Journal Watch


“U-sh’avtem mayim b’sasson mima’ayenei hayeshu’a”—“And you shall draw water in joy and gladness from the wells of salvation.” The words of the Prophet Isaiah provide the lyrics for Emanuel Amiran’s best-known song from the Yishuv, the Jewish community in pre-state Palestine—and for the Israeli folk dance that everyone knows.

The Man Who Made the Deserts Bloom

At 80, Israeli scientist Daniel Hillel thought his work with water management was behind him. But global warming has made it more necessary than ever.

Staff Writer

If there is such a thing as rock star status in the world of soil physics, then Daniel Hillel has attained it. As a pioneer in the field, the 80-year-old Israeli scientist can still walk into a conference anywhere in the world and fall prey to a veritable stampede of oncoming fans. Graduate students, agricultural engineers, climatologists, political scientists—all of their work his has somehow affected.

With drip irrigation, water was sent through perforated pipes and fed slowly, drip by drip, to plant roots.

A Theology of Rain

Facing the uncertainty of water.

Special to the Jewish Week

I never gave much thought to the significance of rain until I moved to Miami. Rabbis in Miami face the High Holiday season with more than the usual rabbinic anxiety. In South Florida, the High Holiday season coincides with hurricane season. In the last three years of Florida living, I have reflected often on the ways in which Judaism invests rain with religious meaning. Prayers for rain mark the culmination of the High Holiday season.

Jewish refugee aboard the S.S. Serpa Pinto, en route to New York from Portugal, c1943. PHOTO: AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION


in producing Jewish music, trombonist Rafi Malkiel found inspiration in water.

Special to the Jewish Week

When John Zorn invited the Israeli trombonist and composer Rafi Malkiel to record an album exploring his Jewish roots for Zorn’s Tzadik label, Malkiel was delighted. He was also stumped. “I don’t know how to do Jewish music,” Malkiel told me; which is ironic, because he seems to know how to do everything else, from straight-ahead jazz to Middle Eastern music and salsa.

Editor’s Note


I write this with a view of the Atlantic Ocean, listening to the roar of the waves breaking at the shore. It’s a soothing sound, even as it hints of danger. Water is both gentle and fierce, creative and destructive, as we’ve seen with this summer’s flooding in the Indus Valley of Pakistan, washing away precious lives and displacing millions of people.

JILL NATHANSON. In Our Image, by Our Likeness, Courtesy of Messineo Art Projects/Wyman Contemporary
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