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The Ardent, Stiff-Necked Spirit of Golda Meir

jewish-books - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:00am
Neil Rogachevsky Neil Rogachevsky

A new biography brings to life a leader of few words who accomplished much with the ones she had, and reminds us how much of her Zionist perseverance remains intact today.

One of God’s less charitable epithets for the children of Israel in the desert is am k’shey oref: a “stiff-necked” people. Yet some biblical scholars have seen the phrase as a kind of backhanded compliment. Rigidity, myopia, lack of imagination are hardly admirable traits; but when expressed as fastidiousness, perseverance, single-minded devotion to a worthy goal, mightn’t there be something to say for them?

This, at any rate, is the label that repeatedly comes to mind for the subject of Francine Klagsbrun’s Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, a mammoth, meticulously researched, and engaging biography of Israel’s fourth prime minister. Golda, as she was universally known, was a famously stiff-necked individual if ever there was one.

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Israeli army uses new method to destroy Gaza terror tunnel

israeil-news - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:00am
From JTA

The Israel Defense Forces discovered and demolished a terror tunnel that crossed into Israel from central Gaza.

The tunnel, which had been monitored for several weeks, was demolished Saturday, the IDF announced Sunday. The tunnel is believed to have belonged to the Hamas terror organization. The exit of the tunnel had not yet been completed.

It was blown up using a new method that does not require air strikes or explosions.

The tunnel had electricity and other amenities, such as ventilation and communications equipment, suggesting that it was a significant tunnel for Hamas, the IDF also said in a statement.

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Mourning the Loss of a Non-Jewish Parent

interfaith - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:00am
Gayle Redlingshafer Berman for Jewish Book Council

"Ima, Aunt Angela is trying to reach you. I know it's grandma! I want to go to her funeral!" My 13-year-old son was home manning the phone in Efrat while I was busy teaching piano to American girls at a school in Jerusalem. My mother had been ill for many years with dementia, that terrifying disease that steals the memory and dignity of its victims. Long before we had made Israel our home 3 1/2 years earlier, each day we had expected the call from Illinois telling us that her body had given up the fight. That moment had apparently arrived. Not having my sister's U.S. number in my Israeli cell phone, I simply continued teaching my piano student.

Soon my cell phone rang. I was sure my sister was indeed calling to tell me that what my son had suspected was true. I told my student, "I'll be right back," knowing I could handle what I had been anticipating for years. "Dad died this morning!" I couldn't believe my ears! No, she meant "Mom," my head screamed! "Dad?" I yelled! "Yes, Dad."

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Ethical Treatment of Animals in Judaism

celebrating-judaism - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:00am
BY RABBI JILL JACOBS for myjewishlearning.com

The concept of Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim demands that we take animal suffering seriously.

Beginning with the first chapters of the Torah , Judaism establishes a fundamental connection between human beings and animals. Animals, created on the fifth day of the biblical story of creation, can be understood as prototypes of the first human beings — Adam and Eve, created on the sixth day. One of Adam’s first responsibilities as a human being is to name the animals. As evidenced by the episode in which a serpent tempts Eve to eat a forbidden fruit, humans and animals originally speak one another’s language (Genesis 1-3).

The story of Noah’s ark represents a turning point in the relationship between human beings and animals. Furious about human misbehavior, God decides to destroy the world by flood, saving only the righteous Noah and his family and enough animals to sustain all of the species. When the waters recede, God gives Noah seven laws — now known as the Noahide laws — aimed at establishing a just society.

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Is the future of sustainable electricity ... in turkey droppings?

green-living - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:00am
by Jaime Bender for FromtheGrapevine 

A new study shows that poultry excrement could be used as a viable biofuel.

This time of year, we typically think of turkey as the centerpiece of a giant, hearty, all-American holiday meal.

But according to a new study, we should all be looking at it from a, um, slightly different angle.

Researchers at Ben Gurion University in Israel found that converting treated waste from turkeys, chickens and other poultry into combustible solid biomass fuel would produce an alternative energy source that's environmentally safer than coal, and could be used to replace it.

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featured-articles - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:00am

Different estimates show the number of Jews living in the world between 14.4 and 17.5 million – about half in Israel and more than half of the rest in the United States. But the bond to Judaism is not about strength in numbers.Here are five small and distant Jewish communities in the far corners of the Jewish world.

Iquitos, Northern Peru

The city of Iquitos, in northern Peru, is tucked deep in the rainforest. It is the largest city in the world inaccessible by road; people and supplies arrive by air or by boats on treacherous Amazon.

The first Jew to arrive in this remote area was Alfredo Coblentz, who moved from Germany to the nearby town of Yurimaguas in 1880 to work in the Amazon’s booming rubber industry. Five years later, three brothers – Moises, Abraham and Jaime Pinto – moved to Iquitos to work in the rubber field. They only stayed a few years, but others followed. Jews from Morocco soon arrived to try their luck in rubber trading.


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Mikeitz - Shabbat Hanukkah

weekly-torah-portion - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am

Genesis 41:1−44:17

By Rabbi Bradley Artson, provided by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, for MyJewishLearning.com

Two Kinds Of Intelligence


To be fully educated and human we must study a range of disciplines--humanities and sciences, secular and Judaic.



Pharaoh has endured a night of terrible dreams. To make matters worse, neither he nor any of his ministers understood what the dreams were about. The only person able to interpret those dreams is a Hebrew prisoner in an Egyptian jail. That person is Joseph.
Seven Years & Seven Years

After hearing the dreams described, Joseph announced that Egypt would enjoy seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of universal famine. In advance, Joseph argues that Pharaoh should appoint someone "navon ve-hakham," discerning and sage, who will store enough food to ensure the survival of the population.

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The Day I Left Him

young-adults - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
From Jerusalem U

This video is part of a series titled “Hear Me Roar,” promoting Jewish values and showing the world that you can find a bright spark of goodness in any person.

Young, beautiful Zo Flamenbaum found herself stuck in an unhealthy codependent relationship. She hated how he treated her, how he treated her friends, how she felt around him. But she still couldn’t leave. This was not run-of-the-mill boyfriend girlfriend stuff. In this video, she talks about the courage it took for her to walk away from an emotional dependency and take back her life after so long. 

In her video, Zo talks about dealing with dependency, bad relationships, depression and meds and finding the bravery to face how disconnected she was from herself. 

Read more, watch video.

Jewish Music Stars to Perform in Support of LGBTQ Orthodox Youth in NYC

LGBTQ - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am

on eJewishPhilanthropy

Top Jewish musicians with large Orthodox followings will launch the first-ever Benefit Concert supporting JQY, a leading provider of crisis and support resources for at-risk LGBTQ Jewish youth from Orthodox homes. Matisyahu, Neshama Carlebach, Gedalia Penner and Eli Schwebel will perform for an expected audience of 400 people of all orientations, ages and denominations on Sunday, December 17th at 6pm. Sandi DuBowski, Director of “Trembling Before G-d,” will be honored at the event with the inaugural JQY Trailblazer Award.

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It's Always Hanukkah in this Picture-Perfect Italian Town

news-in-the-jewish-world - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
From virtualjerusalem.com

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.

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Top 10 Hanukkah Songs

jewish-arts-and-media - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am

BY AMY DEUTSCH for Kveller

Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.

Maybe it’s the Christmas “competition,” but it seems like there are more songs about Hanukkah than about any other Jewish holiday. And why not? It’s fun and delicious and lasts for eight amazing days. So if the only Hanukkah song you know is “Dreidel Dreidel,” read on.

1. Michelle Citrin, “Left to Right“

In 2008, Michelle Citrin and William Levin created this music video (reminiscent of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company ad from The Office) with help from people across the world who submitted short clips of themselves lighting Hanukkah candles and then passing the candle on to someone else. It’s an awesome video and a catchy and sweet song. And even better, it reminds you which way you’re supposed to light the candles. (I forget every year!)

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Savory Sufganiyot Offer a Different Taste of Hanukkah

jewish-food - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
By Dana Kessler for Tablet Magazine

This project is highlighted in our Hanukkah Guide. Find more articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.

Forget the strawberry filling or the sugary toppings. These savory pastries are stuffed with meat, or fish, or cheese. And they make everything else taste like kids’ stuff.

For Jews in America, where latkes rule, sufganiyot are mediocre, unimaginative jelly doughnuts that appear as an afterthought every Hanukkah. In Israel, however, sufganiyot are a huge deal, and bakeries everywhere stock up: Everywhere you look in Israel, you see a huge variety of sufganiyot in bakery windows—and every year retailers add new flavors, which get more elaborate with each year that passes.

At the Roladin chain of bakeries, for instance, you’ll find sufganiyot with names like Cream Cheese Pavlova (filled with vanilla-flavored Italian mascarpone cream cheese and topped with white chocolate, meringue bites, blueberries, and a little test tube filled with a raspberry-crème de cassis liqueur chaser) or St. Honoré, paying homage to the famous French cake (filled with caramel-flavored mascarpone cream cheese and topped with caramel, chocolate lace, chantilly cream, and profiteroles).

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The Chanukah Shaboom! Special

children-and-families - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
From bimbam

Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in Jvillage's Hanukkah Guide.

Can the Plony family get the house ready in time for their Chanukah party? Looks like they are in need of a Chanukah miracle. Watch this special Chanukah episode to see how Gabi and Rafi fix the world, one Chanukah party at a time.

This episode is a great jumping off point for playing dreidel, eating sufganiyot, frying up latkes, lighting candles and singing songs. BimBam has videos about how to do all those things, so you have come to the right place! Happy Hanukkah!

Watch video. 

Humankind is one (happy?) family, says author who planned Global Family Reunion

jewish-books - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
By RENEE GHERT-ZAND for The Times of Israel

In 'It's All Relative,' A.J. Jacobs takes an amusing deep dive into genealogy, genetics, and family history

A.J. Jacobs said he was going to do it. And he did.

True to his promise, Jacobs pulled off the first-ever Global Family Reunion on June 6, 2015. It took months of planning, and wrangling celebrity cousins to help publicize the event. Ultimately some 3,800 people showed up at the main site in Queens, New York, with another approximately 6,500 taking part via 44 simultaneous reunions around the world, for a grand total of more than 10,000 attendees.

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Israeli device banishes finger-pricking for sugar levels in diabetes patients

israeil-news - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
By SHOSHANNA SOLOMON for The Times of Israel

Cnoga says it has created the first commercially available noninvasive glucose meter, using a camera and algorithms to read changes in fingers' color

Diabetes patients know that one of the greatest challenges in managing the ailment is tracking their blood sugar, or glucose, levels. To do that the only option available today is through the use of standard glucose meters — devices that require multiple finger pricks each day, a painful process.

For years, researchers have been trying to find a noninvasive, quicker and easier way to monitor blood glucose. Even the most advanced devices in use today, like needle sensors, which can track glucose continuously, need to be inserted under the skin every one to two weeks.

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My Family Celebrated Hanukkah with Our Non-Jewish Friends. This Is What Happened

interfaith - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am

Salad fix-ins? Check.

Cookies? Check.

Menorah, candles, and dreidels? Check, check, check.

My husband, kids, and I were headed to family dinner at our dear friends’ house. Though she and her husband aren’t Jewish, my friend is a history teacher who loves learning about and sharing multicultural traditions.

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Hanukkah Discussion Questions

celebrating-judaism - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
by Breaking Matzo

This project is highlighted in our Hanukkah Guide. Find more articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.

1.  Hanukkah is a holiday of re-dedication, a festival celebrating the re-establishment of the holy Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees.
Is there something in your life that you want to improve or to which you want to rededicate yourself this season?

2.  Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of a small jug of oil lasting for 8 days.
As you light your Menorah, ask this question: What “miraculous” events, large or small, do you wish to celebrate this year?

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Eco-Friendly Hanukkah Traditions

green-living - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
From Sustainable Baby Steps

Have you started preparing your eco-friendly Hanukkah traditions yet? No doubt you are thinking about polishing your menorah, dusting the dreidels and starting the search for the perfect presents.

However, how will you polish that menorah? Did you keep the dreidels from last year and what types of presents will you buy? These are all things which need to be taken into consideration if you want this holiday season to be a sustainable one.

My household Hanukkah traditions usually consists of a nightly Menorah lighting and present giving, so that each family member receives eight presents in total. We might also go to a public Menorah lighting and attend or hold our own Hanukkah party during the 8 day festival. We don't put up much in the way of decorations or exchange cards, but every family is different with their own Hanukkah traditions over decorations, food, present giving and so on.

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Hanukkah FAQ

featured-articles - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am
MJL Staff


Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.

From pronunciation to scheduling, questions and answers about the Festival of Lights.

How do you pronounce Hanukkah?

Is there a correct way to spell Hanukkah?

Why does Hanukkah last eight days?

What is Hanukkah about?

Is it OK to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas?

Why does Hanukkah fall on a different date each year?

Is the candelabra lit on Hanukkah called a menorah or a hanukkiah?

Why do Jews play dreidel on Hanukkah?

Do Jews traditionally exchange gifts on all eight nights of Hanukkah?

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Turns out, a Jewish woman was Miss Germany in 2011

news-in-the-jewish-world - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 8:15am
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.

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