Standing with Israel in Carrboro

Standing with Israel 

Josh Ravitch, Amy Rosenthal, and Joel Freelander braved the heat today to bring their love of Israel to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. They were joined by Emma and Jenny Blass. This joint venture between Voice4Israel and StandWithUs was a great success. 

Josh, Amy, Joel, Emma, and Jenny spoke to college students, families, and members of the community about Israel. Many people, including children and college students, were excited about the complimentary water, sunglasses, and coffee beans and stayed for the friendly and informative conversation. One college student listened intently as Josh discussed Israel’s impressive water recycling and water technology


Visiting Israel 

Amy, Josh, Joel, Emma, and Jenny warmly greeted the young children who stopped by with their families and helped them pick out sunglasses. 

A college student walked away from the crowded table saying she would like to visit Israel. A family who were considering visiting Israel were provided reading materials for the parents as well as reading materials for their children. The father was excited that he could read to his children about Israel while showing them beautiful pictures. 

Hats off to all involved for sharing their love and knowledge of Israel with the good people of Carrboro!

I Love Israel Series

Be sure and check out Voice4Israel’s I Love Israel series.

Israeli Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat Dinner, Voice4Israel

Raleigh Shabbat Dinner

A few months ago we relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to Raleigh. As we landed with only a few friends, we decided to take it on ourselves to be a part of the local Jewish and Israeli community. Back in the Bay Area, we participated in a few rotating Shabbat Dinners that were sponsored by OneTable, an organization that helps to facilitate these meals. We decided to host our own unique Shabbat dinner, and as Israelis, it was a no-brainer that we should have an Israeli theme.

Shabbat Successs

For our first dinner, we had about 15 people, many of whom never knew each other before coming. We had a great meal (serving Shakshuka with Labane and Mujaddra) and played an amazingly fun and funny game that I have been running for years- Telephonary (if that makes you curious then you should definitely come!). It was so successful, that we decided to host these Shabbat dinners on a monthly basis. Yesterday we had our second Israeli Shabbat Dinner and 30 people showed up!! Again, we had a blast with tons of food, yummy desserts, great conversation and new friendships that were initiated (some people who are doing their Ph.D. in one of the universities in the Triangle and never knew about each other).


Shabbat Dinner, Voice4Israel

Open Invitation 

So here is an open invitation, as we are planning to do it again next month, look out for that invite on Facebook or Meetup before all the available seats are filled up. The dinner is free and all are welcome.

Email here for more information:

Editor’s note: This dinner is a private event and not an official Voice4Israel event.

On the way to this event listen to some Israeli songs of the summer from Camp Shelanu. 

Don’t Retweet Anti-Semites: An Open Letter to Durham City Council Member Jillian Johnson

Voice4Israel, Durham City Council
Dr. Adam Goldstein, Family Physician, Voice4Israel Board Member

Dear Ms. Johnson,

I saw last week that you chose to retweet a derogatory statement by Jeremy Corbyn against Israel. I suspect you may share his views about Israel in many ways, although I am not sure you are aware of how most mainstream Jewish organizations and leaders across the World view his longstanding and consistent demonization of Israel. His track record of attacks against Israel, in language and actions, bears the hallmark of modern anti-Semitism as it applies to Israel: demonization, delegitimization, and applying double standards. A recent article that succinctly documents these concerns over many years can be found here


Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson retweets a perpetuation of the myth that Israel indiscriminately targets civilians.

Israel, Voice4Israel, V4I

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

A recent book I have read is one that you may find of interest. It is from Yossi Klein Halevi, one of the most preeminent, progressive writers today about the Palestinian/Israel narratives.

In his just published book Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, Mr. Halevi has worked for years to co-Direct, with Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke, the Muslim Leadership Initiative, that teaches young Muslim American leaders about Judaism and Israel in Israel. He eloquently describes in his book how one of the main obstacles to peace in the Middle East is an inability to hear a side of the narrative different from our own. He says that “One reason that the well-intentioned efforts of diplomats have failed so far is that they tend to ignore the deep religious commitments on both sides. For peace to succeed in the Middle East, it must speak in some way to both of our hearts.” I highly recommend this short book to you that can access here

Demonizing Israel 

A bottom line is that if you continue to listen to and promote only one narrative, whether it be the in the Durham Council’s statement on terrorism and police singling out and demonizing Israel, or giving credence to those with decades long track records of fostering hostility against Israel, and promote both narratives in ways that alienate substantial members of your own community who have a different narrative that is equally valid, you will never get to the place you hope of an enduring peace in the Middle East.


Adam Goldstein, MD

Adam Goldstein, MD, is a family physician and researcher, who has served in leadership capacities for multiple Jewish organizations in North Carolina, across the U.S. and in Israel. His research on addiction has been cited nationally and internationally, appearing in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, on CNN and multiple other media platforms.

I Love Israel with Limor Schwartz

Linor Schwartz, Voice4Israel
Limor Schwartz, MSW, LCSW. Director of Clinical & Social Services, Raleigh-Cary Jewish Family Service

This is the eigth post in a series featuring North Carolinians discussing their love of Israel. Thank you Limor Schwartz!

What is your most memorable moment in Israel?

My family still lives in Israel, so we visit annually. My favorite moments are when I can walk with my kids around my childhood neighborhood, my old school, and my favorite beaches and see their excitement when they realize how different life is in Israel than the US.

Best food you had in Israel?

That is such a tough question as with the years, Israel grew up to be a real foodie nation! What I miss the most is a big “toast” from Abulafia in Jaffa- a large sesame bagel full of cheese and a variety of toppings (like olives, egg, corn, etc) and then smashed and toasted. Mmmm….

Favorite place to visit in Israel?

This may be surprising or unknown to some, but my favorite place to visit is the Palmach Negev Brigade Memorial in Be’er Sheva. I went to college at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and quickly found this beautiful site while exploring Be’er Sheva. It sits high on a hill and overlooks Be’er Sheva and the desert and is just beautiful, peaceful and relaxing.

Which one is your favorite and why? Mediterranean, Sea of Galilee, The Dead Sea, The Red sea.

Definitely the Mediterranean. I grew up in Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv and woke up every morning to the view of the beautiful ocean. I have memories of skipping school and running to the ocean with my friends, or having a wonderful Israeli breakfast on the beach with my family.

Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and why?

Tel Aviv for sure. It’s bustling, and happy and so colorful, and there’s always something to do and see. I love sitting in a restaurant, eating amazing food and people watch on Allenby or Shenkin street.

Limor Schwartz grew up in Israel, and moved to the USA after her service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). She has been part of the Raleigh-Cary community for 16 years, and has worked in the Jewish community for much of it. Schwartz is currently working as the Director of Clinical and Social Services at Raleigh-Cary Jewish Family Services. She lives in Raleigh with her husband, 2 children and 2 cats.

Explaining Anti-Semitism and Discrimination to the Durham City Council: An Open Letter

Israel, Mark Anthony Middleton, Voice4Israel
Amy Rosenthal with Josh Ravitch

Explaining Anti-Semitism and Discrimination to the Durham City Council

Voice4Israel board member Amy Rosenthal sent this letter to Durham City Council member Mark-Anthony Middleton to share her concerns about the discriminatory nature of the Council’s decision to single out Israel.

Hello Mr Middleton,

I have reviewed again your statement from the April 16th hearing regarding police exchanges with Israel. You said “I’m troubled….that the mere mention of a nation is somehow anti-Semitic. I’ve seen that tactic before.” We who support Israel have not said you cannot criticize Israel, I have no idea where you got that notion, but you seem quite pleased to be calling us out on it anyway. All the Israel supporters I know criticize Israel, and America, and Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, and Lebanon, and England, and France, etc, etc. It becomes discriminatory and anti-Semitic when you only criticize Israel, and blame that country while ignoring egregious behavior on the part of others.

"It becomes discriminatory and anti-Semitic when you only criticize Israel, and blame that country while ignoring egregious behavior on the part of others."

You said “the council did not single out Israel.” If this were true, why is that the only country mentioned? Simply because you chose the lines you wanted to select from Chief Davis’ statement, while leaving out the positive experiences she had working with Israel, does not excuse your selective wording. To say “we were just quoting Chief Davis” is a slick way of trying to get out of what you did, but we are not fooled.

You properly asked the question “what does military style mean?”, then never went on to define it. Even so, you and everyone else used the words as though they understood exactly what it means. What kind of research did you do on the matter? How do you know that Israeli police are “militarized”? Based on what data, criteria and research? Did you compare this to other countries who train with American police?

Finally, I found your last words offensive and anti-Semitic. Other groups “would love to have the time we’re spending on this…but when you got more money and you’re better organized….I guess you get our attention”. You should know that the pro-Israel community spent zero dollars on our defense. We had no money, but what we did have, and continue to have, is outrage. That is why we were there. We feel deeply wounded. That is why we will do everything possible to educate people about the wrongs that were done to the Jewish community, wrongs that you played a role in.

Thank you for your time,

Amy Rosenthal

Amy Rosental, Israel

Bio: Amy Rosenthal lived in Jerusalem from 1964-1965. Although I was young, Israel had a powerful effect on me, and I have loved the land ever since. My experience there is an important part of who I am. I am dedicated to seeing Israel thrive in the future.

I Love Israel with Carin Savel

Carin Savel, Voice4Israel
Carin Savel, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary

This is the seventh post in a series featuring North Carolinians discussing their love of Israel. Thank you Carin Savel!

What is your most memorable moment in Israel?

Hearing my cousin Leeyah yelling my name at the airport when I arrived for the first time. We look alike, talk alike and think alike. We got into her car and drove to a tiny place for lunch. We hadn’t seen each other in years, but it was like we’d seen each other yesterday. We couldn’t stop hugging and crying.

Best food you had in Israel?

Well, that’s easy– halvah. In the shuk in Jerusalem, I bought 4.5 kilos of it thinking we could eat it all before I left. We wound up giving away what we couldn’t eat– and I regretted that later!

Favorite place to visit in Israel?

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It’s just beautiful and walking through the exhibits is peaceful. Art speaks volumes to me, and is always an indication of the soul of the city.

Which one is your favorite and why? Mediterranean, Sea of Galilee, The Dead Sea, The Red sea.

The Dead Sea. Who doesn’t like floating while getting a free facial?

Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and why?

That’s a difficult choice, but I’ll say Tel Aviv. It’s an amazing city, full of life, music, lights and laughter. And great restaurants and people watching. Tel Aviv feels like the future and it always asks you back.

Carin Savel is the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary. She grew up in New York City and has worked in the non-profit sector and government arenas for over 30 years. Carin has served on the national board of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, is a member of the JCPA Israeli-Palestinian-American Leadership Relations committee, facilitates the JCRC Kosher Pork series, and is currently a member of the JCPA Delegates Assembly. She lives in Raleigh with her new Boxer, Avi.

Israeli Songs of the Summer at Camp Shelanu

Shelly Rocca, Israel. Voice4Israel

Shelly Roccah – Dance Counselor at Camp Shelanu

Shelly Roccah is the dance instructor at Camp Shelanu. Ms. Roccah is 21 years old,  was born in Ramat Gan, Israel, and has been dancing since she was 3 years old. Ms. Roccah has practiced modern dancing and Balinese dancing, but her favorite style is Hiphop. Shelly shares, “I’m really happy that I got to teach dance at Camp Shelanu in Durham, NC.”

Happy Campers

Roccah has inspired many children and their parents this summer to explore Israeli dance and music. One happy parent tells Voice4Israel,

"My children jump into the car every day at pick-up talking about Ms. Shelly and begging to listen to their new favorite Israeli song. Once I find the song on YouTube, my children proceed to dance every step Ms. Shelly has taught them from their car seats. Because of Ms. Shelly, my children are exploring more Israeli songs they find on their own. The song of our summer has been "Tudo Bom" and several remixes of it we have found all thanks to Ms. Shelly."

Israeli Songs of the Summer of Camp Shelanu

Ms. Roccah was asked to share with Voice4Israel readers five of her favorite Israeli songs that she has been using with the campers at Camp Shelanu. 

Shelly: ”Zahav”- by Static and Ben El – preformed by Israel’s most famous duo. The name of the song means gold.

Editor’s note: The Times of Israel reports that Pop duo Static & Ben El sign with major US record label.

Shelly: “Todu Nom” is another hit by Static and Ben El. This song became specially famous in Brazil, since the name of it is in Brazilian. Tudo Bom means- everything is all right.

Editor’s note: My children love this song and the Mor David Remix of it we found. 

Shelly: “Tel Aviv” by Omer Adam- preformed by Israel’s most famous singer, who won the “best singer of 2018 “ award.

Editor’s note: If you see a car on 15-501 rocking up and down with happy children in the back seat, this song is likely to be playing.

Shelly: “Golden Boy”- by Nadav Gedj – this song represented Israel in the 2015 Eurovision contest.

Editor’s note: At a recent sleepover of Camp Shelanu campers, this song was on repeat with the children working together to get their choreographed dance moves just right. 

Shelly: “Tazizo” by Eden Ben Zaken. Eden Ben Zaken was a contestant in Israel’s X Factor.

Editor’s note: This song is listed last, but is certainly not least. This song has been on repeat all summer long in the car.  

Camp Shelua is located in Durham, NC and welcomes everyone with joy. Camp Shelanu is inclusive of all faiths and backgrounds and is proud of their diverse community. For more more information about Camp Shelanu, click here

Recently, Voice4Israel featured a different style of Israeli music  – read our post on the Heavy Metal Peacemakers. 

Netta Barzilai Dazzles North Carolina

Netta Barzilai, Voice4Israel
Barzilai walking off stage to screaming applause.

Netta Barzilai, an Israeli singer who recently won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, played to a packed house at Raleigh’s Crabtree mall today. Barzilai’s set was filled with singing, dancing, and wild applause. Fans and families sang along. The local Israeli community was well represented and watched from the back of the stage. Barzilai signed autographs and took pictures with every child who greeted her. 

Children had “Nettta” painted on their heads. A college student attending with her mother said she drove an hour to hear the Eurovision star sing her hits. A mother held a “We Love Netta” sign and fans waved Israeli flags. Netta did not dissappoint!