April 28, 2010
From Alef: Jerusalem Bound
By Liel Leibovitz
When we think of aliya, the earliest images that come to mind are of young pioneers in the early Twentieth Century, arriving from Russia or Poland with empty pockets and hearts brimming with passion to settle the ancient Jewish homeland. And yet, nearly 800 years earlier, one of the world’s better-known men made the same journey, giving up a life of fame and fortune in Spain, to fulfill his firm belief that only in Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, can a Jew live a life that’s spiritually complete.
Yehuda Halevi—physician, philosopher, poet—is the subject of the new biography by Hillel Halkin, a writer and translator who himself made aliya, moving to Zikhron Ya’akov in the 1970s. I spoke to Halkin about Halevi, his poetry, and the lasting influence of his ideas. Click here to read more.
Check out Birthright Israel NEXT’s Alef: The NEXT Conversation. It is a webzine that explores Jewish identity. From memoirs on “Why I Eat What I Eat” to a soul-searching narrative on serving jury duty during the High Holidays, Alef showcases the diversity of Jewish identity through stories, pictures, poems, music and more.