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? Friday, December 15, 2017


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Redeeming Relevance: The Desert Bubble: Parshat Shelach

The incident of the spies was a completely new and problematic transgression, it was not toward the rarified wilderness, but rather toward the earthly existence promised in the Land of Israel.

Hundreds Suffer Ill Effects From Heat Wave in Israel

The extreme heat wave in Israel has affected hundreds of people; Israelis are urged to remember to keep drinking water.

Arid State of Nevada Seeks Help from Israeli Agricultural Experts

Nevada is hoping to share best practices on water and crops with Israel In a campaign to revitalize its barren terrain. The desert-heavy U.S. state’s...

Temptations, Tests, and the Search for Spiritual Courage

Temptations are ways of teaching people about G-d and the incredible human capacity for compassion and spiritual depth.

‘Third Time, Ice Cream!’

The Israeli phrase, 'Third time, Ice Cream' corresponds to the fact that the third time the ancient Israelites complained to God after the Exodus they got the manna.

Exploring The Hills

One of the off the beaten track areas in Eretz Yisrael that I enjoy taking adventurous visitors to are the southern Hevron Hills. As we drive south from Yerushalayim, passing through the very cradle of Jewish history, with its rolling green hills along the Patriarchs and Matriarchs path or the “Road of Heroism" as it is some times called, we resist the magnetic pull to stop at Gush Etzion or Hevron and continue south, fully cognizant that more Jews walked on this path than on any other road in history.

Machtesh Ramon

Machtesh Ramon is considered by some to be the most exquisite site on the planet. Located south of Beersheba in the Central Negev, not only is Machtesh Ramon the most spectacular geological sight in Eretz Yisrael, it contains within it some unique geological formations that are not found anywhere else on earth.

Mordechai Kedar: Tribal Democracy

Since Qadhaffi was overthrown a year ago, conflicts have broken out between the tribes and the main ethnic groups in Libya, Arabs and Berbers, and it was clear that the new political framework, in order to be an acceptable and legitimate system, must consider the social, tribal structure of the population and not try to fight it.

Chukas: Chastisement And Perfection

Hashem criticized His holy nation relentlessly, yet Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, observes that for 38 of Israel's 40 years in the desert, Hashem expressed no criticism at all. Herein is a lesson in Israel's greatness.

Depending On A Wise Sister

It is a scene that still has the power to shock and disturb. The people complain. There is no water. It is an old complaint and a predictable one. That’s what happens in a desert. Moses should have been able to handle it in his stride. He has been through far tougher challenges in his time. Yet suddenly he explodes into vituperative anger:

The Negev

When contemplating the Negev, one must set aside any preconcieved notion of what a desert is. In Eretz Yisrael there are no rolling yellow sand dunes in softly rising and falling landscapes as unbroken as the sea. Far from being a simple expanse of sand, the Negev is marked by a mélange of cliffs, crags, boulders and dry river vadies. Where the Judean Desert ends, the Negev begins, an impressive region of low sandstone hills, rocky peaks (for example the high plateau area of Ramat HaNegev - The Negev Heights - stands between 370 meters and 520 meters), and plains rutted with narrow canyons. The Negev Desert is mesmerizing, beautiful and rich in geological history.

The Redemption

In the land of Midyan there lived a pagan priest, Yisro, who was greatly respected by his people. He worshiped idols of stone and wood and so did his countrymen.

Israel’s First Massive Solar Farms Receive Licenses

Israel’s scorching-hot desert will soon be home to massive solar energy farms, bringing Israel closer to its goal of reliance on renewable energy. The Public Utility Authority on Monday issued nine licenses to establish Israel’s first large-scale solar energy farms.

The Desert of Death

Israel can put an end to phenomenon of death in the desert immediately by hermetically closing the border with Egypt

Would the Real (And Kosher) Sukkah Installation Please Stand Up?

out half a year ago, my friend Miriam asked if I knew of any artists or architects whose repertoires included sukkahs. My thoughts immediately turned to the gorgeous sukkah my grandfather designed and built every year and to the retractable roof in the dining room at the Bostoner Rebbe's synagogue, Congregation Beth Pinchas. But for the life of me, I couldn't think of any artist who had developed an interesting aesthetic approach to the sukkah, which is the only Jewish experience (save mikvah perhaps) that completely surrounds us.

Moses’ Spies in Art

Growing up, I used to enjoy reading S. Weissman's Little Midrash Says (published 1986) and carefully studying Siegmund Forst's illustrations of the weekly Torah portion. At the time, I had no idea how many of Forst's drawings were derived from earlier traditions of biblical illustration (many of them Christian), but I was particularly struck by the moral readability of the narratives. It was always a cinch to figure out who was a good character and who was evil; you could read it on their faces. The heroes were always smiling widely and the villains looked ugly and angry at the world.

Moses’ Spies in Art

Growing up, I used to enjoy reading S. Weissman's Little Midrash Says (published 1986) and carefully studying Siegmund Forst's illustrations of the weekly Torah portion. At the time, I had no idea how many of Forst's drawings were derived from earlier traditions of biblical illustration (many of them Christian), but I was particularly struck by the moral readability of the narratives. It was always a cinch to figure out who was a good character and who was evil; you could read it on their faces. The heroes were always smiling widely and the villains looked ugly and angry at the world.

Sound Advice For Troubled Times

The 10th Annual Rebbetzin's Conference sponsored by the Task Force on Families and Children at Risk, which took place last week, was one of the best ever. Rebbetzins come from far and wide to participate in this yearly program and leave with newfound strength.

All Dolled Up For The Holidays

"My mother always made the Jewish holidays lots of fun when we were growing up, so is it any wonder I started my own Judaica business?"

Jewish Enough In LA?

The L.A Story, a selection of works from 10 contemporary Los Angeles Jewish artists currently at the Hebrew Union College - Institute of Religion Museum, poses the question of what exactly constitutes Jewish Art and what is its condition today on the West Coast.

Rebuked By The Jimmy Carter Fan Club

A couple of recent columns that were less than laudatory to the 39th president of the United States provoked some interesting reader responses. If laughter is indeed the best medicine, the Monitor ought to bottle this stuff.

Painting Trauma And Relief: Hopeful Holocaust Paintings

For American artists, the attacks on the Twin Towers are a particularly difficult subject matter.

Barren Beauty

Ever since I can remember, my husband's practice has been, like many men, to buy me a lovely bouquet of flowers for Shabbat.

Wandering In Paint, Wondering In Paint. Bamidbar At The Mercer Gallery

Many mistranslate the word "midbar" as desert, whereas the word really carries more of a connotation for wasteland or wilderness, perhaps deriving from the root dever for "plague" or davar for "word" or "thing."

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