Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Fun of Living Here in Israel, A Jewish Country

On Shabbat I got a real kick out of reading JJ Gross's Jerusalem Post opinion piece.  Although we're supposed to keep the daily mundane, out of Shabbat, I just knew that I'd have to blog about it.  It's not all that חול chole mundane, because it does praise life in the Land/State of Israel.

Gross, still an עולה חדש oleh chadash, new immigrant, enjoys seeing so many obviously religious Jews in the arts, playing in symphonies etc here in Israel.  He compares it to the American Jewish world he just recently left in which such a thing is unknown.  The financial pressures of living a Jewish life in America make it necessary to choose safe and high income professions.

We're in Israel over forty years already.  When we first came, we'd see the 1960's-'70's style Bnai Akiva type of Israeli religious guy wearing a middle-sized hand-crocheted kippah and droopy needs a trim mustache driving a bus and think, "only in Israel."  Today the "kippah-tichel ceiling" has been seriously cracked and opened.  Today's religious bus driver frequently sports a full beard and black cloth kippah, looking more chareidi than Bnai Akiva.  Gross is right about religious Jews, with all the trimmings Jews, male and female, in the arts, music, media etc.

You'll see religious married women wearing hats, scarves and wigs in the highest courts of the land, not just as secretaries, but as lawyers and judges.  And you'll also find religiously dressed women as high-ranking IDF officers, yes in skirts and hats as part of their uniforms.

It's easy to find gorgeous designer clothes which are perfectly tziniyusik modest here in Israel.  Maybe not every branch of Dorin Frankfurt, Hagara, Isha Isha, Ronit Takko etc. shows them, but they're included in the designs and they can add fabric where necessary.

I really enjoy seeing the temporary beards for religious reasons on men in politics, media etc.  It's totally acceptable here in Israel.

Please, I agree that things are far from perfect here, but there is constant improvement.  There's more confidence among the Torah-observant in publically following mitzvot, and yes it sometimes makes the non- (or anti-) observant nervous.  Demographically, we're reproducing (having more kids) in greater numbers which can easily be seen in the school registration statistics.

Let's start this week looking at the good that is happening here, and if I get soaked in the rain, I'll have to smile, too. 

Shavua Tov u'Mevorach
Have a Good and Blessed Week


Risa Tzohar said...

We used to have a JJ Gross in Betar. Is this him?

Batya said...

I was wondering that, too.
Ask on the list?

YMedad said...

Our Betari JJ Gross did recerntly make aliyah and his daughter has worked/is till working at the bar, as manager, I think.

Batya said...

So, you checked at HaGov?

YMedad said...

I met her there a month or so ago and even told you about it. Whether she is there at present I do not know. She told me her father lives near Abu-Tor.

Batya said...

ok, thanks