A World Away

by Natalie Jacobs July 27, 2017
 

 

tsl-augJust as we were putting the finishing touches on this issue of the magazine, I received an email pitch from a man in Tel Aviv. He was sharing photos and details on a photography exhibition finishing up its run at the Jerusalem Theatre. Based on a photo book “Passages to Israel,” the exhibition expanded on the themes presented in the book project, created by Karen Lerhman Bloch and Kara Meyer to “depict the unexpected sites, sounds and colorful humans” found within Israel. The photos are stunning and surprising and I hope to share them with you soon.

They would have been perfect for this second annual Israel Issue, if only they had arrived in time. The problem is, there is so much to know about the tiny Middle Eastern democracy and from here in San Diego – the whole other side of the world – it’s quite difficult to keep tabs on all of the things that Israel is and does. The purpose of our yearly foray into Israel is to examine the gradients and textures of the country that this community is so connected to in so many ways, and yet so far away from in many others.

Where one story misses a deadline, another arrives at the perfect time. Such was the case with the story of the Jerusalem Biennale and the San Diego delegation that will attend this year’s show. Susan Lapidus of the Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative called at the perfect moment to share details about the trip she’s planning for some of San Diego’s prominent art leaders and lovers to go to this third Jerusalem Biennale to see a side of Israel that is only just beginning to open its doors to public consumption.

In the story, you’ll meet the Biennale’s founder Rami Ozeri, who is on a mission to provide a platform for contemporary artists to explore Jewish themes, while also establishing Jerusalem as a hotbed of modern thinkers and cultural pushers of boundaries. It’s the classic story of old meets new and it was a pleasure to explore.

On the other side of the life-in-Israel spectrum, we have a deep dive into the country’s universal health care system. Brie Stimson began researching this story just as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was finishing up his behind-closed-doors drafting of the Better Care Reconciliation Act in Washington, D.C. As we entered the editing phase of our production, the Senate Republican health care bill was pronounced dead on arrival. Just as we were sending the files to the printer, Republicans achieved a procedural victory with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, allowing debate on an unreleased version of the health care bill to commence. While we don’t get into the political details of how Israel’s government achieved the passage of its National Health Insurance law in 1995, Brie does offer a compelling glimpse into what it’s like to have health care in Israel. All of the people she interviewed kindly expressed their condolences to the people of the United States for the health care system we endure here.

August is also our education issue. Even though San Diego’s Jewish day schools are experiencing a severe tightening of belts after some funding changes in the coming school year, we’ve got seven reasons that one parent of San Diego Jewish day school alum thinks it’s still a good idea to fit a day school education into family budgets. Plus, an inside look at how one preschool director works personally with parents to insure the success of their students.

One more thing – we’re putting together a special feature for the September High Holidays issue about traditions and memories and wisdom, but we need your help. Find details on the project and how you can submit on page 14.

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