Another Mountain Scaled: Motorcycling in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert & Visit DMZ in S. Korea

In May, 2024 my son, Eitan, my nephew, Tal and I went on yet another off-road challenging and exciting motorcycle adventure, this time, in the awesome remote magical Gobi Desert in Mongolia. For many years I have been intrigued with the 12th century phenomenal-legendary-controversial Mongolian leader, Genghis Khan. Sample of the riding off-road motorcycles in […]

I Was Deeply Touched by a Hearty Feedback

After my 2/11/24, 2 hrs, 2 CE, zoom presentation for the (American) Iranian Psychological Association on Ethical-Moral Junction in Psychotherapy and Mental Health Services I got the following hearty-moving feedback from an Iranian-American psychologist participant: Dear Ofer, Thank you so much for the great presentation. Your approach was a breath of fresh air as it […]

Azzia’s Monthly-Ritual-Visit to Sebastopol

Azzia (40) has been spending a one Shabbat (Saturday) monthly for years at Sebastopol, CA coming from her 1 hr. away home at Berkeley.   It is a nice, heart-warming ritual that helps us stay lovingly connected as well as informed of each other’s lives in our ‘walk & talk’ tradition and lunch with Jenji. Azzia […]

Exciting Fiji Adventure with my Son in 2023/2024

Toward the end of 2023, my son, Eitan invited me to sail, hike, ATV, and explore magical caves, gorgeous water-falls and beautiful trails with him in Fiji, where he sailed his monohull sailboat across the challenging stormy Pacific from the US a year earlier. It was hurricane season in Fiji and most boats were out […]

I was a boy – Lahakat Hanahal; להקת הנח”ל – הייתי נער

An equally powerful song that has stayed with me since my youth, and is likely to linger for the rest of my life is I was a boy also sang by Lahakat Hanahal. Lyrics: David Atid; Melody: Yair Rosenblum; Translation: DeAnna L’am Heart-breaking and beautiful, the song captures the lifelong permanent damage suffered by millions […]

Song for Peace – Shir Lashalom

The powerful protest Song for Peace, a first of its kind in Israel, was sung for the first time in 1968, a year after the “Six Days war” was won, to a nation still drunk on victory. It premiered in my basic training boot camp by Miri Aloni and Lehakat Hanchal להקת הנח”ל [Lyrics: Yankele […]

Being Hysterically Blind in the Face of Torture

Going too far in the right direction was not new to me. Through many years of traveling in Africa I was drawn to visit a fascinating and unique ruined old spiritual center in a country in Africa where I was clearly unwelcomed. Needless to say I was drawn to this destination, or better said driven […]

The Magic and Curse of the Magnificent Shiva Ngandu Zambian House

In London 1976, I was fortunate to meet Lady Lorna Gore-Browne (77 yo) wife and Penelope, granddaughter (25), of the famous British/Zambian legend, Sir Stewart Gore-Browne (1893-1972), called ‘Black heart’. He was the only white man to serve on the newly indepedent government when Zambia got its independence in 1964. He was also the only white man in the history of Zambia  to have been given a state […]

Challenging Encounter with Fear, Mastery and . . . PIRANHAS on the Amazon River

In 2022 at 72 years old, I have decided to confront fear, challenge, and adventure by going to Brazil and spend time in gorgeous, adventurous Rio de Janeiro, on the magnificent enormous Amazon River and encounter unique personal challenge with the legendary dangerous awesome Piranhas. I travelled in this 3 weeks adventure with my beloved […]

Re-Living my 1973 War experience on Memorial Day in 2022

Visiting Israel during memorial-day for the fallen soldiers has added an interesting and intense aspect of the visit.  I joined my best friend Eitan to his military units annual memorial-day ceremony at Tel-Saki on the Golan Hight where his small unit was surprised attacked in the 1973 war and found itself surrounded by hundreds of Syrian’s tanks and soldiers.  The […]

Exciting Off-Road Motorcycles trip in the Desert (2022)

I went on a challenging and equally exciting adventure in the Negev Desert on 250cc off-road motorcycles, with my 3 nephews: Tal, Leor,  Shai and Tal’s Son, Ben (16). I was determined to enjoy the awesome (challenging) beauty of the dessert, its rough terrains, and the (unavoidable) falls off the bike, and keep away from […]

Beautiful Car-Less Lamu Island at the… End of the World

Spending time on the car-less island of Lamu, situated off the coast of Kenya in the Indian Ocean, was a remarkable experience. Built of coral and mangrove timber, the unique town of Lamu, is the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. I still vividly remember the simple and beautiful construction of the city […]

Contracting Severe Malaria in the Most “Ideal” Place

I was around 27 years old traveling in East Africa, hiking, climbing mountains, scaling rocks, riding small motorcycles (pikipiki), studying fish-ponds, driving safaris, canoeing on the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria and ‘socializing’ with crocodiles in Lake Turkana. I found out that, apparently, the anti-malarial Chloroquine pills that I had been taking were no defense […]

Flying High – Next Phase in Life

Selling the Zur Institute, Inc. after a quarter century of intense, challenging and highly rewarding engagement, opened up a huge psychic space and time for the ‘new’.  Then, launching Project Insights has been a creative challenge and exercise in the rare commodity of… patience. I have been training for a potential dream-challenge of posting a stake in the South Pole […]

Rethinking Coronavirus

My view of the coronavirus (in mid-2020) was met by strong, even aggressive, responses from friends and community members in the US and elsewhere. The reality surrounding Covid-19 clearly touched a nerve worldwide. The anthropologist in me has found people’s responses to the corona virus fascinating. On a personal level, however, I have found myself […]

Crewing for My Son Through the Majestic Panama Canal

In 2019 I had the golden opportunity to fulfill a dream I have had since I was a 21-year-old Israeli merchant marine wishing to sail through the majestic and iconic Panama Canal. I was thrilled to be invited to crew for my son, Eitan (who lives on his beautiful 36-ft. sailboat in San Diego), who was hired to transport […]

Dying Well: Forethought, Consciousness, Planning, Joy & More

Alongside the question of ‘what is next in my life?’, I ponder ‘how do I want to die?’. I know that I neither want to die ‘erect’ (i.e. in my prime) as my mother did, nor do I wish to go through the lengthy, painfully slow journey that my father took in the final period of […]

The Challenge, Excitement & Courage of ‘Beginning Again’

As I turned 66, one of the questions that naturally emerged was ‘how do I want to live my remaining years?’ Summiting mountains on foot or on a motorcycle, diving to extreme depths, fighting wars, jumping out of planes, teaching all over the world, backpacking on a glacier, authoring cutting-edge books, fighting irrational dogmas, implacably […]

“Israeli Anonymous” 😀 Community in Sebastopol

While continuing to manage the Zur Institute and its 150 online continuing education courses, I have also put down strong roots in my town, Sebastopol, where I am active in groups such as “Israelis Anonymous” 😀, Depth Psychology discussion group, Carl Jung’s discussion groups, a Hebrew book club, a writing group, and more. I have […]

My Next Mountain to Scale is “Writing (fiction) from the Heart”

As I approach my 66th year of life and the next stage of the journey, it is a time not only for renewed reflection, but for igniting new flames, burnishing dreams in progress, and stirring old embers. Sebastopol has become the home of my heart and it affords me opportunities to do all this. I have joined […]

A Dream Came True: All 3 of Us, Boys, Riding Motorcycles Together

Sept. 20, 2014 – an historic day in the Zur Family as all three boys own their own bikes. The three of us celebrated by riding our motorcycles today on scenic Highway 1 along the Pacific coastline. The dream of riding our motorcycles together A reality now Three boys  Cruising along Highway 1 Catching glimpses […]

A Wonderful Way to Start the Day – Walking the Dogs

In the last year or so, I have been starting my days with a peaceful walk with the dogs – always a part of our family – in the hills and apple orchards around our house. Beside the connection with the dogs and nature, this turns out to be an ideal time for reflection and […]

Riding Motorcycles at the Himalayas at 18,380ft

In August 2012 my son, Eitan (19), and I (62) went to the highest ‘ridable’ road on earth at 18,380 feet above sea level – in the Himalayas on … motorcycles. The two-week adventure turned out to be one of the most physically and mentally onerous experiences of my life. Driving the narrow, rocky roads often bordered […]

Paddling to Freedom in my 18ft Ocean Kayak

With the motorcycle, I also acquired an 18 foot ocean kayak that gives me freedom and much needed humility. I found keeping myself in the kayak in rough water simply impossible. Paddling on serene waters That lay under a canvas of teal sky My hands delicately grip oars That propel me onwardMy spirit soars Gently as I move […]

Moving to Liberal Sebastopol – ‘The Berkeley of the North’

In 2009, the family moved west from the beautiful wine country town of Sonoma to the more rustic and interesting town of Sebastopol, also known as the “Berkeley of the North.” We were intrigued by the political sensibilities and the artistic and spiritual qualities of the town, which were a better fit for us than ‘perfect’ […]

Introducing Eitan to Scuba Diving in the Red Sea

As my oldest son, Eitan turned 17, it was time for me to revisit the depths of the ocean and the boundaries of air and water – this time with my son. It was a true joy to introduce him to that glorious other world. We both earned our scuba certifications, and I had the thrill of […]

At the Alaska Bear Footsteps & Hearing the Glaciers Roars

While my keynote addresses focusing on introducing psychotherapists in Alaska to the legitimized view of flexible therapeutic boundaries (such as unavoidable multiple relationships, home visits, therapy sessions outside the office, gifts, bartering, etc.) the subfreezing temperatures and bone-piercing windchill factor while camping on the ice gave me a glimpse of the edges of human endurance. I was […]

Conquering New Boundaries: Backpacking the Glaciers in Alaska:

In 2008 I was invited to give a keynote address at the Social Workers Annual Convention in Anchorage, Alaska. Being there, I heard ‘the call of the wild’ and took the opportunity to go embark on another adventure, this time backpacking on the vast glaciers of Alaska. For a person who thrives at 114° F, the subfreezing temperatures of the glaciers, […]

Desert Was My Sanctuary – Motorcycle Was My Vehicle

Eitan’s bar-mitzvah reminded me how as a young man I often spent time in the desert, enjoying the dry heat and powerful, arid landscape. I rode motorcycles (and camels) and drove jeeps in the Sinai and Negev Deserts, as well as hiking and backpacking. I was once drawn to a sacred place there: Saint Catherine’s […]

Eitan’s Bar Mitzva Ritual on Masada & at the Desert with the Guys

In 2006 we celebrated the Bar-Mitzvah of our oldest son, Eitan, on top of the ancient and inspirational Jewish stronghold of Masada, followed by a ‘for men only’ rite of passage in the Negev Desert in Israel, where I had the dubious pleasure of jogging in 114° F heat. A special ritual Shared with my son […]

Flatlined for 90 Seconds – Disappointedly Did NOT See God

In the millenial year of 2000, I suffered my first heart attack and cardiac arrest at the age of 50 (100% occlusions of LCA) and crossed the boundary of life and death (flatlined) for 90+ seconds. I remain disappointed that I neither saw a white light nor God, a truly wasted opportunity. With a stent in place, […]

Playing College Ball at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Basketball, as mentioned, has been my sport. I have played basketball since the age of 10 and later coached. I love the intensity, mastery, camaraderie, as well as the strategic, competitive, physical, mental, and social aspects of the game. I played in leagues in Israel, college ball at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and in the Jack […]

Paragliding with Fearless & Adventurous Eitan (11)

Eitan has always been adventurous. Here he is at age 11, fearlessly joining me (the first time for both of us) paragliding in tandem off Sonoma Mountain. And there was another mountain in our future: It was with Eitan that I summited Mount Kilimanjaro 2007, as we shall see. In later years, Eitan pursued skydiving, catcher in […]

The Delight of Spending Quality Time with my Kids

Spending time with my children in nature has been uniquely rewarding as it combines adventure, physical and emotional challenges, reliance on self and others, and, of course, connection and fun. In this picture, my boys and I are on a lovely ride in Annadel State Park. Engaging with my young children in fun, but at times also […]

Kayaking Magical Kauai’s 17 Miles at the Na Pali Coast

Another boundary to be experienced was the Na Pali coast in Kauai, Hawaii, which is considered “the Everest of sea kayaking”. My son, Eitan, who was only 12 at the time, and I went on a demanding, 17 mile kayak trip, where the cusp of the Mammoth Mountains slopes into the ocean. It was an incredible day with […]

Introducing my Boys to Basketball, Motorcycles & Doing Good

Supporting my children as they developed their unique identities, interests, and gifts has been one of my life’s greatest joys. I have had the fun of sharing the love of basketball, motorcycles and adventures with my two sons, Eitan and Ilan. Later in life, Eitan developed the love of swing dance and trapeze arts. Ilan, who I have had the […]

Getting my Ph.D. – Studying the “Love of Hating”

In 1984, at 34 years old, I received my Ph.D. from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. My dissertation centered on the dynamics of how men and women view and co-create warfare, and called sharply into question the almost universal belief that only men are inherently warlike, while women are inherently peace-loving. Subsequently, in a paper, “The Love of Hating”, I […]

“Trees Die Erect” – Mother Parted Exactly as She Planned

I continued my work, exploring the roots of war and promoting peace, which led me to literature that discussed the meaning of the fact that the average frequency of war is 25 years, which corresponds to the span of a generation. The theory posited the puzzling and odd idea that war may be the unconscious wish […]

Playing by ‘playful’ rules 😊

My spirit soared during the era when I worked by the Sea of Galilee and the view from my home took in the magical Jordan River Valley. Daily, I made the gorgeous commute to work in Kinneret on my huge, old, classic BMW bike. I was excited to be doing research on ways to promote […]

Living in Ancient Rosh Pina Overlooking the Jordan Valley

During the years of studying fish, I lived in the city of Tiberias and then in the charmed, ancient village of Rosh Pina, one of the oldest Jewish villages in Israel, where some streets were still paved with old Roman stones. I loved living in Rosh Pina and my daily commute down the mountain to the Sea of Galilee to […]

Getting a Tattoo from a One-Legged Tattoo Artist in Amsterdam

From England, I took a ferry to Holland. On board, I met a young British woman who offered me some ‘real’ English tea on the upper deck of the ferry. We spent the next couple of weeks in the swirl of beautiful, intriguing Amsterdam with its burgeoning, multicolored sub-cultures. It was there that I got a […]

Watching Legendary Rudolf Nureyev & Margot Fonteyn in London

After my adventures in Africa finally came to a close, I spent some time in England and northern Europe. In London, living in the Kilburn area, I spent a few months exploring this historic city in all its surprising variety. I had many memorable moments there – afterall London is a world center of all the […]

When the Giraffe Joined the Family Dinner

There’s never a dull moment living in Africa, and not just in the wild. One can encounter wonders in the urban landscape, as well. On one of my morning jogs in a Nairobi suburb, I bumped into a woman feeding a … giraffe. In this photo, her family was visited for dinner by the young giraffe, […]

Living w/ the Maasai – Watching their ‘Blood & Milk’ Ritual

Living among the Maasai in Kenya and observing their relationships to the land, animals, each other, and the spirit world was a fascinating anthropological adventure. The photo depicts a ritual of drawing blood from a cow and mixing it with her milk to come up with the ultimate ‘protein shake’. The Maasai, with their thoughtful and inquisitive observations […]

Walking to El-Molo Island in the Crocodile Infested Lake Rudolf

Some time later, I returned to Lake Turkana as the driver of a safari (age 27) made up of Israeli tourists, where, against my judgment and instincts, I followed the guide as he walked the entire group through the crocodile-infested waters of the shallow lake to El-Molo Island, rarely visited or touched at that time by Western […]

Fishing Nile Perch, Tilapia and… Crocodiles in Lake Turkana

Spending time by Lake Turkana (age 26), also known as Lake Rudolf, fishing for Nile Perch and Nile Tilapia and encountering Nile crocodiles was another transformative experience. The surrounding desert was harsh and awe-inspiring, as were the crocodiles found in great abundance in the lake. The scorpions and vipers that ring the rocky shores completed the cruel and […]

Cultures’ attitudes towards life, death, destiny & community

I learned a great deal about different attitudes towards life and death during the time I spent in remote areas of the Somali desert. I watched in bewilderment as tribesmen let their only source of water in that desert area be polluted with a seeming disregard for their own lives or the consequences: the inevitable, rapid destruction […]

Driving Safaris in the Serengeti in East Africa

In addition to my scientific activities (age 26-27), I also drove safaris in Kenya and Tanzania across the vast savannahs and landscapes of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Nakuru, and Lake Turkana. The parade of life and the seemingly endless herds of lions, giraffes, zebras, elephants, wildebeests, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, and buffalos were everywhere. To […]

Running Water & Destroying the Village’s Heart

During my time in East Africa I also helped develop a running water system in order to improve the quality of sanitation and eradicate malaria. With the help of a wise old man of the tribe, I came to realize, to my chagrin, that this project, however well intentioned, also destroyed one of the most important […]

Family-Size Ponds to Ease Starvation in East Africa

At the age of 26-27, my work with growing fish as a protein source eventually brought me to East Africa where I tried to put into practice some of our theories in regions where the people’s diet was poor in protein. I had many humbling attempts to alleviate suffering and starvation by developing small, family-sized […]

The “Betraying son”

Working as an oceanographer in Dahab, I was extremely lucky to be mentored and kind of ‘adopted’ by my boss, a kind and brilliant scientist. He taught me the basics of marine biology, we went on exciting diving and sailing excursions in the Red Sea, and were close friends. About two years into the relationship, […]

“All of you guys are missing some parts!”

Two young ones, not quite adults, still nourished by the springtime of possibilities. We held hands and while walking the coast-line of the Red-Sea, immersed in the calm beauty of the sunset, enjoyed the silence of getting to know each other. She was a 19 year old young Israeli woman. I was a few years […]

Sailing at Dahab and the feelings of Unboundedness

Sailing in my one-person sailboat on the Red Sea, negotiating the water and wind while gliding on the surface of the sea was another multiple boundary experience. Towing my small sailboat behind my heavy motorcycle, carrying my diving gear on the back of my bike, and parking on the reef, was a superb way to reach remote and […]

Motorcycle & the Sense of Boundless Freedom & Exhilaration

As I move through this map of my life, motorcycles appear again and again. I was introduced to motorcycles by my father and found riding them not only fun and exciting, but also a cross-generational continuity with my father. I have carried on this tradition with my sons and nephew whom I introduced to the […]

Diving the ‘Diver Cemetery’ – The ‘Blue Hole’ 184ft (!) at Dahab

As part of me being an oceanographer, I was also a deep-sea diver where I regularly dove the spectacular coral reef in the warm and clear waters (up to 300 feet visibility) amid brilliantly colored fish, turtles and eels. I also dove with sharks in Ras Muhammad off the tip of Sinai next to beautiful and rarely visited or touched coral […]

Becoming an Oceanographer: Save the World from Starvation

I received my B.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in June 1975, heading in the direction of studying oceanography, which, for me, was an ideal combination of science (chemistry), adventure (deep-sea & free diving), and idealism (saving the world from starvation). I was intrigued with the idea of growing unlimited amounts of protein […]

Idiotic Myth: “Israeli Paratroopers Don’t Get PTSD”

Right after this bizarre scene with my doctor, I started training myself to walk again. I rejected any physical therapy and spent long nights, all alone, walking on the hospital room porch, holding on to the rail, and ‘silently’ crying in pain. When I eventually went back to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to continue […]

Rehab.: Kicking my Surgeon’s Butt with My Calf-Less Leg

As part of my rehabilitation from the 1973 war injury, I remember the oddest scene in the hospital where I rudely and highly inappropriately confronted my young surgeon in the hallway in front of other wounded soldiers telling him something to the effect that, “You told my parents that you hope I will be able […]

Occupation of West Bank & Gaza: Being Sane in an Insane Place

Thinking back to my early years, I can see that encounters with death during my military service, testing boundaries, questioning commonly held beliefs, seeking the truth, questioning authority, and searching for ways to choose between intuition and logic were all inherent parts of who I was. I loved to learn by examining what I or […]

The Crater Dilemma: Instinct vs. rational & impulse vs. logics

Another memory from the 1973 Yom Kippur war: we are deep in the desert and artillery shells, with their lethal downpour, were raining down all around us. Each exploding shell created a crater in the sand. I was standing at the edge of one of these craters, covered with dust from the latest explosion. Obviously, […]

This Moment Could be My Last

We survived, at least physically, the crossing of the bridge over the Suez Canal under rain of fire in the 1973 (Yom Kippur) war and the close call with the monkey aiming the artillery on us. Getting closer to our target city of Ismailia, my buddy and I were driving a jeep on a mission […]

Monkey & Me: Respect For & Identification With the Enemy

After a few days of cautiously moving towards enemy lines in the 1973 war, our military unit became the target of artillery shells. Some fell to the left of us, some to the right, some in front of us where we were headed, and some behind us, where we had been an hour ago. In […]

Thumbing My Nose at Death on a Bridge of Fire

Towards the end of the 1973 war, my unit was finally deployed. We were assigned to cross a bridge across the Suez Canal and head north towards the revered city of Ismailia. At this point of the war the Egyptian army was highly concerned that if the Israeli Armed Forces crossed the Suez Canal, they […]

Rethinking the Myth of the “Warrior and the Beautiful Soul”

The fascinating and surprising revelation of the invisible yet powerful presence of women among us heroic paratroopers has stayed with me for a long time. Years later, when I ‘converted’ to psychology, I chose to explore the intriguing psychological complexities of relationships between men, women and war. Studying the commonly held beliefs, such as “men are […]

Discovering the Power of Women on the Male Psyche

As we were waiting to be deployed in the 1973 (Yom Kippur) war, I noticed that almost all my fellow officers were impatient to engage in battle even though it was clear that doing so was likely to result in high casualties to our unit – and, of course, to ourselves. In fact, some men […]

Breaking Up With My Girlfriend So I Would Be Free to… Die

The highly trained paratrooper unit, in the 1973 (Yom Kippur) war, that I was part of was stationed by the Sea of Galilee because Central Command did not know where it wanted to deploy us. The Israeli army was sustaining severe casualties to soldiers, as well as damage to tanks and armed vehicles as a […]

On Being a War Hero – Groomed to Sacrifice

The messages drifted in, almost like elevator music entering my subconscious mind, such good food for the developing ego “Be a man! Be admired! Be a war hero.” As a skinny young boy, I recall standing a little bit taller, sticking my chest out a bit more and imagining basking in the admiration of women and children. […]

Against Medical Advice (AMA)

Over the years, when I have said or done something stupid, someone invariably has replied, “What! Did you hit your head?” Well, yes, actually several times ☺. During my three years of studying in Jerusalem I had the honor of leaving the hospital AMA (Against Medical Advice) several times following emergency hospitalizations, most of which involved motorcycle […]

On Being a Cab-Driver… I Mean a Psychologist

During my undergraduate studies at the Hebrew University, one of the more intriguing and valuable experiences in my life was the exposure that I had to a wealth of human experience while a cab driver in Jerusalem. It was an anthropologist’s dream. Customers waved my cab down and hopped into the back seat of the […]

Sacredness of Jerusalem – Absorbing the Magic

My time attending Hebrew University in Mount Scopus, Jerusalem (1972-1975), studying chemistry and oceanography, was one of my most profound and powerful spiritual awakenings, as Jerusalem embodied the convergence of three major religions. It was at this time that I experienced one of my most profound and powerful spiritual awakenings. In addition to studying, socializing, and playing college […]

Hebrew University in Jerusalem & ‘Pre-Meeting’ my Wife

In parallel with my immersion in my scientific studies, I could not help but be moved by living in the west part of the ancient city of Jerusalem, at the nexus of three major spiritual traditions. I lived in a beautiful old house in the Coptic Church compound. One Christmas Eve, I was mysteriously drawn to […]

In the Merchant Marine – 2nd Out-Of-Body Experience

After my land-bound military service, I embarked on the life of a sailor aboard a commercial freighter. Joining the Merchant Marine as a cadet, I learned the ways of the sea, the ancient art of navigating by the stars, and the many skills, rites and rituals of seamanship. The ship dropped anchor in such European ports as […]

Sheriff of Tiran Island – Reversing Day & Night

Thinking back to my growing-up years, and including my military service, I can clearly trace the emergence of my fascination with all kinds of boundaries. A striking early example was when, as a young officer, I served on the remote, barren, but intriguing, Tiran Island, a strategic ‘bare giant rock’ in the Red Sea. My soldiers […]

The Fourth Choice: On Leaving Israel

During a return visit to Israel in 1990, I was interviewed by the editor of “Chotam”, an Israeli newsletter, to discuss my culturally unpopular decision (at that time) to leave the country I loved (and still do), Israel. I mapped for him the three options I had if I were to have stayed and thus, however […]

Out-Of-Body Experience & Its Life-Long Meaning

Then, as a 20 year old, still in the army, I was serving in the occupied Gaza Strip when I found myself, with eight of my soldiers, surrounded by a rapidly advancing, rock throwing crowd of young Gazans. For a split second, I had an out-of-body experience where I saw the scene from high above. In that […]

True Freedom: Riding Motorcycles & Jeeps in the Desert

One of my many assignments in the army was patrolling the Arava and the Negev desert from the Dead Sea in the north to the resort town of Eilat in the south, situated at the northern tip of the Red Sea. I loved the desert; I always did. There is something in its vastness, dryness […]

Shooting the Light Bulb – How Dumb is That?

While some boundaries are physical, existential, or spiritual, others are developmental, metaphorical, or metaphysical. I remember a time, during my military service, when three of us, all officers, were housed in a cement bunker. Late one night, we were all very tired and had turned in for a good night’s sleep. I was already in […]

Looking at Death Straight in the Eyes: An Encounter w/ Death

Soon after, as a lieutenant and combat officer, just 19 years old, viewing life as a prism of possibilities, I found myself at the greatest boundary of all, that of life and death. For the first time, I held a soldier’s dead body in my arms. Simplicity and innocence vanished and once again a new perspective opened […]

Stepping into the Void – On Being a Paratrooper

The Israeli army is a rite of passage for almost all young Israelis and during my service I faced barriers and boundaries that I had never before encountered. I was a paratrooper and I will forever remember the first time I stood at the launch door of an airplane, thousands of feet above the earth – poised at […]

Justifying One’s Existence by Doing Good (Daily)

Family times were precious and certainly have had a lifelong effect on both my sister (four years older) and me. I am an amalgam (powwow) of my parents: my mother’s rigorous intellect and my father’s gentle soul and both their devotion to social justice and to ‘doing good’. My name also reflects these complementary polarities […]

Encounter with Phosphorous Grenade at Age 10

At age 10, during a Purim holiday celebration (similar to Mardi Gras) where thousands of Israelis gathered in the center of Tel-Aviv to celebrate, an Israeli soldier mistakenly launched a phosphorous grenade into the crowd while intending to throw a colorful and harmless smoke grenade. The burning phosphorous struck both my legs and my hair, […]

Questioning Authority: The Early Years

The years passed and I grew to be a young man. I had a very close group of friends in the youth movement (Hashomer Hatzair) and was close to my older sister. I loved sports, hiking, backpacking, swimming, and basketball, but was also a keen reader of many subjects. In the course of absorbing so […]

Peace & Justice in Mother’s Milk

I was born in Israel in 1950 to pioneer parents. My mother, a German Jew, was an intellectually rigorous psychologist. My father, an Hungarian Jew, was gentle and poetic but also a labor organizer and engineer.Both had lost most of their families in the Holocaust. Together, they were a visionary, optimistic, determined, and idealistic pair […]

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