Merav and Roy Lobel are going back to Israel. Since the birth of their baby boy, now eight months old, they have longed to be with their families. Each time they've hung up the phone after a call to Israel, they've felt as if part of their heart was still there.
Zeev Boim argued that the key to luring back expats lies in providing decent jobs, and that Israel's strong economy, especially in the high-tech sector, is in a position to offer such employment.
"Everybody loves this guy," said Cantor Nathan Lam of Bel Air's Reform synagogue, Stephen S. Wise Temple, and dean of the Jewish academy's cantorial school. "He's a special human being. He makes a room feel good. If you're sick, he's the guy you want to come and cheer you up."
I felt a great, humbling appreciation that I was now doing what so many of my ancestors had wished to do for thousands of years.
Blame it on the Mesopotamians. About 4,000 or 5,000 years ago, they came up with the meshuggeneh idea of New Year's resolutions.
And what was their most common pledge? To return borrowed farm equipment. "That would be a pickax or a sickle," says Danny, 12, who studied the Mesopotamians last year in his ancient civilization class.
But today we can't simply return some borrowed tool, toy or casserole dish. No, we North Americans feel compelled to annually reinvent ourselves as perfect physical, intellectual and emotional beings. We feel compelled to promise to shape up, to learn Aramaic or read the 100 top English-language novels, to be more patient.
Earlier this month, a group of Lubavitch Jews gathered in a downtown Moscow synagogue to welcome the 16 books that were returned to the movement from the Russian State Library, formerly known as the Lenin Library, where the collection has been held for the last 80 years.