Editor's Note: With this essay, New Normal contributor Paula Fox made us realize that a ramp to the bima is a wonderful thing, but not enough. The bima itself can and should be made more accessible: to people with disabilities, to children, to the short, to the tall. With the publication of Paula's post, we are launching the New Normal's Bima Project, which will aim to work with a synagogue to create and install such a bima. We look forward to sharing the Project's progress with you and of course invite your questions, suggestions and thoughts.
Until recently, I never thought of myself as a Torah reader.
Elie Wajeman’s first feature is French New Wave-ish.
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video:
For many Jews, making aliyah is a response to a commandment, an edict from the Creator. And for some, it’s an escape from a life that has spiraled out of control. That would seem to be one of the messages of the new French film “Aliyah,” directed and co-written by Elie Wajeman. It’s a deft, smart first feature and, not surprisingly, Wajeman’s protagonist seems doomed to find that the problems he will encounter in Tel Aviv are not so different from the ones he is leaving behind in Paris.
Israelis who leave their native country to settle in the diaspora have long been known as yordim, those who go down. It is a disparaging term, and one in contrast to those diaspora Jews who make aliyah, or ascend, to live in Israel.
The two concepts – going up to or down from Israel -- are anchored in a moral equation that harks back to classical Zionism, which negated the diaspora and insisted that Jewish survival depends on the imperative of aliyah.
Will evidence of Israeli indifference to American Jews’ lives never cease to surface? The latest is the publication of a book entitled “Shtetl, Beigel, Beisbol: Al matsavam ha-nora veha-nifla shel yehuda Amerikah” or “Shtetl, Bagel, Baseball: On the Dreadful, Wonderful State of American Jews” by Shmuel Rosner, an Israeli journalist for Ha’aretz.
A Baltimore couple married 71 years is believed to be the oldest couple to make aliyah.
Phillip and Dorothy Grossman, 95 and 93 respectively, made aliyah Tuesday on a Nefesh B’Nefesh group flight in cooperation with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency, together with 43 new emigres from North America.
One of their three children lives in Israel; another will be making aliyah this summer.
The Grossmans were met at the airport by some of their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren living in Israel.
Israel's army is getting a planeload of reinforcements from North America.
A group of 104 young men and women who will be joining the Israel Defense Forces in the coming months were aboard a 747 El Al charter flight to Israel that departed Monday from New York, a record for a single flight. The plane, sponsored by Nefesh B'Nefesh, the Jewish Agency and Friends of the IDF, is carrying a total of 360 North Americans who are moving to Israel.
The 12-year-old girl was seated on the couch across from me, clinging to her mother, her posture helpless and afraid. She’s what they really mean when they say the words “Arab-Israeli conflict,” I thought to myself, trying to maintain a professional mien as I nodded authoritatively, jotted down a few notes, and pretended that I wasn’t about to burst into tears.
Israel’s Interior Ministry, under Shas party leadership, may have exceeded the limits of tolerance, even among Orthodox rabbis, in its latest move that would in effect prohibit Orthodox converts from making aliyah.