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27 May 2017

I sit down to write as someone different.

Four years ago, in April 2013, I left Tel Aviv - Yafo to return back to the United States. At the time, I was not feeling well. I came down with a bad case of something — the doctor in Jerusalem said laryngitis. I was living in a small apartment off Sderot Yerushalayim in Yafo. Life was good despite that nasty bout of laryngitis, living in a dark and damp studio apartment, and being detached from that City — Jerusalem — which had intrigued and sustained and nudged my soul since that first night on the Mount of Olives. How could I have realized it then, but I was on the cusp of a major shift in my life; isn't it funny how we are so bad at noticing times of transition? The years that followed my return to the United States have been the quickest and fullest so far in my twenty-five years doing this thing we call "life." Here I sit in Jerusalem, in what feels like forever and just a minute all at once, trying to see if I have gained…
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MLK Charge 2012

Let us pause for a moment to reflect on what we have heard and what we have felt today... 

There have been many Prophets of Peace – Gandhi, Dorothy Day, and King Jr. (just to name a few). All of these people have advocated for Peace and Justice, and each one’s teaching influenced the other. It must be noted, though, that rarely does a person come along as a 'drum major for justice' and call for things to stay the way they are. Love is revolutionary in a world full of vanity. To be a drum major goes against the grain in a world of standardization, where, the perversion of the drum major instinct reigns supreme.

The Drum major instinct is amoral. It can be used as an individual’s way to ignite a fire amongst others for peace, or it can be a weapon of tyrannical injustice. Mother Teresa acknowledged the best of her ‘instinct’ and served the poor. Dictators like Saddam Hussein had just as strong a drum major instinct, yet he was driven by that instinct to commit crimes against human…

An Unfinished Entry from University College London (September 24, 2013)

Dear Self,

I am writing to Self from the University College London Main Library. More specifically, the Public Policy, Human Rights, et al. Reading Room. It's a lovely place, certainly. Just today, as I walked to this particular room, to sit down at this particular desk [ad infinitum] to write this little note-to-self, the scent of the library — mmm — I am distracted. I am rambling.

What was I talking about?

Right, the scent of the library. Mmmmm. To a scholar, the scent of a library excites, but also serves as a monotonous drone — right.

There are a bunch of fellows here, thumbing through the books and trying to look academic, and such. I am quick to judge them as a bunch of tossers, twats, nincompoops, whatever. They are most certainly loud-mouthed people who fail miserably (and in a distracting fashion) at whispering.

There, too, is a nice sir sitting diagonal from me. When I sneeze, he says "bless you". Well, bless him — how kind. It is the first time anyone has utte…

Taking a Walk with Gideon Sa'ar

It's 4:00 P.M. Five o'clock, quickly approaching. It's the winding down of a typical work-day.

Today, though, the end of the day proved to be the beginning of one of the most interesting activist experiences I've ever been around.

My friend and co-worker, Ben, and I decided to take a walk down to Levinsky Park. Located right near the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv, Levinsky Park has become a meeting place of sorts, and for some, a home, for many Sudanese and Eritrean refugees in Israel.

Today wasn't a normal day, this was not a normal 'tiyul' through the city, no. Ben had heard that the Minister of Interior, Gideon Sa'ar, would be visiting the park and the surrounding Neve Sha'anan neighborhood. With the newly-formed Netanyahu coalition, Sa'ar became the newest minister of interior, leaving his post as the minister of education.

I was glad Ben wanted to go. Not to be confused, I was not there as a representative of anyone or anything but myself; I&…

The Past 72 Hours

WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED?

It started with the haircut. No, it started before that, it was not getting any sleep two nights ago. Wait, no, it wasn't then either, it started with the 'Yom Tov' (literally, good day, a religious holiday where, for the purposes of this writing, buses don't run). Wait, but not even, it was going to see someone I met at an Amnesty event in Jerusalem, yeah that was it. Like this, I could go back, and back, and back, to who the hell knows what, ad infinitum.

In that case, a twenty-year story short: I figured it was a time for a haircut. So did all of the little kids at the Passover seder. Don't get me wrong, they loved that I was there and all. Justin Bieber had never been to Zikhron Yakov!

From Biebs to a monk I went. Again, please don't get me wrong — the haircut was wonderful —— the experience of getting a haircut. What care, what precision, what speed! This guy was really something else. When my friend suggested the fifteen shequel ha…

Right...

The couch is full of matzah crumbs, yom tov has arrived. Can't go back to Tel Aviv until tomorrow evening, camping out in the kitchen of the apartment whose owners went camping. Probably going to eat more matzah. Maybe with salt. I hope they don't mind me eating their matzah. Maybe I can make matzah toast, with, cheese, and salt. The combinations are really endless.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library sent me a package just recently. I had written to them about my failure at finding any good Vonnegut literature over here. Sure enough, they provided. "Poo-tee-weet"

My belly is full of matzah. There is a can of Nutella next to the matzah. There are macaroons next to the Nutella. There is matzah next to the Nutella. This is a dangerous scenario. The Nutella would most certainly give some uumph to those, most definitely. There are innumerable risks, though, my friends. Let me try to numerate the innumerable.

First, the problem of hametz. Once a year, this menace comes ou…

Mediterranean Sea, near Yafo, Tel Aviv