I Want To Love My Country Because It’s Great, Not Because It’s Mine

One could say that I live in a country-free bubble. I don’t really care about Jewish holidays, I don’t observe Jewish traditions, I don’t listen to Israeli music, I don’t watch Israeli TV (or any TV at all for that matter). I have my family, my friends, my job, my volunteering. I watch Game of Thrones, read non-fiction in English and prose in Russian, get most of my news from Facebook, listen to electronic music on the Internet. Almost none of it is connected specifically to Israel. Continue reading “I Want To Love My Country Because It’s Great, Not Because It’s Mine”

Why Marrying a Non-Jewish Woman Is The Best Thing That Happened To Me

My wife and I have lived most of our lives 6,000 kilometers away from each other. Our meeting, unlikely as it was, has led to a close friendship which turned into a marriage. We are what you may call an interracial couple – I’m Ashkenazi Jewish and Oxanna is Buryat-Mongolian. But while many interracial couples have to cope with cultural differences, for us it isn’t the case. Continue reading “Why Marrying a Non-Jewish Woman Is The Best Thing That Happened To Me”

Top 4 Media Cliches about the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

How many times you read media reports about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hoping to understand something, but always coming up empty-handed? You aren’t alone.

A week ago, the eyes of the media turned to the latest military escalation between Israel and Hamas. Beside the regular reports of the death toll and the reaction of the world, the more serious journalists tried to explain the conflict beyond the current event. Unfortunately, it’s too complex for the casual commentator, so often such analysis has resorted to rehashing of shallow arguments, and “neutral” points of view that neither take sides nor promote any real understanding. So here are the most popular media cliches about the conflict: Continue reading “Top 4 Media Cliches about the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict”

Echoes From My Tribe – Story of Intermarriage In Israel

My parents always wanted me to marry a Jewish woman. So when they found out that I’m getting serious with someone who isn’t Jewish, they were quite upset. I tried to understand their point of view, but was struggling to do so. I knew that their objection wasn’t religious – having lived all their life in atheist Soviet Russia, they are distinctly (but typically of their generation) secular people, and immigration to Israel didn’t really change that. So what was it that made it so difficult for them to accept? Aside from the usual caution we keep for strangers who don’t fit into our familiar world, there was something that disturbed them on a much deeper level. The answer lied in their past. Continue reading “Echoes From My Tribe – Story of Intermarriage In Israel”

The Russian Myth of the Strong Hand

In a recent program on a Russian TV station, high-school teenagers were asked whether they think that a totalitarian regime is good or bad.  Two boys spoke their mind. They said that “it is mostly good, because it brings order and structure into society, and enables progress. If people are not ruled, are not forced to work, nothing gets done”. Subtle nods and facial expressions of the other kids in the class revealed a general support for the view expressed by these two boys. Continue reading “The Russian Myth of the Strong Hand”

On The Humanness Of Criminals

Last Saturday me and a bunch of friends went hiking. We were met by a hot weather, small current of water, slippery rocks and lots of arid vegetation – in other words, a typical Israeli landscape. After a five hour walk, and a short trip by a car, hungry and tired we arrived at a beer brewery in Katzrin. As we were waiting for our beer tastings, an interesting conversation began to develop. Continue reading “On The Humanness Of Criminals”