I am a Jew


I am a Jew – should I be afraid?

The shooting of eleven people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh pushes me to re-examine my identity.  The Anti-Defamation League reported a very large increase in anti-Semitic violence.  Should I be concerned? Read more

My Aliyah

Judaism is a fixed part of my life, although I’ve never emphasized it. I’ve used it to focus on other things—that is until the shootings at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, which had an unexpected and negative impact. Read more

Israel Starts at Kennedy Airport

My trip to Israel began at my building at 108th Street and Riverside Drive.  I had plenty of time before the 6:30 pm flight so took the subway:  first the #1 train to the B at 59th Street, then a change to the E at 7th Avenue, and finally the JFK Air Train at Sutphin Boulevard.   All typically New York, so far, with many different types of people, including a young couple from Moscow on the E—all in a system that moves quickly, but cannot be described as clean or attractive, excepting perhaps the Air-Train.  It was midday, and not too crowded, and I had a nice conversation with an MTA employee who clarified my transfers.   Then at Kennedy’s Terminal 4, a helpful young woman, directing passengers, told me that that I was too early for El Al check-in and placed me at the beginning of what became a long passenger waiting line. Read more


So much has been written about Jerusalem, so my describing the sites is meaningless.  All I can offer here are my observations, informed by the knowledge of my guide, Berhanu, an Ethiopian Christian and a close friend of my second cousins, who has studied and lived in Jerusalem since childhood, but is not responsible for my reactions. Read more

Jerusalem, Day Three

Last night I slept off my jet lag with 10 hours in bed, walked it off from my cousin’s apartment to the Old City, and then swam it off at the Jerusalem YMCA. Jerusalem’s Old City retains its magnificence.  It is surrounded by medieval Ottoman and earlier Herodian walls, set off from their surroundings.  I have never seen a walled city of this importance.  The great commercial cities of Europe shed their walls—and this was never a commercial city. Read more

Visiting the Wall

Israel is a complex country, not simply because of the contrast and friction between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also because of the richness of its historical and contemporary Judaism. Read more

Tel Aviv

I am no longer in Tel Aviv, or in Israel, but Tel Aviv was “home” in a country that is an unsettling combination of foreign and intimately familiar.  I was guided by knowing that many, of my ancestry, settled there and that only timing,  fortuitous decisions and the chance of US entry visas (rarely given in the 1930’s) separated us from death, or an alternative path to refuge in Israel. Read more