Daniel Stieglitz

Daniel  StieglitzBack in 2007, I was sitting around the dinner table with my parents when I told them I planned on making aliyah (immigrating) to Israel that summer. I didn’t know how they would react. After a few seconds of silence they replied, “Fine, as long as you come back for Pesach every year. Can you pass the salt, please?”

Two things crossed my mind at that moment: 1) That they took the news of my impending move around the world so well and 2) that I would be fine with coming back for Pesach every year. At the time, the irony of this latter thought was lost on me. Pesach is one of the holidays where Jews are specifically supposed to go to Jerusalem, and not away from it. At the time my only thoughts were that I wouldn’t want to spend Pesach anywhere else than with my family.

Daniel  StieglitzMany people are quick to post articles that depict the negative aspects of a particular group. It is apparently 100% factual,newsworthy information or, as I like to call it, juicy gossip. This is why one never sees headlines such as the one I wroteabove. What group doesn’t have members that make a lot of noise and give it a bad name? Should every American bejudged by the fact that a few dozen members of its 300 million+ citizens make America the leader in school shootings?

 

Daniel  StieglitzThere are many countries in the world where women and other populations do not have equal rights. Gays must remain closeted, for fear of their own lives, and religious minorities have no rights. People die by the hundreds, perhaps thousands, on an almost weekly basis due to horrors like starvation, poverty and destruction. So what should we do about all of these problems? I know! Let’s boycott Israel.

Daniel  StieglitzIn September 2000, prior to starting college, I studied at Yeshivat Hamivtar. Within weeks of my return for my second and final year of study there, it became abundantly clear that my second year would be quite different from my first. That was the year that the Second Intifada broke out. Clashes between Israelis and Arabs escalated, and terrorist attacks that targeted Israeli civilians occurred on an almost daily basis.

JERUSALEM – For the most part, I don’t check the weather in Israel. As it only rains in the winter, at least fifty percent of the year has a forecast of “warm and sunny.” Then the winter season comes and we literally pray for rain. As a desert country, we are very dependent on the winter rainfall. Every once in a while, Israel is treated to a few flakes of snow. This year, however, we got a snowstorm that rivaled some of the worst that I experienced while growing up in Rhode Island.