| Thursday, 21 July 2011 16:25|
Daniel StieglitzEvery year around the anniversary of my aliyah to Israel, I write a column summarizing the past year of my life. I’ve written about studying Hebrew in ulpan, working, serving in the Israeli army, beginning study on my master’s degree, and getting married. For a long time, it seemed that each year would always be better than the last. Sadly, I can’t say this is true of the past year.
In the past I’ve written a great deal about the positive and meaningful experiences that reminded me of why I moved to Israel in the first place. There seems to be a prevalent stereotype that life in Israel is far more difficult than in countries like America; I’ve done my best to dispel that misconception. While Israel may lack a few creature comforts compared to many Western countries, it makes up for that lack “in spades” with culture and meaning – not to mention that right now it also has one of the most thriving economies in the world.
However, I’d be lying if I said that my life in Israel has had only “ups” and no “downs.” During this past year, I’ve had two wake-up calls that finally helped me to realize that my life in Israel wouldn’t always be about moving from one positive experience to another. This year I have had to deal with the loss of my grandmother and also with my divorce.
Regarding the former, one question I had asked myself before making aliyah was whether I would be able to fly back to the United States for the funeral of a loved one such as my grandmother. While my parents were here on a visit, I observed my father say goodbye to my grandmother on the phone in the final moments of her life. Finally, it became clear to me that it was necessary to return to the United States for her funeral. I needed to bid a proper farewell to my grandmother, and there was no better way than to attend her funeral in New York.
| Friday, 27 May 2011 00:00|
| Daniel Stieglitz|
Another Yom Ha-Zikkaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, has come and gone. It is the day that Israelis honor and mourn all the soldiers who have fallen while protecting our freedom, and all who were victims of terror. Many people spent the day visiting the graves or memorials for the fallen. Others attended special ceremonies and lectures. They attended these events whether or not they personally lost a loved one.
There are two moments on this day of remembrance when everyone in the country mourns as one, at the same time and in the same way. Once in the evening, and then again the following morning, a siren sounds throughout the entire country. During the 60 seconds that the siren sounds, everyone in the country stops whatever they are doing and observes a moment of silence.
This was my fourth Yom Ha-Zikkaron in Israel since making aliyah. During that time I’ve been in many different places during the wailing of the siren – from cemeteries and memorial ceremonies to my office and the comfort of my apartment. This year, however, I observed the sanctity of the siren from a place I never have before – standing in the middle of the street.
| Friday, 01 April 2011 00:00|
| Daniel Stieglitz|
I’m sure most of you have heard about the tragedy that took place recently in the West Bank settlement of Itamar. On a Friday night, terrorists broke into a family’s home and brutally murdered Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their six young children.
As if the murders themselves weren’t enough to send all of Israel into a grief-stricken state, the exact details were horrific. The children were 11, 3 and 4-months-old. The terrorists slit the throat of the boy, 11; stabbed the 3-year-old boy in the heart, and decapitated the infant girl. The eldest sibling, a girl, 12, returned home after an outing with friends to find her family butchered.
If anyone would like to argue that two disturbed individuals independently carried out these atrocities, how can it be explained that Arab communities distributed candy in celebration of these murders?
| Friday, 29 October 2010 02:11|
| Daniel Stieglitz|
It’s not often that I get direct feedback from my Rhode Island readership. So I’m honored that in the last several weeks four letters to the editor were published in response to my column. It’s hard to keep my finger on the pulse of what The Jewish Voice & Herald’s readership would like me to write about, which is why suggestions are always appreciated. One reader recently suggested that I write about how I could be part of a two-state solution and where I think a Palestinian state should be located, and I am more than happy to oblige a request from an avid reader.
| Friday, 20 August 2010 00:00|
Daniel StieglitzIn the last issue of The Voice & Herald, Nina Tannenwald took issue with the identification of my current home, Efrat (“Efrat – and Stieglitz – are in the West Bank”). Tannenwald implies that I mislead my readers by not being more specific about my location. I do not insult my readers’ intelligence by assuming that they don’t know where Efrat is located, or their ability to find it by doing a brief Internet search. The legality of the settlements has been debated for decades and is far from settled law; defenders of aspects of the settlements’ legality include U.S. State Department legal advisors, U.S. Supreme Court justices and a former dean of Yale Law School.
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