December 05, 2005

Death of the innocent, again

A day of terror, once again. Homicide bombing in Netanya

Posted by Maria at 11:51 AM  Permalink | Comments (0)
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A fresh perspective, and the lights of the Jews

I am somebody, who never gets very (if at all) excited about Christmas. Infact, I always wait anxiously for this holiday to be over.
Here in Iceland, Christmas preparations begin as early as in October or November. This means that early December (aka right now), our society is literally swimming in Christmas, eventhough it's almost 3 weeks away.
I must admit, that eventhough I dislike this holiday to the extent that it practically begins to resemble an allergic reaction, my experience this year has been completely different. The reason is not that I've acquired a sudden love for Christmas, but that I have been seeing all the preparations and customs through the eyes of somebody unfamiliar with the process, somebody seeing it all for the first time, and finding it all to be a spectacular cultural experience, as opposed to something that's simply always been done. I am, of course, referring to my boyfriend, Shlomi, who has always celebrated Jewish holidays in his native Israel. His questions, fascination and interest in what I've always found to be banal, gives me a fresh perspective on things I've always looked upon.
An example of something that really blew Shlomi's mind, was the fact that pretty much every single household in Scandinavia (at least Iceland) puts a so called "advent light" in their window in December. Everybody knows that the custom was taken from Jewish tradition, and the light also goes by the name "Jew light" (Gyðingaljós).

Advent light ("Light of Jews")

The story of the lights arriving to Iceland, is as follows (in a nutshell):

An Icelandic business man called Gunnar Ásgeirsson traveled to Sweden in 1964, where he purchased these lights. They were brandnew in Sweden, and had been based on the idea of the Jewish Hanukkah lights. After Gunnar brought it back to Iceland with it, it became a great success in Iceland, but didn't gain popularity in Sweden until 1980.
The lights have received much attention from foreigners, who have often asked if Judaism is of great importance in Iceland.

Interestingly enough, the article also mentions that the man, Gunnar, comes from the same small fishing village in the West Fjords as my mother, Ingibjorg. For curiosity's sake I looked him up in the "Book of Icelanders" (an online program that enables Icelanders to check how they are related to one another). And what do you know? The man who brought the "lights of the Jews" to this remote piece of ice & fire, was my mother's cousin.

Posted by Maria at 12:23 PM  Permalink | Comments (11)
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Wow, that is an awesome story. I never knew that. "Light of the Jews", who would have ever thought. Ya, I was never really that into Christmas either, until a bunch of know-it-all Jerks started a war against it here in the USA. Now I can't get enough. Merry Christmas everyone, Gentile and Jew alike.

Posted by: Max L at December 6, 2005 07:04 AM Permalink

That is such a neat blending of cultures! I put a link to this post at my site, I hope that's okay.

I'll be checking back to your site often, I love to learn about the Jewish religion and culture.

Posted by: Jana at December 6, 2005 04:59 PM Permalink

Max: Thanks for the sweet comment, hope you're doing good.

Jana: It's more than okay, hope to see you again.

Posted by: Maria at December 6, 2005 05:28 PM Permalink

Any insightful comments on this?

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at December 8, 2005 11:28 AM Permalink

Yes, David, one comment. The rabbi phrased his comment very wisely.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at December 10, 2005 12:03 PM Permalink

Hi Maria! This is JUST the post I needed to read now!

First of all, it's the first time I hear someone saying she doesn't like Christmas. I only get Christmas through the Web, mostly Webshots and people's emails, and I am certainly tired of it. Lately I began thinking that I must be overreacting, but if someone who grew up in a Christian society is not excited, than I guess I'm pretty normal.

Now that doesn't mean that I don't understand Shlomi's curiosity. On the contrary, part of my increasing boredom comes from the fact that Christians never bother to explain the meaning of their traditions, and so all I see are external things which, in themselves, aren't exciting. There are also, of course, many ways of celebrating Christmas around the world, and I am totally unfamilar with the Icelandic way.

This story about the Jew Day is really remarkable. I haven't heard of anything similar. Actually, what I find MOST irritating about the "Holiday Season" is that some Christians (obviously, not of the type who know something about Christianity) tend to think that Jewish and other non-Christian holidays are merely versions of Christian ones. I'm happy to read that this is not the case in Scandinavia. And I'm happy that you finally enjoy Christmas!

Posted by: Orly at December 11, 2005 01:31 PM Permalink

Of course I realize that not all traditions have a "meaning". Sometimes you have to be a part of a culture in order to be emotionally attached to its customs. But still you can learn to appreciate and like things in other cultures (you are a living proof).

Posted by: Orly Yahalom at December 11, 2005 01:39 PM Permalink

I didn't say I 'enjoy Christmas'! I still count the days until it's over. I was saying that I am fascinated to watch somebody's else's fascination of what I find so banal.

Posted by: Maria at December 12, 2005 10:43 AM Permalink

Hmmm okay... Too bad you don't enjoy!

Posted by: Orly at December 12, 2005 01:49 PM Permalink

Christmas- yuck. I find it quite depressing, mainly because even as a child I found it odd that our family celebrated it even though we aren't remotely Christian. So it's about getting stuff and awkward family meals where we wish we weren't forced to sit at the table together. Ho Ho HO! Out of repsect for people who actually celebrate Christmas because they are Christians, I wish those who are using it as a day to receive loot would knock it off. Besides, if you think about it, Jesus was the one who received gifts.

the Grinch

Posted by: Alice at December 13, 2005 12:46 AM Permalink

Thanks for this, it has given me something else to ponder over while celebrating the birth of a person we Christian's regard as being quite important. It's a pity it has been turned into something quite as banal as it has become - all for profit and not for the real intentions at all.

The Hanukkah lights are a nice reminder that we need to rediscover the real meaning of the celebration. May I wish you and yours a slightly less stressful holiday than I suspect most will have, and certainly a really good year ahead.

Peace be with you.

Posted by: The Gray Monk at December 22, 2005 04:12 PM Permalink

December 13, 2005

May these bastards drop dead!

I knew these were a bunch of anti-semitic, Arab loving scum. But I thought they might want to be a little more passive about it.

Israel wiped off map in U.N. event

Map of Israel from which all communities were wiped off displayed at official U.N. event to mark solidarity with Palestinians. Organization's Secretary General Kofi Annan attended ceremony, calls incident 'regretful'

Palestinian propaganda in the United Nations? The Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, who recently attended an official public event at the organization's headquarters two weeks ago, was unaware of the fact that he was taking part in a propaganda campaign against Israel, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.

The ceremony was held on November 29 this year, to mark the historic date in which the U.N. General Assembly in 1947 voted in favor of a resolution that adopted the plan for the partition of Palestine.

Over the years, November 29 became a day of "solidarity with the Palestinian people" in the U.N., in which anti-Israeli events take place.

The particular event in question was organized by the Palestinian delegation in the U.N. and the Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa, and hosted all of the organization's high ranking officials.

During preparations for the event, the flags of the U.N. and Palestine were placed on the central stage, and a map depicting the territory of Israel was hung on the wall behind it.

However, the map was titled 'Palestine' instead of 'Israel', and all Israeli communities have been curiously erased from it.

In a related story: The madness of Iran

I'm sorry to say so but I'm scared to death. I'm scared to sit and watch the world on the verge of repeating its worst mistakes.
Well what can I do except hold on to hope, and.. get back to my exam studies.

Posted by Maria at 09:34 AM  Permalink | Comments (1)
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Let them all go to hell...

One thing is not the same as it was in the past,
and that is that now we have an army and we are
here to stay.

I am not a militant of some sort, but if my home is in danger, I will fight anyone who question that,
be it the Americans, any EU country, Palestinians...
and I am preety sure the rest of my fellow country
man will do the same.

As the famous poster said at the time:
"Jews want to fight as jews"

Posted by: Assaf at December 13, 2005 01:40 PM Permalink

December 14, 2005

Oy vey

Hmm. Let's move Iran (and Egypt, Syria as well as several other countries).. to the moon! The Gulf States with its oil can stay, but the inhabitants gotta follow their Persian friends.

Well if others can fantasise, then why can't I?

Posted by Maria at 10:14 AM  Permalink | Comments (15)
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Is Alaska so bad?:-)

Posted by: Una at December 15, 2005 08:34 PM Permalink

Better idea!
Move them all to the interior of Saudi Arabia. They all deserve each other, they would be out of the way, and they could all be very happy venting their spleen on each other. Decide once and for all, Sunni or Shi'ite, a process that with a bit of luck would take about two thousand years and leave behind a managble population.

Posted by: Harry at December 17, 2005 02:00 AM Permalink

Hey Maria, Orly, and all you others...guess what! I just found out that I've won a free trip for two persons to Costa Rica!!! We're going in March. Hopefully it'll be possible for the entire family (me, my girlfriend, and my sons Ludwig and Leon) to go. Anyway, this is exciting.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at December 20, 2005 11:20 PM Permalink

By the way...check out this blog:
There's a cartoon there that I made (by clicking and pasting from two other cartoons). I'll translate it to you some other time, if Maria doesn't do it for you.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at December 21, 2005 02:08 PM Permalink

I think the moon would still be too close. Something at the other end of the Galactic rim might just give us some distance from these idiots.

Posted by: The Gray Monk at December 22, 2005 04:14 PM Permalink

Gray Monk, only 'till they run out of air!

Posted by: Arni at December 22, 2005 04:31 PM Permalink

merry christmas and a happy new year hope to see you soon, miss our talks ;D

Posted by: daniel halldor limped at December 24, 2005 05:13 PM Permalink

Merry Christmas, Maria!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at December 25, 2005 03:17 PM Permalink

Mariaaaa, where are you at? Did u get married and move to Israel or something. That would be fantasticcccccccccc!!!.


Posted by: Max L at December 30, 2005 01:33 AM Permalink

Your bio Maria, says you dislike ignorance and prejudice!! That is probably true. But somewhere spmething changed. I believe you should look into it if you want to really be who you hope you are.

Posted by: bibi at January 2, 2006 06:37 AM Permalink

ur a werido!

Posted by: Brittney at January 24, 2006 09:57 PM Permalink

I think the Roadmap sponsors should revise their goal, in light of recent events, and support Palestinian statehood on Saturn by 2008.

Posted by: Miri at January 26, 2006 07:09 AM Permalink

Hey Maria! Where are you? Say something!!

Posted by: Orly at January 26, 2006 12:09 PM Permalink

Maria --echoing the where are you's???? Yo, people worry out here in cyberspace. Drop a note, drop a line, something. Please :)

Posted by: Yael Kaynan at February 9, 2006 08:27 PM Permalink

If you are going to post anti-Egyptian--and less specifically--anti-Arab garbage, then change the domain you are using. HATSHEPSUT??? The ancient Egyptian Pharaoh-Queen? How dare you post these racist, ignorant comments on your web page. Go choke and die on a menorrah.

Posted by: Anahaneekik at February 11, 2006 06:12 AM Permalink
moon phases