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Jewish Journal

JewishJournal.com

November 10, 2012

About

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Orit Arfa can aptly be described as a Renaissance Woman. A writer of fiction, non-fiction and music, a painter, and a Zionist activist, Orit’s interests span many media. She can be reached at oritarfa@gmail.com.

A native of Los Angeles, Orit’s works are informed by a deep connection to the ethical dialectic that flows from her Jewish tradition. Her father was born in a DP camp in Germany after his parents survived Auschwitz, while her mother was born in Iraq on the eve of the mass Jewish emigration from the country in the wake of anti-Semitic pogroms. But Orit led a fre Jewish life in America, having attended modern Orthodox day schools and high schools, but the restless soul of a free spirit led her to tailor-make her educational journey.

While most college-age students were bar hopping, Orit went college-hopping in search of “The Truth. After stints at Columbia University (her mother will never forgive her for dropping out), Stern College for Women, Bar Ilan University (junior year abroad), and UCLA summer school, she graduated with a BA in Jewish studies and a minor in Journalism from American Jewish University, where she also served as editor of the undergraduate newspaper.

Her journalism career began in New York, where, as a student at Stern College for Women, she interned at the prestigious Jewish daily Forward, then under the editorship of Seth Lipsky. She has renowned Israeli mentalist mentalist Uri Geller to thank for kick-starting her interest in journalism. Her profile of him in the Forward got noticed by The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, which hired her as a freelancer upon her return to Los Angeles. She has been writing for The Jewish Journal for over ten years.

She moved to Israel in 1998 and, while continuing to write, she worked in more “9-5″ capacities as a communications professional for non-profit organizations, including The Mandel School and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. In 2005, she pursued journalism full-time and wrote about politics, society, lifestyle, travel, nightlife, and dining for a variety of publications, most notably The Jerusalem Post, Israel21C and Israel Insider. To catch-up on the bar-hopping she missed in college, she pioneered the nightlife section of The Jerusalem Post. But she also left room for some depth.

Her experience covering the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 had a profound impact on Orit’s view of Israel and Zionism. It was then that she began to develop her first novel, The Settler, which explores the aftermath of the controversial event through the eyes of a 21-year-old evacuee from the Jewish bloc of Gush Katif.

In 2003 she completed her MA in Bible and Jewish Thought at the Schechter Institute of Judaic Studies (where she managed to finally uncover “The Truth”) and complemented her studies and writing pursuits with a series of Biblical paintings and performances in community theater.

She returned to Los Angles in the summer of 2008, where she continued to work in multi-media and also as Executive Director of the Century City Bar Association. In 2011 she was hired as Executive Director of the Zionist Organization of America, Western Region. She was fired a little over a year later for standing up for her principles. At the turn of 2013, she started a new Zionist organization, the Creative Zionist Coalition (CZC).

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