Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Who Needs The Israel Broadcasting Authority?

This morning on Israeli Public Radio, the news program Hakol Diburim  (All Talk) stopped after one hour because of an emergency meeting. The journalists are protesting against the imminent threat to close IBA and fire many of its employees.
As can be seen from the following essay, written at the time when the unfortunate decision to dismantle IBA was made, I am not  a detached observer. However, like many other Israelis, I rely on Israeli public radio and television, and cannot imagine my mornings without Reshet Bet.
We were not brought up to be leaders. My father, Jakob Witzthum, an individualist, preferred to observe life and not to take an active part, and my diligent and shy mother worked mainly behind the scenes. My brother and I learnt from both of them: we grew up knowing who we were but, in contrast to Dale Carnegie, we never tried to  influence people.
Please keep reading in the Times Of Israel

Monday, July 27, 2015

It's Time To Listen: Women Wage Peace

Yesterday on  9th of Av, in the tent of Women Wage Peace, there were more fasting women than usual, as women fasted to commemorate ancient and recent national tragedies.
Some calamities are inevitable, when we lost the brakes in our car on the highway in Italy, we knew that we were going to hit the car in front of us.
But the last war, known by the euphemistic name Operation Protective Edge, was not one of those tragedies.
Few days after the beginning of the war in July 2014, in the Israeli Arab town of Tira, more than thousand people gathered at the center of town taking part in the demonstration: “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” They were speeches pleading that it was still not too late to stop the war, many people carried  signs in Hebrew and in Arabic. One woman stood next to  the stage throughout the event, holding a  big sign in Hebrew “Jewish and Arab women refuse to be enemies.”
The women of Women Wage Peace want to make sure that this time, someone will  actually see the signs, listen to reason and take actions.
Please keep reading in the Times Of Israel

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Comfort of Denial

A powerful cartoon on PBS,  by Jack Ohman, with the perfect title: “In my dad’s final weeks, I was still in Denial, “  reminded me, this morning, of the time of my husband's illness. I too, till the last moment, was in complete denial.
This is an essay in which I argue that denial could be helpful when dealing with tragedy.
Sometimes I hear people remark “she is in complete denial,” several years ago that's probably how they described me. They could not have known, but at that time I chose denial as a way of life and as the best course of action. After my husband was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and heard from the Oncologist about his prognosis, I decided to put that knowledge aside.
Please keep reading in the Times Of Israel

Jack Ohman's cartoon

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Past Has A Vote And Religious Feminists

I am a non-religious Jew, but my favorite group on Facebook is “I Am A Religious Feminist And I Too Have No Sense of Humor.” It is a non- political group, of almost 10 thousand members, most of them religious women. In its credo the group claims that it provides a safe place for religious women to share events from their life. However, as a recent post demonstrates, the members manage to accomplish much more than that:
“After taking part in a partnership Minyan at the library, one of the scholars stopped me and asked “what was that”? “A Minhah “I answered. “Don’t be clever “ he said: “Listen to me, stay away from peculiar practices, just do as your mother used to do”. “But my mother also prays at a partnership Minyan,” I answered. That was it, I have heard the last of him”
This seemingly innocuous incident delivered in the most straightforward, way, with no commentary, is typical of the type of posts published by members of the group.
Please keep reading in the Times Of Israel:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

“It’s A Scary Thing, How Quickly The People Closest To You Can Become Strangers.’’

Sometimes one line makes a film: last night on the flight back from JFK to Ben Gurion  I watched the romantic drama The Longest Ride, based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. It tells the story of two parallel pairs of star-crossed lovers. Within the fictional world the line “It’s a scary thing, how quickly the people closest to you can become strangers” refers specifically to lovers falling out of love. But it is also applicable to alienated family members or to good friends who, for no apparent reason, become distant. 
For me those words express much more than communication problems between close family and friends,  they describe the way I feel about my own community. The recent manifestations of hatred and violence toward minority groups and those who hold different opinions make me feel, for the first time in my life, estranged from my people.
Please keep reading in the Times Of Israel 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Women And Aging: The Pnina Rosenblum Version

The other night on Israeli television (Hakol Kalul-- all inclusive) I watched Talia Peled Keinan interviewing the  Israeli  businesswoman, and media personality, Pnina Rosenblum.
About two years ago Rosenblum started an online dating service, lately she was sued by one of her former clients. He was one of her VIP clients who paid a large sum of money so that she personally would find him a suitable partner.  Apparently she failed to do so. Rosenblum ignored questions about the lawsuit, instead she used the opportunity to promote her business. She encouraged older men to subscribe, even free of charge, to her dating service and gave older women some personal grooming tips
Rosenblum claimed that older women should be careful not to let themselves go, eligible men are rare, and in order to catch a man, women must stay slim and beautiful.
Please keep reading in the Times Of Israel