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Archives: Perspectives


Mysterious Ways

Uriya Shavit

My newsagent – yes, some people cannot give up on print – is an elderly Haredi man and one of the most pleasant persons I know. The day after Iran’s intercepted aggression against Israel, he told me with a beaming face that even non-religious Jews who entered his store that morning admitted Tehran’s fiasco must have been the result of divine intervention....

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Leaving the BBC

Noah Abrahams

“The only Jew in Derby” is what my friends called me during my time at university in England’s East Midlands. It was a nickname I cherished, and I continue to cherish. Some might perceive this as a cruel or discriminative label. However, I was always proud to be who I am. A British Jew with a passion and desire to represent my people in a place where so few others share my identity....

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Identity at the Bar

Fridolin Sablatnig

The cast: An Israeli political scientist, a 29-year-old German PhD in Philosophy, and two 18-year-old Austrians working at memorial museums in Riga. The location: A sticky table at a sports bar in southern Dresden, Germany, filled with card-playing locals. In the background, on television, Eintracht Frankfurt playing Union Saint-Gilloise....

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Midsummer Darkness

Peter Lebenswerd

On the morning of February 2, 2024, a Swedish news flash appeared on my phone containing the surreal information that my friend and chairperson of the Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden, Aron Verständing, together with two other Swedish Jews, had been the targets of a planned terror attack by Iranian agents operating in Sweden. ...

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Learning Nothing from History

Uriya Shavit

Last week, Israel’s Education Ministry decided high school students would not be required to be tested on the history of the Holocaust on their mandatory matriculation exam (Bagrut) this year. The argument is that, following October 7, pupils are too emotionally distressed to deal with the topic....

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Head Held High

Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias

In the final lines of The Plague, Albert Camus writes of its protagonist, Dr Rieux: “None the less, he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be one of a final victory. It could only be the record of what had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers.” ...

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Boycott Harvard

Uriya Shavit and Carl Yonker

Harvard University, once a glorious academic institution, is on the verge of losing its moral legitimacy. Human rights activists, American patriots, Jews with a sense of pride, and any normal human being who thinks that the cold-blooded murder of babies and the kidnapping of elderly women is wrong must send a clear message to its administration...

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The Witness

Uriya Shavit

The Guardian recently reported on the failure of a new Russian propaganda feature movie, “The Witness.” It premiered in mid-August and turned out to be a box-office flop, revealing that Russians have little appetite for the lies of their regime....

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Notes from Bucharest

Uriya Shavit

I am standing in front of the interior ministry’s balcony in Bucharest. This is the fourth time I pass there, but only now, on a guided walking tour about the history of communism, I realize it belongs to an image that captivated me in junior high school....

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Past Present

Carl Yonker

I descend to the basement of the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights in the former KGB building in Vilnius. Among the first exhibits I see is a holding cell containing a pile of bags filled with shredded documents....

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The Shiites Who Love You

Rafael Nabizade

In March 2023, Azerbaijan opened an embassy in Israel for the first time, bringing years of prospering security, economic and tourist relations between the countries to a new high. ...

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Notes from the Emirates

Uriya Shavit

The reading of the Megillah took place in a private villa, without any exterior Jewish symbols, in a quiet residential area of Dubai. Several dozen men and women were present, most French Jews of North African extraction who have made the United Arab Emirates their home for business....

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The Ultra-Orthodox and the Law of Return

Uriya Shavit

There is a crucial disparity between ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews. The ultra-Orthodox are exposed to mainstream secular media, whereas the secular have no idea what Haredi media writes, which is why the secular miss the big picture. And it is scary....

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Hindutva and the Jews

Shiven Nath

In 1947, India gained independence; shortly thereafter, in 1948, the State of the Jews was born. Since its independence from the British, India has remained a secular nation. Though predominately Hindu, it is home to the world’s third-largest Muslim population....

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Let There Be Light

Carl Yonker

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again – Hannukah and Christmas in our interfaith home. Last week, we hosted a small group of kids from my son’s first-grade class to make levivot (latkes) and hannukiyot. Yet, he mostly wanted to talk about Christmas, his Lego Star Wars Advent calendar, and what he had asked Santa to bring him....

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Is There Anything Else?

Uriya Shavit

The Sofia Synagogue seats almost 1,200 visitors and is one of the most beautiful in the world. Beauty has all sorts of expressions; the most compelling is that which does not require explanation. ...

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Crying Foul

Carl Yonker

For several weeks, the talk of American sports media has focused on the saga of Kyrie Irving, a seven-time NBA all-star guard who has played for the Brooklyn Nets since 2019. Irving shared a link to “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a three-and-a-half-hour documentary based on a book of the same name by Ronald Dalton. Dalton promotes a Black Hebrew Israelite (Black Israelism) belief that African-Americans are the true descendants of biblical Israel. ...

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Man of the Year

Uriya Shavit

Thanks to Philip Roth and his alternative history, Charles Lindbergh is remembered today as the would-be fascist president of the United States as much as for being the first pilot to cross the Atlantic in a non-stop solo flight. ...

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Notes from Helsinki

Uriya Shavit

Many years ago, so many that I can’t remember the name of the channel or the program, I watched a documentary about Finland. The camera jumped between dozens of faces on the streets of Helsinki and the anchor asked what they had in common. Then came his answer: No one is smiling....

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Together Again

Carl Yonker

Had it really been almost three years, I kept asking myself several weeks ago while visiting family in London. Indeed, it had. The last time we visited was December 2019, when the three of us (me, my wife, and our then-only son) went for Hannukah and Christmas vacation....

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The Harvard Lazy

Uriya Shavit

Two months ago, The Harvard Crimson, the daily student newspaper of the Ivy League university, published an editorial endorsing the BDS movement. The pompous text, busting with sophomoric self-importance and self-entitlement, did not send the shock waves its anonymous authors may have wished for. It is still worthy of treatment. Reading it made me gravely concerned about the future of a great nation, and it is not Israel....

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United We Stand

Ronen Lubitch

The question of how to respond to liberal movements in Judaism preoccupied Orthodox Jews in Europe throughout the nineteenth century. The conundrum continued to be a topic of lively debate through the twentieth century in the United States, and then migrated to Israel....

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On an Optimistic Note

Uriya Shavit

Last month I attended a “Prayer for Peace” at “Our Lady of Arabia” Cathedral near Manama, Bahrain. The event was held under the patronage of King Hamad. A majority of the hundreds present were migrant workers from the subcontinent. ...

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Putin, Enemy of the People

Uriya Shavit

If only I had a dime for every time I recently came across the line, “contrary to what Francis Fukuyama wrote in 1989….” The Japanese-American Fukuyama prophesied the “end of history” in an article ...

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The Unthinkable

Uriya Shavit

According to an opinion poll conducted in June 2021 by YouGov and Bright Line Watch, a think tank of political scientists who fear for the future of American democracy, no less than 37% of Americans...

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Online Hatred

Giovanni Quer

Antisemitism propagates on the internet because the unrestrained flow of information provides easy access to sites, discussion groups, or even individual posts that spread hatred. In a world where the boundaries between the digital space and real life...

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Antiochus, Santa and My Son

Carl Yonker

Driving through Tel Aviv on a cool December day in 2018, my then almost-three-year-old son gave us his take on Hanukkah and Christmas. Asked about Antiochus, he replied that Antiochus killed the Jews and hated them. Shifting gears, my wife asked...

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A Stunning Decision

Talia Naamat

In late October this year, Greece’s supreme court decided to ban kosher (and halal) butchering. The decision, criticized by Jewish organizations in harsh language, relied on a much anticipated ruling given by the European Court of Justice in December...

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Home Cantor

Peter Lebenswerd

As a young boy, I used to gaze at the Stars of David that adorn the ceiling of the synagogue. I can still smell the same scent of the room and can almost imagine holding my grandfather’s hand, a hand I haven’t held for almost thirty years, full of expectations...

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A Royal Message

Dina Porat

On October 13 of this year, a well-attended conference was held in Malmö, Sweden, entitled “The Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism – Remember-ReAct.” The first question that comes...

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It’s Trivial

Hanna Luden

After the traumatic First World War ended, the international community took steps to ensure such atrocities would never happen again. Yet, little more than a decade passed before Hitler rose to power and brought humanity to its lowest point. The world...

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An Ice Cream Story

Uriya Shavit

Last month, Yeshayahu Lichtenstein died, aged 93. He was survived by a wife, five children, seventeen grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. In a beautiful obituary, Haaretz described him as “the most optimistic man in Tel Aviv.” Few people encapsulated...

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The Demons of Science Fiction

Inna Stakser

Science fiction is a wonderful genre. I am a big fan of books describing possible futures for humanity. The best science fiction, such as works by Ursula Le Guin and Kim Stanley Robinson, address futures as developing out of combinations of human...

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Jews and Roots

Uriya Shavit

Ask any sports fan: a football match is worth watching only if you root for one of the teams. Whether it is the World Cup, the Malaysian third division, or kids playing in the backyard, you cannot avoid picking your favorite based on one made-up reason or another...

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