Beit T'Shuvah Blog » International

Israel in The Winter

By David Gole Last Friday I arrived at LAX, still stunned from one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had – a sober birthright trip. Around October, my counselor asked me if I had ever been to Israel before on an organized trip to which I replied “Yes I have been there 3 times, but never on an organized trip.” When she asked me if I wanted to go on a sober birthright trip, I had to think about it for a minute. A “sober” birthright trip, is that even Kosher? At first, the thought of a bunch of recovering addicts and alcohols traveling the Promised Land sounded like either a lot of fun or a recipe for disaster. Being the optimist that I am, I willingly took the … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Community, International, Sobriety, Spirituality

David in Krakow

By David Gole Having just arrived back from my trip to Poland, I have several experiences I am still reflecting on. While Warsaw was a very exiting city, Krakow is a different story. When I picture Poland I envision a lot of old buildings and snow. Krakow fulfills that exact stereotype in a way that it glorifies the past. During World War II, Krakow was virtually untouched by the Nazis with only a few of the monuments being rebuilt. In retrospective, my experience in Krakow was both joyous and emotional. Part of my trip was to learn about Forum for Dialogue Among Nations, which runs a program to educate high school students about Jewish culture in their town. The first day in Krakow, we traveled to the near by town of Wadowice, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Community, Education, Gratitude, Incarceration, International, Judaism, Spirituality

REFLECTIONS ON WARSAW

  By David Gole I just got back from my 10 day trip to Poland, a journey that I’ll never forget. Before landing in Warsaw, I wasn’t very hopeful that I was going to have a pleasant experience. Being American and Jewish, I was unsure whether the stereotype of polish anti-Semitism were true or not and prepared to face prejudice remarks from the local citizens. I thought that all of the buildings would have a Russian-Soviet look to them and that the city would look very gloomy and ugly. To say the least, the city of Warsaw proved me wrong. Everyone that I have spoken to in Warsaw has been very hospitable and friendly. From seeing the city, the architecture is comparable to that of a western European town in a way that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beit T'Shuvah, Community, Current Events, Gratitude, International, Judaism, Spirituality, Uncategorized

The Numbers of Empathy

By David Gole It has been almost 70 years since the holocaust and the era of hearing a story from a survivor first hand is coming to an end. Where do we go from here? How do we remember this part of history and make sure that it never happens again? Several youthful descendents of survivors have started a trend to carry on the legacy of their ancestors, who had experienced a living hell—through permanently tattooing the numbers of a survivor on their body. Tattoos in Jewish culture are very controversial. Jewish law states that a Jew should be buried the way they were born, preventing people with body piercings and tattoos from being buried in a Jewish Cemetery. Lately, Cemeteries have become more lenient, being considerate of survivors who still have … Read entire article »

Filed under: Gratitude, International, Judaism, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Becoming a Part of History: Birthright Blog 1

By Chris Alvarez Honestly, I didn’t have very high expectations for my trip to Israel. I thought that it would just be a lot of tourist sites and cheesy Jewish sing-alongs.  I was expecting to be bombarded with propaganda on why I should move there and make little Israeli babies. But I wasn’t.  I found it to be enlightening and spiritually fulfilling.  There were two days in particular that awakened a sense of spirituality and history in me that I had never felt before. It was day two and we spent the morning hiking the Oasis of Ein Gedi. We trekked through streams to reach a waterfall. In the middle of the desert.  Here we were, in the desert, swimming beneath a waterfall! I couldn’t believe it—I felt like I was living … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beit T'Shuvah, Community, Current Events, Education, International, Judaism, Sobriety, Spirituality, Temple

The Redemption Chronicles

Welcome back to The Redemption Chronicles with me, Photoblogger E-Pad!  I have returned, and will once again be posting every week.  This week’s entry:  A Moment’s Rest.   … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beit T'Shuvah, BTS Communications, Community, Current Events, Education, Family Wellness, Gratitude, International

Consistent for 14 Generations

By Jaron Zanerhaft On Saturday, April 21, 2012, I watched His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak at the Long Beach Arena.  The lines, perhaps 10,000 people strong, stretched into the parking lot for hours, with metal detectors and heightened security allowing people in at a trickle. Neo-hippies, college professors, Vegan protestors, and everyone in between were represented at this Long Beach happening. A friend and I arrived early but still ended up waiting in line long past his supposed 1:30 start time.  When we finally entered the atrium, we found ourselves in a veritable bazaar of Tibetan wares, Himalayan incense, and general Buddhist literature including His Holiness’s published writings. Just as we took our seats, the Dalai Lama shuffled on stage with a wide smile, took off his shoes, folded his legs … Read entire article »

Filed under: Community, Current Events, Education, Family Wellness, Gratitude, International, Spirituality, Temple

The Nebulous Future of an Un”Kim Jong-Il” North Korea

By M. Alexander Kim Jong-Il’s death leaves an unstable state without a clear leader.  Though his son has been named successor, nobody really knows anything about the elusively enigmatic Kim Jong-Un.  He now has a huge weapon’s arsenal at his disposal and a nation of people that do not have adequate access to goods that are essential in the modern world—like food. His death leaves the rest of the world in a state of hopeful fear.  When a dictator falls, one of two paths may be forged—progressive reform or repressive disaster. In the first model (progressive reform), you have a country filled with citizens that are fed up with the government.  You have a leader that is either open to change or does not have the necessary clout to enforce his dictatorial policies.  … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current Events, International, Uncategorized

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