As I write this, a moderate Sharav (heat wave) is ending in Israel. A cool breeze is blowing, seemingly from all directions at once. Low clouds are blowing across the sky, hiding and revealing the sun. Everything smells fresh and new, a reminder of how our lives are tied to the seasons.
And so, this month’s Jewish Blog Carnival kicks off in mid-summer amid the shift from one pole of the Jewish year toward the other–from the Spring festivals of renewal toward the Autumn festivals of harvest and stock-taking. Every season has its own “attitude” and this one seems downright saucy at the moment!
Enjoying the Bible Online gives discussion questions, creative thinking questions, and activities related to God trying to elevate the children of Israel so that they will be in awe of Him and not sin. Check out Does Being in Awe of God Reduce Sin?
In Nothing if not consistent, the Rebbitzin’s Husband muses on rethinking our own thoughts.
At Al Tishali Oti, The Sabra is feeling grateful. I’ll add that it’s considered good psychological hygiene to come up with your own list of things to be grateful for, only make it a different list every morning!
Live in Israel? Batya at Shilo Musings invites you to participate in Women’s Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma on Rosh Hodesh Av: “G-d willing this year we will start celebrating throughout the Jewish Month of Av instead of the mourning”. Ken Yehi Ratzon!
From Israel with love
Are you sick of all the standard, cliché Israel souvenirs: olive wood plaques, “SuperJew” magnets, cheap metal kiddush cups? Do you feel like a sucker every time you walk into a souvenir shop and pay too much money? Check out 12 of the most surprising, tantalizing gifts from Israel–dirt cheap at Adventures in Aliyah Land.
And speaking of yummy things from Israel, Batya has a great recipe for cookies! I’ll have to show this one to my Larger Half, as he’s the one who does the cooking and baking around here.
Meanwhile, Jordana in Jerusalem muses on the ups and downs of Tikkun Olam in Jerusalem, beginning at street level! But when all is said in done, she feels that “living on a noisy street in Jerusalem beats living on a quiet street in Queens any day!” Amen to that!
Jewish views on the news
Shifting alliances in our region are nothing new, but somehow, the upheavals in our day seem more severe than any in previous history. Likely enough, this is simply because we’re living through them, not reading about them in a history book. David P. Goldman shows that such regional cataclysms are a sadly recurrent phenomenon.
All of this has obvious lessons for Israel, which is, as usual, caught in the middle of it all. I like to say, “Just ’cause I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me!” In Israel’s case this isn’t just paranoia, as Batya points out, The World Really Wants Us Gone!
Meanwhile, in the U.S. the consequences of the previous such upheaval are still being felt. In Praise for the Social Justice Rav on Slave Reparations, the Jewish Libertarian discusses how restitution for slave labor might be worked out in the U.S.
And speaking of social justice, Shmuly Yanklowitz doesn’t just talk the talk, He recently donated a kidney to save the life of a young Israeli man whom he had never met–an act of pure Hessed!
But sometimes Hessed can be taken too far. Are those who lost loved ones in the Charleston Church shooting right to extend forgiveness to the killer? I weigh in on it in Do we have the Right to Forgive the Unrepentant.
Do you blog on Jewish subjects?
Join the longest-running weekly international Jewish and Israeli blog carnival, Havel Havelim. The weekly round-up was established about fifteen years ago by Soccer Dad who no longer blogs. These days, we coordinate it via our facebook page. To host a blog carnival, be in touch with Batya Medad at Shilo Musings. To be included in the next Havel Havelim, send Batya a a link (before Shabbat, your time) to your favorite Jewish or Israeli blog post of the week, preferably with a one-line summary, firstname.lastname@example.org.