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Notes from Beyond Google Maps

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2016 by Elie Lehmann

I dismounted the motorcycle taxi with the finesse of an intoxicated toddler, my overstuffed backpack swaying behind me.  In the hilly farmlands of Kenya, Yosef stood in front of his modest home with a huge smile and kippah sitting atop his head.  “Shalom,” he said.   I lived with Yosef, Ruth and seven of their thirteen children this summer. They live in Gathundia, a village so small that it doesn’t appear on Google maps.  Kulanu, an organization that suppor…


Summer Camp: A Bridge, Not A Bubble

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2016 by Yael Bendat-Appell

One of the most beneficial aspects of sending kids and teenagers to overnight summer camp is the opportunity to disconnect and unplug from the world at large.  The absence of phone, TV, internet and social media allows our youth to focus primarily on developing friendships, physical and artistic skills and their intellectual muscles.  This countercultural “bubble” that camp creates is a cherished part of the camp experience. However, while working at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin…


The Legend of Class 5

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2016 by Ayala Parag

It all began back in 1993 when a group of 10 Wexner Israel Fellows were staring their year at Harvard and were on the verge of an amazing professional and life adventure.  Who could have imagined that more than 20 years later this group would still have a strong and wonderful friendship.   Our first gathering was in the garden of the Parag home in Ramat Yishai, with the idea that meeting and getting to know one another prior to embarking on our Harvard adventure would contribute to o…


Love is Love

Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2016 by Abby Sosland

For me, Tu B’Av is not simply a Jewish version of Valentine’s Day.   While it is celebrated as a day of romantic love, the days surrounding Tu B’Av send a deeper message.  More than three weeks ago, as we began our period of mourning, Jeremiah (2:2) reminded us that God thinks of us as God's young bride.  On the Shabbat following Tisha B’Av and Tu B’Av, Parshat Va’Etchanan brings us the Shema, which reminds us that V’Ahavta (you shall lov…


Dreams, Hopes and Different Kinds of Love

Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2016 by Tal Winbrom

Getting divorced is not getting the get (divorce certificate), but it’s taking yourself and your surroundings on a magnificent journey, from anger and despair to better self-knowledge, to healing and forgiveness.  This journey gives you a unique window into yourself, your kids, family, friends, love, past and future expectations, dreams and hopes.   The divorce journey starts with the history of marriage.  Here’s a quick look: until the 18th century most people got m…


Dating on the YentaNet

Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2016 by Raysh Weiss

Imagine if your parents or grandparents had never met.  If you could go back in time, as did Marty McFly in Back to the Future, what would you do to ensure your existence?  In Ruth Rabbah 6:1, we learn that when King David would rise at midnight to praise G-d, he would specifically recall G-d’s great kindness in enabling his grandfather Boaz and grandmother Ruth to meet, against all odds.  If Boaz and Ruth had never joined in a loving union “how would I have come into…


Here Lay Mike Zoosman, Born: 1981, Diagnosis: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2016 by Mike Zoosman

Reposted with thanks to The Mental Health Safe Space blog , founded by Jamie Bornstein (WGF Alum, Class 18) . Mental illness has of course always been a part of the Jewish Community, as it has been for all people everywhere, and yet, most leaders tend to stay quiet about it. Not so for some of our pioneering alumni who have created and contributed to a platform for Jews to speak about their mental health journeys. They model leadership and bravery in acknowledging that deep pain is everywhe…


Are We Mourning (and How)? Heard Round WexWorld: Tisha B'Av

Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2016 by Sue Fendrick, Yossi Chajes, Asher Lopatin, Robert Levy, Steven Michael Grafton Philp, Angie Atkins, Judd Kruger Levingston

We asked several from our network to comment on whether they were observing Tisha b'Av and, if so, how and why.  The following are excerpts from their thoughtful answers.  The longer versions are available here.    Sue Fendrick, WGF Alum (Class 2) — Newton, MA    I’ve always found it funny when people have said they no longer see the purpose of mourning on Tisha B’Av, arguing that the Jewish diaspora is now entirely a voluntary o…


Modeling Agility and Evolution: The Wexner Heritage Summer Institute

Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 by Ben Berger

It has been reported that in 1914 Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook visited London’s National Gallery and became enamored with Rembrandt’s works of artistic genius.  In Rembrandt, Rav Kook saw “a tsaddik, a truly righteous person,” whose works reminded him “of the legend of the creation of light.”  Kook explained that this was a “light so strong and luminous that it lit up one end of the world to the other.”  And to protect the world …


The Missed Jewish-American Opportunity: The Intersection Between Boomers and Millennials

Posted on Thursday, August 04, 2016 by Gary Wexler

The trends and attitudes of American society pour down into every corner and crevice of the American Jewish community.  This is both the marvel and the challenge of being a Jewish American. Whatever Jewish actions we take, they are significantly framed by American culture.  Today, American culture is marching to the beat of a near-hysterical parade towards everything Millennial.  And one of the results is that ageism, now against Boomers, has become the last acceptable — an…


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