The Old Country

“Nice Jewish boy” Launches Playboy in Israel

March 8, 2013

When I was growing up, my father always kept a stack of Playboy magazines in the living room, next to the stereo. They were there for anyone to read, and despite the public potential for teenage titillation, I’m sure that my father really did intend that we read them. But just in case there were other reasons they were […]

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New Israeli-Made Documentary Takes Us to the “Fringes” of Jewish life

December 19, 2012

The most remarkable thing about Paula Weiman-Kelman’s new documentary, “Fringes,” is how unremarkable it is. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Rather, the Jerusalem-based filmmaker’s latest movie, which opened to a sold-out theater at the Jerusalem Cinemateque’s Jewish Film Festival last week, presents the lives of three communities on the “fringes” of Jewish […]

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Retiring to Protea Hills

July 11, 2012

It’s too bad I haven’t hit retirement age yet. Because when I do (and it won’t be for a good many more years), I know where I want to live: Protea Hills, a brand new retirement “village” in the final stages of construction high up on a mountain at Moshav Shoresh, about 20 minutes from […]

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April 18, 2012

For the 17 years that we have lived in Israel, we have been boy scouts when it comes to paying our U.S. taxes. We file our 1040s dutifully, even though there is rarely any tax to pay (we pay our 45% pound of flesh to the Israeli authorities and then the double taxation treaty with […]

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March 1, 2012

We were all ready for snow in Jerusalem a couple of weeks back, but there was none in the end. Now snow is back in the weather for Friday, and I’ve already seen a few flurries today. But, after a week in Toronto, where we just were for a family wedding, I’ve seen more snow […]

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Emigrating Israelis – Point/Counterpoint

December 8, 2011

The discussion of Israelis overseas was a topic that just wouldn’t go away this past week. First I wrote on the Israelity blog about the video campaign “guilting” expats to come home. Then, as my colleague David Brinn added, the videos were pulled by none other than the prime minister himself. Now there is a […]

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The Medical System is Broken After All

November 14, 2011

I have often bragged about how great the medical system here is in Israel. There’s no problem with people not being able to get insurance and care is on a very high level. For regular doctor visits, I’ve never had to wait more than a day or two for an appointment, and there are drop […]

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“Leisure Sundays” Stress Me Out

March 15, 2011

In recent weeks, Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom’s has renewed a campaign to turn Sunday into an official day off in Israel, as with other parts of the world. The Anglo community has embraced the idea. As for me, I’m dead set against it. How could anyone be against Sundays, you might ask? Isn’t that […]

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My Evening with Ted

August 19, 2010

One of my closest childhood friends flew into town recently for a whirlwind Jewish Federation-sponsored tour of Israel. Ted had a couple of hours free in Jerusalem, so along with my friends David and Shelley Brinn (who had also known Ted back in the day) and Ted’s old girlfriend Evelyn, we met up at a […]

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Jelly Belly Flop

May 24, 2010

I have to confess up front: I have never been a fan of jelly beans. But after a visit last summer to the very center of jelly bean heaven – the Jelly Belly factory in California, where I saw how the pint-sized multicolored candies are concocted – now I’m totally disgusted. Ironically, if we hadn’t […]

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