Did you know that 75% of American Jews — even the secular ones — celebrate Passover? As articulated in the Exodus chapter of the Bible, Passover commemorates the fleeing of Jews from Egypt to Israel. The first evidence of Israel dates from 1200 BCE, though there is evidence of the first hominid diaspora out of Africa through the area. I’ve had my DNA checked out and my people are most definitely from Israel. We’ve been there for thousands of years! That is the deal.
As for modern Israel, my dad’s uncle, Yossel Kopelov, first came to Tel Aviv in 1921 with Golda Meir and a few of her family members. She became the 4th Prime Minister of Israel in 1969. In her autobiography, My Life, Prime Minister Meir describes, “(I)n particular a most extraordinary young man from Chicago called Yossel Kopelov, who chose to be a barber because he was convinced that this was the only profession that would leave him enough time to read and with whom Morris and I spent a lot of time.” And . . . here they are! His hand is on her. That was a huge deal in those days.
And so, we come to the issue of BDS (boycott, divest, sanction), a movement popular among Leftists based on the historically incorrect premise that Jews should not settle Judea and Sameria, as it deprives those who call themselves “Palestinians” sovereignty over areas claimed by Israel (such as Gaza and the West Bank). Remember, both Jews and Arabs have lived in the area for well over 3,000 years: ancient Egyptian documents say so. It should be noted that no leader of the Palestinian population has ever publicly acknowledged the right of the Jewish state of Israel to exist in any format. And so, there are colleges and institutions who have been pressured to not have commercial trade with the people in the Jewish settlements. I have visited one of these settlements.
I don’t have any children, but if I did, I wouldn’t spend one red cent on a college which was cowering in the face of the BDS movement. I suppose my kid could have chosen from Liberty, Regent or Hillsdale. I remember vociferously standing up for Israel in my Poli Sci classes, even though I knew it would mean I’d get the “B”. One of the professors was even Jewish! But y’know what? I am only able to be me. I saw there were students who would nod their heads up and down like a bobblehead, muttering sycophantly, “I see what you mean.” Blech.
There is a wonderful new subscription box service — who doesn’t like surprises? — that supports the artisans and pious folk of the settlements: Lev Haolam. They create a box each month that contains a medley of things grown or made by the settlers. It can include accessories, jewelry, olive oil, coffee, chocolate, honey, beauty products, Judaica items. If you’ve have ever been to an anciently historic market in Israel, you know the gorgeous quality of these things, including exotic foods. Real treasures!
In each box, you get news bulletins of the area, recipes, as well as the life stories and inspirations behind the real people creating beautiful things to survive.
The latest box that I received had an Israeli flag by Jaco, Lourie Olive Oil, Honey by David Daniel, a cosmetic set by Sabon B’alma, Cactus Craft Kit by Chaguta, toothpaste by Masik, Coffee by AgroCafe, a designer tissue holder by Sari Jan and Merave Jan, a rosemary salt grinder.
At the time of this writing, I don’t know the results of the Israeli election for Prime Minister. Incumbent Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu promises to exert sovereignty over these settlements if reelected. Bibi’s voice sounds exactly like my late father’s: a resonant bass! Also, in less than 2 weeks is Passover.
Am Yisrael Chai! (The nation of Israel lives!) And, happy Pesach to you!