Nature in the City


August 24, 2012 8:47 am

Just went for a lovely foggy morning run up to Oceanview Farms. I love that place. And I want to do this run every morning, it gives me such a healthy feeling and makes me feel alive again. The farms are beautiful, lush and overlooking the Pacific. Lots of people have their own little plot there, that they cultivate. I can imagine them coming in the eveningtime, at sunset, to take a little repose in the haven they’ve created with their own hands. Continue reading


Jaffa Part III: The Children


Amira was a tomboy of classic proportions. Her brother Amir was bright eyed and rambunctious, but Amira had spirit like a wild stallion. If you, or any of the children at the Arab-Jewish community center wronged her, her eyes would flash like fire and she’d yell with the strength of a woman wrongfully imprisoned. She wasn’t afraid of getting dirty by bellying along on the classroom floor with the other boys, playing the high-stakes card- slapping game, when the kids would lie face-down like frogs in the middle of the classroom and cup their hands together to slap pictures of D-list European soccer players, making the cards jump ever so slightly in the air. I could never understand the thrill of the game’s outcome, but this was success, in Jaffa… Continue reading

I Support Settlers?

Walking into a Bomb Shelter in Nitzan, home of the evacuated settlers from Gush Katif

No, I haven’t been brainwashed, and no I don’t support the settlements. But on the Perspectives trip I’ve just returned from, I have seen the humanity behind some of the political positions that previously seemed untenable and even abhorrent, here in Israel, Palestine, and everything in between. While I still find the settlements a blockage to peace with the Palestinians and a two-state solution, I have a newfound empathy for Jews who make their homes across the Green Line. Continue reading

The Bride of the Sea: Safa’s Story

Safa Kassas Younes
Title: Executive Director at Arous El Bahr Association for Women in Jaffa
Arabic (native), Hebrew, French, English


“I am Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian. I live in Israel. It’s complicated, I have a lot of identities.”

Safa was born in Jaffa in 1975, to Siham and Ali Kassas, as the eldest of four children. Safa’s maternal family fled Jaffa in 1948 to Gaza, where they stayed– separated from the rest of their relatives– until after 1967 when some of them were able to return. In 1973, Safa’s mother was married to Ali, a relative of the family who still lived in Jaffa. Her brothers and sisters were unable to leave Gaza, where they stayed and operated a cosmetic manufacturing company until today. Continue reading

The Story of the Orange

File:Jaffa Oranges.jpg

Just watched an excellent documentary from Al Jazeera “Witness.” Interviews with Jewish and Arab Jaffa-ites who recount the history and political imagery of the world-famous Jaffa orange. Touches on environmental ethics, art history, Zionist narrative, colonial dispossession of land, and an Arab-Jewish citrus cooperative that falsifies the notion that Jaffa was always a divided city. Jaffa- The Orange’s Clockwork

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Pa-Roosky (“In Russian”)

ImageHere in Jaffa and South Tel Aviv, we tend to focus quite a bit of our attention and conversation on the most recent newcomers to Israel– the African refugees and Asian foreign workers. They frequent the news, are the target of progressive socially conscious resource centers, and provide a constant source of heated debate. But I had a nice experience today with a slightly older generation of immigrants today, while I was shopping at my favorite clothing store in Jaffa. Continue reading

Peace, Drugs, and Education

The resilience of youth is incredible. I spent this morning discussing legalization of cannabis with a student for his “breaking stereotypes” project at Muzot High School for the arts. Ron is a passionate and sweet kid– he lives alone with his mother in Jaffa and clearly enjoys the “greener” side of things. His artistic talent got him accepted to Muzot after failing out of other high schools, but still the challenge of getting him to focus on academics through ADHD and dyslexia seems insurmountable at times to his teachers. Continue reading

A Middle Eastern Christmas in Bethlehem

“On the night of Christmas, hatred will vanish. The Earth blooms. War is buried. Love is born.Where there is charity, God is to be Found.”

– Ubi Caritas

As I sit on Sulaiman’s cushy red couch, looking out at the pouring rain over the white brick and olive trees of Ramallah, I can recall a lovely Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, filled with excitement and a touch of sorrow… Continue reading

The Tayelet

Nov 25, 2011 Sunset on the Tayelet with Miriam and our Bikes

Whenever I come to the Tayelet to watch the ocean, the sunset, and the people, I always think to myself, “Why don’t I come here more often? Heck, why don’t I come here everyday?” I’m so blessed to live near the water, where troubles blow away with the breeze of the Mediterranean, and the evening call to prayer sets the tone above Jaffa’s gorgeous peninsula silhouette. “Allah Akbar!” Indeed. Continue reading

The Most Wonderful Day

Where to begin?

I am so full of inspired energy right now, and everything seems to be coming together. It’s such a weight off my shoulders to feel this moment of clarity, after so many weeks of confusion and the feeling of being overwhelmed. As the late Steve Jobs pointed out in a commencement speech, it’s often in retrospect that we are able to connect the dots that once seemed so random and disparate. Continue reading