Since we last connected, I’ve decided to try something new. My written blog got away from me, so I’m pivoting into a video blog in the hopes that I’ll be able to post more frequently this way. If you want to follow me on YouTube, you can subscribe to my channel Glamour and Guts. It’s young and still coming together, but I’ll be talking about a greater range of subjects: headlines, eyelashes, love and everything in between. I hope you’ll enjoy this new incarnation.
Here’s some gutsiness to get us going. As I’ll explain, no matter what you see in the news, it’s actually a GREAT time to be a Zionist. xo
UPDATE: One of my favorite organizations, StandWithUs shared this little video and the response has been amazing. I’m so happy that all us good guys have found each other. Just goes to show Zionists rock and it IS a GREAT time to be a Zionist. Here’s a link to their post so you can see all the love and support we have out there.
Get Beyond the Choir: take 30 minutes a day to comment under articles and reply to friends online. Don’t have time to research? We did it for you. I have worked with others to create these concise talking points with supporting materials. We are always updating this site – save time, be effective!
Tweet for Israel: Want to tweet for Israel, but don’t have time to compose tweets? Visit this stream of pro-Israel tweets and simply click the “retweet” symbol. Tweets only live 10 minutes, you can tweet often and repeat yourself.
Use these hashtags in your posts for maximum visibility: #IsraelUnderFire, #ProtectiveEdge, #KidsAreNotTargets, #IDF, #HamasTerror, #FreeGazaFromHamas, #HumanShields, #IronyDome, #PrayForIsrael, #IsraelUnderAttack. Use these hashtags to reach the anti-Israel community: #GazaUnderFire, #AsymmetricWarfare, #PrayforGaza, #GazaUnderAttack.
Deliver Underwear to the IDF soldiers. Why? Health & hygiene matter to our fighters, especially in war. It’s hot on the Gaza border and though funny, this is what they’ve requested. Kits include: boxers, a clean tee, army-regulation socks, a body towel, and a package of fresh wipes. Donate here.
Feed our soldiers! Army rations fuel but don’t inspire – want to show your love the Jewish way – through food? Deliver pizza to our platoons on the Gaza border.
Help needy Israeli families in the south: cover the credit lines of needy families in grocery stores, buy food vouchers for needy soldiers who serve in the IDF’s Search & Rescue Unit of the Homefront Command of the IDF. This unit is dispatched every time a rocket hits a target in Israel. Many soldiers serving in this unit come from under-privileged families in the South.
Donate to these Important Organizations
StandWithUs – Creating an army of advocates, SWU is responsible for much of the powerful social media work you’ve been seeing online. Support this vital organization.
Magen David Adom – I am personally involved with this effort to donate an ambulance to Magen David Adom NOW. Help Israel save lives by strengthening our first responders.
One Family rehabilitates, reintegrates and rebuilds the lives of Israel’s thousands of victims of terror attacks—those who have been bereaved, maimed, or suffer from post-trauma as a result of terror attacks.
We are one. Our unity is our superpower. Do your part, show your love!
Prayer is not enough. Please volunteer, speak up, and share facts.
But then, in your quiet, private moments, yes, pray for Israel. Use your own words or those below. With all your heart, pray for the safety of the Israel Defense Forces, every single Israeli, and the State of Israel. It makes a difference.
And yes, pray for victory. All out victory. Who cares about public opinion when our people are being targeted for death? Pray that Israel’s leaders are blessed with wisdom, our soldiers with bravery and skill, and that our people win, succeed and triumph over terror! Because when it comes to the Middle East, the bitter reality is that Israel can never afford to lose a war.
Prayer for the State of Israel
Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your loving kindness, envelop it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisers, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness.
Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: “Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers.” Draw our hearts together to revere and venerate Your name and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah, and send us quickly the Messiah son of David, agent of Your vindication, to redeem those who await Your deliverance.
Manifest yourself in the splendor of Your boldness before the eyes of all inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone endowed with a soul affirm that the Lord, God of Israel, is king and his dominion is absolute. Amen forevermore.
Prayer for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.
May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.
May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.
I’m headed to Israel this weekend. Eeeeee! I can hardly think about anything else. My countdown has begun.
I start my trip in Jerusalem, a city I was privileged to live in several years ago. Although spiritual, I’m not the most religious person you’ve ever met, particularly by Jerusalem standards. And honestly, when I imagined myself in Israel, I always thought I’d be in Tel Aviv with my tush in the Mediterranean as much as possible! But when it came time to go, I asked those who’d gone before me: what’s it like?
“Tel Aviv is amaaaaaaazing!” they’d gush, clearly rooting for that choice. “The beaches, the nightlife—it’s like the best of New York meets the best of Los Angeles.”
“Wow,” I’d reply, not really needing to be sold. “And Jerusalem? What’s it like?”
“Well…,” they’d ponder. “There’s no place like Jerusalem.”
I’d lived in New York. I’d lived in LA. So, much to my own surprise, I wound up in Jerusalem of gold.
Being in Jerusalem is like being in Hashem’s living room. You’re so close to Him, you can feel His heartbeat and along with it, the heartbeat of the Jewish people. It’s unexplainable, irrational, and exemplified by this story: A few years ago, I was a madricha (counselor) on a Birthright trip. I brought twenty-or-so 20-somethings to Israel for the first time. Though Jewish by birth, most of them were otherwise disconnected and non-practicing. The tour delighted them of course, who doesn’t love to travel? But then Friday night rolled around.
We were at the Kotel (the Wailing Wall or Western Wall) for Kabbalat Shabbat. As the sun set, Jews from around the world gathered to pray and sing and dance. They didn’t know each other or each other’s languages, but they knew the same songs and sang them together, arms around one another, stranger beside sabra, soldiers beside religious, Jews beside Jews. The reverence of the day combined with the passion of the songs and the thunder of the dance reached high and deep and beyond. The holiness was palpable.
Too soon, it was time to go. I stood at the back waiting for my group. One after another, the participants returned, their eyes brimming with tears. “I don’t know why I’m crying,” they said. “I just, I was there, and suddenly this!” For a surprisingly large number of them, that evening was the highlight of their trip and the most powerful experience of their lives to date. And it wasn’t because they had strong religious upbringings.
Israel speaks to our souls, and our souls respond.
Yesterday was Yom Yerushalayim or Jerusalem Day, which celebrates the reunification of the capital of Israel. Before the Six Day War, Jerusalem was split, and Jews were forbidden to access their holiest sites. Now under Israeli sovereignty all religions’ holy sites are protected and visitors of all denominations can visit and pray in peace. Incredible moments, like the one above, happen regularly. That’s the power of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is at the heart of Zionism, after all, Zion is the ancient name for Jerusalem. What is Zionism without Zion? What is the Torah without Jerusalem? Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Tanach (Hebrew bible), we pray facing Jerusalem, next year in Jerusalem! We break the glass on our wedding days to remember the temple in Jerusalem, and if I forget you, O’ Jerusalem, תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי…may my right hand lose its skill!
“Without Jerusalem, the land of Israel is as a body without a soul.”
— Elhanan Leib Lewinsky, Hebrew writer & Zionist leader
I am so grateful to have lived in and to be returning to Yerushalayim where the stones that witnessed history’s most epic events shine gold under its people Israel’s flags; to return to the heart of the Jewish people, and to spend time with Hashem in His home, our home. What’s better than going home?
Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s independence day, is my favorite holiday and the inspiration for the best thing that happens in Los Angeles all year long: the Celebrate Israel Festival! Annually, the Israeli American Council (IAC) teams with other Jewish organizations and sponsors to throw a massive celebration of all things Israel.
This year, 20,000 (!) people came together to celebrate Israel. The organizers’ creativity never ceases to amaze. Camels and carnivals and gaga, oh my! Feel free to vicariously attend through me.
“The Celebrate Israel Walk” kicked off the day. So many people came out to sing and dance down LA’s streets, clothed in blue-and-white wear and Israeli flags.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to dress in themed attire, especially when it comes to Israel, my friend Miri and I expertly demonstrate Israel Swag Style.
Rinat, the star of a popular Israeli children’s show, performed to an enthusiastic group of yeladim (kiddos).
Huge roller coasters and moon bounces, tons of carnival games and artists, Jewish organizations representing the whole of Jewish life, Israeli food and ice cream, drum circles, Israeli scouts, arts and crafts, and sooooo much more. I spent the entire day in the sunshine exploring and celebrating Israel.
For the grand finale, The Idan Raichel Project performed. Famous for fusing all the sounds of Israel, thousands danced and waved Israeli flags, creating a blue-and-white sea for as far as the eye could see.
Big kudos to all the organizers, some of whom I know and who inspire me with their enormous generosity and true love for Israel. What a gorgeous day! The best! I’m bustin’ with Jewish love and pride.
First Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Next Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day.
Then Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.
The order and proximity of these events to one another isn’t just stam, per chance or random. One informs the next, showing us the dark so that we can see light.
Yom HaShoah, celebrated today, memorializes the Holocaust, one of the most horrific expressions of human cruelty in the history of mankind where 6 million Jews were systematically murdered, eradicating 2/3 of European Jewry.
Anti-Semitism, the irrational hatred of Jews, persists as a bloody stain on the consciousness of humanity. While the Holocaust is the most dramatic example of this hostility in modern history—pogroms, crusades, inquisitions, massacres, and expulsions targeting Jews existed for centuries before World War II. Even now, Iran denies the Holocaust while simultaneously plotting a second one. Anti-Semitism runs rampant, unhidden and unashamed, throughout the Arab world. And European anti-Semitism plays possum, pretending to be dead only to jump up quite alive and bite, as we’ve seen in Hungary, France and the Ukraine in recent months.
Jews’ historical, moral and religious claim to the land of Israel cannot be disputed (unless one wants to contest archeological science and rewrite history, and some try). But, the atrocities of the Holocaust helped the rest of the world to “get up to speed,” and concede that the time had come for international, legal recognition of Israel as the Jewish homeland. Millenia of displacement were quite enough. Jews needed to a safe place to call home and defend themselves, because the rest of the world could not be depended upon to behave morally and save them. After all, the perpetrators of the worst attacks on Jews in history were committed by the most “enlightened” and powerful societies of their day—the Hellenists, the Romans, the Germans, etc.
Yom HaShoah, we remember the horrors of the Holocaust, the danger of the diaspora, our homeless past.
But we are a different generation. Next Year in Jerusalem is us. We have a home. But it came with—and continues to come with—a price.
Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day comes a week after Yom HaShoah. To Americans who live far away from the realities of war, Memorial Day means BBQs and pool parties. But Israel’s compulsory military service means every Israeli knows a fallen soldier or victim of terror. The kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit rocked the country because he could have been anyone’s brother or son.
Freedom is not free, and Israelis understand this paradox intimately. Then, before we step on the glass and celebrate the marriage of the Jews to their beshert, Israel, we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to create that precious reality.
On both Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron sirens blare across Israel. Everyone stops their car, stands at attention, and gives a moment of silence to honor and remember.
But then we celebrate. The day after Yom HaZikaron is Yom HaAtzmaut – Israel’s Independence Day. Solemnity shifts to joy, as the entire country takes to the streets to sing and dance.
Jewish couples marry under a wedding canopy or chuppah. A tallit, or prayer shawl, supported by poles creates this holy space. The traditional blue-and-white tallit inspired the design of the Israeli flag. How fitting then that across Israel, this flag flies, supported by poles over the heads of Jews and their beloved land.
Today we see how far we’ve come.
Yom HaShoah: We remember the 6 million victims and rebuke complacency, eyes open, lessons learned.
Yom HaZikaron: We remember those who paid the ultimate price to establish and protect our home, and ensure we are victims never again.
Yom HaAtzmaut: We celebrate the reunion of the Jewish people with their true love, Israel—the ultimate love story of a people who never gave up on their home, and the home that blossomed at its beloved’s return.
The reuniting of soulmates can take years, decades, lifetimes, or hundreds of lifetimes. We are the generation living the dream, and we are the generation charged with protecting it.