Monday, May 13, 2013
I just found out that May is Jewish American Heritage Month. That's pretty cool for me because right now I'm in America (I flew in and landed in January) and pretty soon I'm going to be making my way back. Before I do, I'm going to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. The buzz I've heard is that it's awesome! I can't wait to find out what Jews have done in and for America since the time of the American Revolution.
But here's the thing. I bet you didn't know that American Jews played an important part in helping us over in Israel establish a Jewish homeland. I'm talking about men and women your grandparents' age, who live in the United States, are proud Americans AND proud Jews. Hey, isn't that what connects us?!
So get this. Do you know that the Israel Air Force is one of the world's top air forces?
Well, it was started by a group of American Jewish pilots who wanted to make sure that all Jews have a land they can call their own. Have a look at this short film. Maybe one of these men is related to you?
Isn't that one unbelievable story? How about finding more stories on American Jews who lived in America but helped Israel? Maybe you can start by asking around in your family. If you discover some good stories let me know. I'd love to post them.
Spitfire photo credit
Plane formation photo credit
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Getting ready for Shavuot? Learning about it in school? Then I'm sure you know that one of the names this holiday has is חג הביכורים -- holiday of the first fruits.
Fruits Photo Credit
Garland Photo Credit
Kibbutz dance photo credit
When the State of Israel came into being, Shavuot quickly became the favorite kibbutz holiday. Back then, kibbutzim -- collective agricultural communities -- were the source of Israel's luscious fruits and vegetables. Even though times have changed, Shavuot is still a special agricultural celebration on the kibbutz. Girls continue the tradition of wearing crowns made out of flowers (floral garlands). Here's an example. Look at it carefully and see if you can make one just like it.
Special decorations are created to remind everyone of farming life. And there's dancing...kibbutz style!
The celebration starts with a parade. What do I mean? Watch this. Every possible farming job on the kibbutz is represented. Am I giving you ideas on how make this year's Shavuot celebration a little bit different? Hope so.
I'll leave you with a YouTube clip of the Givatron -- my favorite kibbutz choir. They sing several songs, so get ready and have a חג שמח.
Garland Photo Credit
Kibbutz dance photo credit
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
This year I'm celebrating Israel Independence Day with a Yom Ha'Atzmaut quiz. The first one to send me all the correct answers will win a free, autographed copy of Zvuvi's Israel.
Good luck -- בהצלחה !
1. Who was the father of modern Zionism?
a. Chaim Weizmann b. Theodor Herzl c. Edmond Rothschild
2. Which city in Israel is named after him?
a. Kfar Weizmann b. Tel Mond c. Herzliya
3. In what year was Israel established?
a. 1967 b. 1948 c. 1898
4. What is the name of Israel's capital city?
a. Tel Aviv b. Jerusalem c. Modiin
5. Who was Israel's first Prime Minister?
a. Moshe Sharett b. Yitzhak Rabin c. David Ben-Gurion
6. The Israeli flag is designed to resemble:
a. King David's shield b. the Tallit -- prayer shawl c. Emblem of the Maccabees
7. What is the name of Israel's national anthem?
a. Hatikva b. Shir Ha'Maalot c. Jerusalem of Gold
8. Who was Israel's only female Prime Minister?
a. Henrietta Szold b. Golda Meir c. Rahel Ben-Zvi
9. Where did she grow up?
a. Warsaw, Poland b. Kibbutz Alpha c. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
10. The first kibbutz in Israel was:
a. Kibbutz Alpha b. Kibbutz Degania Alef c. Kibbutz Ma'ayan Baruch
11. The national bird of Israel is:
a. Falcon b. Sandpiper c. Hoopoe
12. What is the national currency of Israel?
a. Lira b. Shekel c. Agorah d. Dollar
13. What was invented in Israel?
a. cellphones b. texting c. USB flash drive d. all three
14. What are the two official languages of Israel?
a. Hebrew & English b. Hebrew & Arabic c. Hebrew & Russian d. Israel has no "official" language
15. Israel has the lowest point on earth. Where is it?
a. Gulf of Eilat b. Ramon Crater c. Dead Sea d. Sea of Galilee
Whew...I think that's enough! Remember, the first class/school/person to send me the correct answers wins a free, autographed copy of Zvuvi's Israel. Don't forget to include your address.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
שלום ילדים, הורים ומורים
It's me, Zvuvi.
I'm buzzing by because I just thought of a great program idea for your Yom Hashoa commemoration. It sorta hit me when I saw the picture of President Obama at Yad Vashem. There's an Eternal Flame shining behind him. Then today, I started thinking about the torch lighting ceremony that is held every Yom Hashoah at Yad Vashem. Six memorial torches are lit by six Holocaust survivors or their relatives, in honor of the six million Jews who were cruelly murdered during the Holocaust. Each one has a story, and I bet that each of you has a relative (close or distant) with a Holocaust story.
So here's my idea: between now and next Monday research everything about your relative with a Holocaust history. Write it up. Better yet, print it out, frame it or put it on a stand -- you decide. Then, at your Yom Hashoa commemoration stand it up on a display table and light a Holocaust memorial candle.
If there's nothing special going on in your school, then do it at home. It's a sad but golden opportunity to connect with your past. We take it very seriously in Israel and I hope you will too.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
I'm back...in Israel that is.
You guessed it -- I was that fly on the wall in Air Force 1 en route to Jordan. It was delayed because of a sandstorm, so I decided to wing it and take a chance. I flew in like barak -- lightning -- just as the door was about to close, because I wanted to be right near Barak's ear.
There I was, me and the Prez as he checked off some of the places he saw in Israel: Mount Herzl, Yitzhak Rabin's Grave & Yad Va'Shem.
This got me thinking: is he going to make a connection between these three places and the Passover story at his White House Seder?
Here's my take on how these three landmarks tie in with Passover.
1. Mount Herzl has a museum all about Israel's founding father -- Theodor Herzl. Even though Abraham is the founding father of the Jewish nation, let's face it -- round 2 belongs to Moses and he was a lot like Herzl. Because he witnessed a terrible wrongdoing happen to a Jew, he decided to bring the Jews back to the Promised Land. Sound familiar? Isn't that how Moses got started?
2. Yitzhak Rabin was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel and a military hero who fought in Israel's War of Independence. Yes, I know, Moses didn't fight any wars on a battlefield -- that was left to Joshua. Still, he waged the first battle and the most important one -- releasing the Jews from Pharaoh's slavery.
3. Yad Va'shem is the world's central Holocaust memorial dedicated to the 6 million Jews who died, and like Moses, they never made it to the Promised Land.
So what do you think? It's beginning to feel a lot like Passover? I'm too pressed for time to fly all the way to the White House and make it back here in Israel in time for the Seder, so can any of you pass this on to President Obama? Tell him it's Zvuvi's commentary on why his trip was different from all other trips.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
I want to give you a sneak preview of Purim in Israel. Every year the city of Holon holds the country's largest Purim Adloyada Parade. It's a major attraction with lots of floats. You could say it's our version of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The Adloyada parade was first held in Tel Aviv in 1912. The name Adloyada comes from the Rabbinic ruling that on Purim people should party so hard until they can't tell the difference -- Ad Lo Yada -- between Haman and Mordechai.
Parades are held all over Israel, but Holon's is the best!
These are just a few examples of the parade's floats. Click here to see more. I once read that the floats are made at Holon's Design Museum and I wouldn't be surprised. It is the coolest place!
Even cars get into the act!
And, of course, kids! But I'm kinda wondering why they're dressed up as candles!
Are you planning a parade for Purim? Send me pics. I promise to post them.
Float 1 photo credit
Float 2 photo credit
Purim car photo credit
Float 3 photo credit
Kids photo credit
Monday, January 21, 2013
Shalom Girls & Boys:
You'll never guess where I am. I'm not in Jerusalem, not in Tel Aviv, not swimming in the Kinneret or trekking in the Negev. No, none of that. I'm right next door to Washington D.C.!!!
Can you believe??? I flew in yesterday and this place is just buzzing about the inauguration. I'm so excited! I've never seen a presidential inauguration before. And I'm thinking, wow, what a political time for me. Today I'm going to watch the inauguration and tomorrow I'm going to follow the Israeli elections.
Bet you didn't know that this is an election year for Israel. We're not as organized as you. We don't hold elections every four years. It's too complicated to explain. Let's just say elections are held when either the opposition succeeds in bringing down the government through a "no-confidence" vote, or when the government asks the Knesset to call for a new election.
The Israeli Knesset is our parliament. It is located in Jerusalem and it's where all of Israel's laws are passed. This is what the Knesset looks like.
Tomorrow Israelis are going to the polls to elect the members of the 19th Knesset. That means we've had 19 elections since the State was established in 1948. We don't have a president running the government. We have a prime minister, the leader of the party who can combine enough parties to form a government (61 seats or more out of 120 Knesset seats).
Instead of talking politics -- which is the favorite pastime of every Israeli -- I'm going to give you a quick Hebrew lesson. The word כנסת -- Knesset -- means gathering. The root כנס is used in these words:
כנס -- conference
כניסה -- entrance
הכנסה -- to let somebody or something in, as in הכנסת אורחים -- welcoming of guests.
So, we're all waiting to welcome the new Knesset members. In the meantime, I'm taking my front row seat at the American Inauguration. BTW: I will be in the Washington area until the end of May, so if you have any questions about Israel, ask Zvuvi and I'll buzz back to you as soon as I can.
Knesset photo credit