In my book Ideology and Landscape, which is about reinterring Zionist leaders in the homeland, I devoted a chapter to the reburial of Baron Edmond de Rothschild in Ramat Hanadiv. He and his wife Ada (Adelheid) were reinterred there in April 1954 in an imposing public ceremony. An Israeli battleship brought the coffins from Marseille to Haifa, and from there they were transported to the majestic burial estate south of the Carmel.
The Kotel belongs to the entire Jewish people; and “Who is a Jew?” is not an Israeli issue but rather an issue facing Klal Yisrael, the collective Jewish people throughout the world.
The Kotel and conversion laws are ones that deal with intense controversies that divide the Jewish people. Surveys, including one conducted by the Schechter Institutes last month, say that most Jews in Israel are in favor of the Kotel compromise. Thus, even if the government has different stances, they must debate these issues in the light of day and not in secret. They must debate this issue not just when the dominant Haredi ultra-Orthodox voices are present, but also when those opposing Kotel restrictions are present.
62% of Israelis believe that everyone should be allowed to pray at the Kotel in accordance with egalitarian practice and free of any separation between men and women! Only 9.2% believe that non-Orthodox streams and Women of the Wall should be forbidden to pray at the Kotel.
I was born two years prior to the Six-Day War when Jerusalem was still a divided city, with barbed wire and concrete walls separating the two sections. Jerusalem totally changed by the time I grew up. It became a city without borders, an exciting and fascinating place, whose spaces were accessible to everyone. One could experience the city on a personal, one to one basis. My urban encounter spanned the entire city…
In one part of the military cemetery in Jerusalem stands a lone and unusual gravestone, marking the grave of David Raziel, Commander of Etzel (also known as the Irgun, a Zionistparamilitary organization that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948). Not many are aware that this is Raziel’s third resting spot, after he was first interred in a British military cemetery in Iraq and later moved to a Jewish cemetery in Cyprus.
Ever since 1967 Israeli society has been preoccupied with the question of the quintessential meaning of the Western Wall. For over forty years since the Six Day War, many dilemmas and struggles centering on this holy place have surfaced.
Since the arrest of Nofrat Frenkel in November 2009 for wearing a tallit and trying to read the Torah at the Kotel, there has been much discussion of the Women at the Wall and the right of women to wear a talit in the women’s section at the Kotel
The Rotem Amfert company wants to open a new phosphate quarry at Sdeh Brir near Arad. It is 3.5 km. southwest of Arad (population 27,000), right next to the 2,500 Bedouin of El Fura, and 3km. from the Bedouin town of Kseifah (population 10,000). Sdeh Brir contains 65 million tons of phosphate, which is enough to be mined for 35 years. Four years ago, 5,800 residents of Arad signed a petition against this quarry. The Mayor of Arad then commissioned a telephone poll of Arad, which determined that 88% of the residents opposed the quarry. On May 22, 2005, the Arad City Council decided unanimously to oppose the quarry. Even so, in 2007 the Rotem Amfert Company renewed its request to open the quarry.
Jews around the world will celebrate Tu B’shvat – “The New Year of the Trees” – on January 22. This article is based on Rabbi Ramon’s recent publication, A New Life: Religion, Motherhood and Supreme Love in the Works of A.D. Gordon, (Carmel Publishing), which describes A.D. Gordon’s philosophical and religious attempt to examine modernity from a traditional viewpoint, and tradition as it faces the challenge of modernity. As spiritual leader of the Second Aliya, Gordon’s commentary centers on the definition of power and control, and concentrates on the motherhood aspect of nature that integrates power (in the Nietzschean sense) with concern for one’s fellow beings.