In this 10 day period between the first of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, one is meant to reflect on the previous year, do teshuva (make amends) for past mistakes, and make new commitments to contribute to the betterment of one’s family, community, and world. Between these activities of personal renewal, I, of course, have remained quite busy.
After returning from Yeshivat HaMivtar, where I spent a truly wonderful Rosh Hashana and Shabbat with my cousins, I got right back to work. Over the last week, I have finished up Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People, for which I hope to post a review in the coming week. I also finished a book put out by the World Zionist Organization in the late 1970s entitled Whose Homeland? a collection of essays on Jewish biblical and halakhic connections and obligations with regard to the Land of Israel and the political consequences of these factors. I plan to write a short piece here summarizing these perspectives in the next week or so. Finally, I have begun reading a famous Israeli collection of reflections by soldiers on the 1967 Six Day War, entitled The Seventh Day: Soldiers’ Talk about the Six-Day War.
Aside from reading, I have also been pushing forward with more interviews. Today, I spoke with Pinchas Wallerstein, one of the early founders of Gush Emunim and, until quite recently, the director of the Yesha Council. This interview was particularly interesting and engaging not only because of the subject matter but because it was the first which I conducted almost entirely in Hebrew. It was a challenge but I got a lot out of it. Expect a full post on our conversation soon. Tomorrow, I will be meeting with Yoram Ettinger, a former consul general to the United States who now is deeply engaged in the demographic debate in Israel.
Friday afternoon, Yom Kippur begins and I will be off the grid for a short while. Then, on Sunday evening, I will be heading back to Tel Aviv for a conference put on by the Geneva Initiative at which the former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers include Dr. Matti Steinberg, a former senior government security advisor, Dr. Tal Becker, a former member of Israel’s negotiating team with the Palestinians, and Professor Tamar Hermann, co-director of the “Peace Index”. No rest for the weary. Happy New Year indeed! 🙂