Israel and the 70 Faces of the Bible
by Debbie Rosenzweig
Experience the diversity of Jewish peoplehood and tradition on your trip to Israel.
According to rabbinic tradition, when the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai, every soul received a divinely personalized message. Therefore, our sages teach that the Bible has “70 faces,” meaning that it belongs to each and everyone one of us and can be interpreted in many different ways.
Today, the Jewish people is a rainbow of religious traditions, and it is also comprised of many different ethnic communities hailing from every corner of the world. When one travels through Israel, it is fascinating to see how all of these groups – each with its own narrative and customs – together make up the people of Israel.
Visitors to Israel can experience different traditions by celebrating Shabbat with locals. Join in with the thousands of Jerusalemites and guests as they welcome in the Sabbath at the Kotel (Western Wall), or attend Kabbalat Shabbat services on the beach in Tel Aviv with the innovative Beit Tefilah Israeli community, or sing and dance at the open and egalitarian Kehilat Zion synagogue in Jerusalem, where Jews of all backgrounds, beliefs, and customs pray and study together.
Gain intimate insight into how different families celebrate through home hospitality meals with Shabbat of a Lifetime, or spend Shabbat together with the Masorti (Conservative) Kibbutz Hannaton in the Lower Galilee.
Those looking to explore innovative perspectives in Jewish learning can participate in study sessions at BINA, which runs a “secular yeshiva” based on principles of social action and pluralism, or the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, which explores questions of religious pluralism, Israeli democracy, Israel and world Jewry, and the Jewish relationship with other faith communities and their sister institution in Tel Aviv, ALMA, a home for Hebrew culture and art. These institutions reveal the creative spiritual and intellectual renewal taking place in Israel.
Groups seeking fun and meaningful hands-on experiences can participate in creative Jewish art workshops at Kol Haot, enjoy homemade ethnic food with the Culinary Queens of Yerucham in the Negev, learn about the relationship between Judaism and ecology at the Reform Kibbutz Lotan, or gain insight into Israeli society through a film workshop at the Ma’aleh Film School in Jerusalem.
This year, embrace more of the 70 faces of the Bible and the Jewish people. Find yourself and connect to others in the beautiful patchwork of Judaism and Israeli society.
Originally posted here
Debbie made aliyah from Toronto in 2008, and currently lives in Tekoa with her husband and two daughters. She has a BA in Jewish History and Jewish Philosophy from Bar Ilan University and works as a freelance writer. She loves swimming, writing, hiking, and all forms of people and potatoes.