Welcome to this Toronto to Ra'anana blog. The blog includes a collection of articles under a few different headings. For the most part, the articles all relate to Israel in some way - or to some Jewish theme.
About the Blog - Torontotoranana.blogspot.co.il or Torontotoranana.blogspot.com
The blog now includes more than 150 entries, which I have divided into categories on the contents page.
Our family made Aliyah in August 2009, but I have continued to travel back and forth to Toronto in my efforts to earn a living. Our three children live in Ra'anana, though one of them is now serving in the IDF (Tzahal - the Israeli Defence Forces).
As a result of all of the travelling that I have been doing, one section of the blog is made up of airline reviews - encompassing many of the different ways to travel between Tel-Aviv and Toronto. Most of these are Star Alliance airlines, though I have also flown El Al.
A second category is made up of various book reviews - though there are only about 18 of them at present. I tend to enjoy reading a variety of books, including those with which I may well disagree. But that is all part of the fun, isn't it? These are tougher blogs to put together and I have not been as industrious lately at writing them. A few of the books might not seem to even fit in with the theme of the blog. Nevertheless, someone of the book reviews have been among my most popular articles.
The third section is titled "Holidays, Celebrations and Commemorations." It includes a cross section of articles about different types of events, most of which are uniquely Israeli or Jewish. I have chosen to write about some of them simply because of a particular personal tie-in.
The title "Wine, Food and Restaurants" speaks for itself but this is certainly not the blog of a restaurant critic. (Not until someone decides to fund me to write that type of blog, which I would happily do). The wine industry in Israel is very exciting and has been growing dramatically since the early 1990s. Many Israeli wines are exceptional. Where I have had the opportunity, I have greatly enjoyed visiting Israeli wineries and writing about them.
In one of my catch-all categories, "Issues in Judaism, Zionism, Secularism and Gender Equality," I have written about a number of different topics that relate to this broad heading. I write from the perspective of a moderately observant, active member of a Conservative (Masorti) Synagogue. Well, let's say one Masorti and one Conservative Synagogue. The Masorti kehila in K'far Saba is fully egalitarian, which is something I strongly support. The shul in Toronto has moved in that direction but is not quite there yet, though it is now "Torah-egalitarian." All of this is by way of full disclosure of the slant that you might find in the articles. At the same time, our family has been dedicated to Jewish tradition. Two of our three children can now teach bar and bat-mitzvah lessons - and the third has simply not had her bat-mitzvah yet. Some of the blog articles wrestle with the challenges that Masorti Jews face in a country in which Judaism is often seen in very black and white terms.
Under the heading "Israeli News Stories," I have written about selected events, not necessarily with any rhyme or reason. Sometimes this is a function of events taking place while I am in Israel. In other cases, headlines catch my attention that I simply cannot resist writing about.
In Sports, Culture and Entertainment, I have written a few entries about various events, which, again, are skewed to my personal interests - which include music and ice hockey to name a few.
Finally, I have also included a section entitled "managing in Israel," though right now it is only made up of handful of entries. I'm not sure what that says about how well I am "managing."
I was born in Montreal in La Belle Province of Quebec, Canada, though I have spent most of my life in Toronto. My name is actually Avraham (Avi) Hertzl, though people only tend to use that name when they are calling me up for an Aliyah in a Synagogue. I am a practising lawyer in Toronto, Canada. I have not yet completed the licensing requirements for joining the Israeli Bar, though I have completed all of the dinei yisrael exams.
My wife was born in Israel. Our family has lived in Ra'anana, Israel since 2009, which is, perhaps, rather obvious from the blog title.
Please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I do answer inquiries. I also print responses to the articles that I have written if asked to do so (as long as the articles are not outside the boundaries of what I would consider to be appropriate). That is not to say that I have to agree. Far from it. But I won't print offensive or inappropriate responses.