Arriving In Israel Monday May 30. Staying near Rabin Square, South Tel Aviv.
Diaspora Museum Tour
Tour Tel Aviv University and South Tel Aviv
Walk to Jaffa and Rabin Square
Ariella from Beit Ariella's, Tel Aviv bar owned by a lesbian. Close to Abraham Hostel
Gay Pride in Tel Aviv
Abraham Hostel gives you a free beer so maybe not the best time to continue with the blog but here goes. After surprisingly connecting with another old friend this morning by phone I headed to Tel Aviv University to the Diaspora Museum--definitely worth bringing the students. Amazing tefilla exhibit!! Heard women's voices davening.
Met with Itamar from T'ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights and had a great conversation about Judaism and activism and a viable future for Israel and Palestine.
I had a kosher Thai salad with beef for lunch. What a treat!
Took the bus to Jaffa with Itamar. See the pictures from Jaffa and I even went to part of Mass at St Peters church.
Happy to see the Mediterranean Sea, Arabs and Jews and Christians and Muslims.
St. Peter's Church
Tel Aviv University and Home of the Diaspora Museum
Rabbi Elizabeth Goldstein with Tel Aviv friends: Rabbi Efrat Rotem and her fiancé Ophira
I think Abraham hostel may be great for the students: big clean rooms and big hanging out spaces. Can walk to trendy restaurants, the Levinsky market and centrally located. Today I will check out first hand how "central" I find it.
Last night, after a long almost 2 days of travel and one train I took the wrong way, I had the privilege of having dinner with friend and colleague Rabbi Efrat Rotem and her fiancé Ophira. They are getting married in July. They will have a big ceremony here and then will legally marry in the US where Ophira is working on her PhD in Anthropology (University of Illinois, Champagne/Urbana) and when they're back in Israel, the country will recognize them as married but only when they bring lack their legal certificate from the US. Although I will no longer be in Tel Aviv on Friday, Tel Aviv celebrates Pride this weekend. This year we can hope for legal marriage for the LGBT community in Israel. Efrat is the rabbi of a small progressive synagogue that is associated with Beit Daniel in Tel Aviv. Her congregation attracts many "secular" Jews and this coming weekend she will officiate at a Bar Mitzvah. Alas I will be singing my heart out in Jerusalem and will miss it. You can't do everything. Dinner with friends was a wonderful welcome to Israel.
I had a wonderful sleep and am leaving soon for the Diaspora Museum and a meeting with a potential educator for our 2017 trip. I'll keep you posted....
Abraham Hostel, near Rabin Square, Getting Ready for 2017 Gonzaga Students
Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea Coast
Taking the train from the airport into Tel Aviv. Going to meet Rabbi Efrat Rotem for dinner. Hope I get a little time to recover from trip before that. Otherwise trip was smooth. Had the same flight as Neili from Spokane —she is going to visit relatives in Israel.
On the flight I studied Torah with a chabadnik --sharing our different interpretations of impurity and gender on Lev 12. Fascinating as he was telling me that The chabad interpretation is peshat (the plainest meaning of the verse) using rashi's science from the 12th century. Yet it is interesting to read "a woman who conceives" as "a woman will surely spawn a male" and conversely that a man will surely spawn a female. What goes into the tube comes out last.... Are we even reading the same Torah?? How can we talk about commonality when we can't agree on the simplest understanding of the biblical text? But we can laugh and talk about davening and cell plans and kosher food. Satlow's Polythetic model.
The other guy next to him is American, went to yeshiva on Staten Island and is 5-6 years younger than me. He just moved to Efrat from Baltimore. I am wondering why he moved to Efrat. I asked him if he knew Meir Schweiger from Pardes. He did not. He said Trump is crazy but Obama was bad for Israel. The other guy said Thomas Friedman hates Israel (I was reading from Thomas Friedman's book From Beirut to Jerusalem). I'm wondering why we are spending our energy populating Efrat. It seems crazy to me for a new immigrant to Israel to intentionally move into the West Bank. Some say Efrat is different because it is so close to Jerusalem and it has been around for so long. It's not going to be decided today. And realistically Efrat is never going to the Palestinians.
Dr. Goldstein Leads Gonzaga-In-Israel Study Program
2017 will see the start of a 4 week Israel Study Abroad Program, for more information contact Dr. Elizabeth Goldstein in the Religious Studies Department