Words of the Week: Matti Friedman

“When consuming news from Israel, there’s a list of questions I ask when deciding if I’m getting sane information or a narrative of a different kind. Having thought, written, and spoken about this over the past decade or so, I’ve condensed them to eight. The questions are based on my experience here in Israel and elsewhere around the Middle East over the past 25 years — but they might be of use in thinking about other powerful narratives as well, foreign and domestic.”

Source: Matti Friedman, “Eight Tips for Reading About Israel” (Sapir

Words of the Week

“We too ask to be seen and heard; we ask for our experiences to be valued; we ask that we be allowed to enter progressive conversations with our whole selves to expand our learning and activism alongside our fellow Bulldogs.

If, after reading this, you’ve learned something new, gained some empathy, will be more thoughtful about the quickness with which you share a post that blames Jews, or if you’re now more curious to understand more about your fellow Jewish students — we say thank you for listening.

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Words of the Week: Matti Friedman

“When I started reporting on Israel for the international press, I was made aware of linguistic quirks unique to this particular beat. One good example was the word ‘settlement,’ which, in ordinary usage, means ‘a small village,’ an isolated community out of Little House on the Prairie or perhaps colonial Rhodesia—but which we often used to describe suburban towns of 50,000 in the West Bank or certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem. A typical reader of the English language envisioned one thing, while the reality was another. Another quirk was our use of the word ‘capital,’ which we refused to apply to Jerusalem, even though Jerusalem is Israel’s official seat of government, and that is the meaning of the word, which has nothing to do with international recognition. Or there was the word ‘disputed,’ which we weren’t allowed to use for the West Bank, even though there’s obviously a dispute over the territory—the word ‘disputed’ would make it seem like Israel might have a case. Our vocabulary was a kind of political code.”

Opening paragraph of Matti Friedman’s “Zero-Sum Game” (Jewish Review of Books)

Words of the Week

It took me a few days to get to this Kveller piece, where I was reminded that January 9 marked the 10th anniversary of the passing of Debbie Friedman: “If you grew up in the Reform movement…you are undoubtedly familiar with the singer-songwriter’s vast and gorgeous musical repertoire. Influenced by folk artists like Peter, Paul, and Mary, Friedman’s music is modern, moving, and wide-ranging, from the soothing and somber ‘Mi Shebeirach‘ to the raucous and joyous ‘Miriam’s Song.'”

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Words of the Week

“I can feel freedom. I stay by the window and look out. The first thing I do in the morning is look out and see the world. I am alive. I have food, I go out, I go for walks, I do some shopping. And I remember: No one wants to kill me. So, still, I read. I cook a little bit. I shop a little bit. I learned the computer. I do puzzles.

I still sometimes feel that I am missing out. A full year is gone. I lost my childhood, I never had my teenage years. And now, in my old age, this is shortening my life by a year. I don’t have that many years left. The way we have lived this year means I have lost many opportunities to lecture, to tell more people my story, to let them see me and know the Holocaust happened to a real person, who stands in front of them today. It’s important.”

Source: Toby Levy, “The Holocaust Stole My Youth. Covid-19 Is Stealing My Last Years” (The New York Times)