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Ester RadaIn March, WOMADelaide celebrates its 20th festival in Adelaide’s Botanic Park. Dozens of countries including Israel will be represented, showcasing talent from around the world.

Thirty year old Ester Rada from Israel will perform. Ester’s music reflects her Ethiopian heritage and Israeli upbringing and at the same time draws on American soul icons like Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin.  She sings in a mix of English, Amharic, and Hebrew.

Even with three languages to choose from, Ester will sometimes sing in gibberish. ‘It is the music I love, not so much the words.’ Ester says. ‘However, when I sing in Hebrew, I connect with my country. When I sing in Amharic, I connect with my parents, grandparents and family.’

Ester was born a year after her parents arrived in Israel as part of the mass Ethiopian immigration. She grew up listening to religious music, joined a choir at the age of 7, and discovered her passion for music. Her parents loved music and there usually was some playing at home. Often, it was traditional Ethiopian music on a masinko, a single-stringed bowed instrument.

Living in a very religious neighborhood, also meant she was exposed to the sound of traditional prayers coming from synagogues, Shabbat tables and festival gatherings.

During her teenage years, she rebelled against her Ethiopian heritage and culture going as far as to ask her mother not to speak to her in Amharic. Ester’s life at home was different from the life outside and, like many immigrant children, she was confused.

Today Ester serves as a positive role model for young Ethiopians in Israel. When she recorded “Nanu Ney,” it was the first time an Ethiopian song played widely on Israeli radio.

Ester considers herself a citizen of the world but still calls Israel home where she spends time with her family and friends when she’s not touring the world.

WOMADelaide is part of the the World Music Festival taking place around the world. With all the BDS activists against Israel, it is heartwarming to see that the WOMAD organization has not let politics affect good music. For this the Israeli and Jewish communities in Adelaide, Australia, and around the world salute and thank you.


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Akiva’s 3km Birthday Walk


My name is Akiva. I am turning three years old. I love walking and even running when my daddy can keep up with me. My third birthday is in May and I will take my biggest walk ever of 3km. So far the longest walk I have done is 2.4km.

I want to help someone else who can’t walk. They are missing a leg and need a new one.

For my birthday present, please give at least $3. If 110 friends each give $3 it will almost be enough to buy a new leg for a child in a poor country. But if you can give $5 or $10, even better.

(Cost of fitting a child with a prosthetic leg is $300 US)

Last year I walked 2km for my second birthday and we raised $180 for Clown Doctors.

Now I am older and stronger and ready for a bigger walk. You can count on me.

Thank you so much.



PS. You may be worried that my daddy is pushing me to do this, but really I love walking. We walk all the time. Whenever we come home from a walk, I ask to go ‘a walk’ again.


- My name is Ben. I’m Akiva’s dad and I’d like to say hi. I am a passionate walker and it does not surprise me that Akiva has taken to walking. He is sad when I need to explain to him that he can’t join me on a 100km hike. Perhaps when he is older.

Akiva is, thank G-d, healthy and fit. He loves his carrots, spinach, and broccoli and goes to the creche at the gym three times a week.

Akiva may not fully understand that he is raising money for a great cause, but I am sure he will enjoy every minute of the walk. During last year’s 2km walk he even insisted on walking extra!

What Akiva raises will go to:

It costs $300US to fit a limb. So really we need to raise closer to $375AUD. Limbs International will select a child, help them walk again and then send Akiva a picture of the child he has helped.

Thank you for being a part of this,


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Jewish Human Skin Bookmarks from the Holocaust



Human Skin Bookmarks?

Two weeks ago marked seventy years since the Nazis tried to exterminate the Jews. It saddens me that in a few years’ time there will no longer be any living survivors.

For thousands of years nations have risen up against the Jews, trying to destroy us. In the end, they disappeared while the Jews remained. That there is a single Jew walking this planet is one of the greatest miracles. May G-d continue to protect us bring the final redemption for all mankind speedily in our days.

Several months ago a women came to see me. She brought with her two book marks believed to be made of Jewish human skin. She was looking for audience what to do with them. Should they be buried in a Jewish cemetery? Should they go to a Jewish museum?

To cut a long story short, we are still researching the mater. I’ve shown the book marks to some art collectors who believe the skin is not human, rather it is pig skin. The book marks will need to undergo more testing to determine with certainty. If anyone has information that can help with this, please be in contact.

The following is a letter written by Mark about how the bookmarks came to into his mother’s possession:


Nina Redstone

Nina Redston

Towards the end of the war, in late 1944 I believe, mum was working with the British War Department as an interpreter when she was recruited into a special unit that was working with the Red Cross and working with a unit called the Jewish Brigade. From what I know, she was eventually recruited to Control Commission, a body set up to sort out the displaced persons the allies knew were in their hundreds of thousands across Europe. The unit she worked in was headed by a Col Bowring and her job was to help set up a new records system to deal with an unknown number of displaced persons and those held in concentration camps. At that time she and her staff thought they were internment camps and nothing else. 

The network of camps across Nazi controlled territory were mostly focussed on extermination rather than imprisonment although there had been plenty of evidence of murder, torture and disappearance on a massive scale which she later found was not made public.
As the allies entered Germany in 1945 my mother was assigned to work with the British troops that were entering North Germany. She inadvertently found herself with a team who were entering territory that was not being fought over. She told me that most of the Germans in the region knew the war was over so the fighting wasn’t really fierce at that time.  Various units were dispatched to forward positions and the one she was attached to went to a camp called Bergen Belsen. Colonel Bowring, who was the head of the unit and my mother’s boss, had sent her with one of the forward units as she was fluent in German.   
She told me that there was a column of vehicles and a couple of armoured vehicles and she was in one of those. She could smell the camp about a kilometre or so before they got there. She told me later that she was never able to get the smell of the place out of her nose. As they arrived, the forward soldiers were already through the gate and hundreds of very thin people poorly clothed were standing around or lying on the ground. My mother and the soldiers couldn’t believe what they had stumbled across. It was like walking into Hell.
My mother had to document who was there and worked with other soldiers in one of the buildings. She was told of the danger of typhus and to be careful. It seemed like a long time but within a few hours dozens of people arrived, army doctors, supply people with food and water and more people to help with the huge task of finding out who was there. 
I cant remember how long she was there but I think it may have been a week or two as there were thousands of people liberated and it took a while to process them and find many missing persons. I recall she told me about the difficulty of recording people who were still dying and keeping track of those who were being sent to other places (I think other camps for displaced persons). The records at the camp were not good and it seemed that many had arrived at the camp from other places not long before the camp was liberated. She did tell me that there were some records with lots of photos of people, presumed deceased. 
She gave me a fairly graphic description of the place and all the horrors that were there including bodies everywhere and stories of brutal guards who thought the inmates were expendable.  
One of those who was liberated, told mum of some of the horrors that had been perpetrated on the inmates. They were starved, beaten and routinely shot for no reason. It left a deep impression on her. Among the many things that the occupying forces found amongst mountains of belongings and Nazi paraphernalia were a range of bizarre items that seemed normal but were the product of the horrors of a number of Nazi camps. These included a few items that the inmate told her were made of human skin. There were lampshades and book marks and other items.  I don’t know exactly who gave the bookmarks to her but it was someone associated with Bergen Belsen camp and she told me they wanted to get rid of them. She had mixed emotions about them, wanting to bury them at some point, but eventually they remained in her cupboard with a lot of World War II material including Nazi items. 
Bergen Belsen, or Belsen as It was commonly called, was a true horror camp and the sick mentality of those who ran it represented one of the lowest points in human history.
My mother spent another two years with Control Commission as the task of sorting out millions of displaced people was enormous and the units dealing with the problem were understaffed a lot of the time. She lived in various parts of Germany and for a time was based in Lemgo. Much of what she did she told me was secret and I never really delved too much into it. She seemed to think the Official Secrets Act was still in force!!

I still have her lapel badges and buttons and the Control Commission badge she wore as well as the CC magazines. I also have a photo album of the Control Commission people and I think some were attached to the Jewish Brigade like Mum. She met a Jewish man who she really loved whilst working there and she kept his photo, good looking guy. He asked mum to marry her and go to Palestine but at that time things were rough in Palestine and she was warned by her friends to keep away. So she returned to England in early 1947 I think, and later married Dad. 
It seems odd but all these years later there are still bits of information or artifacts that take us back to that horrible time.
Anyway I hope that whatever happens they stand as a reminder of that time.





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God is in My Backpack

20140723_174453Am Happy to say that the first books have arrived from the Printer in Israel. Please G-d they will be in the shops soon.

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Top Travel Bloggers Share About Their Favorite Places to Visit

Along with other travel bloggers, we have begun a collaboration to create an article about our favorite place.


The Traveling Rabbi writes about Jerusalem

Halva for sale at Machaneh Yehudah Maerket in Jerusalem

Halva for sale at Machaneh Yehudah Maerket in Jerusalem

History, Culture and a Melting Pot of Religions

Jerusalem is one of my favorite cities in the world to visit. It fascinates me to no end and every time I am there I discover something new. It is the melting pot of many religions and is revered as a holly city by possibly half the worlds population. But it’s not just about religion, Jerusalem is fascinating from an Archeological perspective, military history, and anyone interested in ancient civilizations. Jerusalem at the same time is a fusion of the old world charm and modern technology.

Fascinating history

Walk underground for 533 meters trough Hezkiah’s Tunnel which are over 1000 years old. If you are Christian, retrace the steps of Jesus and visit the many chapels and churches. Witness thousands of Jews praying at the Western Wall, the remains of a 2000 year old Temple. Visit the Burnt house and see what people lived in during the Roman period. Marvel at the collection in the Israel museum with enough history to boggle anyone’s mind.

Places of Worship

All of the Abrahamic religions are represented here. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Along with this there are the extremes from the secular, to the mildly religious, though the full on fanatics. Stroll through the ancient streets of Jerusalem and you will see Muslims dressed in white robs, Armenian monks in black, and ultra orthodox Jews in gold striped coats.  From the western wall, to the Dome on the rock, to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher Jerusalem has no shortage of fascinating religious sites revered by a few billion people in the world.

Food Galore

There is pizza, doughnuts, ice cream and all the same foods you will find anywhere in the world. But when I’m in Jerusalem I prefer to eat like a local, and that means falafel and shawarma. There are dozens of places around the city but my favorite is King George Falafel on King George street. Go there any time and there is a line of people waiting. It is one of the cheapest places to eat yet remains one of the tastiest. Get a falafel or laffa filled with what you want, then sit outside and watch the people go bye as you enjoy your meal.

Ancient Markets

Get a feel of what it was like to shop hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Machane Yehuda Jerusalem’s most famous outdoor market  where you will find fresh produce, spices, halva, olives and dairy products. The Old City Souk, is the most famous with tourist where you can find tacky souvenirs but also useful bits and pieces. The markets are also a great place to stop for a snack of Baklava and some sugary mint tea or a strong cup of coffee.



Kendra Thornton writes about Las Vegas

Food, Fun and Far Out Rides

I have visited the city of Las Vegas several times with my family. Each time brings something new that I didn’t discover the previous time I was there. On my last few excursion I have found attractions that I can visit with my family as well as by myself. Some of the activities are outdoors, but many of them are inside for an added convenience.

Wine Tasting

One of my favorite things to do in Las Vegas is to sample wine. I found a fun spot with my husband last year that I continue to visit. Perhaps the best place is the Michael Mina restaurant. While there, I learned about the wine making process and got to mix some drinks of my own. The class on wine making and bartending takes about two hours, but it is worth the time.


While Las Vegas is known for a city of adult fun, there are some new museums that my children enjoy. They can learn about science and some history. The Neon Museum is a favorite because it looks like it is in a junkyard. Another favorite is the Discovery Museum. There are several hands on exhibits for children of all ages.

Sand and Sun

The Pink Jeep Tour is by far one of the best experiences. A jeep picks you up right outside your hotel room. While on the tour, I traveled across some of the deserts in Las Vegas. The ride was a bit bumpy, but it was one of the best ways I have seen the city and surrounding areas. The last time I went I took advantage of the trip that lasted an entire day and was set in the Grand Canyon.

Are You Hungry

I am a fan of the show Man vs. Food. When I saw a competition where I could try to eat for a free meal, I had to try. Several of the hotels have competitions like this. Avoid the ones with steak because the portions are large. However, if you can finish your meal, then you get it free. Your picture is also posted on a wall of fame.

There are places to avoid, but overall, the city is full of fun. It is a place where you can take the family and with so many hotels along the strip, you will be sure to find the right one for you and your family. Sites like Gogobot make it easy to read user reviews. Pay attention to shows that are scheduled so that you can make the most out of your trip by seeing as many attractions as possible.


Are you a passionate travel blogger? If so please send me an article similar to the above posted so I may share it with others:


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Happy Purim, Be Happy and Joyful!

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