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Blame the Jews

Every year when we come around to reading about Joseph and his brothers, I am reminded of a part of the Yom Kipur Ashkenazi service. In particular, the poem Eyleh Ezkera. Most of the poems, Piyuttim, were composed in medieval times. They are usually repetitious, veritable puzzles of references, associations and quotations. Not to mention that they stretch out our…

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Lost Jews

Israelites, Hebrews, Jews, whatever you call them, have been scattered and settled all over the place for thousands of years. It has become quite fashionable to discover or recognize “lost” communities. Some claim to be descended from the Ten Lost Tribes,  others descendants of secret Jews who fled persecution and practised Jewish rituals as well as non-Jewish ones. The question…

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Midterms

Everyone seems to agree that these midterm elections in the USA have been particularly bitter and antagonistic. But as an outsider who is now an insider, I am amazed at the current mood of anger, anxiety, frustration, hatred, injured pride and petty name calling. One shouldn’t generalize of course but I see around me a bunch of spoilt children fighting…

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Hagar

Since I wrote about Abraham last week, it seems only right in this era of #MeToo, that I should write about a woman, Hagar. She too is far more complex and multi-faceted than a surface reading of the text would suggest. Like the Handmaiden in the book by Margaret Atwood (and the TV series), Hagar was caught up in a…

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Abraham: A Man for all Seasons.

Abraham is revered by the major monotheistic religions. In Judaism, what he went through is constantly being re-examined to provide us with an example we should follow. Ma’aseh Avot Siman LeBanim. The acts of the fathers are guides for the children. This is why I am fascinated by the contradictions and inconsistencies in Abraham’s life and character. He reaches the…

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Billy Rose

 Who was Billy Rose? If you have visited the museum complex in Jerusalem, not far from the Knesset, you will be familiar with the Billy Rose sculpture garden. Designed by the renowned American Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi. Surrounded by the Judean hills, it lies in between the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls…

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