Since graduating from Northwest Yeshiva High School in 2006, Elisheva Goldberg has achieved her goal of living and working in Israel.
The resident of Jerusalem’s Abu Tor neighborhood (and former JTNews intern) wears two professional hats: She is an international relations analyst and editor for Molad: The Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy, and a freelance writer of Open Zion, a blog on The Daily Beast. (Find her work easily with your favorite search engine.)
Molad, where she primarily does research, is “an incredible place,” says Elisheva, “an Israeli progressive policy institution,” or “think tank,” modeled on American counterparts like the Center for American Progress.
Open Zion is where she can express her opinions. The blog, which takes “a solid two-state editorial line,” is “a great place for me to explore Israeli politics when they intersect with American politics.”
She recently wrote two pieces that became quite popular — they explored a political balance between why young Diaspora Jews don’t like conservative Israeli politician Naftali Bennett and a “parallel piece about why young Israeli Jews do like Naftali Bennett.”
She wanted to understand Bennett’s appeal, even when he says things “that are hard to hear…especially for American Jews,” she says, and translate “in some part” for American readers.
Like “many Modern Orthodox kids,” Elisheva spent a year in Israel after high school. Even then, “I wanted to be in that political world,” she says.
During that year she went on a tour that included spending a day with Palestinian peers in Hebron, which drove home the importance of being able to communicate with them. She began studying Arabic at Penn (class of 2011), has been on a summer program in Egypt, spent a semester in Morocco, and is currently in “an advanced spoken class” at Al Quds University in Jerusalem.
Living in New York before moving to Israel, Elisheva says she “grappled with issues of egalitarianism,” studying with Rabbi Ethan Tucker at Yeshivat Hadar. It was while living in New York that Elisheva met journalist Peter Beinart and helped him start the Open Zion blog.
A basketball player in high school and college, Elisheva continues to play in Israel “with a group of middle aged men,” mostly American, “and they’re very, very good.” She’s also learning to play accordion, an interest she shares with her dad, Dr. Sheldon Goldberg (JTNews, “Singing for a cure, March 22, 2013).
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Susan Amira Weinstein with one of her purse designs. (Photo by Alan Weinstein)
It was good news and bad news when purse designer and artisan Susan Amira Weinstein found she’d lost her job earlier this year. The good news? She could finally throw herself full-time into launching Susan Amira Designs and to building inventory — which she does herself, one bag at a time.
“I love to sew,” Susan says. “I’ve been sewing since I was 12 years old” — starting at Sharples Junior High School in Seattle with teacher Mrs. Cushion. Really. She still has the apron she made in that class, she told me.
After getting a speech and hearing degree at the University of Washington, Susan decided against teaching and enrolled at Seattle Central Community College for a degree in apparel and design services. She then worked for Nordstrom where, by coincidence, her husband Alan also worked, though they met at the Stroum JCC. Susan often consults her grown daughters, Sari and Tori, on her designs.
While she is building her own website, you can see her bags at www.etsy.com. Each design bears a Sephardic woman’s name, reflecting her heritage. (I like “Estreya” in the big polka dots, although “Rachel” has practical appeal.)
Susan enjoys the creative process and fabric is her passion.
“I get bored if I make the same thing [repeatedly],” she says. “I really like prints,” but customers need “basic colors” that go with everything.
Susan grew up and she and Alan married at Seward Park’s Sephardic Bikur Holim. They are active members of Herzl-Ner Tamid, but maintain “a strong Sephardic influence” in the home, says Susan, noting that her grandmother and namesake, Amira, also sewed.
You’ll find her bags at the Grow Washington artisans’ cooperative in Snohomish and she’ll be at a number of upcoming crafts fairs, including Pickering Barn from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 in Issaquah and at the Bellevue Club holiday bazaar Nov. 9. (Reminder, Hanukkah begins on Nov. 27!)
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Thumbs-up to the entertaining and thought-provoking documentary, “CowJews and Indians,” which screened at Seattle’s Social Justice Film Festival a couple of weeks ago. I’m hoping it will screen again in Seattle, perhaps at a Jewish venue.