Slightly jet-lagged, but otherwise unscathed, I'm back in Israel, back on the computer, back at work. I was covering a conference in Kingston, Jamaica ("The Jewish Diaspora of the Caribbean") for the Jerusalem Report but took the opportunity to investigate other interesting and relevant stories. Of course, the biggest story of the week occurred nearby while I was there: the devastating earthquake in Haiti. We felt the earthquake in Kingston, but it was no worse than a minor Vancouver rumble, and most people didn't even realize that's what it was until reports started to come in a few hours later.
Several colleagues and I immediately assessed ways of getting there, and that story will follow in a few weeks, when I'm able to freely describe the bureaucratic rigmarole that tripped us up. Over the next few days, I'll be writing fairly extensively on Jamaican relief efforts, and on an interesting Shabbat. What do you get when you put together a Baghdadi Jew from the US, an Israeli/Canadian Ashkenazi, a Sephardic Panamanian and a Jewish Reggae artist from New York. Not the beginning of a joke; I'm describing last week's Kabbalat Shabbat service!
In the meantime, I invite you to consider a question: why would a 320-year old Jewish gravestone feature a skull and crossbones?