Qualunque cosa accada
racconto di Daniela Pepe Viterbo - 21 ottobre 2015

Al tabellone arrivi il volo da Tel Aviv é landed, atterrato! L'emozione sale mentre la vedo oltrepassare il controllo passaporti trascinando il pesante trolley. Tikvah ha diciotto anni, é mia nipote. Ci stringiamo forte, nello sguardo un velo di tristezza. Non faccio domande, capisco che é stanca. Più tardi, con calma, parleremo. Davanti ad una tazza di tè fragrante, é un fiume in piena di parole ed emozioni: in Israele la situazione é drammatica, si é scatenata violentissima l'intifada dei coltelli, la tensione é alle stelle. Le offro un pezzo di torta appena sfornata, gli occhi socchiusi ad assaporare la felicità, qualunque cosa accada.

La osservo con orgoglio: assennata e responsabile, già da piccola insegnava alla sorellina il gioco “tutti giù per terra” a schivare le pallottole che fischiavano sopra la testa nel tragitto che portava a scuola. Tikvah é nata nel West Bank e ogni giorno sa di poter essere, in qualsiasi momento, accoltellata, investita, crivellata da spari o lancio di pietre, e poter morire per strada, in un centro commerciale o alla fermata dell'autobus; Tikvah abita nel West Bank, lei ama la vita e come le ragazze della sua età, sogna e spera, qualunque cosa accada.

Mi confida alcuni progetti: l'università a Gerusalemme, il viaggio in Europa dopo il servizio militare, un nuovo amore appena sbocciato. Chiedo notizie di Avigail, scampata per miracolo ad un attentato. Continua a parlare, la voce rotta: “Perché dobbiamo vivere nell'angoscia che ci sia un terrorista palestinese pronto a colpirti o farsi esplodere? Perché dobbiamo sobbalzare ad ogni sms di allerta missili, correre a perdifiato e rinchiuderci nel bunker? Perché il mondo non s'indigna quando uccidono gli ebrei?

Perché questo silenzio assordante?

Usciamo, Roma ci aspetta. Compriamo i biglietti per un giro panoramico della città in bus scoperto. Prendiamo posto su, in alto, l'aria é frizzante, il cielo terso. La vedo felice e spensierata. Musei, shopping e pranzo nel quartiere ebraico. Scegliamo di stare fuori all'aperto a goderci la piazza ed il sole che splende d'intorno.

Una settimana é trascorsa, giunto ormai é il tempo del ritorno. La seguo con lo sguardo incamminarsi verso il settore partenze. Ha due trolley adesso ed un cappello bianco a falda larga. Si gira a salutarmi ancora una volta, poi sorride e si unisce ad un gruppo di turisti israeliani. Nel mio cuore un canto forte si eleva

Eretz Eretz Eretz
Terra, Terra, Terra
Paese che amiamo come nostra madre
Paese di un popolo per sempre
Paese in cui siamo nati e viviamo
qualunque cosa accada

Don't forget, kids, Jesus wasn't the Messiah

Even if we accept every event the gospels describe to have actually happened (all the miracles, the crucifixion, his birth, the resurrection, etc), Jesus still would not have fulfilled the most fundamental requirements of the Messiah. Those fundamental requirements are 1) ingathering of the Jewish exiles to Eretz Yisrael, 2) reestablishing the Davidic dynasty and the independence (and preeminence) of Israel, 3) rebuilding the Temple, 4) ushering in an era of world peace under the rule of God, and 5) every person in the world accepting and serving the God of Israel as the one true God.
Jesus spectacularly failed to do any of that, and therefore cannot be the Messiah.

gonnafindhope  asked:

Hi! I'm studying philosophy and one of my subjects is about judaism. I'm having trouble trying to understand the differences among words that refer to the Scriptures: Mishná, midras, halaka, haggada, Talmud, Guemará and Masora. (Especially Talmud, Tanakh, Masora and Torá). I've been doing some research but it just gets me more confused bc everyone says something different. Could you explain it to me or tell me about any website where all this concepts are well explained? Thank you very much!


I hope I an help.  I will define the above terms– but in a better order to make it easier to understand.

The Torah (the 5 Books of Moses, hasefer Torah, the first third of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), literally translates to “Law”, consists of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  This is the holiest of texts of the Jewish people.  Traditional Jews believe that the Torah was given to Moses and to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.  Progressive Jews believe that this text was written over a few centuries by several different authors (Documentary Hypothesis theory). 

The Torah is broken up into parshiot (parsha-singular) and read once per week.  It is tradition to read Torah on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (Shabbat).  This tradition stems from antiquity when our ancient ancestors would read Torah on “market days” so that everyone can hear its powerful words. 

The Torah itself is a large-duel scroll.  The text is written with a special ink on special animal-skin paper and is written by a sofer (a male Torah scribe) or in many Progressive communities a soferet (a female Torah scribe). Torahs can cost upwards of thousands of dollars/sheckels as it takes the scribe about a year to write a Torah.  A special jacket is kept on the Torah and is adorned with special “jewelry” and kept in a special closet called an ark (aron hakodesh) modeled after the Tabernacle in antiquity.

Because Torah means law, Jews symbolically pass the Torah from generation to generation (l’dor vador) from grandparent to parent to child and so on.  Also an important note is to distinguish “Torah” from “The Torah”.  The Torah is the physical scroll, the text of the 5 Books of Moses etc.  Torah (without the definite article) is Jewish law, I believe that every text, teaching and act of lovingkindess (done in a Jewish way) is Torah.   

For more on the Torah, check this out.

( Photo source)

The Tanakh is an acronym for the three sections of the Hebrew Bible: Torah, Nev’i’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings).  Christians may understand the 24 books of the Tanakh as the Old Testament.  Many of these stories do appear in Muslim sources as well.

Jews read parts of the Prophets and Writings on Shabbat and holidays known as Havtorah.  Many psalms and other parts of the Tanakh appear in ancient and contemporary Jewish music, liturgy and prayer.  This is the Jewish or the Hebrew Bible, the ancient story of the Jewish people and the holiest piece of literature that we own as a nation.

Although the Torah appears in an actual scroll,  copies of the Tanakh are simple books (usually huge) that contain all of the books.

Halachah is Jewish law.  Literally meaning “the walking,” Halachah is rabbinic interpretation of the Tanakh and oral law for how to live an authentic Jewish life. For instance, rules about Shabbat and holiday practice exist in Halacha alongside law about how to treat one another.  Historically, Halachah has been used as a tool to keep the Jewish people together, to keep them believing and to keep them in wonder of G-d.  In the contemporary Jewish world, many Jews still keep Halachah in a traditional sense.  Some have reinterpreted many of its laws for the modern day and some do not acknowledge its importance but rather understand the great works of the Jewish people in their own way, a way that gives them meaning.  As you can probably guess, this is a VERY heated topic in the Jewish world.

The Talmud actually refer to two separate compilations of texts: the Babylonian Talmud (the Bavli) and the Palestinian/Jerusalem/Eretz Yisrael Talmud (the Yerushalmi). Essentially, the Talmud is a combination of oral law and Jewish interpretation of oral law.

Typically Jews today follow the teachings in the Babylonian Talmud because after the exile from the Land of Israel in 70 CE, most writers from the Holy Land were gone and the Babylonian authors and teachers held authority.

For the sake of this post, it will be mainly about the Bavli.  The Talmud has two components the Gamara and the Mishnah.  The Mishnah is ‘oral law’ (Torah sh’be’al pe or Torah of the mouth) passed down over generations and finally compiled between 200 and 220 CE.  The Gamara is the commentary on that law compiled circa 500 CE.

The Talmud is broken down into several sections such as zeraim (seeds), nashim (women) and than smaller sections.  For instance the moed (festivals) tractate breaks down into smaller sections on Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat and reading the Megilla.  Each of these smaller sections break down into verses much like in the Hebrew Bible(The Tanakh).

The Masoretic Period  (6th-11th century CE) in Jewish history was one which introduced vowels to Hebrew which made it easier to understand and read.   They were really committed to writing down everything and they are the reason why we have many of the great texts that we have today!

The Haggadah (meaning “telling”) is a special piece of liturgy that Jews use on Passover (Pesach) when they sit down to their sederim (seder-singular)– a seder, meaning order, is a special dinner on the first (usually also the second) nights of Passover.  The text is old, some date parts of it back to the time of the Mishnah (Oral Law).  Today, we have our own very special Haggadot (plural) that have the original text, but might interperate it in a modern way.   For instance, some have beautiful artwork in them and others bring feminism, LGBTQ rights and interfaith families into them.  Some are meant for kids, while others still harken back to a very traditional understanding of the text.

Hope that this helps!


being an Ashkenazi Jew in the modern era is strange. We have family trees that stop in 1941, surnames picked for us from lists of insults, facial features that are the result of decades of Cossack rape during pogroms. Our bloodlines and ancestry (if we even know them– all the records of my family burned with the people) are so mixed that it’s impossible to know where we really came from, except that at one time our ancestors dwelt on the sacred soil of Eretz Yisrael.

to be a Jew is to be an assemblage of dirt and dross pushed together into a big human-sized lump. Our languages are mixtures of Hebrew and Spanish and Arabic and German and Russian and Czech. Even our names are combination words– usually two concepts pushed together and unified by the name of g-d.

to be a Jew is odd. It’s to be a whole bunch of random stuff, smushed together and put under intense pressure. But what do you get when you push random stuff together and put it under pressure? A diamond.

to be a Jew is to be a diamond.


Today is 69 years since the creation of the State of Israel. Probably the most important event for Jewish people in 2000 years. In 1948, we finally had our original homeland back. Our prayers and tears of 2000 years had been answered and we were granted independence.

We are living in one of the most amazing times in Jewish history. Only 100 years ago, this was something that people dreamed of. But we can’t forget that the war of independence isn’t yet over. That war is still being fought and has been fought every single day since 1948. We will win. Eretz Yisrael is alive and well and it is going nowhere, and Jerusalem will remain the undivided and eternal capital of the Jewish people forever and ever.

Chag Ha’atzmaut Sameach from Eretz Yisrael.

Jews in the Land of Israel--by Yehuda Amichai (translated by Chana Bloch)

We forget where we came from. Our Jewish

names from the Exile give us away,

bring back the memory of flower and fruit, medieval cities,

metals, knights who turned to stone, roses,

spices whose scent drifted away, precious stones, lots of red,

handicrafts long gone from the world

(the hands are gone too).

Circumcision does it to us,

as in the Bible story of Shechem and the sons of Jacob,

so that we go on hurting all our lives.

What are we doing, coming back here with this pain?

Our longings were drained together with the swamps,

the desert blooms for us, and our children are beautiful.

Even the wrecks of ships that sank on the way

reached this shore,

even winds did. Not all the sails.

What are we doing

in this dark land with its yellow shadows that pierce the eyes?

(Every now and then someone says, even after forty

or fifty years: “The sun is killing me.”)

What are we doing with these souls of mist, with these names,

with our eyes of forests, with our beautiful children,

with our quick blood?

Spilled blood is not the roots of trees

but it’s the closest thing to roots

we have.

Like the sunrise You make me wonder How the Almighty can make conundrum As the waves sore high you glide it for a ride Its wonder to see the woman of valour. Create a night , cosign our lives Insight on the heights, Searching for the right, meaning of life. It takes more than one day just like catching your best wave I know it isn’t fair because I wouldn’t dare to declare It be a strangers’ love affair To say I glaze at the waves Even if you want to play I can not stay, From dust to dawn the waves will paint my daydream. In a complete siren state I can forget everything, and believe in the unseen. But how unbecoming of me It’s time for reality because everything is meant to be. Which is a wonder to see!

Slowly reexamining my Judaism after going on Birthright

I think it actually had the opposite of the intended affect: I have never felt more connected to and at home in Diaspora Judaism than I am now. It’s true that Jews would not be who we are without Eretz Yisrael; it’s also true that we would not be who we are without diaspora. It was in diaspora that we received the Torah; it was in diaspora that we wrote the Talmud; it was in diaspora that the form of Judaism I practice came to be. Diaspora can be uncomfortable and is often dangerous, but it’s also the birthplace of so much of what I find meaningful about Judaism.

In Israel, I never felt happier than I did when we were in the desert. That was where I felt the most connected to G-d, even more than at the Western Wall. It was in the desert where the Israelites wandered, without a permanent home, that we became a people. I think that for me, it’s the experience of wandering, of finding G-d in places that aren’t designated G-dly, that summarizes my Judaism most accurately.

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a diasporic people and what it would mean to not be a diasporic people. I’ve learned that the end of the Jewish diaspora is not something I want, but is it something that some people want? Would we cease to be diasporic if every Jew made aliyah? Is the end of the diaspora to come with the Moshiach? Does the fact that I feel at home in diaspora dilute the diasporic nature of my location? If the most meaningful parts of Judaism (to me) came about in diaspora, what would it mean to end our diasporic period?

It’s hard for me to conceive of a non-diasporic Jewish people. Surely not everyone can make aliyah, even if everyone wanted to. And supposing that did happen, what would it mean for our people? I don’t like the idea of it, honestly. We gained so much, culturally, from being a wandering people. I don’t want that to end.

My Judaism is emphatically diasporic, and I’m happy that it is. I’m glad I went to Israel. I’m glad I got to see the holy sites and I’m glad that I was able to gain some perspective on what it means to live in the diaspora versus in Israel. That perspective has helped me feel at home outside of Israel, and has showed me the importance of a continued diaspora Judaism. I’m glad that I went, but I don’t think I’ll go back.


Tonight is the first night of Chanukah! 

On the first night of Chanukah, millions of Jews  in Israel and abroad will Light their Menorah’s and shine that flicker of Light for the world to see in the darkest of corners around the world.The Menorah’s light symbolizes a beacon of hope–reminding us of the Chanukah miracle,the struggle and–ultimate victory–of the weak Maccabees reminds us to never give up hope.

To all of Am Yisrael, and to all of the world, Chanukah Sameach. MayHaShem bring us the geula, and with it peace for Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, and peace and joy for all His creations.

May we all have a happy and healthy Chanukah. Chanukah Sameach!

חנוכה שמח

anonymous asked:

how do I reconcile my growing interest in Judaism (which my family kind of drifted away from about a generation ago) with my horror toward what Israel is doing. I get if this is too political and I love this blog fyi

I’ve seen other bloggers posit it this way, there is Israel the Holy Land, “Eretz Yisrael,” and there is Israel the country, “Medinat Yisrael.” You can have a positive relationship with the land and the Jewish people without supporting the actions of the Israeli government. I don’t think it’s inherently un-Jewish to criticize the Israeli Government as an entity. There are Jews who blindly support Netanyahu and the Israeli hard-right, there are Jews who support two-state solutions, one-state solutions and no-state solutions. You having a positive relationship with Judaism does not depend on your opinion of Israel’s actions one way or the other. I know there is a lot of noise pulling at you from both directions, some Jewish, most not. Keep in mind that “Israel” literally means wrestling with G-d. Don’t accept things blindly. Jews are argumentative with each other, yes, but we expect that from each other. Blind faith is not our thing.