which I have no entitlement to, except by the kindness of the Creator.
link2 comments|post comment

Election Day! [Feb. 10th, 2009|09:52 am]
eitanhalevy
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |Noqdim, Israel (Home)]
[mood |democratic]
[music |Sound of Silence - G!D]

I haven't been writing much about the election, but here are my last minute thoughts. I started out with essentially four parties to choose from.

Ichud Haleumi (National Union): REJECTED on ideological grounds. I agree with them about keeping the Land of Israel, but it's their only issue. They are one-issue demagogues, with no practical plan for the future. They don't even have positions, let alone coherent ones, on many other issues I care about.

Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home): ACCEPTABLE. I pretty much agree with their entire platform, except that they don't support electoral reform, which would harm them as a small party. The problem is that they have failed in the past to stand up for their ideals at crucial moments. Can I trust them, even thought they're the only real, ideological, dati-leumi (religious-zionist) party?

Likud: ???. I hate the Likud. I hate Bibi (Netanyahu, the party leader). I don't trust them as far as I can throw them. The main person in the party whom I liked, Feiglin, they managed to engineer moving unrealistically far down the list. On the other hand, they are, nominally, right wing. Is it better to have a right wing party in power whom you dislike than a middle-left party (Kadima) which you despise more? Or is it better to vote your conscience and hope that the party you vote for will be in a coalition with the winner and be able to influence them towards the good?

Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel, Our Home): REJECTED on ideological/tactical grounds. I like Lieberman, and believe in a basic standard for citizenship of any country (not being committed to it's destruction seems like a good start!). I'm OK with his plan for dividing the country (even though I don't want to give away one inch of Yehudah/Shomron) because it's not practicable, but it moves in the right direction. However, it's a secular party, which supports things I cannot support, such as civil marriage. Since they are not going to win in any case, I am not going to vote for a 'small' party that I don't entirely agree with.

In the end it comes down to Likud or Habayit Hayehudi, and I'm pretty much decided to vote my conscience (Habayit Hayehudi). Likud sucks. Kadima sucks. Labor doesn't stand a chance (thank G-d!). I'm not a political scientist. I don't know what needs to be done to fix the OBVIOUSLY broken electoral system here. I don't know which, if any vote I make may make a difference in that area, as none of the parties are really addressing that issue. So in the end I'm voting for the party that supports what I want: Jews able to live freely in the entire Land of Israel, educational reform & additional funds for religious education, social conscience (expanded health basket, unemployment, aliyah-benefits, affordable housing, etc.), no civil marriage, religious people serving in the army.

The state of Israel is deeply flawed. No question. We are not yet in the Messianic age, and have to deal with all sorts of garbage. But, I still believe in R' Kook's vision that the state is an indispensable step toward the final redemption. Whatever state it may be in, such is the state of Am Yisrael (the Jewish people), and we can only fix it by participating in it. Opting out is not an option. If R' Kook could be optimistic at a time when some Jewish leaders were essentially supporting the British occupation of the Land of Israel, turning away Jewish refugees, sinking ships of rival Jewish factions, etc., when the situation for Jews all over the world was increasingly dangerous, then I can certainly be hopeful today. In fact, with just a pinch of historical perspective, it becomes clear that Am Yisrael, and in fact the state of Israel, is in a much better position than it has been for since the destruction of the Temple. If we allow ourselves to be myopic and selfish, to focus only on our own, personal suffering, to divide the Am (people) into so many sections of "us" and "them" then WE are dooming the mission of divine redemption for the entire world to failure. WE are the ones giving up on the ultimate redemption. We cannot control anything except our 4 amot (the four feet around us). We control our hands, our feet, etc. I refuse to slip into the galut (exilic) mentality of victimization. We control our own destiny, and we must take responsibility for it.

So, for those of you with the right to do so, GO VOTE!!! If you don't, you will have no-one to blame but yourself when the next government turns out to be or do something you don't like.
link3 comments|post comment

Gam zeh l'tovah. / This too is for the good. [Feb. 9th, 2009|12:11 pm]
eitanhalevy
[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Location |Noqdim, Israel]
[mood |Fine]
[music |It's a Great Day to Be Alive - Travis Tritt]

BS"D

So, our car was stolen last night from a trendy Jerusalem neighborhood while we were out for dinner. This is relatively common in Israel, where large numbers of cars are stolen by West Bank Arabs, driven to Bethlehem or Ramallah, and dismembered in massive chop-shops and sold for parts. Given the poor state of our old car we only had '3rd party' insurance, meaning that the theft is not covered. In other words, it's gone. I mean, who would steal an old beater like our 1995 Mazda, with dents all down the side and the grate missing from the front? I hope the jerks started kicking themselves when they found parts of the engine held together by duct-tape.

To be honest, I don't really find the whole thing that upsetting. What's done is done, and now we'll figure out how to make it here--our new home in Noqdim--without a car. I was more upset by Daniella being upset than by the missing car. It was annoying having to go to the police station and then tremp (that is, hitch-hike) home, but it's not bad. We got home within an hour, and that late at night with relatively few cars going by. G-d sent us a kind man who drove 5 minutes out of his way to drop us inside the protected (from arabs) gate of our town. Many of our friends who live in the area do just fine without cars, and so will we unless/until we manage to get another one. It's just a thing, and one we can live without. In fact, for now it knocks our second biggest expense (after rent) off our list, which is not at all a bad thing.

The question is just figuring out how to get the things done that we need to. The only thing I can't figure out is how I'm going to get to the far-side of Jerusalem, for a day of touring with my tour-guiding course, by 6:30 on Sunday morning. There aren't many rides going by at that time (I would have to start around 5:15AM at the latest), and the first bus is several hours too late. I guess we'll need to spend the night somewhere in Jerusalem. The question is where?
---
Gam zeh l'tovah,
G-d bless.
link3 comments|post comment

Don't Vote 'Strategically!' [Feb. 6th, 2009|09:34 am]
eitanhalevy
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |Noqdim, Israel (New House!)]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]
[music |Silence - G!D]

A fashion has developed here for people to vote 'strategically' rather than based on their actual preference. This skews the entire democratic process, and ends up making an even more cynical, dysfunctional system. This article explains the issue better than I could. Please read!
link5 comments|post comment

Internet Speed [Feb. 1st, 2009|07:33 am]
eitanhalevy
[music |The Omnivore's Dilemma (Unabridged), Part 1 - Michael Pollan]

http://www.speedtest.net][IMG]http://www.speedtest.net/result/401897854.png
link1 comment|post comment

Meme [Jan. 25th, 2009|07:47 am]
eitanhalevy
[mood |Memelicious]
[music |The Omnivore's Dilemma (Unabridged), Part 1 - Michael Pollan]

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? In Hebrew I am named after three of my four great grandfathers (the three that were dead when I was born. In English, I am loosely named after my great grandfather Egon.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Recently.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Sure. It works, and it's like a secret code because only I can read it!

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Peppered pastrami.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? G-d willin in June!!!

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Well, that would depend very much on who I was.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? I try not to, and usually succeed.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? No

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Does oatmeal count?

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Always.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Either Rocky Road or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Uhh, hair? Face?

15. RED OR PINK? Red.

16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My thick skull.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My family.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO COMPLETE THIS LIST?? No

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Brown.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Nothing.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Sky blue.

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Clean.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Ohad.

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO POSTED THIS NOTE? I remember him fondly.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Used to be football. Now, none.

27. HAIR COLOR? Brown.

28. EYE COLOR? Hazel (brown in the middle, green as they go out from the center).

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No. Reading glasses.

30. FAVORITE FOOD? Steak.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? I do not watch scary movies.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Wall-E.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Brown-beige plaid.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter.

35. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs.

36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Chocolate souffle... mmm....

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? My wife. :)

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Dunno.

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? 'The Omnivore's Dilemma'
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Laser mouse needs no mouse-pad!

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? I don't have a TV, and that's the way I like it.

42. FAVORITE SOUND(S)? My wife's voice, or music. (My wife's voice making music!)

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles.

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Hahah. India? Russia? Israel? Take your pick.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Several. :D

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? A birthing-home in Topeka, KS, USA.

47. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? Not expecting any.

48. HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR SPOUSE/SIGNIFIGANT OTHER? Livejournal, B"H.
link2 comments|post comment

Upcoming Elections! My vote. [Jan. 23rd, 2009|12:14 pm]
eitanhalevy
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |ISRAEL]
[mood |zionist]
[music |Sound of Silence - G!D]

Here is a wonderful summary of the positions of the party I'm probably going to vote for.

There were only two things listed here which I had trouble with, and reading the 'text' under them assuaged my discomfort. One issue had to do with 'raising taxes on the wealthy,' which the site says the party agrees with. However, the text they quoted only spoke of tax relief for the poor, not particularly of any sort of 'wealth redistribution' type tax system. Poor people here need all their money. The low-paying jobs here are barely enough to survive on, and every percentage point taken in taxes is taking food from the mouths of babes.

The other issue had to do with freedom of speech. The site says that Habayit Hayehudi (the party, name=The Jewish Home) says that freedom of speech should not be protected when it goes against the state. Reading the details, that is not an accurate reflection of the party's position. They want to exclude parliamentarians who actively collude with the enemy in a time of war. They do not propose making it illegal to criticize the state, even in the most vociferous and unreasonable ways.

It may be hard for some Americans who read the party platform to understand it, as according to American politics it would be a bit bipolar. But here, there is no contradiction between supporting green-policies and social welfar, and simultaneously being hawkish on defense issues. From a religious-Zionist perspective, both are expressions of caring for the citizens of your country, and jealously guarding their rights and safety, as well as expressions of Jewish values. We have many commandments, from, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' to 'If someone comes to kill you, kill him first.' We do not believe that the two are contradictory, but that they apply in different situations.
link3 comments|post comment

Ultrasound #2 [Jan. 20th, 2009|04:21 pm]
eitanhalevy
[music |The Omnivore's Dilemma (Unabridged), Part 1 - Michael Pollan]

Ultrasound 2
link3 comments|post comment

Hamas [Jan. 19th, 2009|09:53 am]
eitanhalevy
[mood |Grim/Pissed]

link1 comment|post comment

navigation
[ viewing | 10 entries back ]
[ go | earlier/later ]