Tag Archives: olim

Two Military Funerals In One Day

22 Jul

Jessica, a journalist from the Times of Israel : “So is this your first military funeral?”

Me: “No, this is the second one”

Jessica: “Second one ever?”

Me: <heavy sigh> “The second one today. The first one was for Yuval Dagan, from Kfar Saba.”


Yesterday I went to two separate funerals for fallen IDF soldiers. One was for Yuval Dagan and the other was for Sean (Nissim) Carmeli.

These funerals were not on my “to do” list yesterday but by the end of the work day, it was apparent to me that I would be attending one funeral.

Yesterday afternoon I heard that one of the soldiers killed in the war was a “lonely” soldier – Sean (Nissim) Carmeli, who moved to Israel and volunteered to serve in a combat unit for the IDF.  Sean grew up in the States and at moved here with his family at 16. His family returned to the States and Sean decided to stay and enlist.

The second funeral was for Yuval Dagan of Kfar Saba. I stumbled across the funeral on my way home from work and knew I could not just go home. I needed to pay my respects for a soldier  that I never met who died fighting for our country.

I came home after the funeral with dried tears on my cheeks and told Eitan to hold me. I am lucky. I can hug the man that I love. And I told him… we need to leave to Haifa in 45 minutes to make it to the next funeral.

The drive was relatively quiet until we reached the entrance to Haifa. Traffic was backed up and the sight of the number of people walking to the cemetery made my jaw drop and a huge lump got stuck in my throat.

I don’t really know how to put my feelings into words so bear with me. You see, I am an olah. I moved here the summer of 2004 and I recently celebrated my 10th anniversary of being an American-Israeli. I am beyond proud of the hard choices I made and the daily choices I make to stay here. But I did not put my life on the line for our country and others like Sean, Max Steinberg, Michael Levine and others that came before them.

I was humbled at Sean’s funeral last night. The turnout was massive – and it was astonishing to see how many came to support Sean’s family and to say farewell to one of their own.

As an oleh, you feel different than a sabra. You are different. But when an oleh or volunteer dies fighting for our country, they are considered the same as a sabra. Sean might have grown up in a different country, but he died as a full blooded Israeli.

May Sean, Max, Yuval and the rest of the fallen soldiers rest in peace. May their families and loved ones find endless comfort and support from those around them and all of us.

And may we all experience true peace. Amen.


What I Really Think of the 1st Int’l Jbloggers Conference

22 Aug

I am still shaking my head over the 1st International Jewish Bloggers Conference hosted by Nefesh B’Nefesh. It had so much potential…….

I am going to preface this blog post with a small disclaimer. ****I attend a tremendous number of hi-tech conferences every year and as such expected the conference to dig a bit deeper into the Jewish blogging world. I am also very involved in the user generated content(UGC) world (known as Web2.0) & expected at least a superficial conversation on the types of web technology bloggers use to increase their web presence ****

Blogging is a tool used by every day people to share their ideas/thoughts/feelings to the outside world. A successful blogger is one that engages their readers in conversation online and hopefully the reader will take it offline.

Blogging about life in Israel helps demystify the oleh’s daily existence and allow the readers to better understand and maybe relate to our lives. Nefesh B’Nefesh understands how vital it is for olim to blog and share our stories with the outside world. Maybe our blogging will encourage others to follow suit and move here. Maybe it will just increase support for Israel and it’s citizens. Granted not all of the Jewish bloggers at the conference blog about life in Israel but most of them do.

It was very apparent to me that the organizers of the event understood the value of blogging but are not very familiar with the blogging world and could have used an expert in blogging & in the user generated content world.

I am not a fan the First Int’l Jewish Blogging Conference conference on so many different levels but I am not going to discuss all of the reasons why in this post. Last night I was in the mood to write a post ripping the event to shreds but in the morning light I decided that would not be a productive solution to my frustrations. Instead I am going to post my advice on how to make the next conference that much better.

Here is some of my free advice:

The conference should last one whole day & be split up into two separate parts. First half of the day should be how to become better bloggers and create a larger audience and the second part of the conference should have multiple panels showcasing the different types of Jewish blogs.

How to blog better should cover:

How do we as bloggers create more flow of information online and hopefully offline with our readers?

How does a blog gain new readers and retain readers?

Topics to be Discussed are: regular postings, limiting the length of the post, using pictures, videos in the post to make it more engaging, blog aesthetics, linking, interacting with other blogs, blog statistics & etc

*A very important aspect of blogging is to understand the pattern of behavior between the blog and its readers. Who is the target audience for your blog? Are you addressing their needs or just your own? Do you respond to comments?

The second part of the conference: Showcasing popular Jewish Blogs and their authors

Getting to know the blogger –
What made these popular bloggers start writing, continue writing (when we all lack time in our lives), share funny stories about meeting readers offline, discuss controversial posts that gained a lot of +/- feedback online, share with the audience funny key words that have driven traffic to their blogs.

For the attendees:

*Stream the entire conference live but it must be archived on the web and broken down into the different segments of the conference so we can all review it.

*Create a open list of all the blogs and authors in attendance so that we can read/link/connect to new bloggers and create more online dialogue.

*Share with the audience why these specific blogs were picked for the panel.

*Share with the audience the statistics for the blogs showcased on the panel. Average unique visitors/day, reader locations and words that drive traffic to their sites. This information should be distributed in the folder.

**change the name of the conference. It was not representative of the international Jewish blogging community. Where were the South America, South Africa, Europe, Russia etc. bloggers?

I am sure I have more ideas on how to better the conference but at this point I have severely exceeded my 140 character limit and my brain hurts.

where are the hebrew speakers??

24 Apr

i love that ben yehuda is filled with people. israelis and tourists . but why then do i feel like im still in america? i do not want to hear english. hebrew is poetry to my ears. the way it rolls off my tongue. even though my command of the language is somewhat lacking (grammar can be annoying. male or female – but what about hermaphrodites???) it feels so right when im talking in hebrew. i feel comfortable. i feel like this is the language i was suppose to talk in and that every word in english hurts my soul. i want to be surrounded by hebrew. by the glorious hebrew language. but yet im surrounded by coarse English. eechsa. i try to put myself in situations where i meet israelis and i will not allow them to talk to me in english. or if they want to talk to me in english i will answer them in hebrew. i am not interested in helping them learn my native language. i want to be come fluent enough that i can work in a hebrew environment. As of right now i work with only anglos and when i hear them speak in hebrew i want to laugh or unfortunately cry. some of them have been here for 10 years or longer yet the lack of command that they have over the language is amazing. shocking really. on the other hand there are those olim that have a wonderful command of the language but speak in that stoopid american accent. why cant they do both? have a command of the language AND the accent? obviously we will never ever sound like a native but try at least! yes learning a language is hard and does not come easily to all. but at least try to. then again who am i to judge? i know that for me no matter how “american” i am my kids will G-d willingly be true israelis in all sense of the word. and maybe other olim feel that they can live and work in an anglo environment because the most important aspect is that at the end of the day their kids will be israelis. so what if grandma and grandpa cant talk the language of the land? their kids and their grandkids will be able to. obviously being an immigrant can be a traumatic experiences. and those who chose to move here give up a lot of what they are used to in order to fulfill a specific dream. you cant expect an oleh to give up everything once they move here. so i guess that even though one day (sooner rather than later) i want to be in an environment where english is part of the minority language not the majority language that i hear. and more importantly that those who move here give up a lot to fulfill this dream of raising their kids in Israel. and at the end of the day the next generation will be assimilated into israeli culture. with the ability to speak our glorious language – hebrew.

shalom v’lehitraot. nedaber ood me’at.