Arabs and Jews want to save lives

Featured

Some good news for once. Read my Jpost post about an inspirational group of Orthodox Jews (including ultra-Orthodox) and Arabs that save lives in East/West Jerusalem, as well as across Israel. Considering the most popular nonprofits seem to be public health related, they may be onto something. In fact, of the top 100 nonprofits around the world ranked by Global Journal, almost half of the top 25 are public health or humanitarian relief related.

What lessons do you think this group has for the peace movement? I’d love your thoughts, also because I’d like to delve into this deeper in my next post.

‘Israelis in Vietnam’ on JPost.com front page!

Featured

Israelis in Vietnam: From drug addicts to fakers, and in the middle, the heroic truth,” is my first article published directly to the Jerusalem Post’s website! No need to pay for it! And it made it to the front page of the website…so that’s cool.

Front page of the Jerusalem Post's website, 1.22.11

The piece is about Vietnam War veterans that later immigrated to Israel. I did interviews with two of them and their stories are very moving, especially regarding trauma. They are both interviewed for a new documentary in Israel about Israeli-Americans that fought in Vietnam, which airs tonight on Israel’s History Channel.

Arthur Regev, Interviewee

Dr. Jack Pastor, Interviewee

Let me know what you think.

Holocaust free speech v. hate speech?

Featured

There was a bill backed recently that would forbid the use of the term Nazi or anything associated with the Holocaust in Israel. This reminded me of the lessons I learned from writing the, “What are Holocaust humor’s limits?” article, and decided to write a Jpost post connecting the two. You agree with my assessment? Let me know what you think! I’m very curious to get others’ reactions.

Ultra-Orthodox protestors; Photo by Marc Sellem

Hipster Hitler comic with T-shirt

A word for losing a child

I wrote a new Jpost post reflecting on the fact that there’s a word in Hebrew for someone that loses a child. There’s a clip from Six Feet Under to compare Americans’ v. Israelis’ attitudes towards death. I guess there’s a reason I went back to Hebrew classes; language reveals so much. Let me know what you think.

PR photo

Six Feet Under PR Photo

Holocaust survivor creates moving art exhibition

Several weeks ago, I attended an amazing art exhibit by a Holocaust survivor. I was so moved that I wrote this review in the Jerusalem Post Lite below. The artist’s name is Israela Hargil, and the exhibit, Cherries and Golden Butterflies, is on display from now until January 1st at the Theater Art Gallery of Holon. It is about her experiences as a child during the Holocaust in Poland. (NOTE: the location has changed since the original publication.)

I posted this to my Jpost blog so I could encourage folks in Israel to see it. For those of you abroad, I merely urge you to read the review below. Hopefully this will bring you there in spirit.

Cherries and Golden Butterflies

A review of Israela Hargil’s exhibition about being a child during the Holocaust.

By LAURA ROSBROW

 

I see an art piece that consists of candy wrappers piled one-meter high. Above the candy wrappers there are metal wires hanging from the ceiling with candy wrappers tied along them, as if butterflies were flying above. Next to the piece, there is a poetic text explaining the story. The text ends by saying, “And one of the kids found a real sweet there.”

It is the story of an eight-year-old Jewish girl during the end of the Holocaust in Poland, remembering a candy factory being bombed. All the kids played with thousands of candy wrappers flying everywhere. Amidst this, one kid did find, “a real sweet there.”

This eight-year-old girl is now 73-year-old Israeli conceptual artist Israela Hargil, and this piece is part of her new exhibition, Cherries and Golden Butterflies, which can be seen at the Theater Art Gallery of Holon until January 1st, 2012. It is the third and final exhibition in a series of autobiographical work about being a child during the Holocaust.

Focusing on the end of the war, the exhibit captures the unique memories that only a child who survived the Holocaust could have: longing for a doll; pretending to be a “cow girl” to fit into the Polish family that was hiding her; buying a bag of cherries for only a penny. These sweet and dark memories are expressed through mixed media, combining elements such as photographs, found objects, personal writings and sculpture, Hargil’s specialty.

The exhibit has three large installations. The installations tell longer stories and have poetic text alongside them, such as the candy wrappers piece. These pieces are particularly strong. The size of the installations and the accuracy of the materials make you feel as if you are right there in her past.

The only other sculpture in the exhibit is also moving. It is a series of bronze bodies that express different stages of death. One particularly striking figure is crudely made, as if melted and without certain parts, lying like a body.

Most of the exhibit consists of what the artist calls “memory boxes,” that hang along the walls. Each of these is a cupboard filled with photographs and found objects from the artist’s past. Whereas the strength of her larger figures was in their sense of setting, the strongest memory boxes were more individually focused, all with photographs of the artist or her parents. These intimate views of her loneliness haunt the viewer.

Israela’s tale is amazing: She was born in 1938 in Poland. Only three years later, in 1941, her mother was killed. Soon afterwards, her father was convinced to place Israela, then called Eva, in the care of a Polish Christian family. During the Holocaust, Eva stayed with several families, often hiding under beds for months at a time.

Eventually her father, who became a Russian soldier during the war, came back. They both immigrated to Israel in 1948. Sadly, in 1952 he died of a heart attack. Israela remained on a childrens’ kibbutz.

For years this talented artist, who has exhibited at Yad Vashem and the Israel Museum, made abstract pieces. Only five years ago did she begin to do autobiographical work about the Holocaust.

After I saw the exhibit, which I was invited to through my friend (as well as her grandson), I wanted to interview her myself.

I asked her what inspired her to start doing work about the Holocaust. She explained that when she was around 12 years old she wrote a diary about this time. “I did it so I wouldn’t forget what happened during the war because my father was no longer with me. I wrote it so he’d read it and know what I went through.” She used these writings in her first two exhibitions, Photoerosion I and II.

She explained that when her father died (he had read some of her diary before), she inherited his papers: “From time to time, I would go to the attic and look at them,” she said. This went on for years. Then, around five years ago, she created a piece that had three empty boxes. The next thing that happened, “I made a collage of my mother, father, and me as a little girl.” And it just came out.

I asked why this is her last Holocaust exhibit?

She stated calmly, “I cleaned it out of my system. It made it easier. Now it’s not weighing so heavily on me.”

That’s good to hear.

 

For more information, visit Israela Hargil’s website: http://www.israela-hargil.co.il


Mom visited Israel during Gilad Shalit’s return

If it weren’t enough that my Mom visited me for the first time in Israel, she was also here when Gilad Shalit came back to Israel! Her insights as an outsider were very interesting. Read my new Jpost post to see the full story!

Gilad Shalit on the phone with his mother just after being released; Courtesy of Israel Defense Forces

My Israeli Love Story: Part II – At The Airport

I know it’s been a while since I posted. Oops. It’s holiday season in Israel and I’ve been trying to interact with people in person rather than online. Good for me, bad for writing.

Anyways, here is the second part, titled “My Israeli Love Story: Part II – At The Airport,” in what will be a series of blog entries about Uri and I on my Jpost blog. This weekend was our one year anniversary, and it was amazing for me to reflect about the whole thing. A year and a half ago, when I was doing stand up comedy about my horrific dating life, I would have thought you were crazy to tell me that I’d be writing about a budding romance in the paper. Life is nice and surprising sometimes, :).

Hope everyone’s doing well!

Photo by Hoyasmeg on Creative Commons

Why Keeping it Real about Israel is Hard

I took a reprieve from doing the next chapter of My Israeli Love Story to focus on current events. I promise that, “My Israeli Love Story Part 2,” will be written in the near future, :).

However, this week’s post is quite different in style. It is one of my braver, not-so-neat-and-tidy posts. It’s called, “Why Keeping it Real about Israel is Hard,” and is on my Jpost blog.

The post begins with this sentence: “My friend asked if Jon Stewart had done anything on the Daily Show about the Israeli embassy attack in Cairo?” Read on to read intriguing conversations about Egypt, Israel, and the peace process!

Photo by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Creative Commons

The Love Story Behind My Move to Israel

For some time I’ve wanted to write a post describing how I originally met my boyfriend, which inspired my decision to move to Israel. This week, for whatever reason, felt like the right time. I finally had enough perspective and felt comfortable enough in our relationship to do so.

It’s titled, “My Israeli Love Story,” and is on my Jpost blog. This is the first in a series of personal posts. Stay tuned!

Random funny camel photo by Noah Veltman (noahveltman.com)

Interviewed Jimmy Wales, Co-Founder of Wikipedia

I have to say, one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do so far in journalism was this interview. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, was in Israel last month for Wikipedia’s annual conference. He had a lot of interesting things to say about Wikipedia, journalism, and the tent protests going on in Israel. Check it out!

Jimmy-wales-frankfurt2005-alih01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Andrew Lih via Wikimedia Commons