Welcome to my blog for The Times Of Israel. Every few weeks I will write about “All Things Israel and All Things Maryland”
For those of you who might not know where Maryland is, it is neither here nor there. Maryland is not New York. It is not Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, Florida or Texas.
Columbia, Maryland is my hometown. It is not Baltimore, nor Annapolis, nor Rockville, nor Silver Spring, Chevy Chase or Potomac.
It IS the largest city in Howard County and Howard County IS the fastest growing Jewish community in the United States. I bet you didn’t know that our County Executive Ken Ulman..sort of like our mayor, is running for Lieutenant Governor. He is Jewish and a real supporter of bringing Israeli hi tech companies to the county.
I bet you didn’t know that Julia Louis Dreyfuss films the acclaimed series Veep in Columbia. Dreyfuss and Ulman got into it the other day when she said “Columbia was dreary”. Those are fighting words where we live so Ken Ulman posted a tongue-in-cheek YouTube video defending my hometown!
In my blog, I will talk about all the wonderful things that are going on between Maryland and Israel..and some of the initiatives I am involved with and some which I am not.
For example,I am chairing a brand new and first time Israel speakers this spring with the Jewish Federation of Howard County. We have acclaimed Israeli experts Avi Melamed, Professor Yoram Peri and Avi Jorisch on board to speak.
I will talk about my experience with Israel since 1979.
I, a resident of Maryland, have visited Israel 28 times and I am about to visit again in late May, 2014!
Here are some photos from my most recent trip to Israel this past October on a woman’s mission..entitled “women on a mission mission” from my synagogue, Beth El of Baltimore, led by Rabbi Dana Saroken and Ailene Sher. During our mission, we met with Anat Hoffman, Avi Melamed, Col. Danny Tirza, Galit Reismann of TLVStyle, and many others. We saw, we tasted, we celebrated, we prayed, we drank wine, we shopped, and we made new friends and had fun!
Thanks to Robin Kleiman, who celebrated life, Avi Melamed who showed us the map with borders while he took us to Nitzana at the Egyptian border, Galit Reismann, founder of TLVstyle for introducing us to the hat designer, Col. Danny Tirza who took us to Bethlehem and Gilo and the security fence, the fiddler who welcomed us to The Old City, Andy Katz of JFNA who helps plan the Jewish Federation of Howard County Journey, Yoram Preminger, tour guide extraordinaire for the journey and who loves tee shirts from Maryland though he wore one from Chicago!, Jeanette Amid, hostess extraordinaire for the Howard County Journey to Israel, Dror and Ophir Levy wonderful friends who love the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, and to Mamilla Mall which made our credit cards very happy!
I am co-chairing for the third time a Jewish Federation of Howard County “Journey to Israel” for April, 2015. JFNA and specifically Andy Katz, are helping us plan this very Out-of-the-box trip. We don’t even call it a mission as most Federations do. It is a journey and an experience. We use tour guides extraordinaire, Yoram Preminger and Michal Granot who show us Israel from a seasoned and fun standpoint. Our goal is for people to fall in love with Israel and want to visit over and over again!
You will hear about my background as the granddaughter of one of the first pioneers in Israel. My grandfather, Samuel Waxman, fought in the Jewish Legion, a group of dedicated men from Baltimore, who went to Palestine in 1918 to fight with the British against the Turks. My grandmother was an original Pioneer Woman, along with Golda Meir.
My grandparents were best friends with Shoshana Cardin’s parents, The Shoubins, who also fought for Israel in the early days. I used to play barber shop to my grandfather and Mr. Shoubin on Saturday nights when I slept at my grandparents house. They put up with me combing their gorgeous locks of hair endlessly! My grandfather even has his picture displayed at Tel Hai in Israel.
My grandparents, Sam and Jennie Waxman, also brought their relatives from Poland to the United States in the 1940’s and helped them establish a very successful grocery chain in Baltimore called FoodARama which was sold later for millions of dollars.
My grandparents believed in giving back..whether to family or to Israel. I believe that is where my sense of charity has come from.
And finally, you will get to know me and my family which consists of my husband, Bob who is a fervent Zionist, my sons Ari and Ethan, my daughter in law, Beth, my 5 month old granddaughter Keira, and a large extended family.
You will get to know of my passion for Israel and how I want everyone I love..friends and family..to experience the wonders of this great country of Israel.
I hope you enjoy and I welcome your comments!