Regards from Israel

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 11:59am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

by Dr. Einat Wilf
Israel Today Forum Expert
Danger Zone:  What Regional Turmoil Means for Israel
Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 7:30pm at the Sandler Family Campus
For more information or to RSVP today by click here.

Join the CRC and community partners for a “tour d’horizon” of the geopolitical condition of the Middle East and the powers at play as The Honorable Einat Wilf, former member of Knesset discusses what this most recent turmoil means for Israel. Known as one of Israel’s most articulate representatives on the international stage and a leading intellectual and original thinker on matters of economics, education, foreign policy, Jewish peoplehood and society, Dr. Wilf was born and raised in Israel. She served as an Intelligence Officer in the Israel Defense Forces before receiving undergraduate degrees in Government and Fine Arts from Harvard, an MBA from INSEAD in France, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge. This mother of three kids under the age of four, offers a strong female voice as the first woman expert to take part in the Israel Today series. For more information on this and other Israel Today Forum events, click here


Dear Friends,
Let’s face it, it has been a terrible summer. Even for those of us lucky enough not to have had to mourn the personal loss of a loved one, this summer of war has taken an emotional and mental toll much greater than many of us initially admitted. The spirit was one of “a stiff upper lip”, but nerves were frayed and, in between the sirens, few of us were able to do anything more than stay glued to the television.
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Sunny with a Chance of Rockets: Part 6

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 3:36pm

Posted in: Holocaust Commission, Stop the Sirens

1728 By Elena Barr Baum
Read Part 5 here.

Friday morning dawned, and we were no longer under the protective wing of Yad Vashem, what to me felt like, next to the Knesset, the safest place in Israel. We looked at the forecast for Tel Aviv on the Ha’Aretz website. It was SUNNY, WITH A CHANCE OF ROCKETS. I think that headline tipped the scales for us.

After much back and forth – wanting to be tough; wanting to believe that everything would be ok; wanting to stand strong for Israel; and not seem like we were “abandoning it” when it needed us and our economic boost the most - I finally took the advice of my Israeli friends, and listened to my concerned family back at home, and rebooked myself to come back to the US early. The first flight I could get on at that point was late Saturday night. Deb worked out her travel plans, also to leave earlier than scheduled, on Sunday morning. Mickey was scheduled to fly out Friday night, so she, Deb and I did not go to Tel Aviv Friday as originally planned, but took in some of Jerusalem, since we had not seen much but Yad Vashem since we arrived. We had a lovely day, wandering, dining and shopping. Deb and I waved farewell to Mickey’s taxi that evening and sent her off to the airport. (She can tell you about that story!).
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Sunny with a Chance of Rockets: Part 5

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:53pm

Posted in: Holocaust Commission, Stop the Sirens

1724 By Elena Barr Baum
Read Part 4 here.

Photo by Janice Engel

It seemed as soon as we began our presentation, it was time to pack up, as the conference only had 2 more sessions. The one that followed ours brought the entire cohort back together again for “the voices of the fourth generation.” What a powerful way to wrap up the week! Six young people (ages 18-25) from six different countries (England, China, Canada, Poland, Argentina, and Israel) shared with the delegates why Holocaust education was important to them, and what motivates them to promote it in their countries. I looked at these young adults with pride in their purpose. I am glad to know that their parents, who like my mother were probably sitting thousands of miles away worrying, and wondering when their child would be leaving Israel, can look online and see how poised and accomplished they were in front of such a formidable group.
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Thoughts on the Eve of Tisha B'av

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 3:23pm

Posted in: Holocaust Commission, Stop the Sirens

1708 By: Elena Barr Baum

Elena Barr Baum shared the following in a panel discussion at Congregation Beth El before Tisha B’Av services on August 4. Elena is the Director of the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

I was in the enviable position of taking a professional trip to Israel, at the unenviable time of what turned out to be the outset of Operation Protective Edge, the latest in the string of wars with Israel’s hostile neighbors. While many of my thoughts and feelings about the time I spent in Israel in early July are posted on the UJFT Blog and will also be reprised in the Jewish News’ next edition, tonight I wanted to share with you how I feel about my experience as it relates to Tisha B’av.
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Small Steps to Counter This Big Feeling of Helplessness

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 1:45pm

Posted in: Stop the Sirens

1682 By Liz Dovrat

Liz Dovrat is an American-Israeli living with her Israeli-born husband Lior in Kibbutz Yiftach, a kibbutz in the northern tip of Israel on the border with Lebanon.  Currently she works as an English teacher at the local college, Tel Hai Academic College.   Liz spent most of her childhood summers in Virginia Beach, where her parents, Noel and Barbara Dudley now reside. - See more here.

When I last wrote, I hoped that the war would be over, that I wouldn't be stirred to write again.  I've had difficulty dragging myself to the computer, to describe again the mixture of fear, anger and worry that I feel on a daily basis.  To repeat I'm the lucky one, I can still blissfully tune out the news by throwing myself into work or diving into a book.
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Your Voice Matters!

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:42am

Posted in: Community Relations Council, Stop the Sirens

By Robin Mancoll, Director, Community Relations Council, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

1706 What does that really mean?  “Your Voice Matters?”

It means that this war is not only taking place in Israel and Gaza, but is also a fully global social media campaign – and YOU must take part.  If you’ve ever hesitated about posting something about Israel on your facebook page, or thought you couldn’t figure out twitter, NOW is the time to stop wondering and start ACTING.  If you’ve never called or emailed your Congressperson, DO IT, it’s easy, quick and it really does make a difference.  If you’re frustrated by media coverage, start writing and let it out!
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Hi, All. Yes, I’m Safe.

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 3:08pm

Posted in: Holocaust Commission, Stop the Sirens

1707 By Janice Engel

From left, Deb Segaloff, Janice Engel, Mickey Held and Elena Baum

The Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater was invited to present its innovative original program, What We Carry, at the 9th International Conference on Holocaust Education at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, July 7 – 10, 2014. This blog is part of a series, written by those who represented What We Carry, the Holocaust Commission, and the Tidewater community (and beyond) at Yad Vashem, and whose visit to Israel coincided with the start of Operation Protective Edge.

The following is taken from an email sent to Janice’s friends and family, just after the siren went off at the closing session of the conference at Yad Vashem:

Hi All,

I've received a few messages from you re: the recent escalation of tensions here in Israel and the Gaza Strip.  I went to email you “all right” after it was over, but my cell phone juice ran out—so better late than not at all.
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Sunny with a Chance of Rockets: Part 4

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 1:10pm

Posted in: Holocaust Commission, Stop the Sirens

By Elena Barr Baum
Read Part 3 here.

1705 Thursday brought The Third and Fourth Generation: The Relevance of the Story. This is where the rubber meets the road. How do you make the Holocaust important to the “digital natives” growing up today, who see the 20th century as ancient history? Kids who will never meet a survivor, or hear an eye witness account of the Holocaust?

In the morning we heard about Generations Y and Z, born after 1988 and 1995. Unlike Boomers and Gen X, the Y and Z-ers are more self-focused, have a different attention span and different distraction levels than their predecessors. They tend to multi-task, doing many things at once, rather than look at a subject in depth. But as our speakers from Google, the USC Shoah Foundation, and the International School at Yad Vashem told us, there is no replacement for face to face interaction. Even the Gen Z-ers, who don’t understand a world without the internet, still need to “get together with people.” As we heard from the Director of Google’s Israel R&D department, bringing historical content online is a huge job, but it brings access for people who can add to the body of knowledge. And then once exposed to something online, people are more likely to want to explore it and experience it further. The online experience does not replace REAL things, but can greatly enhance them.
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A Day of Conflicting Images

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 8:10am

Posted in: Stop the Sirens

by Arthur Sandman, Executive Vice President, The Jewish Agency for Israel

The Jewish Agency for Israel is one of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s trusted Israel & Overseas partners, and a recipient of funds raised during the UJFT Annual Campaign. 

Dusty Heist-Levine, Manager, Community Relationships for the Jewish Agency (and Tidewater’s long-time liaison), has been sending us frequent reports about the current situation in Israel and the Jewish Agency’s response to help Israelis in crisis. We received the following email from him on July 28, 2014:
Dear Friends, The Jewish Agency had an update for me to send out today with the numbers, details, etc. of all the good work we are doing, with your support, to help our brothers and sisters in Israel.  But I felt the below personal message from my colleague (and boss) who is returning home from having visited that work the past week, paints a more meaningful picture. 
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Sunny with a Chance of Rockets: Part 3

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 7:58am

Posted in: Holocaust Commission, Stop the Sirens

By Elena Barr Baum
Read Part 2 here.

1704 Day Two focused on The Second and Third Generation: Finding Meaning in the Story. After an interesting panel discussion about the seminal 9 hour film Shoah by Claude Lanzman, we heard from Dr. Daniel Goldhagen, author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners. He brought to light many previously unexplained thoughts on common theories that average Germans and German soldiers were “just following orders” or “unable to make different choices.” He cited that while it was common knowledge that the Germans reintroduced slavery to the European continent, too often the testimony of survivors and victims about how they were treated by “ordinary Germans” was neglected or even ridiculed, because it flew in the face of what the scholars were saying about the Nazi culture. While I was told later by a staff member of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (perhaps one of the scholars Goldhagen was referring to?) that some historians are skeptical of his research, I must say that it was one of the most thought-provoking lectures I have heard on the Holocaust. That’s the thing about this subject -- there is always more to learn -- more angles to investigate. (You can see his lecture here.)
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