Jewish Journal


Helen Schary Motro

  • Graybeards Pull Off Israel Election Upset

    April 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Just as the polls closed in Israel last month, I was finishing up listening to BBC Radio, planning to switch the dial to hear the first exit poll predictions on a local station.

    But exactly as the clock struck 10, I was amazed to hear the BBC itself switching to Tel Aviv for live...

  • Dear God…

    December 29, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    When someone writes to Santa Claus, he knows to address it to the North Pole. But where should he mail a letter to God?

    A few days ago an AP news photo featured a plain white box labeled, "Letters to God." A rabbi was taking them out one by one and placing them into the cracks of...

  • Never Been Mugged

    September 22, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    This piece was excerpted from the writer's "Maneuvering Between the Headlines: An American Lives Through the Intifada" (Other Press, 2005).

    Over time I have learned to drive to a few locations in Jerusalem, but I am never sure when I start out if I indeed will reach my destination...

  • Unwelcome Visitors Plaguing Israel

    December 16, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    In strong language a week ago, the United States renewed its security warning against travel to Israel. Nevertheless, millions of visitors are certain to ignore it -- including both the most welcome tourists and the least desirable arrivals of all.

    Five hundred million visitors...

  • Dialing for Peace

    April 3, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    In the past two years, a soundproof curtain has descended on dialogue between individuals in Israel on the one hand and Gaza and the West Bank on the other. Without the possibility of interchange, it is but a small step to collective demonization of the other.

    If Palestinians and...

  • All Quiet, So Far

    March 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Israelis hit the pinnacle of tension in the hours before the U.S. attack on Iraq, when the order came for every person to open his gas mask kit, twist on the filter, adjust the straps to fit his head and then carry the mask at all times. Recalling the first Gulf War, when Iraqi...

  • Israeli Schools Prepare for War

    February 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    My daughter's friend, Hilla, said her 11th-grade social relations class at Herzliya's Yovel High School normally focused on familiar adolescent topics: interpersonal problems, difficulties with exams, the dangers of drinking and driving.

    But this winter her class spent its time...

  • Intifada Put Aside in Slaying of Two Girls

    December 19, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Two child murders in Israel pushed all else off the Israeli news. The intifada, next month's elections, the souring economy and soaring poverty levels, all were forgotten by a country obsessed with the almost simultaneous disappearance of two girls in Jerusalem -- one Jewish, the...

  • Mother Weathers Terror’s ‘Storm’

    October 3, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "Storm of Terror: A Hebron Mother's Diary," by June Leavitt (Ivan R. Dee, $22.50).

    Either excoriated as illegal conquerors or praised as pioneers, Jews living in the territories conquered by Israel in the Six-Day War are never portrayed neutrally. The very name of where they live...

  • IDF Refuseniks

    May 16, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Among the more than 60,000 people demonstrating for peace May 11 in Tel-Aviv, was a 44-year-old Israeli who has served two jail terms for refusing to do military service in the occupied territories.

    It was Yuval Lotam's first time in many years at a rally. "I always mean to go, but...

  • Tragedy or Exploitation?

    March 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    The photograph of the Palestinian father cradling his terrified son moments before the boy was killed in Gaza this fall was viewed live on television and reproduced on the front pages of newspapers around the globe. Like the photograph of the boy with hands raised standing in the...

  • Our Jamal

    October 12, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    I stared with the rest of the horrified world at the photo of the anonymous Palestinian father holding his anonymous Palestinian son - father wounded, son dead. Only after reading the description in the newspaper did I realize he was not anonymous to me. The boy's father was Jamal....

  • A Letter to Amichai

    September 28, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    For Israelis your death was like the Americans losing Frost, the Russians losing Pasternak, the Spanish losing Lorca. Israel has no poet laureate, yet you were its laureate without portfolio. You stood apart in a country with army men as heroes. At the height of the country's...

  • Out to a (Matzah) Lunch

    April 20, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Passover in Israel is a blockbuster week when the country acts not only Israeli, but overwhelmingly Jewish as well. The air turns electric far in advance. Supermarkets are jammed, ringing up the highest sales all year. Matzahs are sold in packages the size of small suitcases, with...
  • Indicting Inappropriate Behavior

    April 20, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Sexual harassment hit the Israeli headlines with a jolt this week when police recommended that Transportation Minister Yitzhak Mordechai be charged with three counts of sexual assault.

    The recommendation that prosecutors hand down an indictment against Mordechai came a week after...

  • Millennium Countdown Israeli Style

    December 30, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Israel has never seen anything this glitzy. True, there have been neon menorahs for Chanukah and light bulbs outlining Israel's numerical age on Independence Days. But this is another ball game altogether. Hundreds of thousands of people driving on the Israeli freeway this week have...
  • Plays by David Mamet

    November 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    You Can Go Home Again

    But in David Mamet's 'The Old Neighborhood,' it's a place marked by open wounds and unanswered longing

    By Diane Arieff, Contributing Editor

    When David Mamet, the son of brilliant but emotionally abusive parents, was growing up in Chicago, his mother told him,...
  • Moses: A Life

    November 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    If Jonathan Kirsch's purpose in writing "Moses: A Life," was to offer the reader a mightily researched, comprehensive chronicle of midrashic, scholarly, secular, Christian and even some Muslim commentaries about Moses and the events immediately surrounding his life as told in the...
  • Co-Existence on the Court

    November 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Against the backdrop of four impeccable tennis courts in the exclusive Israeli town of Caesarea, an elegant female attorney addressed an attentive audience, a virtual "Who's Who" of the Israeli tennis world: stars, Glickstein, Perkis, Blum and Mansdorf; local and international...