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Review Archive

Berkeley Tuolumne Camp / There’s no spot that I would rather be…

I’ve been privileged to call many places home in my life. I’ve lived in Israel and in Northern and Southern California, but chief among my many homes is Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp. No matter where on the planet I lived during the off-season, every year of my life–without fail, and including one year in utero–we would make the trip to Groveland, a stone’s throw away from the West Entrance to Yosemite Valley, down to the South Fork of the Tuolumne river, where families from all over the world have a chance for a quasi-rustic week away from it all. Some 70ish tent-cabins adorn the hillside and straddle the river, with wooden bases painted a forestry-mandated café noir and canvas tarps acting as roofs. A dining-hall-slash-kitchen sits right about in the middle, where the 250-300 campers would sit together (family style) for meals thrice daily, served tasty eats by a cheerful

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A Footstool / In Memoriam

A boy bounced up a pebbled path between a wall and hedge as tall as he was. During the day, he enjoyed skipping up the path, but at night it scared him. He always ran through it at night. Skipping joyfully, he turned sharply to the left and ran to the door of the bottom-rear apartment in the multi-unit–but homely–building at 47 Sokolov in Nahariya, grabbing the brushed metal handle that always left his hand feeling a little gritty, and turning it until the bolt clicked in a satisfying way and the door swung open. The hallway–it could hardly be called that, he recalls–was tight, with doors on the left and right leading to the bathroom and bedroom respectively. A few feet in front, a large wooden armoire of sorts served as an all-purpose desk, holding the phone, pens and paper, and all manner of knick knacks that may have

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The Second Half / What 13 Years Can Do

Hopefully, friend, the last posts were to your liking. This one will be slightly different, as the experience of traveling alone in Israel was fairly different from being taken around from place to place in a bus. Both experiences were completely valid and wonderful in their own ways. A sizable group from the birthright trip extended their trips, most of us planning to head straight for Tel-Aviv, so a pile of us got on the train at Ben-Gurion and headed to the city. I was getting fairly sick by this point (some food poisoning I believe, but I’ll spare you the details) so I spent the next couple of days in a hostel, trying to sleep off the sickness. Once I was up for it, I bid my fellow birthrighters adieu and took the train north, where I intended to spend the next 3 days in my old village, visiting

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In the interim…

My apologies for the lapse in communication, but I seem to have hit a technical snag (read: for some reason the WordPress app on my iPad stopped working and my whole entry about birthright might be lost.) I will do what I can to get the entry back, but of I lost it, c’est la vie. I’ll just write a new one. Brief update/summary: Birthright ended up being a fantastic experience. I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of that group, and glad even more for the opportunity to talk about issues that matter to me with thoughtful people. Seeing my Grandmother in Shave Zion has been both wonderful and slightly difficult. She is truly an amazing woman, and it is an honor and a privilege to get to spend this time with her. I’ve got just about a week left in the motherland…

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A Return to the Motherland / An Open Letter to the Woman Who Sat Next to Me on the Plane

It is almost 10:30 PM here in Kibbutz Farod, due southwest of Tzfat in Israel. I’m back in the motherland. I’ll get to the time leading up to this moment, but I have to get something off my chest before I start. I was somewhat nervous about taking this trip. I felt unprepared and unsure about it. Arriving in Ben-Gurion, hopping on the bus and seeing Israel through the windows, it all melted away. I love Israel. It feels like home. The first step of the journey was the red-eye I took to New York on Saturday. Getting a chance to spend time with Amira and Steve is always a pleasure, and this time was no different, though it was a little difficult arriving and feeling like this. Amira was busy in the morning so I got a chance to hang out with Steve and discuss some philosophical matters over

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Thanksgiving / 36 Arguments

Visiting my parents in southern California used to give me a strange paranoia. Returning to LA, for whatever reason, made me feel like I was regressing. (That is, of course, ridiculous.) Since college, however, Santa Monica has been a source of some much-needed emotional recharging and re-invigoration of my inspirado. I count myself among the very fortunate for having such an open, loving, supportive, hilarious family. Thanksgiving seems to me to be a necessarily stressful time, what with family, food, drink and close-quarters, but we manage to pull it off year after year. I display a certain level of unease at the whole process, but by the end it’s usually all smiles and sad goodbyes. This time around it was particularly hard leaving my sister–she and I are very close and New York is very far away. Being with my brother, sister-in-law and my nephews is always a pleasure (did you

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