CATEGORY: Thoughts

Between a Star and a Hoodie

Street Art Near Warschauer Bridge

I feel like a sinner confessing to a priest. I apologize for my blogging neglect; it has been nearly two months since my last update.

Previously I was discussing my plans for a move to Berlin. I have started and promptly ended a new entry about my stay in Germany a dozen times. The problem was not that I had nothing to say, but rather, was what I had to say particularly Jewish, or the same ramblings of any American 20-something doing the whole ‘globe-trotting’ thing? Was the star around my neck the driving force of my experiences or the Bruce Springsteen hoodie clinging to my body with pride?

Currently I am in the Netherlands, and with distance comes the possibility to unpack certain scenes that happened in Berlin that a non-Jewish American or other traveler would have experienced differently, or not at all:

* My first shower in Germany. I was seven when my mother tried to explain the horrors of the Holocaust. It was always her policy not to sugar-coat things in baby talk (but how can genocide be sugar-coated anyway?), and she said that the Nazis (or did she say Germans back then?) killed the Jews in showers of poison, instead of water. She probably explained the whole history leading up to that ending, but all I retained from her lesson was the poison water. The next time I turned the faucet on to take a shower, I stood there for minutes, staring at the water. How do you know if it’s poison or not? My mother screamed from outside the bathroom, “Do you think I own ComEd (the utility company)?” My mother’s disapproval was more real to me than evil ghost Nazis in our pipes, and I promptly jumped into the path of the water. Fast-forward nearly two decades: I stood outside a shower in a town called Neuenhagen, outside of Berlin. I knew the water wasn’t Zyklon B and that, regardless of the NPD story on the front page of the local newspaper I read that morning in the breakfast nook decorated with medieval-style woodcarvings of saints, no Nazis were operating the piping system. But it felt weird. Taking a shower in Germany. Normal events bringing up atrocities in my mind. I finished with the shower and brushed my teeth. It felt like brushing my teeth.

* Finding this book in my host family’s bookshelf:

Needs more Natalie Portman, less of this guy.



Altneugroove: JEWDYSSEE im Interview mit Itamar Treves-Tchelet



Kosher frogs’ legs, or Israeli diplomacy

Recently, every time Israel has come under withering international approbation – usually for its settlement activity or rounds of retaliation against terrorists – the government reverts to the following line: “Loh naim, loh nora,” which translates loosely into: It’s not pleasant, but it’s not awful either.

When we lose a UN vote by 138 to 9, it’s not pleasant, but it’s not terrible either. We always lose UN votes. It could have been 147 to zero. But even then, it would be uncomfortable, but not catastrophic. When England, France, Sweden and Australia summon our ambassadors to read them the riot act, it’s not pleasant, but it’s also not so terrible. They could have recalled their ambassadors from Tel-Aviv, or even expelled our ambassadors. That would have been awful. But you know what? Awful is still OK; awful is not disastrous.

It’s not only international criticism though. Even internal reports that criticize the government’s handling of, say, road accidents, fires, school exam results, are all met with “loh naim, loh nora.”

It’s not great, but it’s not too bad. In other words, it could be worse. In other words, it can always be worse, so this is no big deal. It sure feels like it’s getting worse, but things really are not so bad.

According to this thinking, when things get worse, they still won’t be really bad. When things get worse, and things really seem to be getting worse here, the government will say “it’s bad, but not terrible.”

“Listen, things are really bad, but they’re not catastrophic. OK, ok, things are catastrophic, but they’re not disastrous. Wow, this is a disaster, but you know what, we’ve had it worse, so it’s really not so bad. We overcame Pharaoh, we’ll overcome this too. It’s bad, but it’s not the end of the world. The sky falling is bad? Sure but it could be worse: it could be the end of the world.” READ MORE


Barack Shlomo Obama – A truly great President!

One fascinating reason to be proud of in the Jewish world these days, is the fact that still the vast majority, nearly ¾ of American Jews declare in surveys that they will vote for Obama.

The rightwing media has tried everything to prevent that. Endless articles were written about Barack HUSSEIN Obama, being a secret muslim and enemy of the Jewish state. You have to imagine that, in many countries antisemitism still leads people to call their political enemies „secret Jews“, and the fortunately small rightwing fraction in the Jewish world, and the unfortunately large rightwing fraction among Israeli Jews have nothing better to do than using the methods of „antisemitism“ themselves as soon as they get the chance to. Obama has some kind of Muslim connection, so the haters think he must have double loyality, he is fooling America, it is all written in the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.

And why? Because he showed respect to the Muslim world in his Cairo speech and he didn´t declare openly that he wants to start Armageddon by attacking Iran immediately. What these people forget is the following:

(Numbers and stats from

Obama provided Israel with the largest amount of American military aid in U.S. history, including:



Rabbi Ben Chorin – Help us to keep our “Braveheart of Berlin”!

(Rabbi Tovia Ben Chorin)

The current pro-fundamentalist community leaders want to cancel the contract with man who we all love.

In any profession you only have a small amount of people who can be called the top of the top, but especially from our religious leaders we expect an extra amount of dedication because the product of their work are neither bus rides nor tomatoes, but our spiritual welfare. Is there anything more sad than having to listen to an uninspiring Rabbi? I think more or less we long for a Rabbi who is a mixture of the Godfather and Gandalf, no? Someone who always has an ear, followed by a mouth full of good advice while guiding us with kind eyes. And a little bit of magic. A little bit of the feeling that what we receive is something passed on through generations, the Gelee Royale of our tradition. And how blessed are we in Berlin, that after all the suffering from the 20th century and all those decades where being Jewish meant to be sad and broken, we have a Rabbi who is inspiring all ages, to whose words we listen, and who gives us the feeling that the chain of the best of our tradition is unbroken.

Rabbi Tovia Ben Chorin, born in 1936 in Jerusalem as the son of Schalom Ben Chorin, the founder of the Har El Community of Jerusalem, is not just a living sage when it comes to Judaism, he is also an active supporter of so many coexistence projects, be it about German-Jewish reconcialition, Jewish-Muslim and Jewish-Christian dialogue and Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives.

But what makes him special is to see this older man being young at heart. His tireless efforts to keep this special atmosphere in our community and this regained feeling and pride that our German-Jewish tradition is vibrant and alive, although not just the Nazis have tried everything to prevent that. READ MORE


Explaining Israeli elections through popular TV shows

Person of Interest Aryeh Deri of Shas is Prison Break – making a comeback to the political party he led thirteen years ago after a long stint in prison for financial corruption. But first he has to push current leader Eli Yishai aside.

Yishai, a hardliner on asylum seekers, refugees, and anybody else who is not ultra-Orthodox Jewish, will say and do anything to keep his position, so he’s Lie To Me.

Together, Deri and Yishai are Supernatural; just like the party they’re in.

Olmert, convicted on charges of corruption, is the Sopranos.

Many in the legal and academic institutions in Israel see the return of Deri and Olmert as the season of Criminal Minds.

Current Kadima chief and Leader of the Opposition Shaul Mofaz is Walking Dead, because Kadima is not expected to survive the coming elections. READ MORE


THX “Jewish Voice From Germany”


Danke Jüdische Allgemeine! Schöner Artikel geworden. In diesem Sinne… Shana Tova jewish people around the world… wish you a very sweet & special new year 5773 full of joy, happiness, health and ♥.


5773 – Rosh Hashanah Message from Berlin

Dear Sinai Crew worlwide,

in the great times of the 1990s many of my generation were kids who felt they should have been born in the 1960s/1970s, those exciting times when „everything changed“. As it is with Utopias, a magic shell from a fairy tale with which one can communicate over long distances is more romantic than a mobile phone, and to dream yourself into the musical „Hair“ is more romantic than holding a sign at an „Occupy Whatever“ demonstration.

The securities of the 1990s are gone. In Israel the question is not whether the next country with which it will make peace will be Syria, but whether the next world war could possibly evolve from there. In Europe the question is not which countries should join in the fun next, but which ones should stay. And how is it in Berlin? Hmmm….right now you have the choice to ask yourself whether you´re more pissed off by the Circumcision verdict or by the fact that you cannot wear a Kipa as freely as in NY. READ MORE


A Jid is a Jid! … eine Goja noch lang keine Schikse.


Shalom liebe Jewdysseeianer…
ick bin die Neue hier und möchte direkt mal mit einem eher ungemütlichen Thema mit Euch auf Tuchfühlung gehen. Nicht nur weil es mir am Herzen liegt, nein, auch weil es so gut in die Festtagszeit passt. Und das nicht, weil es etwa eine süße Geschichte ist. Sondern viel mehr, weil ich einen Denkanstoß für das neue Jahr geben möchte und hoffe, dass dies vielleicht zwischen dem Verzehr von Granatäpfeln, Honig und allen anderen Neujahrsleckereien, an der ein oder anderen Stelle guten Gesprächsstoff bietet.

Vor einigen Wochen fand eine hetzige, Pardon, hitzige Diskussion, in einer Facebook Gruppe namens „Swiss, Germans and Austrians living in Israel“ statt. Diese Plattform ist für Deutschsprechende in Israel gedacht, die sich untereinander austauschen wollen. Bis dahin habe ich persönlich, wie auch mehrere meiner Freunde, diese Plattform sehr häufig und gerne genutzt. Seither nutze ich sie nur noch ungern und sporadisch, das aber nur mal so am Rande.

Es ging in besagter Diskussion, wie in vielen Gruppen, Foren, etc. in letzter Zeit, um das brisante Thema „Kölner Landgericht verbietet Ärzten religiöse Beschneidung“, in unserem Fall also Brit Mila. Die Mehrheit war klar gegen das Verbot, einzelne Stimmen dafür. Doch was als Diskussion begann, wurde nach nur kurzer Zeit eine Art zelebriertes Mobbing und Rausschmiss einer andersdenkenden Nichtjüdin aus der Gruppe (einfachheitshalber nenne ich sie ab jetzt „die Leidtragende“).

Eben diese hat sich in vielerlei Hinsicht höchst unglücklich ausgedrückt und einige Ansichten geäußert, die eigentlich mehr Mitleid, als Empörung in einem hervorrufen müssten….ganz so, als stelle man sich den Elefant im Porzellanladen mal aus der Sicht des Elefanten vor.

Offensichtlich geblendet von schmerzlichem Kummer vertritt die Leidtragende Meinungen, die man ganz klar als grenzwertig bezeichnen kann…
Die chinesische Medizin besagt wohl, dass Männer ohne Vorhaut aggressiver sind. Diese These hat sie auf jüdische und muslimische Männer bezogen, um nur ein Beispiel zu nennen. Dies wurde mit viel Tamtam und noch mehr Plemmplemm als Antisemitismus, Judenhass, etc. ausgelegt. Zudem vertrat die Leidtragende die Meinung, dass die Trennung von Staat und Kirche in Deutschland eine super Sache ist und die religiöse Beschneidung generell verboten werden sollte. Deswegen fand sie das Gerichtsurteil gut und hat das Alles auch mit sehr viel Pathos geäußert.

Als sie dann auf ein mal gleichzeitig von mehreren (jüdischen) Gruppenmitgliedern regelrecht attackiert wurde, entstand ein Gewusel aus Missverständnissen und deplatzierten Äußerungen.

Plötzlich wurde ein YouTube-Video inklusive gehässigem Kommentar gepostet, in dem ein Bericht über die Leidtragende gezeigt wurde. Es war ein Beitrag aus dem israelischen Fernsehen und es wurden auch noch weitere Zeitungsberichte gepostet, u.a. aus der Jüdischen Allgemeinen.

Kurz zusammengefasst:

Sie kommt vor über zehn Jahren nach Israel, lebt ein Jahr lang in einem Kibbutz und verliebt sich in einen in Israel lebenden Beduinen. Sie zieht irgendwann zu ihm, tritt der Form halber zum Islam über und wird nach islamischem Recht verheiratet. Erst verliebt, dann verbittert. Hat drei Kinder mit ihm. Lebt wie im Gefängnis. Er schlägt und vergewaltigt sie. Sie trennt sich, er entführt zwei der drei Kinder. Sie ist machtlos. Die israelischen Behörden, in diesem Fall ein Scharia-Gericht, sind ihr; egal was sie tut, nicht sonderlich wohlgesonnen. Entschieden wird, dass der Mann das alleinige Sorgerecht für alle drei Kinder erhält und sie das Land nicht mit ihren Kinder verlassen darf. Also lebt sie hier und hofft auf ein Wunder.