A View from Jerusalem

"A View from Jerusalem" is a monthly blog, written by Leah Garber, Vice-President, JCC Association Israel Office. Leah and her team bring JCC's and our members a view of Israel from the inside connecting us to contemporary issues of our time and building meaningful ties with our community there.

A View from Jerusalem (June 2018)

June 14, 2018

Playing the game The power of sport extends beyond its immediate, most obvious advantages. Yes, it is healthy; sure, it is good for our mind, our soul. No doubt, it is fun, but above all, sport’s biggest contribution to humankind is bringing people together. Since the ancient days of Sparta, through the Olympics Games and […]

A View from Jerusalem (May 2018)

May 14, 2018

A week to remember On Sunday, Jerusalem, our capital, the city of gold and light, celebrated the 51st anniversary of its unification with tens of thousands of teenagers dancing the streets, waving blue and white flags in honor of this landmark occasion. These endless circles of dancers were the warm up show for today’s historical […]


A View from Jerusalem (April 2018)

April 19, 2018

Pride is in the air! “As long as deep in the heart, The soul of a Jew yearns, And forward to the east To Zion, an eye looks.” —Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem Driving around Israel these past few days offers an emotional experience, almost spiritual. All streets are decorated for festivity—blue and white flags hang […] 


A View from Jerusalem (March 2018)

March 14, 2018

A few days ago, I joined one of our JCCs visiting in Israel on a tour of the Hall of Independence in Tel Aviv, a place I consider a modern-day shrine. This is the holy place of where the State of Israel was declared by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, on May 14, [...]


A View from Jerusalem (February 2018)

February 12, 2018

Tikkun Olam “I hold that while man exists, it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind.” —Abraham Lincoln On a sunny but chilly morning a few weeks ago, I had a fascinating conversation with a Houstonian taxi driver who drove me across town from one of […]


A View from Jerusalem (January 2018)

January 7, 2018

One hundred and sixty years ago today, one of the great modern day innovators was born, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, who revived the Hebrew language. Ben Yehuda dedicated his life to renewing an extinct langue that up to that moment belonged to prayer books and Jewish texts only. He fought shatterd barriers, broke conventions and led […]


A View from Jerusalem (December 2017)

December 7, 2017

Jerusalem of Gold On my drive to Jerusalem this sunny morning following a stormy night, Israel’s capital revealed itself, shining and glowing, as if our beloved city isn’t sure whether to celebrate or to shy away from all the fuss it has just created. And yet the streets were decorated with Israeli and American flags, […]


A View from Jerusalem (November 2017)

November 29, 2017

Kaf-Tet B’November (29 November) Today the Jewish world marks one of the great moments in our modern history – the adoption of United Nations Resolution 181 recommending the end of the British Mandate and the formation of a Jewish state. The resolution also recommended setting up a separate Arab nation with special international regime for […]


A View from Jerusalem (October 2017)

October 24, 2017

Fall is in the air. A season of uncertainty. Unpredictable weather toys with summer’s swan song and winter’s hesitance to obscure our skies. Cold winds blow a mixture of leaves from where they lie on the ground like a wild, confused paint palette. During the summer of 2017, the world witnessed an overwhelming number of […]


A View from Jerusalem (September 2017)

September 18, 2017

Days of Awe The last days of Israel’s hot and steamy summer finally shorten. The air with cooler winds, heralding the longed for fall. Wandering birds fly high above, escaping Europe’s oncoming winter, looking for warmth and serenity. We are surrounded by the Days of Awe, days of self-reflection and examination, days of hope. Hopes […]


A View from Jerusalem (August 2017)

August 25, 2017

… no further than our own backyards Steamy hot August is one of Israel’s well-known features. One that attracts tourists from all over the world, escaping chillier and rainier summers to enjoy our wonderful beaches and sunny skies. But Israelis take for granted what others value, and during the month of August flee Israel’s high […]


A View from Jerusalem (July 2017)

July 24, 2017

For The Sake Of Heaven Today, the first of the Hebrew month of Av marks the 70th anniversary of the Exodus—symbol of Jewish despair and helplessness in the face of an apathetic world. Exodus, a packet steamer, carried 4,515 Jewish Holocaust survivors from France to Israel, then known as British Mandatory Palestine. Most of the emigrants had no […]


A View from Jerusalem - The Kotel

June 28, 2017

On Sunday, the Israeli government demonstrated the true meaning of politics by doing not necessarily what is right, or even what it believes in, but rather, took a long hard look at polls and did a calculated assessment of what would best ensure votes for the next elections. The government voted to freeze the implementation […]


A View from Jerusalem (June 2017)

June 14, 2017

True colors are beautiful …“But I see your true colors Shining through I see your true colors And that’s why I love you So don’t be afraid to let them show Your true colors True colors are beautiful Like a rainbow”… Cyndi Lauper   Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city, also known as the “World’s []


A View from Jerusalem (May 2017)

May 24, 2017

“Jerusalem of Gold, and of Light and of Bronze, I am the Lute for all your Songs” “You’re shaking … so am I. It’s because of Jerusalem, isn’t it?“—Elie Wiesel Today, the 28th of Iyar marks the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, the Jewish world’s capital. I was born and raised in Jerusalem—a fourth […]


A View from Jerusalem (April 2017)

April 7, 2017

Memory that carries us back—and forward The Talmud in Ta’anit tells the following story: Honi the Wise One, also known as Honi the Circle Maker, was taking a walk when he saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked the man, “How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?” The man […]


A View from Jerusalem (March 2017)

March 3, 2017

Next week the Jewish world will celebrate Purim, a holiday that introduces the concept of anti-Semitism and the demonization of the Jews, whose laws are different from the people of Persia, where they live. “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among all the other peoples and in all the provinces of your empire.[…]


A Maccabean dream made for our times- A View from Jerusalem

February 14, 2017

Today, Feb. 14 marks 121 years since the publication of Theodor Herzl’s landmark publication, Der Judenstaat, also known as “The Jewish State.” In it, Herzl envisioned the founding of a future independent Jewish state during the 20th century. “The Jewish State” is considered one of the most important texts of early Zionism, where Herzl argues that the best way to avoid […]


In a week of chaos, we hold fast to our dreams

January 11, 2017

Haas Promenade, Jerusalem. A site known to every tourist visiting Israel. Blessing Shehecheyanu upon arrival to Jerusalem while admiring the spectacular view of our Jewish capital. This same site symbolizes more than anything our Jewish journey—one that reflects our glorious history, flourishing present and promising future. At the same time, it reminds us of Jerusalem’s […]


Healing the Wounds: Restoring Life in Haifa

December 2, 2016

In Leonard Cohen’s final album, You Want It Darker, released only weeks before his death, Cohen sings in Hebrew and English with the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue choir, and its cantor, Gideon Y. Zelermyer,” Hineni, hineni ("here I am") I'm ready, my lord.” [...]


New beginnings

November 11, 2016

New Beginnings Today, exactly 76 years ago, on the 10th of the Hebrew month of Heshvan 1940 the Nazi government issued the order to gather all Jews in Warsaw into the Warsaw Ghetto. This was the largest of all Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, with more than 400,000 Jews. In February […] 


The deepest love

August 18, 2016

“There were no happier days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur”. (Mishna, Ta’anit Chapter 4, 8) Today, Tu B’Av, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av we celebrate our own Jewish Valentine’s Day. Our own Jewish day cheering for love. Tu B’Av, is both an ancient[...]


Swifter than eagles, stronger than lions

July 12, 2016

The long sticky days and warm nights of summer seem longer than ever. Dessert winds sweep away wilderness romance, carrying nothing but dust and dry air.

However, a wonderful, blessed breeze now refreshes us, coming unexpectedly, not from the Mediterranean Sea, but rather from thousands of buses, filled with tourists from around the world—each decorated with a colorful banner and smiling faces glued to the windows.[...]


White, Gold, Rainbow and everything in between. The many colors of Israel this week

June 10, 2016

Tomorrow the Jewish world will dress in festive white in honor of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah). It is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of […]


A Nation in Mourning

May 11, 2016

Today, Israel and the Jewish world observes Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s national Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism. Ceremonies nationwide honor the 23,447 servicemen and victims of terror who had fallen since 1860. Since Yom Hazikaron last year, another difficult year has passed, one where individual terrorists introduced us to a new term, […]


A Mighty Nation

April 20, 2016

Some 14 million Jews worldwide comprise the Jewish nation and will celebrate our nation’s birth tomorrow night, when we sit at the seder table to celebrate the first night of Pesach. Together we will read from the Haggadah: “And there they became a mighty nation”. What defines a nation and more so, what makes a […]


Two views,  One people

March 10, 2016

Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha– “When the month of Adar arrives we should increase our joy”

Today is the first of the Hebrew month of Adar, the month associated more than any other with joy and happiness.  And in two weeks, our joy increases when we celebrate Purim, which presents our Jewish story in a nutshell:  In the year 482 B.C.E., the Jews of the Persian Empire faced death, decreed by King Achashverosh, for not assimilating.  “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the other people in all the provinces of your realm, whose laws are different from those of any other people and who do not obey the king’s laws and it is not in your majesty’s interest to tolerate them.”(Megillat Esther 3:9). The plot, instigated by Haman, the king’s evil vizier, urged the people to initiate a bloodbath and to loot and kill the Jews on the 15th day of the month of Adar.[...]


A View from Jerusalem

February 14, 2016

It is with great interest and curiosity that we in Israel follow the largest celebration of democracy as it is being expressed through the United States’ primary season.

As the only democracy in the Middle East, we cherish democracy’s values, appreciate its essence and understand its challenges and, at time, its faults. Or, as Winston Churchill once said “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”[…]


“We all want to hear children’s laughter and see hope in their eyes”

January 14, 2016
On days where conflict, terror, fear and hatred blacken our sky and cloud our lives, we must appreciate every beam of light that illuminates caring, empathy, humanity and hope.

Almost 68 years have passed since the founding of Israel, nearly seven decades of endless, almost near-hopeless attempts to live in peace with four million Palestinians, our closest neighbors. It does not seem these days like things will ever change; they end only in a summary of despair, entrenched attitudes, prejudice and strong opinions. And most of all, with sadness, great sadness.

Since the High Holidays, Israel has been going through a painful wave of terror. One that is mostly sporadic, not planned, carried out by young men and women, in many cases teenagers. This wave of violence terrorize, provokes confrontation, deepens the abyss, raises the raises the walls and widens the barriers between us and them, between peace and war. [...]


Terror Doesn't Discriminate

December 19, 2015

Illuminating the Darkness

November 12, 2015

My Heart is in the East

Shana Tova from Jerusalem

September 10, 2015

A Tale Of Two Cities

August 17, 2015

The language of art

July 15, 2015 

Pluralism, acceptance, love and hope 

June 16, 2015

The Beauty of Jerusalem 

May 14, 2015

The ways we remember

Israel’s Elections for the 20th Knesset

When the month of Adar arrives we should increase our joy! “

A View from Jerusalem

Hanukkah Message, in light of Israel’s upcoming elections

December15, 2014

A Reflection of the JCC Movement Solidarity Trip to Israel