Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Chronicles of Ehav Ever: All I Wanted Part 2

Just as with All I Wanted Part 1 you will need the below video playing while you read this story.



Now you are ready.

Jeralyn

All I wanted to do was to save her, yet I it was not my responsibility. I wanted to be the one to help her out of her troubles, yet she did not want that help. She was like a daughter to me, like a little sister to me, and yet she was so foreign to me and everything I stand for. No matter what I did to help her it was never enough.

I wanted her to listen to me, I wanted to yell at her, I wanted her to think of me as her older brother, I wanted to show her the error in her ways, I wanted to advise her, but when it was all said and done I had to walk away from her. I had to forget about her and all of her problems; because all my attempts to help her were in vain.

These are the stories of what happens when the best of intentions end without a real conclusion.....These are the Chronicles of Ehav Ever.

Jeralyn's Story

When I was in college, I once tried to help a girl named Jeralyn out a given drama she had placed herself in. I first met Jeralyn through some girls that my friends and I used to hang out with. She was somewhat quiet and naive, and maybe that is what initially drew me to her. Yet, my interest in her became more of a big brother kind of motivation. What you have to understand about me, is that I grew up as an only child. so I never knew what it meant to have a brother or sister. Also, at that time I was a bit of an aloof and cold person.

My involvement in Jeralyn's drama really began when she got pregnant by a guy who pretty much was known as a player. His name was Troy and I was never on very friendly terms with him because he was annoying to me. He was also one of those guys who came off as really arrogant, so I could not understand what she saw in him from the start. Troy was also several years older than Jeralyn, or at least that is the way I looked at it. My perspective being that he was taking advantage of her naivety.

When she told me that she was pregnant and that Troy was the father my first reaction was of utter surprise. How did she end up with Troy of all people. My first instinct was to quietly blame the situation on him. Another part of me wanted to confront Troy; aggressively. Yet, I also had to keep my mouth shut on the matter because no matter what I felt Troy was the father.


Yet, there were several situations that almost pushed me over the edge and closer to confrontation with Troy. Once was when Jeralyn was about 5 months pregnant and she became really sick over and over again. I began to really worry about her, more than a friend would but more and more like a father. She could not leave her dorm room, and because it was in the women's dorm I could not enter it.

So I called up a female friend of mine, named Shegitta, to stay with Jeralyn for the night to make sure she was okay. Jeralyn wanted me to contact Troy for her, but I could not reach him. As the situation persisted I became more and more irate with Troy. I was so angry that my roommate went with me to get Jeralyn everything she needed, and in order to keep me calm. We bought her food and vitamins so that Shagitta could help nurse Jeralyn back to health.
The Long Goodbye

Jeralyn eventually had to leave the Prairie View A&M University, because she couldn't maintain being pregnant and going to college. She returned home to live with her mother and raise her baby. I still remember the day I said goodbye to her. I felt like I was sending my own flesh and blood away, yet she was not that much younger than me. Could this be what brotherhood or even parenthood is like?


When her time was due she had a beautiful baby girl. I was of course chosen as the godfather, and Jeralyn's mother thanked me for all my involvement in her life. I still remember the pictures of Jeralyn with her daughter. I felt so proud of her. Is this what it feels like to be an older brother and an uncle? Yet, after that Jeralyn journeyed deep into some very destructive lifestyles. I once tried to warn her, almost begging her not to do this to herself and her child. One of our phone conversations went like this:

Ehav - Hi Jeralyn how are you?

Jeralyn - Not so good. I just got out of the hospital.

Ehav - Hospital? Why were you in the hospital?

Jeralyn - I decided that I would do some stripping at this club to bring in some extra money. It was a real shady place, and this man that I allowed to manage me beat me up really bad.

(This was followed by extra details of other bad things, some involving drugs, etc. With each new detail my jaw dropped and my blood pressure increased, until I couldn't take it anymore.)

Ehav - Damnit...Jeralyn! Why are you telling me these things? Better yet, why are you doing this to yourself? You can't keep doing this. You are a mother and you have a responsibility to yourself and your baby. I am really ashamed that you would do this to yourself, especially after all I have done to try and help give you direction. I don't have much, but I can help you with money. Just promise me you will leave all this weird crap behind. No, I demand that you stop doing this to yourself.

(Her response was just as angry. So now she is yelling back at me.)

Jeralyn - Look Ehav, I appreciate everything you have done for me, but first all you don't have any right to demand anything from me. You can't tell me what to do. I am going to do what ever I want. It's my life.

Ehav - You don't know how much it hurts me to have you tell me all these things. Yet, you are right Jeralyn, it is your life. I can't make you do anything, but you are walking down a dangerous path. Don't be stupid girl. Take control of you life, there has to be a better way.

Over and over our conversations were made up of what huge pitfalls she jumped into and how she would continue to do such. She gave me all these details about how she was making all these bad decisions that were hurting her, some even physically and when I tried to convince her, sometimes pleading with her to leave it behind I would get the same response. She was a nice girl, so I could not understand why she was almost chasing after destructive lifestyles.

What you have to understand about Jeralyn was that her father had become addicted to drugs when she was younger. Her father had also been abusive to her mother and I calculated that some of this was the cause of some of her behavior. I calculated that if I stepped into the place of her father I could save her. Maybe, through enough caring, self-sacrifice, listening, and heart-felt prayers Jeralyn would realize that she was capable of much more with her life. Maybe she would also do better for the sake of her daughter. Maybe by doing this for her, my life would not be as lonely as it was at that time.

Leveling the Playing Field

I would always tell Jeralyn she was beautiful and that she deserved better. I would always encourage her that she could be a great mother, even though I was not any good at complimenting people. I was a bit of a cold and self-centered person then. Yet, her being like my younger sister/daughter changed that part of myself.

I tried to give her money to help her out of the situations, but this was not good enough. No matter what I tried, no matter what I said, nothing was ever good enough for her. It got to the point that I stressed myself out trying to save her from her choice making. That was until my mother stepped in and confronted me on the situation. My mother said something I will never forget.

Mother Ever - Hello swetty, how are you?

Ehav - Okay.....I guess. I am a little down in the dumps right now.

Mother Ever - What's wrong?

Ehav - It's Jeralyn again. Mom she is really screwing up her life. She always makes these horrible decisions and then she calls me and tells me about it. I can't understand why she will do such bad things, and call me and tell me about it. She knows I won't approve and it turns into a big argument. She is really stressing me out with her behavior. I almost feel like she is teasing me by hanging her bad life choices in front of me and it all makes me angry. All I want is to see her do better with her life, but no matter what I do nothing works. I have to figure out a way to get her to understand that she is not setting a good example for her daughter. I have to stop her from this downward spiral.

Mother Ever - Ehav, no you stop it right now. What are you doing? You are not this girl's father. You are also not responsible for her situation. At some point she is going to have a make a choice with the direction of her life. She is telling you things and putting you in the position to where you will stress yourself out trying to save her from her choices. Ehav, you are not even related to her and you are not her guardian. It sounds like she is trying to get a rise out of you by telling you things that she knows will cause an emotional response from you. You have your own life and your own responsibilities. Don't let your desire to try and help her out of her personal hell destroy your life.

Once again my mother was on point with her advice. The reality is that no matter how much positivity you throw at some people they will choose the shadow of negativity. At some point in our lives all of us have to make a CHOICE in the direction we are going to take. We can to choose to live like hell, or choose to fight our way to a personal heaven. Jeralyn had made her choice, so now it was time for me to make mine. I also needed to stop blaming Troy for ruining her, she was just as much a part of the problem.

Eventually, I could not deal with Jeralyn's behavior and I stopped contacting her. I walked away so that I could focus on my own life and so I would not stand in the way of her living her life the way she wanted. It saddened me to do it, but it saddened me even more to be near her.


The last time I saw her was when I graduated from PVAMU. She had finally returned to finish her college degree. I saw her for a brief moment when I was celebrating under the Phi Beta Sigma tree at finding out that I had passed all my senior classes and I could graduate. By that time, there was nothing left of our friendship and the conversation was minimal. I was no longer her older brother and she was no longer my little sister. For me, it was back to being that cold and aloof man again. I don't know what ever happened to my beloved little Jeralyn, but I wish her the best. I also still love her like a little sister or like a daughter.

The Final Analysis

All I wanted to do was to save her, yet I it was not my responsibility. I wanted to be the one to help her out of her troubles, yet she did not want that help. She was like a daughter to me, like a little sister to me, and yet she was so foreign to me and everything I stand for. No matter what I did to help her it was never enough. I wanted her to listen to me, I wanted to yell at her, I wanted her to think of me as her older brother, I wanted to show her the error in her ways, I wanted to advise her, but when it was all said and done I had to walk away from her. I had to forget about her and all of her problems; because all my attempts to help her were in vain. My mother was right, backing away was the right thing to do.

I am Ehav Ever and I am an Israeli man obsessed with the past, love, the land of Israel, and these are my stories.......The Chronicles of Ehav Ever.


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Monday, July 28, 2008

The Chronicles of Ehav Ever: Commercial Break

So it is time for a commercial break. I don't drink bear. I was once given a sip of some when I was young and I hated the taste. Since that time I have tried Ethiopian and Indian beer and the same response. I am a taste sensitive person, hence I drink a lot of fresh squeezed juice.

Now with that being said, when I saw the following add from Australia, it made me want to go out and get a beer. I love their use of O Fortunato, the them song used in Excalibur. Enjoy, the Chronicles of Ehav Ever will continue after this commercial break.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Chronicles of Ehav Ever: All I Wanted Part 1

Before you begin to read this post watch this instructional video!




Now you are ready!

All I Wanted Part 1

All I wanted to do was to love her, yet it was never enough. I felt so blessed to even be able to date someone like her, yet I felt so cursed by her beauty and how she flaunted it. She meant the world to me, yet what I felt was meaningless. I once loved her, couldn't understand her, wanted to be near her, wanted to leave her, wanted to see her smile, wanted to see her with me for the rest of my life, wanted her to miss me; all to no avail. These are the stories of what happens when the best of intentions end without a real conclusion.....These are the Chronicles of Ehav Ever.

Annette

Her name was Annette Wallace, we met at a party in Kansas City during our high school years. I was in my 3rd year in high school she was in her 2nd. At first she didn't want to give me her number. She gave it to me anyway, and somehow I was able to keep her interested with my witty conversation. She didn't want me to meet her parents, yet by chance they saw us in the backyard talking and they loved me. She had thoughts of getting back together with her old boyfriend Jason, who was a friend of mine. Jason tried to convice me that we could both try to date her and see who gets her first. My mouth said, "Yeah! Lets do that. Yet, my mind said, that is not what I want. I want her to choose Ehav Ever because she likes Ehav Ever." To my surprise she chose me over Jason. What joy I fealt in my heart.

Just when I thought I was making progress, she all of sudden wanted to get to know my friend Vonzel. Vonzel had the looks and the charm, where I felt I had no chance. Since it seemed like my hopes of being with Annette were smashed to peices I tried to get her and Vonzel together so that she could be happy. Yet, to my surprise she caught on to this, and again chose me.

The Flip Side

When we were dating I always complimented her, but these things were never enough for her. When she had to have surgery, which caused her jaw to be shut closed I came to the hospital to see her. I even came over for New Year's to stay with her. I enjoyed every moment with her, yet I hated the fear that if a better opportunity came her way she would take it and leave me.


I remember when my mother first met her, I was bringing Annette to a high school homecoming party. While I was in my room changing my mother had a chance to sit alone with her. We went to the dance and things were great. Yet, when I returned home, after taking Annette to her house, I noticed my mother sitting in the kitchen alone drinking coffee at 11:30 p.m.

Mother Ever: So how was the dance?

Ehav: It was good, thanks for asking mom.

Mother Ever: That's nice............you need to let that girl go.

Ehav: What are you talking about?

Mother Ever: I sat down with that girl and tried to have a conversation with her and she wouldn't even talk to me. I spoke to her, she would only answer with yes or no. I asked her questions about her future, again yes and no. She was not even willing to try to have a conversation with me. I am telling you that girl is not right for you.

I shrugged off my mother's words. I mean come on, what does she know, she is a mother. What would a mother know about love? Yet a part of me really knew the truth. Yet, I kept that part of myself gagged and bound in a dark room in my brain.

Need to Replay The Song?


The Truth of the Matter

When I was leaving Kansas City for my first year of college in Texas, I promised Annette that I would stay true to her, and she responded "Why?" I didn't quite catch what she meant so I responded, "Because I am a good man. I promise to always come back just for you. Rain, snow, and bad weather are like sunny days when I am with you. I will always come back, just for you. The sun shines light in the day. The moon reflects that light at night. Yet, neither shines as bright as I do when I am with you. I will always come back just for you. I love you Annette." I wanted to show her and others that I could stay true, and keep my word.

Needless to say, Annette eventually left me when I went to college. She left for another guy, who was an ex-friend of mine. She did not even tell me, I found out from another friend of mine. During that first year of college, I called her all the time, she never called me, I wrote her letters, she never wrote me. So to test the situation I stopped doing everything for her. I heard nothing from her. It was as if I didn't exist to her. I was so angry that I ripped apart every letter, every picture, and every hope I had.

It hurt so much when she left, the way she left. My world at that time was made for her, my success in life was for her. My loss, made it seem all for naught. I walked around the campus of Prairie View A&M U. a young man hurt and alone. It was as if people were laughing at me, even though I initially kept my pain to myself.
Yet, I went on and life went on. I found comfort in my room mate whose finance had just left him. Our friendship helped us go beyond the pain, and forge of ahead. We were young men with futures, and we had to persevere.

When Annette went to college the next year she flunked out within the first semester or so because she was trying to be a party girl. She lost a LARGE scholarship all for the sake of a few good times. When we dated, she would always say she hated her mother, without any really solid reason. She once even said she wished her mother would just leave, or worse. So one day her mother caught her father cheating, and her mother packed up and disappeared. Her mother didn't even say goodbye to her or her sister, she just left. She told me after that happened she realized that for all those years that she really hated her mother, after her mother just left she missed her and wanted her back in her life.

After all of these things in her life came crashing down, she called me and apologized for how she ended our relationship. I remember her random words in the middle of chance bright conversation.

Annette - "This is all my fault."

Ehav - "What is your fault?"

Annette - "This!"

Ehav - "What do you mean, this?" (Between you and me, I knew what she meant, but I wanted to hear her say it.)

Annette - "Nevermind."

Ehav - "Look, Annette I am sorry. I know what you mean. It is not your fault. I don't blame you. My intentions when we first met weren't all that pure. We were just never meant to be ;that is all."

She eventually disappeared from my life. The last time we spoke she talked about moving to NYC with her new boyfriend. That was in 1994 or 1995. Then, as now, I wish her the best. So..........


Here's That Song One Last Time (Just in case)

The Final Analysis

All I wanted to do was to love her, yet it was never enough. I felt so blessed to even be able to date someone like her, yet I felt so cursed by her beauty and how she flaunted it. She meant the world to me, yet what I felt was meaningless. I once loved her, couldn't understand her, wanted to be near her, wanted to leave her, wanted to see her smile, wanted to see her with me for the rest of my life, wanted her to miss me; all to no avail. My mother was right, she was not right for me.

I am Ehav Ever and I am an Israeli man obsessed with the past, love, the land of Israel, and these are my stories.......The Chronicles of Ehav Ever.


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Images of Israel: Kurdestani Jews

Kurdish Jews or Jews of Kurdistan (Hebrew: יהדות כורדיסתאן‎; Kurdish: Kurdên cû) are the ancient Jewish communities inhabiting the region known as Kurdistan, roughly covering parts of Iran, northern Iraq, Armenia, Syria and eastern Turkey. Their clothing and culture is similar to neighboring Muslim Kurds. Until their immigration to Israel in the 1940s and early 1950s, the Jews of Kurdistan lived as a closed ethnic community.


There are old bonds between Jews and Kurds. Tradition holds that Jews first arrived in the area of modern Kurdistan after the Assyrian conquest of the Kingdom of Israel during the 8th century BC; they were subsequently relocated to the Assyrian capital. During the first century BC, the royal house of Adiabene, whose capital was Arbil (Aramaic: Arbala; Kurdish: Hewlêr), was converted to Judaism along with a considerable number of its Kurdish citizens. King Monobazes, his queen Helena, and his son and successor Izates are recorded as the first proselytes.


Kurdish Jews_Kurds in Israel
by Roni Kurdistan_יהדות כורדיסטן


According to the memoirs of Benjamin of Tudela and Pethahiah of Regensburg, there were about 100 Jewish settlements and substantial Jewish population in Kurdistan in 12th century A.D. Benjamin of Tudela also gives the account of David Alroi, the "messianic" leader from central Kurdistan, who rebelled against the king of Persia and had plans to lead the Jews back to Jerusalem. These travelers also report of well-established and wealthy Jewish communities in Mosul, which was the commercial and spiritual center of Kurdistan. Many Jews fearful of approaching crusaders, had fled from Syria and Palestine to Babylonia and Kurdistan. The Jews of Mosul enjoyed some degree of autonomy over managing their own community.


Kurdish Wedding Dance Kurdish Jews from Israel

Tanna'it Asenath Barzani, who lived in Mosul from 1590 to 1670, was the daughter of Rabbi Samuel Barzani of Kurdistan. She later married Jacob Mizrahi Rabbi of Amadiyah (in Iraqi Kurdistan) who lectured at a yeshiva. She was famous for her knowledge of the Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah and Jewish law. After the early death of her husband, she became the head of the yeshiva at Amadiyah, and eventually was recognized as the chief instructor of Torah in Kurdistan. She was called tanna'it (female Talmudic scholar), practiced mysticism, and was reputed to have known the secret names of God. Asenath is also well known for her poetry and excellent command of the Hebrew language. She wrote a long poem of lament and petition in the traditional rhymed metrical form. Her poems are among the few examples of the early modern Hebrew texts written by women.



Among the most important Jewish shrines in Kurdistan are the tombs of Biblical prophets, such as that of Nahum in Alikush, Jonah in Nabi Yunis (ancient Nineveh), and Daniel in Kirkuk. There are also several caves supposedly visited by Elijah. All are venerated by Jews today.



Kurdish Jews have also been active in the Zionist movement. One of the most famous members of Lehi (Freedom Fighters of Israel) was Moshe Barazani, whose family immigrated from Iraqi Kurdistan and settled in Jerusalem in the late 1920s.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Understanding Judaism: The Jewish Look

When I lived in America I once hung around a group of people who seemed to always get into the classic "Jewish Look" conversation. That is to say they were always talking about who looked Jewish. Many of the times this conversation came up it was amongst people who weren't Jewish, or Jews who were either from a Reform or Conservative Jewish background. In Israel you don't hear this conversation, since we have Jews from all over the world here, and it is pretty much recognized that if you either have Jewish ancestry or you converted you are Jewish simple and plain.

On one hand there are some, not many, characteristics that can be found amongst certain Jewish ethnic groups. Yet, none of these physical characteristics are Jewish in and of themselves. That is just like saying that certain names are specifically Jewish like Goldstien, Yankel, etc. When the truth of the matter is that Biblical and Talmudic names are the first level of Jewish names, and then local regional names are also names that were taken on by Jews. Some names were also indicators of a person's trade more than their religion. For example, in Yemen there was a Yemenite Jewish family named Najjar. From what I understand they used to train horses thus this is where their name came from. Also, in the Middle East some very common Jewish names were Sualiman, Sa'adya, Musha, Yihhyah, even a number of Jews were named Muhammad. So there are many elements of Jewish history that are often unknown in the West even to Western Jews.

Back To The Topic

So getting back to the Jewish look. I have heard all kind of weird arguments in this range. I have heard people claim that all the ancient Israelites and Jews were black. I have heard that all of the ancient Israelites and Jews were olive colored, etc. etc. The dumb part of these are arguments is that the Hebrew Bible never concerns itself with the exact look or the skin color of an Israelite. It is more concerned with how the Israelites were supposed to live, i.e. their relationship with Hashem (i.e. G-d) and their fellow man. People can argue all day about what English translations of the Bible says, but English is not a valid medium to discuss such things since English is not the language of the Bible: Hebrew and Aramaic are.

There are very few indicators on how all ancient Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews actually looked. There are accounts of how INDIVIDUALS and particular groups looked, but there is no overall image of how ALL of the people looked. We do know that ancient Israelites converted and then married peoples from the Middle East/Asia, East and North Africa, and Southern Europe. So the below images give us an idea of what various Israelite tribes were mixed with early on.


Emissaries from various cultures, as the Egyptians saw them. From left to right Ludim (North African), Kushim (East African), Semitic (Middle East), Yavanim (Southern European), and Mizrahim (Maybe Asian). The ancient Israelites converted and married people from these different ethnic groups so they would have been a mix of these also.


Ancient Egyptian bas relief from the period of the Hebrew enslavement (at the Necropolis bani Ghassan near Karnak). We identify these as Hebrew slaves practicing the origins of the Israelite fight style Qesheth/Abir. They can be identified by (1) their Semitic skin coloring (2) their beards (Egyptians could not grow natural beards), (3) their poor dress (4) their wearing the ‘ephod-bad’ a traditional dress maintained by Hebrew warriors down to the 20th century in Hadramaut. (5) The center warriors appear to be performing the ‘dum-tak’, an ancient war dance we practice in Qesheth/Abir to this day. (Provided by the Torath Moshe site)

We have no idea how every Israelite looked because ancient Israelites didn't spend any time drawing pictures of themselves. Yet, we can get an idea of what SOME of the ancient Israelites looked like by viewing wall carvings and paintings from nearby kingdoms and ethnic groups.

Ancient Egyptian bas relief from the period of the Hykos period. Believed to have been Ivrim (Hebrews) from the region of the Canaanites. They entered Egypt to trade and they are distinguished by the types of beards, garments, and weapons as being from the region where Israel existed.


Ancient Egyptian bas relief just a few of the types of women that were known to live in Egypt.

Assyrian relief of Jewish prisoners they Assyrian army captured during their attack on Lachish, Israel circa 680 BCE. This relief can now be found here in Israel in the Jerusalem museum.

Yet, the bigger issue is that people who joined the Israelites became a part of the Israelite culture, not the other way around. Just as today in Judaism, when a person converts they are Jewish first and foremost and they blend into the Jewish fold. The use of the English terms Black, White, Olive, etc. are all WESTERN/American terms used in the American racial method of dividing up people. These are foreign to the Middle East in that context, because here things generally go by ethnic group.

So in order to disprove this whole Jewish look is this or that, I made the following video. Everyone in the video has Jewish ancestry.


The Jewish Look

Though about 1 in every 600 people in the world is Jewish, due to the travels of our ancestors we have looks that we absorbed from a numbers of cultures and nations. So in a nutshell, a supposed Jewish look means nothing because anyone who has Jewish ancestry or converts to Judaism looks Jewish.
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Images of Israel: Ethiopian Israelis

For those of you who have never been to the Middle East it is easy to think that what you see on the news sums up what is like in this part of the world. What you find when you travel the world is that even though people have different believes and customs, we are not that much different. I am going to be providing some videos that show various aspects of life here in Israel. Especially in terms of the diversity that exists here in Israel.

One segment of Israeli society that many westerners vary rarely see is that of the Ethiopian Israeli community. I don't come into much contact with Ethiopian Israelis because there are not many where I live. I have met more of them at my job since Lod, Israel is a city with a larger Ethiopian Israeli population.


Ethiopian Israelis having a sort of block party


Ethiopian Israelis rapping (In Hebrew)


Various Images of Ethiopian Israelis

Now there are some unfortunate aspects of what has been happening in the Ethiopian Israeli community. Some of them have felt like they have no place in Israeli society, so they have been seeking outside influences and many of them have been trying to imitate what they see in American media about African Americans. For the most part what I have seen is them imitating the stereotypes more than anything else.

There are those who try to put all the blame for this on the Israeli government, or on racism from Israeli society. As someone who is not an Ethiopian Israeli, I am a Sephardic Israeli, I can say that the issue is one of economics and localized prejudice. When the Ethiopian Israelis came here in mass immagrations one of the problems was that they had come from an agricultural society in Ethiopia. The Jews of Ethiopia were kept in a lower status by the Ethiopian Christians and it was illegal for Ethiopian Jews to own land. So after they were airlifted to Israel in mass in the 1980's there were a number of problems in trying to integrate them into a society that most of them had no experience living in. Every mass immigration here has had its problems, especially from countries that where 3rd world, but there are many Ethiopian Jews who have made great strides in Israeli society. This is especially true of the Ethiopian Israelis who came here in the 1960's and 1970's, as well as Ethiopian Israelis who have used the military as a spring board.


Sigd - Ethiopian Jewish Celebration (Israel)

There has been an attempt by older Ethiopian Israelis to try and bring back their youth to their own traditions and away from Western influence. This isn't something that is just an issue in the Ethiopian Israeli community, but can also be found in other Israeli communities.


Sigd In Israel (2006)
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Friday, July 18, 2008

1 Year In Life: An Israeli Story

In 2005 I made a decision that there was going to come a time in my life when I would move to Israel. I had no idea back then how I was going to do it, or what it would really be like when I did it. So now in 2008 here I am after living here for a year. This is where the honeymoon ends and the reality kicks in.


Impressions: Middle East Peace

About a month ago someone visiting Israel asked me what it was like to live here. They asked did it meet my expectations, and such. In all honesty I didn't have many expectations, but one thing I can say is that my experiences in life have definitely prepared me for living here. In order to understand what I mean you would have to read past posts on my blog and also some of the posts that I will be posting now that I am back, so to speak.

Throughout this time of being here I have seen and heard of people coming, and then leaving. People move here with the best of intentions, but this is not an easy place to live. Although this depends on what you were used to before you came. Some people can't get used to how things work here, and the mindsets that exist.

Some can't get used to the political realities that exist. For example, in the west a picture of the Middle East is painted that contradicts much of the reality. One of these is the idea that we Israelis and Arabs have very little common ground far and between, as well as the idea that we Jews are the center of this supposed conflict.


In order to explain to you what I mean, I have a bit of a story for you. A friend of mine once had a discussion with an Arab near where he lives. My friend is Jewish Israeli and the discussion he had was with an Arab Israeli. My friend said to the Arab Israeli:

"What if we Jews were to make you a deal. You Arabs stop the violence against us, give us back all of our Biblical lands promised to us in the Bible and even in your Quran."

The Arab looked at my friend with a bit of anger and angst and said, "Well, what do we get out of it? What will you Jews give us?"

My friend responded. "We Israelis i.e. Jews will cut ties with America and help you fight Western imperialism." My friend said the Arab without pause grabbed his hand and said "DEAL!"

This is in contrast to friends of mine in the US who believe that Israel needs the US to survive and that we Israelis should stick with the US. The friend mentioned in the above story has a perspective that we Jews should shrug off any connection to trying to be a Western style power in the Middle East and embrace being a native Middle Eastern Jewish Israeli entity.

Israel according to the Bible and Quran (King David's Kingdom)

The reality is most Jews came from Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries before returning to Israel in modern history. So essentially we are a Middle Eastern people, or as some used to call us Arab Jews.


So the question becomes one of are we a Middle Eastern people or simply a western puppet in the Middle East?

More on this at a future time.

What I Have Seen

Okay, so that is the start of my politics, which I will delve into more later. So what is the latest? As I mentioned before I have been doing some traveling throughout Israel. I have really enjoyed seeing different areas of my country and meeting new and interesting people. What I find is that as small as Israel is, about the size of New Jersey, there is so much to see. I have also gotten sun burn twice, within a 2 month period. I have never had that before, but thank G-d that I have the right pigment to bounce back quickly.

Below are some of the places I have visited and the history behind them.

Eilat
Israel's southernmost city, a busy port as well as a popular tourist destination, located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Golf of Eilat. Home to 55,000 people, the city is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arava. The city is adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba, to the south, and the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, to the east.


Eilat's semi-arid desert climate is moderated by proximity to a warm sea. Temperatures often exceed 40 °C in summer, and 18 °C in winter, while water temperatures range between 20 and 26 °C. The city's beaches, nightlife and desert landscapes make it a popular destination for domestic and international tourism.


Eilat is mentioned several times in the Bible, first as one of the stations of the Children of Israel after The Exodus from Egypt. King David conquered Edom, and took over Eilat as well. In Kings 2 14:21-22: "And all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept among his fathers." And again in Kings 2 16:6: "At that time Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath to Aram, and drove the Jews from Elath; and the Edomites came to Elath, and dwelt there, unto this day"

Akko
Akko also known as Acre is a city in the Western Galilee area of northern Israel. It is situated on a low promontory at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Acre had a population 45,800 at the end of 2005. From ancient times, Acre was regarded as the key to the Levant because of its strategic coastal location.

Acre is probably to be identified with the Aak of the tribute-lists of Thutmose III (c. 1500 BC), and it is certainly the Akka of the Amarna letters. To the Israelites it was known as Akko, but it is mentioned only once in the Hebrew Bible, namely Judges 1:31, as one of the places from which the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanite inhabitants. Theoretically it was in the territory of the tribe of Asher, and Josephus assigns it by name to the district of one of Solomon's provincial governors. Throughout the period of Israelite domination, however, its political connections were always with Phoenicia rather than with the Philistines: thus, around 725 BC it joined Sidon and Tyre in a revolt against Shalmaneser V.

Naharya
A city of approximately 50,000 located in the North District of Israel on the Mediterranean sea, just south of the Lebanese border at Rosh HaNikra. It is Israel's northernmost coastal city, and a popular tourist destination.

Over the years, due to its geographic location -- only 6 miles down the coast from Israel's border with Lebanon, Nahariya has been a frequent target both of direct cross-border terrorist attacks, as well as of indirect mortar and Katyusha rocket fire. As recently as in July-August 2006, Nahariya sustained a barrage of several hundreds of Katyusha rockets launched by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon.



Kefar Eldad
An Israeli settlement and a Communal settlement in the Gush Etzion Regional Council, south of Jerusalem. The settlement is in the vicinity of Herodion and overlooks the Judean Desert. It is named after Israel Eldad, a Lehi member and Israeli philosopher.

The population of the settlement is made up of both native born Israelis and Russian immigrants. Secular and religious people live side by side in the settlement. The settlement was established by families from the nearby Nokdim settlement, and originally served as the site of temporary housing prior to that town's construction.

More on my travels coming soon.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Here and There: The Unseen

So some of you may have been wondering, What has been happening to Ehav Ever? Well, I at least know that Bohemian Hippie Chick was. (Thanks for the love.)

So Here Is the Scoop

There has been a lot going on in the last few weeks, much of which are things that I would normally not blog about.As mentioned in a previous post I have been doing some traveling here and there, and I am also busy trying to take care of some personal business.

My mother recently called me in tears because her mother, my grandmother, was diagnosed with cancer and something else that I can’t remember right now. The doctors said my grandmother was to frail for surgery unless she went to some type of physical therapy. Initially, my grandmother said that she was okay with just going home and she didn’t feel like doing the therapy. So when my mother called at 12:00 a.m. my time she was thinking the worst. My mother decided to go ahead and send my grandmother to therapy.

I don’t have much in the way of emotional feelings for death, except for around the time that burying takes place. I also not around a lot of people most of the time, and I am closest to my father's family. So this news from my mother did not affect me, except for concern for her emotions and my grandmother’s. I am not close with my mother’s family, and my mother’s mother is not anything like the powerhouse that was my grandmother on my father’s side. If you have read my blog in the past I have talked a lot about my father’s mother Elnora Lyons-Ever, but this is the first time I have talked about my mother’s mother.

In other news, some of you may know that last week an Arab terrorist used a bulldozer to kill 3 people and injure 30 or more people in downtown Jerusalem. He ran over several cars, turned over one bus full of people, and heavily damaged another bus full of people. When things like this happen I really want to do something like join the military and find some way to fight terrorist directly. Israel is a small country, about the size of New Jersey, so when something like this happens it affects all of us. For more about that story go here. To read about the 3 victims of the attack go here.

Most of you may not know this, because I haven’t talked about it much, but I don’t believe in the so called “Road Map to Peace” or the “Two State Solution” that is proposed by the US. I am a Jew, and first and foremost I believe that the land of Israel (all of it) was given to our ancestors and us. I of course base this on the Biblical account as well as what the Quran says about it. I believe that our current problems with the Arab nations are that we are perceived as being soft and they are testing us and pushing us. They are also affectively convincing the world that we Israelis are holding back Middle East peace, and are in some way connected to the West’s oil problems. I may go into more detail later.

My job is going okay, not much new there. I continue to train in the Abir martial arts and I am making good progress. I also have been in a conversational Hebrew class that just ended. I am also fiending to see Hellboy II:The Golden Army and the Dark Knight. The below vidoes explain why.





The Bigger Issue

So here comes the bigger issue. I am considering if I should continue to blog. With all of the things I have going on right now, I have less time to do such things. Part of me also feels like maybe I have outgrown blogging and maybe it was a phase. At the same time, I have written a number of things to add to the blog, but of late I haven’t felt like posting them.

So that is the update for now. I know it isn’t saying much and it especially with that last part there are going to be more questions, but that is where I am right now. That is to say I am at a crossroads with not only the blog, but with a few things in life. This is not a bad thing, for now it is simply a thing.

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