Planting Roots - Nuance Israel

$1,131 of $2,000 goal

Raised by 33 people in 1 month
The past year and a half, I've been living in Israel and traveling throughout Europe.  I've met Druze and Bedouin who asked me to explain my gay identity in Arabic.  I've explored Hasidic Bnei Brak in Yiddish.  I've spoken Arabic with an Iraqi Jewish baker and her Palestinian co-worker from Gaza.  I've learned dabke dancing with Arab students at Tel Aviv University.  I've demonstrated for gay rights and equality for Arab and Druze citizens.  And I've lived in the most religious and conservative neighborhood of Tel Aviv- Shchunat Hatikvah.  You can read about my adventures on my well-known blog:

Living in Israel isn't easy.  Any Israeli will tell you that.  And I've had scary experiences.  There's a lot of unresolved PTSD and there's an ongoing conflict- both with our Arab neighbors as well as a lot of tension between groups within Israeli society.  Between Jews as well.  And there's also a lot of ignorance- and curiosity- about Jews and other cultures around the world.  Even their own roots.

This GoFundMe is first and foremost about giving me the resources to keep blogging- sharing nuanced, thoughtful, inspiring stories from Israel that you'll never see in the mainstream media.  By donating $20 now, you'll get a free year's subscription to my blog.  In November, my blog will become a subscription site and the price will go up to $36.

While traveling in Europe recently, I've also seen some really cool things.  I've met a Romanian girl who wanted to learn Yiddish.  I met a Polish guy who, after hearing my stories, now wants to visit Israel.  And had never met a Jew.  I met a queer Jordanian girl in Budapest who had never been to a gay club- and we went together :) .  Knowing I was Israeli.  I even met a non-Jewish Belgian who lives in a Moishe House, a Jewish communal house, and used to work for a Jewish radio program.

There's also a lot of ignorance and hatred on this continent my family once called home.  I've met a lot of anti-Semites, of every nationality.  I've seen synagogues turned into Italian restaurants, casinos, and left in neglect.  And I've experienced a lot of ignorant and very passionate anti-Israel hatred.  Including saying my country is an "apartheid state" without ever having been there or realizing the situation is complex.

That's the thing- every country is complex.  Israel has good, bad, and mundane things.  So does America.  So does Hungary.  So does France.  It's been disturbing to me to see people seeing Israel as purely black and white, a country worth boycotting while Syria and Burma kill thousands of their own people.  While many of these narrow-minded people shrug their shoulders.

Our world is increasingly polarized and there is reason to despair.  And there is also reason to hope.  I've met people curious about Israel and who didn't know much about Jewish history.  Jews and non-Jews.  But they were willing to listen and open to engaging.

Israel is not a vacuum.  It is situated in thousands of years of Jewish history.  And our history has involved both good and really traumatic interactions with the cultures around us.

I believe in connecting with open-minded people, in Europe, Israel, America, and around the world.  To realize that we have a shared past, not always shining, but one that matters.  And that if you really understand Jewish history, you better understand yourself and you'll better understand Israel.  The good, the bad, the mundane.  A realistic picture of a country I care about and also work to improve.

While the world sits in silos and we curate our Twitter feeds and Facebook friends, I want us to break through.  For the open-minded, curious people to find each other.  For Israel to be a laboratory for people to see the different shades of life and to act with empathy and kindness before rushing to condemn an entire country.  And instead work together to make life good for all.

My blog, Planting Roots Bearing Fruits, is how I share this vision.  And I want to keep it going with your help.  Down the road, I may expand outreach via in-person programs, language classes, music, and more.  To show the complexity of my home.  Nuance Israel.

My blog reaches 70,000 people from Saudi Arabia to San Francisco.   Connecting Jews abroad searching for their identity.  Non-Jews who want to be thoughtful allies and learn about our people's history.  And Israelis striving to understand their own diverse society and the people around the world who care about it.

Funding will help me write my blog.  For $20, you will get your first year's subscription for free.  Otherwise, subscriptions will start at $36 in November.

My goal is not for you to love Israel nor is it, of course, for you to hate it.  My goal is for you to understand it.  And yourself.

Join me and the movement for nuance.


To learn more about my adventures in Europe and Israel, go to

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Hi friends-

I'm so grateful to all of you for donating and supporting me! You give me strength to move forward with this transformational project empowering nuanced people to support Israel and explore Jewish culture.

Today, I met a progressive gay Valencian man and spoke with him in Catalan- turns out he's a brave advocate for Israel and against anti-Semitism. In the same part of Spain that boycotted Matisyahu just a few years ago.

These are the kinds of people I want to engage and support. Read about my experience and share my GoFundMe initiative with your friends and family to grow our movement:

With gratitude and love,

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Raised by 33 people in 1 month
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