Archive for February, 2013

His Heart Still Heavy, Palestinian Doctor Keeps Hope For Peace Alive

February 28, 2013

This article was first published in JWeekly.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian ob-gyn from the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, immigrated with his five children to Canada in 2009 to start a new life. However, he could not leave his traumatic past behind. Nor did he want to.

“The wound is open and I live with it every day,” the doctor said by phone from his office at the University of Toronto, where he teaches at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

That unhealable wound is the killing of his three daughters, Bissan, Mayar and Aya, and a niece by an Israeli army shell that hit his family’s home in the final days of Operation Cast Lead in early 2009. The tragedy took place as Abuelaish, a fluent Hebrew speaker who worked in Israeli hospitals, was on the phone with an Israeli TV program giving an eyewitness account of the war.

Adding to his pain, the doctor’s wife had died of cancer just a month earlier, in December 2008.

“If I could know that my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I would accept their loss,” Abuelaish, a man of deep Islamic faith, has written.

Despite his knowing that his daughters were not — and will not be — the last sacrifice, he has been able to forge ahead better than most. He keeps his daughters’ memories alive by traveling the world to encourage people to build bridges based on commonalities and a mutual interest in a better future.

In a busy season that will take him to North America, Pakistan, Cyprus, Jordan and Hong Kong, Abuelaish will make a stop at the Osher Marin JCC on Wednesday, March 6, to take part in the center’s “Salaam, Shalom: Speaking of Peace” series.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Kehillah Names Next Head of School

February 28, 2013

This piece was first published in JWeekly.

Darren Kleinberg

Darren Kleinberg

Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto recently announced that Rabbi Darren Kleinberg has been selected to succeed Lillian Howard as the next head of school. Howard is leaving at the end of the school year after six years on the job.

Kleinberg is scheduled to begin on July 1 after moving from Arizona to the Bay Area with his wife and two daughters. The 36-year-old has worked in the Jewish community in the Phoenix area for eight years, including a stint as a teacher and department head at Jess Schwartz College Prep, a now defunct 86-student Jewish high school.

Since 2007, he has been the executive director of Valley Beit Midrash, a collaborative and pluralistic organization that brings all sorts of Jewish educational programming to the Phoenix area.

A native of London, Kleinberg was ordained by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, an Orthodox rabbinical school in New York. He earned a master’s degree in religious studies from Arizona State in 2011 and is pursuing a Ph.D. in the same discipline at ASU.

Kleinberg, who defines himself as a non-denominational Jew, said he was attracted to Kehillah because of its pluralistic mission. “I’ve always been passionate about Jewish education at the high school level, and the idea of strengthening pluralism and bringing the community together around learning really excites me,” he said.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

First Ethiopian-Israeli Wins Miss Israel

February 27, 2013

This post first appeared on The Sisterhood blog at the Forward.

Miss Israel, Yityish Aynaw

Miss Israel, Yityish Aynaw

On Wednesday, 21-year-old Yityish Aynaw was crowned Miss Israel for 2013. The occasion marked the first time an Ethiopian Israeli had won the national beauty pageant.

Despite the landmark moment, I have to be honest: I was more excited when Pnina Tamano-Shata, a lawyer and member of the Yesh Atid party, was recently elected the first female Ethiopian Member of Knesset.

I am obviously far more into brains than beauty. But not everyone is, and rather than hate on this breakthrough moment for Israeli women of color, it would be far more productive to look at the positives associated with Aynaw’s achievement.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 169 other followers