In Hanukkah, we tell the story of a small, powerless people who, with religious zeal and courage, led a bloody guerrilla campaign against an occupying force and corrupt elite to assert control over the Temple Mount. By Yossi Bartal On Christmas Eve, Jews around the world began celebrating the eight-day Hanukkah festival. Family and friends will gather every evening before the hanukkiah, the nine-pronged candlestick, reciting a short prayer and lighting its candles. Each day, another candle is lit until the hanukkiah radiates in its full splendor on the last day. While the festival is very popular, it is, religiously…Read More... | 5 Comments
Ten years after it ended, most of the details of a secret trial that tested anthrax vaccines on Israeli soldiers remain unknown. Who was really behind the experiments, and were they even needed at all? By Ran Goldstein A hit TV show, “Taagad,” recently came to the end of its run in Israel. Set in an army medical center, it became a cult hit, to the extent that every currently serving soldier could quote its dialogue. But aside from its popularity, the show also reawakened one of the most serious affairs to have arisen in Israel over the last few decades — an…Read More...
While trying to plan a new life abroad following the failure of the 2011 social protests, Regev Contes uncovers a family secret that radically alters his Israeli Jewish identity. By Mati Shemoelof Regev Contes’ new documentary film, "Goodbye Adolf," which recently aired on Israel’s Channel 1, is full of courage and honesty. (Warning: this article includes spoilers.) [tmwinpost] Contes, one of the leaders of the 2011 social protests, brings to the screen what we social activists felt after the failure of the protest: how it divided us, how we gave up and surrendered, how we scattered and dispersed to all corners…Read More... | 8 Comments
Israel's ultra-Orthodox community has been experiencing tremendous changes, all led by women, over the past few years. At a recent conference, a group of Haredi women spoke about the personal price they pay, and the chance we could one day see them in the Knesset. By Eli Bitan In mid-November, women from the organization "Nivharot" ("chosen" or "elected" in Hebrew) held a conference in Jerusalem's Mishkenot Sha'ananim quarter. It was attended by activists in the ultra-Orthodox community, both women and men, who are struggling to ensure Haredi women have the right to run in the next elections under the slogan: "Not Elected — Not Voting." Already in the months…Read More... | 1 Comment
The severed ties between Arab-Jewish culture and the wider history and culture of Judaism and the Arab world are being repaired by a groundbreaking new university degree in Israel. By Hadas Shabat-Nadir and Almog Behar In the 1950s, Professor Shlomo Dov Goitein suggested establishing a chair of Arab-Jewish culture at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. But what place does Arabic-Jewish culture have at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem? What does a school for Jewish studies have to do with Arab-Jewish tradition? Or with a course on Arabic literature, classical Arabic from the pre-Islamic period, the Quran and the Caliphate, and the…Read More... | 14 Comments
Is conflict management sustainable? A closer look at a similar conflict should serve as a stark reminder for all Israelis who care about peace. Living the Israeli-Palestinian conflict day in, day out, one often feels suffocated by a thicket of obstacles to peace. Wherever one looks for solutions, the doors seem to slam shut. It is easy to conclude that no conflict has ever been so stubbornly intractable, and that no one faces so many layers of complexity. What I've noticed from years of international work and close observation of other protracted conflicts is that the people in those other…Read More... | 14 Comments
A new law in Poland criminalizing Holocaust-related speech presents an offensive, distorted narrative about the nation’s wartime history and its coming-to-terms with the past. But that’s far from the whole story. By David Sarna Galdi The Polish cabinet last month approved a law that will punish (including imprisonment) anyone for claiming that Poles killed Jews during the Second World War or referring to concentration camps like Auschwitz, which were located in Nazi-occupied Poland, as “Polish.” The legislation was met with widespread criticism, most of which missed the point; what’s most egregiously offensive about this law is its assault on storytelling.…Read More... | 7 Comments
On Yom Kippur in 1967, the Year of Forgetting, I put on my dark holiday clothes and walked to the Old City of Jerusalem. For a long time I stood in front of an Arab’s hole-in-the-wall shop, not far from the Damascus Gate, a shop with buttons and zippers and spools of thread in every color and snaps and buckles. A rare light and many colors, like an open Ark. I told him in my heart that my father too had a shop like this, with thread and buttons. I explained to him in my heart about all the decades…Read More... | 4 Comments
A new cookbook re-imagines traditional Ashkenazi food, a cuisine that for years was rejected by the children and grandchildren of immigrants from central and eastern Europe. This book is a big step toward correcting that injustice. Jeffrey Yoskowitz, who, together with Liz Alpern, co-authored a new cookbook called The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods, has been on a culinary journey over the past decade. His experience includes a stint in Israel, where he volunteered for a year on a kibbutz that specializes in pig farming. During that period he wrote a witty blog about the conceit of being a vehemently secular American…Read More... | 5 Comments
Director Farschid Ali Zahedi fled Iran for Germany following the Islamic Revolution, where he became fascinated by Jewish history and the Holocaust. After four years of work he is now releasing his latest film on the extermination of Jews in the Ukrainian city of Kovel. Orly Noy sat down to speak to him about debuting his film in Israel, the memory of the Holocaust, and the bleeding wound of his homeland. Before the Second World War, the Ukrainian city of Kovel was home to an significant and flourishing Jewish community. During the Nazi occupation, which lasted from 1941 to 1944, the Jewish population…Read More...
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