I don't know this young man, I don't know his parents but I feel as though I do when I read his words.
Please read this and no matter what your political affiliation please take a hard look at how humans are treated in countires in the Middle East - humans of any race, religion or status. This is happening in real time folks- and here is a first hand account. My Thanks to Aron Adler for his service and beautiful words.
My name is Aron Adler.
I am 25 years old, was born in Brooklyn NY, and raised in Efrat Israel. Though very busy, I don’t view my life as unusual. Most of the time, I am just another Israeli citizen. During the day I work as a paramedic in Magen David Adom, Israel’s national EMS service. At night, I’m in my first year of law school. I got married this October and am starting a new chapter of life together with my wonderful wife Shulamit.
15-20 days out of every year, I'm called up to the Israeli army to do my reserve duty. I serve as a paramedic in an IDF paratrooper unit. My squad is made up of others like me; people living normal lives who step up to serve whenever responsibility calls. The oldest in my squad is 58, a father of four girls and grandfather of two; there are two bankers, one engineer, a holistic healer, and my 24 year old commander who is still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Most of the year we are just normal people living our lives, but for 15-20 days each year we are soldiers on the front lines preparing for a war that we hope we never have to fight.
This year, our reserve unit was stationed on the border between Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip in an area called “Kerem Shalom.” Above and beyond the “typical” things for which we train – war, terrorism, border infiltration, etc., - this year we were confronted by a new challenge. Several years ago, a trend started of African refugees crossing the Egyptian border from Sinai into Israel to seek asylum from the atrocities in Darfur.
What started out as a small number of men, women and children fleeing from the machetes of the Janjaweed and violent fundamentalists to seek a better life elsewhere, turned into an organized industry of human trafficking. In return for huge sums of money, sometimes entire life savings paid to Bedouin “guides,” these refugees are promised to be transported from Sudan, Eritrea, and other African countries through Egypt and the Sinai desert, into the safe haven of Israel.
We increasingly hear horror stories of the atrocities these refugees suffer on their way to freedom. They are subject to, and victims of extortion, rape, murder, and even organ theft, their bodies left to rot in the desert. Then, if lucky, after surviving this gruesome experience whose prize is freedom, when only a barbed wire fence separates them from Israel and their goal, they must go through the final death run and try to evade the bullets of the Egyptian soldiers stationed along the border. Egypt’s soldiers are ordered to shoot to kill anyone trying to cross the border OUT of Egypt and into Israel. It’s an almost nightly event.
For those who finally get across the border, the first people they encounter are Israeli soldiers, people like me and those in my unit, who are tasked with a primary mission of defending the lives of the Israeli people. On one side of the border soldiers shoot to kill. On the other side, they know they will be treated with more respect than in any of the countries they crossed to get to this point.
The region where it all happens is highly sensitive and risky from a security point of view, an area stricken with terror at every turn. It’s just a few miles south of the place where Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. And yet the Israeli soldiers who are confronted with these refugees do it not with rifles aimed at them, but with a helping hand and an open heart. The refugees are taken to a nearby IDF base, given clean clothes, a hot drink, food and medical attention. They are finally safe.
Even though I live Israel and am aware through media reports of the events that take place on the Egyptian border, I never understood the intensity and complexity of the scenario until I experienced it myself.
In the course of the past few nights, I have witnessed much. At 9:00 PM last night, the first reports came in of gunfire heard from the Egyptian border. Minutes later, IDF scouts spotted small groups of people trying to get across the fence. In the period of about one hour, we picked up 13 men - cold, barefoot, dehydrated - some wearing nothing except underpants. Their bodies were covered with lacerations and other wounds. We gathered them in a room, gave them blankets, tea and treated their wounds. I don’t speak a word of their language, but the look on their faces said it all and reminded me once again why I am so proud to be a Jew and an Israeli. Sadly, it was later determined that the gunshots we heard were deadly, killing three others fleeing for their lives.
During the 350 days a year when I am not on active duty, when I am just another man trying to get by, the people tasked with doing this amazing job, this amazing deed, the people witnessing these events, are mostly young Israeli soldiers just out of high school, serving their compulsory time in the IDF, some only 18 years old.
The refugees flooding into Israel are a heavy burden on our small country. More than 100,000 refugees have fled this way, and hundreds more cross the border every month. The social, economic, and humanitarian issues created by this influx of refugees are immense. There are serious security consequences for Israel as well. This influx of African refugees poses a crisis for Israel. Israel has yet to come up with the solutions required to deal with this crisis effectively, balancing its’ sensitive social, economic, and security issues, at the same time striving to care for the refugees.
I don’t have the answers to these complex problems which desperately need to be resolved. I’m not writing these words with the intention of taking a political position or a tactical stand on the issue.
I am writing to tell you and the entire world what’s really happening down here on the Egyptian/Israeli border. And to tell you that despite all the serious problems created by this national crisis, these refugees have no reason to fear us. Because they know, as the entire world needs to know, that Israel has not shut its eyes to their suffering and pain. Israel has not looked the other way. The State of Israel has put politics aside to take the ethical and humane path as it has so often done before, in every instance of human suffering and natural disasters around the globe. We Jews know only too well about suffering and pain. The Jewish people have been there. We have been the refugees and the persecuted so many times, over thousands of years, all over the world.
Today, when African refugees flood our borders in search of freedom and better lives, and some for fear of their lives, it is particularly noteworthy how Israel deals with them, despite the enormous strain it puts on our country on so many levels. Our young and thriving Jewish people and country, built from the ashes of the Holocaust, do not turn their backs on humanity. Though I already knew that, this week I once again experienced it firsthand. I am overwhelmed with emotion and immensely proud to be a member of this nation.
With love of Israel,
Aron Adler writing from the Israel/Gaza/Egyptian border.
- 3 sticks of butter (margarine will not do)
- 3 cups sugar
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 3/4 cup 7-Up
Cream butter and sugar for 20 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Gradually add the flour and beat well, then add lemon extract and 7-Up. Bake 1 1/4 hours at 325 degrees in a well oiled Bundt pan. Cool 8 to 10 minutes, then dust with powdered sugar.
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8x12 inch pan.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins.
- Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well.
- Pour into prepared 8x12 inch pan, and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour. Check with toothpick.
- Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
(DISCLAIMER: I have not made the carrot cake, it's just one of my all time favorites....)
This past weekend one of my best friends came to visit me from Chicago and it was a divine weekend at that. In addition she brought me this delicious recipe that I want to share.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 3 to 4 plums (or more, if you want it "plummy"), about 1 lb. total, halved, pitted
and each half cut into 4 slices
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Directions:Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan with vegetable oil spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and coat the paper with more spray.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and the 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and mix well.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Poke the plum slices into the batter, placing them close together. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and the 1 Tbs. sugar and sprinkle over the surface.
Bake until the top is golden, the edges pull away from the pan, and a skewer or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving. Serves 8.
Sweet, savory, whatever your heart desires!
I have a recipe for my new favorite snack for you. It's crunchy, delicious and so so good for you! Chick peas are full of protein, iron and really low in fat. Lets say you want a crunchy snack but don't want the calories in chips or fat in buttery popcorn - this is the PERFECT snack for you!
Pre Heat to 420;
Get a can of Chick Peas (Garbanzo beans) wash them and find any "sleeves" or shells that you need to take off of a bean. Spread them on a baking sheet, pour some olive oil and roll the beans around so they all get a little olive oil on them.
Now comes the fun part. Before you put them in the oven sprinkle your favorite spice on them:
Cinnamon and Sugar
The possibilities are endless! If you're having an Indian dinner put on curry.....
Next, put them in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven to broil for the last minute to get them golden and crispy on the top.
They're so delicious and in fact, the next time I go to the movie theatre I'm going to bring these....
At first I loved her, because she is beautiful, educated and a commoner. I loved her because as much as I wanted to be in her shoes, I knew I never would be - with not accepting Jesus Christ as my lord and all - and she was just like Wills mum. Then I hated her, pretty much around the wedding. She's WAY too thin now, had a $60 million wedding, and is getting all this attention for what? She hasn't cured AIDS, she worked in a clothing boutique? So what? I worked at the GAP....Now, I kind of love her again. In my mind I add some more meat to those GROSS LEGS and I see a stunning woman wearing clothes that I too would wear if I had Ralph Lauren and YSLs numbers in my "tele".
Here are some of her looks that I want!
I've been gone for a while. I had a LOT of stuff going on. To name a few, my future husband graduated from Law school (yay!), we moved from California to Florida (yay!) and my future husband is studying for the BAR (not so yay, it's really stressful on me let alone HIM!).
To be honest, a lot of things have been changing for me in the last few months. I mean, so much so that my total distain for country music disappeared! That one is thanks for the fine ladies over at my old workplace, which I had to resign from due to the move. That was a really big change as well. I go from 40 hours a week and steady paychecks to nothing. All for a better place to live. I feel like an immigrant, leaving one place with no opportunities for one with many; many that are there but kind of hard to find.
A change that I'm already seeing for the better is a sense of Jewish community here. Back in Davis the Jewish community was very very small and not very involved. My future brother-in-law and I went to temple at the Jewish Center of Venice just on a whim and it was so great. First of all, the Rabbi is OUR AGE! He's married a year, from NYC and was so happy to see two young people. Venice, FL is basically a community of retirees. The median age at Temple on Friday night was 76. Let's just say we stood out.
I've caught up with my Words With Friends games, gotten back on track at the gym and I've got a slammin' tan! I've settled more and feel so much more at ease with life. I hope I can keep up with this because my eyes have been opened! I see so many more things now that I want to blog about.