A Seder for Non Believers

April 15, 2016

Jewish tradition commands Pesach Seder participants to imagine that they themselves had been enslaved in Egypt and were redeemed through the Exodus. But what happens if you don’t believe that there were Israelites in Egypt or that the Exodus was a real historical occurrence? What do you do on Seder night if your personal take […]

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The Evolutionary Inevitability of the Jewish State Bill

December 18, 2014

It’s already hard to remember, with election fever raging all around us, what triggered this expensive, unnecessary mess we’re now in. I’m talking about the “Jewish State” bill, of course. It wasn’t the only culprit, but it was a big one. What’s most interesting about the Jewish State law is not whether it was a […]

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Escape from Novogrodek

September 7, 2012

Jack Kagan has one of the most breathtaking – and little known – stories of heroism and escape during the Holocaust. Kagan was one of 250 Jews forced into a “work camp” near Novogrodek, Belasrus. I say “work” camp because it was clear that their fate would ultimately be the same as the 15,000 Jews […]

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Lost in Africa, Israel

August 15, 2012

We were on a guided tour of South Tel Aviv to get an in-person look at what dominated the news a few months back when my friend Eliot and I got lost. We were visiting the Central Bus Station and we had to use the bathroom. When we came out, our group was gone. As […]

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What’s in a Name? For Ethiopian Immigrants, a Lot (Update)

October 18, 2010

Mequonent, Kenubish, Dawit, Workenesh. These are some of the names given to Ethiopian Jews before they arrived in Israel between 1984-1991. Their names after immigration authorities got involved? Asher, Ilana, David and Zahava. The story of how Israel changed the names of thousands of Ethiopians – and the pain and alienation that such a seemingly […]

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Meet Me at the Mugrabi

July 8, 2010

When I was hired to record a series of conversations to accompany a course on teaching Hebrew to English speakers, I didn’t know I’d be getting a lesson in Tel Aviv nostalgia. The project was to edit a 500-page curriculum originally developed to prepare U.S. diplomats posted to Israel. Along with the written text, there […]

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