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By Marcus M. Gilban for JTA
RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The saga of the European Jewish refugees who established the first synagogue in the New World and eventually also North America’s first congregation was celebrated in Rio’s Carnival parade.
A group of 80 Jewish community members joined more than 3,000 of Portela samba school performers on Monday night as they paraded along the half-mile street telling the bold story of the Jews expelled from Portugal, their temporary religious freedom and prosperity in a Dutch-ruled Brazilian region, and their second expulsion leading them to found the Shearith Israel synagogue in New York.
SACRED PROTECTORS: Crossing Boundaries of Time and Faith, These Muslims Safeguard Morocco’s Holy Jewish Sites
BY AOMAR BOUM for the JewishJournal.com
It’s a hot summer day when I arrive at Khmis Arazan, a small rural town in southern Morocco, about 170 miles south of Marrakesh. It’s Thursday, market day, and a group of local children spots me. Before I say a word, they know where I’m headed. There’s only one reason why outsiders find their way to this remote community: to visit the synagogue.
It has been four decades since the last of the Jews left Khmis Arazan, whose 8,000-some residents are nearly all Muslims. But it’s clear from the well-trodden path that more than a few tourists have made their way down these unpaved streets to the now crumbling Jewish neighborhood.
Arriving at the synagogue — an adobe structure dating from the late 19th century and recently renovated — I am greeted by Hmad Harim, a Muslim man in his late 60s who has spent much of his life working as caretaker for this relic of Morocco’s rich Jewish past.
BY ANDREW SHERWOOD for JewishNews
Playing for the same Premier League football team, representing Israel together, childhood friends, neighbours – even the same birthday – not much separates Tomer Hemed and Beram Kayal. In fact the only discernible difference is one’s a Jew and the other an Arab Muslim. Yet even that distinction only serves to bring them closer together.
Peter Wehner for Mosaic
Anyone expecting to find a politicized museum dedicated to hot-button “culture-war” issues needs to look elsewhere than the new Museum of the Bible.
Diana Muir Applebaum’s essay, “Who’s Afraid of the Museum of the Bible?,” is informative, skillfully argued, fair-minded, and leavened by wit and elegance. It is also much needed, since the museum has come under harsh assault from a variety of sources.
Before addressing the nature of that assault, I’d like to register very briefly my own favorable impressions of the museum, which I visited on December 30 with my daughter and some family friends. From the very first sight that greets one’s eyes—the two 40-foot-high bronze panels framing the entrance, bearing text from Genesis 1 on replicas of plates from the Gutenberg Bible, followed in the vestibule by a display of Psalm 19 on a papyrus leaf that dates back to the 3rd or 4th century CE—one is conscious of taking part in a highly singular experience.
By JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH for The Times of Israel
PM treated to a reception rarely seen by Israeli leaders anywhere; Foreign Ministry director says he's never seen any like it
In Ahmadebad, tens of thousands of people lined the street, some waving Israeli flags, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sped past, whizzing by massive billboards with his and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s faces plastered on them.
In rural Dev Dholera, curious farmers and others craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the prime ministers, and hundreds of young entrepreneurs and business people cheered the leaders like rock stars.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Twice a year, surgeons from Rambam Health Care Campus fly to Georgia to treat the most difficult pediatric cases.
A baby born without an esophagus and a five-year-old boy unable to eliminate bodily waste naturally were among the complex cases awaiting senior Israeli surgeons on their voluntary visits to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
“It gives us a chance to do something good for others. I don’t care if I treat a Georgian child or an Israeli child. I like to give good medical solutions to those who don’t have them,” says Dr. Ran Steinberg, director of pediatric surgery at Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital on the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa.
By RAPHAEL AHREN for The Times of Israel
Guatemala played a key role in the Jewish state's creation and has enjoyed Israeli security assistance ever since. It doesn't hurt that its leader is deeply religious
On Sunday, Guatemala became the first country after the US to announce its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move seen as tantamount to recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, though President Jimmy Morales’s statement included no explicit recognition.
Predictably, the Central American nation’s decision was castigated by the Palestinians and other Arab states and hailed in Israel as an act of deep friendship that marked the beginning of a new trend. Neighbor Honduras is said to be next in line. Like Guatemala, it also voted last week against the United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning the US’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there.
By Cnaan Liphshiz for JTA
Portugal’s tallest mountain range, the Serra da Estrela, is famous for its breathtaking waterfalls, turquoise lakes, terraced hillsides and challenging bike paths amid vast woods.
In winter especially, tourists from all over northern Europe flock to the sunny Serra, a thinly populated plateau the size of Rhode Island, for its exquisite wines, world-renowned sheep cheeses and exotic regional dishes (think breaded sweet sardines and Juniper beef stew).
In addition to these delicacies, Serra da Estrela in recent years has also emerged as Portugal’s undisputed powerhouse for kosher food – an unlikely development in a region with about 50 Jews.
By ELLEN BRAUNSTEIN for The Times of Israel
The latest addition near the Cubs' home celebrates Jews and America's pastime -- and helps special needs adults find meaningful work
Baseball gloves and caricatures of famous ballplayers adorn the walls of Milt’s Extra Innings — no surprise for a deli that’s a short drive from Wrigley Field, the fabled home of the Chicago Cubs.
But look closely and the picture becomes a little more unexpected: The memorabilia on the walls celebrate Jewish greats and not-so-greats like Sandy Koufax, Philadelphia Athletics first baseman Lou Limmer and the catcher and sometimes spy Moe Berg. And there among the collection of bobbleheads, right next to former catcher Brad Ausmus, is Moses — that Moses — gripping a set of tablets.
Mosaic is inviting our most loyal readers to join us for a unique intellectual experience.
Michael Doran is one of Mosaic’s—and the country’s—most thoughtful and influential analysts of America’s role in the world, with particular emphasis on the Middle East.
We’re delighted now to announce a new Mosaic lecture series with Dr. Doran that will tackle—for the first time—an even more ambitious topic: how every American president, from Harry Truman to Donald Trump, has understood and shaped America’s strategic relationship with Israel.
Join by Exclusive Webcast
Jews have lived in Casale Monferrato for half a millennium, where Hanukkah is celebrated year-round through an exhibit featuring dozens of menorahs.
It's always Hanukkah in this picturesque town in northern Italy's Piedmont region.
Jews have lived in Casale Monferrato for more than 500 years, with the community reaching its peak of 850 members at about the time Jews here were granted civil rights in 1848. The town still boasts one of Italy's most ornate synagogues, a rococo gem that dates to the 16th century.
These days, only two Jewish families live in Casale. The synagogue, which is part of a larger museum complex, is now a major tourist attraction - and not only because of its opulent sanctuary with huge chandeliers, colorfully painted walls and lots of gilding. The former women's section has been transformed into a Judaica and Jewish history museum. And the synagogue's basement, formerly a matzah bakery, is now home to the Museum of Lights.
By Josefin Dolsten for JTA
Last week, the story of a Jewish woman competing in the Miss Germany competition went viral, appearing in JTA along with media outlets around the world. Tamar Morali, 21, said organizers told her she was the first Jewish woman to get this far in the beauty pageant.
It turns out the story — and the world of beauty pageants in general — isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
In 2011, a Jewish woman, Valeria Bystritskaia, was crowned Miss Germany. But out of fear of anti-Semitism Bystritskaia, a Russia native who moved to Germany at the age of 7, kept her Jewish heritage a secret.
BY ABIGAIL SHRIER for The Jewish Week
A couple of weeks ago, leaders of Conservative Judaism caused a stir by reaffirming a ban on interfaith marriage while reiterating the movement’s commitment to welcoming intermarried couples to its congregations. If this bit of legerdemain seems awkward, its stated goal will be familiar: strengthening Jewish identity.
“We believe — and the data confirm,” read a June statement from the Jewish Theological Seminary, “that by far the most effective path toward building a Jewish future is to strengthen Jewish identity, beginning with the Jewish family.”
Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, filed a request for a retrial.
The request was submitted to Israel’s Supreme Court Sunday after Amir met with his attorney, Gabi Shachar, in prison. During the meeting, Amir signed the documents necessary to request the retrial, the Hebrew-language Hadashot news reported.
BY HANNAH DREYFUS for jewishweek.timesofisrael
Orthodox Vagina Monologues expands, days schools re-examining modesty education as Weinstein effect lingers.
Ayala Tiefenbrunn, a 21-year-old design student at FIT and an Orthodox young-married, took the mic in front of 75 people a few months ago. She took a deep breath and launched into a personal essay about her tortured relationship with birth control.
While acute communal and social pressure dictated that she and her husband start “trying,” her young age and professional aspirations kept her dutifully on the pill. But, she said, the choice isn’t easy. “Every time I don’t see a friend for a few months and she’s pregnant, it hurts a little — I so want to be there.”
Married at 19, Tiefenbrunn addressed an audience of young, predominantly Orthodox women; she wore a silver and blue head wrap, horn-rimmed glasses, and a layered top. Later, she confessed, “I constantly feel guilty because I’m on birth control.”
BY RON KAMPEAS for The Jewish Week
Not long ago Yahel Epel, a volunteer with the Israeli American Council, fulfilled her assigned mission: She assembled 200 Jews, half of them Israeli American, in a room in Denver on a Friday evening for a potluck dinner and a Shishi Yisraeli program.
Shishi Yisraeli, a program launched by IAC that means “Israeli Friday evening,” seeks a happy medium between what those with and without Israeli roots or backgrounds would enjoy on a Friday night. The idea: Get them together. Create community.
How did it go?
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine
While the tech giant searches for a new home in the U.S., it is already planning two new R&D centers in Israel.
This summer, Amazon announced it would build a second headquarters somewhere in North America. That news set off a parlor game du jour, with everyone weighing in on what city the tech giant would pick. Would it be Atlanta, Boston, Denver? Perhaps a small college town in Texas? Bringing with it jobs and infrastructure, the high-stakes move is sure to be a boon for whichever city gets chosen. One Georgia town made news this week when it offered to change its name to Amazon.
While the quest for a new headquarters in the U.S. continues, it seems Amazon has made some decisions on another front. The Seattle-based e-retailer will be opening two R&D centers in Israel – one will be in Tel Aviv and the other in Haifa. The labs, which will employ about 100 engineers, will work exclusively on the company’s Alexa voice-operated device.
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REELABILITIES FILM FESTIVAL
Sunday, February 25 at 4:00 PM
brotherhood interfaith dinner
Tuesday, February 27 at 6:30 PM
Beth El Lifelong Learning and JCCNV Joint Program
Sunday, March 18 at 2:00 PM
"Shattering Switzerland's Neutrality Myth: The Inside Story of
the Investigation of Swiss Banks and Stolen Jewish Assets
During the Holocaust"
2nd night passover seder
Saturday, March 31, 6:00 PM
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