Showing posts with label Jews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jews. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tzfat (Safed) Artist District

A large "Rabbi carrying a Torah scroll" statue on top of gallery in Zafed (Tzfat) - Israel's artist colony city in the north

Northern Israel is a mix of different cultures. The most prominent is Muslim, Christian and Jewish cultures living in close proximity. While the world around Israel seem to be literally burning, norther Israelis are trying to make a peaceful co-existence a daily routine. One outstanding example is the city of Tzfat (Safed). A small city at the very north of the country. Historically it holds a mystical place to Jewish Kabbalah followers. With a million immigrants from the former soviet republics, the city was designated as first an artists colony, then a tourist destination. Both efforts by the Israeli state left their mark. But unfortunately did not turn out as initially expected. Tzfat today has a small artist population and a few small hotels. To the Jewish Orthodox community it serves as a vacation spot in the north. Some tourism, both Jewish and Christian, make this one of their sites. We visited the city on a rainy Sunday morning. The city was almost deserted with very few tourists. A few art galleries were open and welcoming. A few restaurants were close to business, not expecting any diners. But the old city, with a series of old Jewish Synagogues and small art studios in renovated century old homes was wonderful. The attraction to Christian tourists is close proximity to many original Christian sites in the Galilee, most prominent the Sea of Galilee.
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Israel's Public Relation Battle With The Diaspora: A Loosing Proposition?

Taglit is great for the "Next Generation" / What about THIS ONE?
A unique organization called Taglit http://www.birthrightisrael.com started thirteen years ago. The organization gave free trips to Israel to young Jewish people who were not in the Jewish community. This may sound a little strange, and initially it was. The idea was to expand the true knowledge of Israel among Jews who were not particularly interested in Israel. Focusing on the “next generation” was a tactic to sell the idea more easily and to implant a seed in the generation coming up no just in the Jewish community. The idea took a few years to take hold. Today, Taglit brings over 50,000 people a year to Israel. Also, initially mainly targeted at the US Jewish population, which has over 50% of Jews not associated with any Jewish community activity, the program is even more successful in the rest of the world. Particularly in small Jewish communities with a population who wants to be associated with a Jewish activity but simply does not have the means. In some Latin-American countries, up to 90% of the young Jewish population who qualify and want to make the Taglit trip, end up coming to Israel.  
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Breslev Spirituality: Young Jewish Orthodox in Tel Aiv

Once in a while, in the evenings mostly, on a busy street in Tel Aviv you will suddenly see a white van with speakers on top. When the van is moving they play a peculiar hip-hop music with a Klezmer flavor (old eastern European Jewish style music.) When traffic lights turn red or when there is a convenient place to stop two young men dressed in loose white pants and shirt hop out and dance on the street. The scene is a bit like what the hippies looked like in the 60's in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco without the flowers and the Indian patterns. This is one form of communication from the breslev community in Tel Aviv (see also Breslev.) The Breslev community, followers of the Rabbi Nachman of Brezlov, have organized into loose groups and attract mostly young men from non-religious background. Their message is based on the writing of Rabbi Nachman from Breslev who preached lightness and happiness in being Jewish (late 1700's to early 1800's). At the time Jews in eastern Europe aspired to become great Torah masters. Rabbi Nachman believed in living Jewish life with a purpose based on spirituality not ability as a proficient Torah student or in practicing Judaism. This message appeals to many young Jews who do not have the background or knowledge to join traditional Jewish communities.

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