Category: blog

Israel is an amazing country full of beautiful landscapes, monuments, and history

It’s hot at the moment in Israel, but the winter season in Israel is between November and March. During these months, the temperature can be cold especially in the northern reaches of the Golan Heights where snow is common during the winter. Well, I’m telling you; Israel is an amazing country full of beautiful landscapes, monuments, and history.

In Jerusalem itself, snow is not much common but occasionally it’s possible to find snow in Jerusalem during the winter. On the coast the Winter season brings rain but the temperature usually remains average. Typical tourists sights like Eilat can still be visited during the winter as long as you don’t mind getting some rain.

Between June and August temperatures are high and if you choose these months for visiting Israel, you’ll be able to visit Jerusalem and the highland areas on all their splendor. During the Summer, Tel Aviv and the south of the country are usually warmer.

Spring goes from April to May and Autumn goes from September to October. These months are considered good months to visit Israel since temperatures tend to be mild through the entire country.

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Meditation – Do I Need To Say Anymore?

The Rabbis might call Cheshvan “Mar” Cheshvan, but I think it should be called “Thank goodness it’s Cheshvan!” or TGIC. I have HHF (High Holiday Fatigue) and am using Cheshvan to get myself back on track both physically and spiritually. This post is about Meditation – do I need to say anymore?

On the physical side, I’m back on my exercise routine. It was hard to exercise AND be in shul three mornings a week AND host people in our Sukkah AND work…you get the idea. Not that all of those things weren’t joyful, they were, but there are ONLY 24 hours in a day so something had to give.

Rabbis talk about the importance of routine for both children and adults.  I must say that the one thing that didn’t give during the holiday season was my meditation practice, and for that I am grateful. Meditation might feel Eastern to you and not Jewish, but that, happily, is not true.

I am also using the principles of meditation with a Jewish twist to regain my sense of Jewish spirituality, which also took a hit during the High Holidays. Counter-intuitive I know, but sometimes too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect.

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Jewish Teenage Temptation

“He was getting on my nerves, you know what I mean?” she said. “He dropped out of high school and now he wants to get his GED…” Do this sort of things sound a bit familiar? Well, it’s all about Jewish Teenage Temptation…

“Um, yes … of course, I totally understand what you are saying,” I answered back … as if I really had a clue.

As my friend continued to unravel every detail of her “dating life” I could not stop thinking about how miserable this girl was. All she could think about was boys!

I still don’t understand why my friend chose to speak about this to me — a girl who is completely against teenage dating — and no, it’s not because I attend an all-girls high school. By the way, did I mention that my friend just recently turned 16?

Now please don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those anti-boys, anti-socializing girls. I actually have a great group of friends that includes both girls and boys. I also hang out with my friends; I go to the movies with them. They are all really great.

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Pride in being Jewish

Ye… Yele… Yeled,” Oliver looked up at me with pride in his eyes. He knew he had read the word perfectly. He began to smile, satisfied with his own accomplishment. I too began to smile. Overwhelmed with gratification, I realized it was this feeling that drags me out of bed before 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings. This is about pride in being Jewish.

Oliver, his sister, Daphne, and I participate in the Jewish Youth Encounter Program. “The program was designed to instill in our students a love of and pride in being Jewish,” described Debby Rapps, program director.

Founded in 1986 by Carl and Sylvia Freyer, the program is open to all children in the third through seventh grades, from public or private schools and affiliated or unaffiliated homes. The “big siblings” as the tutors are called — mostly juniors and seniors attending local yeshiva high schools — are specifically matched to best fit the needs of each child in the program.
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Journey To ‘Jewtopia’

I was unsure of what I was going to find, and kind of uneasy, as I rushed through the front doors into the empty lobby of the Westside Theater. Empty that is, except for a man in an official-looking suit. “Joseph P.,” I told him “Party of two.” This is all about my journey to ‘Jewtopia’.

“Right this way,” he replied after locating my tickets. “You’ll have to wait at the steps until the scene ends,” he continued, as he led me and my friend into the theater. “The play began five minutes ago.”

As we breezed past the ticket taker and up the steps, my eyes adjusted to the dim luminescence and I reflected on how I’d gotten to this show. It must have been, to some degree, a step in a different direction for Fresh Ink to send a writer to a play.

The public relations agent for the play treated me like I was a regular reporter and after the show, I would have interview time with the leading actors, which was awesome. I’m sure this was a first or at least a second or something for a teen reporter. Continue reading “Journey To ‘Jewtopia’”

Tzniut And Snazzy

Everyone has an individual style, way of dressing, and a sense of fashion. From preppy to punk, from girly to glam, and from sporty to sweet, there are so many different styles to choose from. Great style can’t always be expressed because of school dress codes and tzniut and snazzy.

The halachot of tzniut prohibit certain types of clothing and place restrictions on others. They’re the laws of dressing modestly. In today’s culture though, the word modest has a very different connotation than it did in the time of the Torah.

Today’s interpretation of tzniut laws requires skirts that cover the knees and shirts that cover the collarbone and elbow. It prohibits exposing the midriff and wearing excessively tight or sheer clothes.

These laws can be hard to abide by in today’s society because fashion magazines, television shows, and newspaper ads all promote the type of dress that is forbidden. Jewish teens today want to look acculturated, not differentiated, and because of some of the laws, it’s not that easy.

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Jewish-French Connection

Hi, happy to meet you! Ever since I have been teaching English at George Leven High School for 16 years, I have been trying to organize exchanges for pupils,” wrote Daniella Malka, an English teacher from Paris, in one of her first e-mails to our school’s faculty. This is about the Jewish-French Connection.

Little did she realize that our teachers, Doris Davis and Monique Caiden, were thinking about that exact plan. Caiden proposed the idea to her friend Hava Maguy, a teacher at George Leven High School.

These two French teachers and Andy Sandler, computer instructor and coordinator, have set up e-mail connections between students at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School in Great Neck, N.Y., and George Leven High School in Paris, — both Modern Orthodox yeshivas.

“I am so excited about the new program, ‘Le Club de Français’, because I enjoy writing to my pen-pal,” said senior Sharleen Pouladian. “We’re just beginning to exchange ideas and plans. This way we can both develop an understanding as to where we come from and how that affects us, both being teenagers.”

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Jewish Teenage Temptation

At Yeshivah of Flatbush High School, something, or someone for that matter, stands out. Among the teenage boys and girls dressed in every bright color imaginable hiking up the five flights of exasperating stairs is a girl dressed solely in morbid black. An unorthodox orthodox teen. Black shirt, black skirt, black shoes, black arm warmers, black bracelets, black everything.

Fourteen-year-old Malka Wallick dresses in the Gothic style, a style usually not associated with Judaism. Although the term “Goth” was first used to describe a type of architecture in the early 12th century, it was later used to describe the style of literature used by writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and Shirley Jackson, a style pertaining to bereavement.

To find out more, I asked her some questions. When did you start dressing like this and why? Continue reading “Jewish Teenage Temptation”

Leaders And Their Packs

Imagine the scene. You are driving down Main Street in a coastal town in New Jersey, or any Jewish suburban community for that matter, on your way to the supermarket with some leaders and their packs. It’s a nice summer day and you can smell the salty sea air drifting in from the Atlantic.

You stop at a red light, when all of a sudden a swarm of 20 bicycles swoops down on you from behind, riding at Lance Armstrong breakneck pace, heading straight for the kosher pizza store. Not two minutes later another horde of teenagers follows. This is not just a casual group of friends. This is a pack.

The pack concept is neither indigenous to one town nor limited to teenagers. Groups of fourth and fifth-grade girls roam the streets of my hometown Teaneck on Shabbat afternoons. Similar to the teenage pack, they descend on one girl’s house then move on when boredom sets in or there is nothing left to eat or with which to play. Continue reading “Leaders And Their Packs”

Decision Of A Lifetime

Decision-making is constantly a part of my life, whether picking out an outfit to wear one morning or standing on the lunch line at school. It is often hard to decide between the piece of pizza or the vegetable soup, the cranberry sweater or the olive green zip-up. Now I was confronted with the decision of a lifetime!

Recently, I have met a 10-year-old girl who faces a much larger decision than any I must make in my near future. Her name is Ceri Goldberg. Her father is Jewish and her mother is Christian. When she is 18 years old her parents will allow her to make her decision: Judaism or Christianity.

Honestly, I would think she would be daunted by this task, but it does not appear to scare her at all. “It is not such a major decision,” she said. “One little decision. Because when it comes time to decide, I’ll probably already know.” She seems to view this as a casual matter, yet she does seem to understand its scope.

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