Oasis Songs: Musings from Rav D
Friday, October 1, 2021 / 25 Tishrei 5782
Summary: This week’s column alerts you to some exciting upcoming on-line programming activities coming to you from Israel360 or our communal partners.
Reading Time: Three minutes
Sight. Whether we are talking literally or metaphorically, sight is precious. None of us want to be blindsided, even as we all wear blinders. We seek insight to our problems and greater clarity to how we see the world and others. Heck, in the most mundane example, many of us who wear glasses have tried to keep our lenses clear of mist while wearing masks. Good vision is precious.
Israel has rightfully earned the title of start-up nation for its high rate of entrepreneurial activity in areas such as high tech and biotech. One such company is CorNeat Vision. You can hear the word “cornea” in their name and CorNeat Vision’s focus is indeed on opthalmic medical devices. A month ago, I read about a synthetic cornea that the company created that can cure corneal blindness for many individuals. Back in January, they restored the sight of a 78 year old individual who had been blind for a decade. What a miracle!
Neveh Shalom houses Portland’s Israel360 program whose focus is on a different sort of vision. I360’s intention from the outset was to provide a wide vista on Israeli culture, society, politics, and history without limiting programing to pre-conceived narratives. That is important because once you step outside of Israel, most commentators probably only possess 90 degree vision at best. Usually, they wear blinders so that they don’t need to confront anything about Israel that doesn’t conform to what they already believe.
We can all take pride in the rich programming that the I360 committee has brought to our community since its inception. Before the pandemic, conversations were underway with some key communal stakeholders to determine if I360 could become a “property” of the entire city’s Jewish community. We ran into some problems when one large stakeholder really only wanted to participate if the program was watered down effectively to Israel90, with a primary focus on criticizing Israel. That was no better than those who support Israel, well, blindly.
I am happy to note that this year, our planning partners include PDX Hillel, Federation, and the MJCC, while we work with other Jewish agencies on a program-by-program basis. This Wednesday, October 6th, we have been invited by Hillel@Home for a marvelous conversation with Noa Tishby. In case her name is not yet known to you, Noa is one of the biggest names in Israeli entertainment and brings her star power to American screens with The Affair and In Treatment. Noa has been an activist for years, and in 2011, she founded the first Israel-focused online advocacy and rapid response organization, Act for Israel, and became a powerful voice for Israel and the Middle East.
At this session, we’ll hear all about her new book, Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth. This should be a wonderful conversation and a great start to a year in which we will get to hear from Bedouins and other Israelis of Color. For example, on Wednesday, October 20th, we will get to learn from Ashager Araro. Ms. Araro is a powerhouse of an activist; as an Ethiopian Jew, she has been a forceful critic advocating for Israelis of Color.
Then we will turn our eye to the historical and have an opportunity to watch the movie Upheaval, accompanied on on November 4th with the film’s director. Upheaval is a new documentary on the life of Menachem Begin and I am glad that we are partnering with Federation in their efforts to bring quality events to the community.
Please keep an eye out in our weekly communication to stay abreast of all the programming that Israel360 has organized for this year. In the meantime, I do hope you will join us for the discussion with Noa Tishby:
Date: Wednesday, October 6th
Time: 4:30pm Pacific Time
To register, go to: https://form.jotform.com/212085635075152
Shabbat Table Talk will return next week
If you’d like to continue this discussion, follow this link to CNS’s Facebook page to share your own perspectives on the topics raised in this week’s Oasis Songs. Comments will be moderated as necessary.