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Two weeks ago, the Associated Press reported that roughly two dozen Iranian Jews took part in a “pro-nuclear rally” at the United Nations office in Tehran. The report indicated that the Iranian Jews held Torahs in their arms and also signs in Hebrew and English proclaiming their support for the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions.
Almost two years ago, while watching a YouTube video of Mohammed Fairouz’s “Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra,” Neal Brostoff, a visiting lecturer in Jewish music history at UCLA, had an idea. The concerto sounded “surprisingly Jewish,” he thought, and not just because the soloist was the eminent klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer.
Iranian Jews holding Torah scrolls demonstrated in Tehran in support of Iran’s nuclear program.
The recent Pew survey of American Jews caused a flutter in the organized Jewish community.
For retired Israeli spy Mishka Ben-David, writing fiction was a realization of artistic aspirations he had long suppressed.
Yigal Kipnis is an Israeli historian; since 1978 he has been a farmer and a resident of the Golan Heights. He teaches at the University of Haifa and researches the settlement geography and political history of Israel. Kipnis also served as a pilot in the Israeli Air Force for 31 years (26 of them in the IAF reserves). The following exchange focuses on his book, “1973: The Road to War,” which came out in Hebrew in late 2012. The book has received fantastic reviews in the Israeli press by various acclaimed critics and is scheduled to appear in English later this year.
An argument between actress Shirly Brener and husband Bruce Rubenstein turned quickly from a loud debate with each side trying to prove a point, to this: “Honey, wait a minute — I’ve got to grab the camera.”
Left destitute overnight when the Nazis confiscated his life savings in 1941, Ben Lesser’s father, Lazar, used a 100-pound bag of flour and some salt — a housewarming gift from a friend — to bake pretzels for the local bars in Niepolomice in southern Poland.
Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli tweeted in Hebrew that she no longer wants to be associated with British rocker Roger Waters after his open letter calling for a boycott of Israel.
One of Western Europe’s largest Hebrew bookstores closed in Amsterdam as its former owners prepare to immigrate to Israel.
In 2010, Lesley Hazleton was asked to give a brief talk about the Quran. “As far as I was concerned, I was talking to those several hundred people in the hall,” Hazleton said in a recent phone interview. “I certainly had no idea that a nine-minute video about reading the Quran would go viral. … I mean, I’m in my 60s, so the words ‘Lesley’ and ‘viral’ don’t even belong in the same sentence.”
On the morning of July 8, at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Av, the Western Wall plaza was a cacophonous mess.
Seven Iranians were caught using fake Israeli passports at Vancouver International Airport.
On Yom Kippur, we ask “Who by fire?” Sadly, this year at Tisha b’Av, we already know the answer — the 19 firefighters who perished in Arizona.
When Yitayish “Titi” Ayenew, the first black Miss Israel, was a young orphan who moved from Ethiopia to Israel, it was learning the Hebrew language that turned around her fortunes.
Sharon Nazarian has a mysterious quality about her. I’ve bumped into her occasionally over the years, but never long enough to have a real conversation. I always knew she was highly educated and a big lover of Israel, and that a few years ago she founded the groundbreaking Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA, where she also teaches political science.
As a linguist who studies Yiddish-influenced English, I’ve had a busy week. As soon as Arvind Mahankali won the Scripps National Spelling Bee with the word “knaidel,” the messages began to arrive. On facebook, through email, and in person, my friends, relatives, and colleagues wanted to know what I thought. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked, along with my answers.
I know what happened with those three women in Cleveland, how one man was able to imprison and torture them in the middle of a residential neighborhood for 10 years, even though he had grown children, brothers, cousins who visited the house for hours at a time. It’s not a pretty tale, but we’ve all heard it, although to a lesser degree, countless times before.
I have spent much of my adult life working to bring Jews and Christians together. In particular, I have tried to explain to fellow Jews that traditional Christians are our best friends in the world today.
Conversion to Judaism is not easy. It requires a change in beliefs, actions and lifestyle. It involves extensive study, practice, a leap of faith, a shift in perception and some sacrifice.
Eden Bennun craved a taste of Israel. Growing up in Kfar Saba and Rishon LeZion as a child gave her a love of Israel’s smells, sounds and foods.
Rabbi Laura Geller is well known as a woman who does not shrink from a challenge. A senior rabbi at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, she stands as a pioneer among women rabbis, the third women ordained in the Reform movement and the first to lead a major metropolitan synagogue.
When Yityish Aynaw emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel at age 12, she was thrust into an Israeli classroom. An orphan lacking Hebrew skills, Aynaw says she relied on other kids and her own sheer ambition to get through.
Listening to Hebrew songs is officially frowned upon by many West Bank residents, but interest in learning the language of the “other society that is very close but still far away” is clearly picking up among Palestinians wishing to understand Israelis.
The following text is excerpted from “The Bronfman Haggadah,” written by Edgar Bronfman with illustrations by Jan Aronson (Rizzoli, 2012).
It’s been just two days since President Barack Obama touched down in Israel, and no doubt you’ve probably read and heard it all by now. The ribbing banter with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Best Frenemy Forever.
The Israeli-Iranian singer Rita performed at the United Nations General Assembly Hall.
More than 103,000 people have signed a petition calling on President Obama to free imprisoned spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard.
Pesach - the Hebrew name for Passover-- comes from the Hebrew root PSH which means to skip over, to pass over. It appears first in the context of the ten plagues, in which God skipped over the homes of the Israelites while the rest of Egypt suffered.
The niece of American comedian Sarah Silverman will be allowed to attend a women's Megillah reading at the Western Wall despite being banned from the site.
A Hebrew version of Playboy magazine is coming to Israel.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has given a green light to a proposal for a dual-language charter elementary school to be located in Van Nuys offering classes in English and Hebrew.
Just before 1 o'clock on a sunny afternoon, students streamed out of the Amirim Public School and headed for home. But for their teachers, the workday was far from over.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked the Jewish Agency to come up with a solution for non-Orthodox women's groups that want to pray at the Western Wall.
The British government reportedly is planning to exclude Hebrew from a list of recognized foreign languages in the national education system.
“We are planting seeds — not me, but all of us.” With those words of hope offered to her fellow teachers, Lidia Turner, a seventh- and eighth-grade Hebrew teacher at the David Saperstein Middle School of Milken Community High School, accepted the Milken Family Foundation’s 2012 Jewish Educator Award during an assembly at her school on Sept. 21.
Moledet means “homeland” in Hebrew, and it’s no coincidence that it’s been chosen as the name of a pilot program aimed at maintaining the passion of recent Los Angeles Birthright alumni following their return home from Israel.
Six women were detained by Jerusalem police for wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall as more than 100 women gathered there for the monthly Women of the Wall service.
As a Jewish kid growing up in Israel, I never dealt with the issue of Tikkun Olam. Even though the words are in Hebrew, they say much more to Americans than to Israelis.
Throughout his conversion process, Michael Pershes claims he was an “obsessive superstar Jew.” The 42-year-old real estate developer and fashion designer studied Torah and the laws of kashrut, learned modern Hebrew at the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute, volunteered for the first time at Jewish Family Service, wrote monthly essays, celebrated Shabbat every week and joined his synagogue’s choir in the two-and-a-half years it took him to convert.
At a time when Jewish institutions across France resemble military fortresses for their security, entering the great synagogue and main Jewish center of this picturesque city on the Mediterranean coast is as easy as pushing open the front door.
The Jewish Agency for Israel's Facebook page was inundated with hundreds of explicitly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic messages.
When the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences (AEA) opened in August 2010, part of the draw for parents was the chance for students at the Santa Clarita charter middle and high school to study Hebrew. Since then, AEA backers have submitted petitions to set up elementary schools in the Newhall School District, Los Angeles Unified School District and Ventura Unified School District, without success. In August 2012, a revised version of its twice-rejected petition for an elementary charter was submitted to the Saugus Union School District in Santa Clarita. Among the changes in the newest version was eliminating offering Hebrew at the school, at least initially.
The City School, a new public charter school in the South Robertson neighborhood, has opened applications for the upcoming school year. Located on Robertson Boulevard several blocks south of Pico, the campus is open to sixth- and seventh-grade students only, and it plans to expand to grades six through 12.
My childhood best friend was Billy Thein. We met at Encino Elementary School in Mrs. Bernstein’s third-grade class, and were pretty much inseparable after that. Billy was funny and smart and cool — and in a public school packed with the striving, anxious, gawkward spawn of suburban Jewry, cool stood out.
The Tel Aviv City Council rejected a proposal to include Arabic on the city's official emblem.
French Olympic swimmer Fabien Gilot said the Hebrew tattoo on his left arm is a tribute to his late grandmother’s husband, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz.
The author of the “Color Purple” refused to authorize a Hebrew translation of her prize-winning work, citing what she called Israel’s “Apartheid state.”
In Jerusalem, where the cacophony of Hebrew, church bells and the muezzin fill the air, the hum of Tibetan bowls isn’t exactly a familiar sound. But its healing applications are gaining interest, thanks to a devoted Israeli practitioner.