Dan Ariely and the Black Market

June 23, 2013

The most thrilling session at the Israeli Presidential Conference last week was not the panel on “Should We Wait It Out: Israel and a Changing Middle East” which featured three U.S. and Israeli ambassadors and a former head of the Mossad. It was not Yair Lapid’s speech on how integration of the haredim will produce an economic […]

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Surprises at the Israeli Presidential Conference

July 1, 2012

When Elie Klein, one of the PR execs working behind the scenes at the just concluded Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, told the coterie of bloggers – including yours truly – that they would have the chance to meet President Shimon Peres in a small group question and answer session, I was stoked. Now well […]

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Shmulik and Mushkie go to Kathmandu

June 8, 2012

Shmulik and Mushkie are not the kind of protagonists you usually see on Israeli television. The newly married Chabad couple are all set to begin their shlichut (emissary period) in Brussels when a last minute change of plans lands them in Kathmandu, just days before Passover, with the seemingly impossible task of organizing a mass Seder for […]

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It’s Official: Tel Aviv is Cool. But Where are Tel Avivians Really From?

May 31, 2012

It’s now official: 60 Minutes has declared Tel Aviv one cool city. The venerable CBS television news magazine ran a 12-minute report on Israel’s beachside metropolis and Tel Aviv came out glowing. Of course, this being television, 60 Minutes had to “frame” the segment. It starts out: We went looking for a place of calm […]

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REM returns to Israel in the form of Robyn Hitchcock

March 29, 2012

In 1995, I got fired from a job. It was the first job I’d had in Israel and the first time I’d ever been fired from anything. Suffice it to say I was pretty despondent on that day. REM saved me. The night after I was laid off, my favorite rock band REM was playing […]

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A Celebrity at the School Play

June 22, 2011

It’s been a good week for comedy in Israel. First, the twice-a-year Comedy for Koby show has been traveling around the country to great acclaim – I blogged about it earlier this week on Israelity. And yesterday afternoon, raunchy (and embarrassingly funny) U.S. comedian Sarah Silverman improbably appeared on a panel at Shimon Peres’ “Israeli […]

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We’re Number One…in Facebook Use, That is

June 14, 2011

I’ve always suspected it. My kids seem to be permanently attached to Facebook and other social media services. Now, new research proves I’m right. And it’s not just my family – it’s the whole country. According to a just released poll by the well regarded market intelligence firm Comscore, during April the average Israeli spent […]

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The Top Ten Music Festivals in Israel

February 17, 2011

Israel is too often perceived through an exclusively political, religious or historical lens. An equally compelling current for locals is music. The country is chock-a-block full of music festivals. Whether your preference runs to jazz, rock, classical, choral, rap or klezmer; whether you enjoy the desert, the mountains or the heart of the city, you’ll […]

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Religious Mustard and Other Hebrew Acronyms

January 26, 2011

In the U.S. and most western countries, Jews tend to identify their religious affiliation through one of the major Jewish movements, be it Conservative, Reform, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Jewish Renewal, and even Secular Humanistic Judaism. Not so in Israel, where one’s religious standing is far more nuanced. In a country that loves army-influenced acronyms, a whole […]

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You Say Basya, I Say Batya, It’s all Great Music

January 12, 2011

Basya Schechter has long been one of my favorite Jewish musicians. Whether with her seven piece band, Pharaoh’s Daughter, or stripped down (metaphorically, please) in an acoustic show, Schechter offers an intriguing mashup of ethnically tinged Shabbat zemirot, Ladino love songs, and wistful Yiddish poetry. Her playlist ranges from neo-Klezmer to Egyptian-tinged Middle Eastern rhythms. […]

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