Cornell Daily Sun article

Check out this article in the Cornell Daily Sun about the campus visit of an Israeli Bedouin diplomat, a really wonderful and informative event and well reported by the Cornell Daily Sun. What I find quite fascinating about this article is not the reporting itself which is excellent, but the comments. They are so reminiscent of the type of attitude one hears amongst intelligentsia in Europe. Are these reflective of an anti-Israel bias at US Ivy League schools generally? Would such an extrapolation be accurate?

The situation in the US currently appears to me to have parallels with that I experienced in British universities in the 1990’s. Strong support for Israel is gradually overtaken by “trendy anti-Semitism”, dripping drops of poison into the climate which gradually erodes the political process. The constant drip-drip of anti-Israel bias was one of the reasons I was so happy to come to the US. I would greatly appreciate hearing from others if this perception makes any sense or not.


ETA I would refer anybody interested on this subject to the remarkable 2006 statement from Antony Julius and Simon Schama published in the Guardian.

To quote:

“The Palestinian cause, still less the cause of peace, is not served by promoting discrimination against Jews.”

Read the full article here.


PJ Library Sukkot Party

PJ Logo“Read to your kids!” we’re told–and how wonderful if those books (and music) show up in the mail once a month, for free. No need to worry about due dates, either, because the library you’re building up is yours to keep. And the books (and occasional music and videos) are age-appropriate for kids 6 months to 8 years old, all on Jewish themes.

That’s the PJ Library–a great program started by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation as a way of getting, and keeping families engaged with their Jewish heritage. The program is national, but managed locally. Here in the Ithaca area, it is managed by the Ithaca Area United Jewish Community, which administers and supports the program financially.

My daughter has been getting the books and music for almost five years–since she was 6 months old. I’m a huge supporter of the program. She loves getting a package in the mail every month, and PJ Library has managed to find books I never knew existed–and introduced me to some great material!

The IAUJC also arranges PJ Library events several times a year locally–a Purim Carnival, a Sukkot Carnival, and so on. This year, my family volunteered to host the Sukkot Carnival at our home. All one hundred or so subscribing families in the area were invited, along with anyone else in the community, to visit our sukkah, have snacks, do crafts, get some balloon art, listen to music, and generally have a great time.

About 70 people came and enjoyed the crafts and music.

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The carnival was truly a community effort: Marjorie Hoffman created a kid-sized sukkah for our guests to decorate with crafts and s’chach, Miri Birk provided snacks, Dovid Birk led parachute games, Ben Sachs, CJ Glass, and Rima Grunes provided music, the Rubineau and Saar families acted out a PJ Library book, Amazing Pete’s Balloons created what can only be called balloon sculptures for the kids (and a few adults!), and local teenagers helped with crafts and face painting. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes help from Linda Mandel, Sara Kabakov, and others.

What an amazing community!


Fun songs for Sukkot

With many many thanks to the Saars who introduced us to these wonderful songs! Click on the pictures for links.

Shlomit Bona Sukkah (Shlomit builds a Sukkah)

Old 70’s style:


Children singing the song accompanied by Naomi Shemer (who composed the song) on the piano:

Naomi Shemer

Patish, masmer (Hammer, nail) פטיש מסמר

From a children’s TV show:

Hammer nail

Sukati Hasuka (my Sukkah)

סוכתי הסוכה

From a children’s TV show:

enjoy sukkah

Mal’u Asamenu Bar (our barns are filled with grain) מָלְאוּ אֲסָמֵינוּ בַּר

A classic 70’s performance by the Gevatron choir


Sukkot: Back to Basics

Totally love this one, the tune is so evocative and dreamy.


Please come!

soup in succah color

A simple meal between friends

Joni Spielholz, the organizer, will be providing a hearty parve bean & vegetable soup, bread and butter. Attendees are asked to bring salads and side-dishes, or spreads such as hummus, fruit and desserts.

This dairy meal will be preceded by Kiddish and Hamotzi at 5:30 PM.

All Temple members are welcome.

It would be helpful to RSVP to Joni so she knows how much soup to make!

Kadima Tie-Dye Palooza this Sunday

KadimaThis will be a wonderful, fun event for all Kadimaniks (is that the right word?) and their USY buddies. A huge thank you to the Pesco family for hosting this event.

As I have recently learned, Kadima is the pre-teen group of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism. Any Jewish 6th-8th grader can join, it is really easy with the sign-up on the Kadima website, the only information you need to know is that the relevant region for Ithaca is Tzafon.