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Starbucks and Racism: Why Woke is Not

We now inhabit a new world of identity politics. It is not new, but different. There have always been identities of religion, nationality, and race. Too often they have led to war, genocide, and prejudice. Humanity has been divided between those who struggled to overcome the negative aspects of these differences without sacrificing that which distinguished them and others who…

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Judah HaLevi

Judah Halevi is one of my all-time favorite Jews. Born in Toledo, Spain in 1075, he had a traditional Torah and Talmudic education. He was also well versed in poetry, Arabic literature, the sciences, and philosophy. He was a physician of renown and active in Jewish communal affairs. He was humane, urbane, and one of the greatest Jewish poets since King…

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Wonderful Accidents

May 1948 and 1967 This past week we celebrated the declaration of Israel’s independence in 1948 and the return of the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967. In both cases the political leadership in Israel, tended towards caution. But it was the determined decisions of individuals with guts and a sense of what the moment required, that changed the course…

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Sephardim

I am always upset whenever I am forced to recognize that we Jews, few in number, are so divided into warring sects, denominations, traditions and ideologies. I guess it’s just a combination of human nature and historical experience. There’s one divide where the facts indicate that things are getting better. Through marriage and the nature of Israeli and Western society,…

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San Sabba

“Risiera di San Sabba is a five-storey brick-built compound located in Trieste, northern Italy, that functioned during World War II as a Nazi concentration camp for the detention and killing of political prisoners, and a transit camp for Jews, most of whom were then deported to Auschwitz. SS members Odilo Globocnik and Karl Frenzel, and Ivan Marchenko are all said to have participated in the killings at this camp. The cremation facilities, the…

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Weird Customs

Anyone familiar with the Haredi/Orthodox world today knows that there has been a phenomenal increase in the number of charms (segulot) that are being peddled, adopted, and regarded as essential to Jewish religious life. The Orthodox press is full of announcements of pious visting rabbis who will guarantee solutions for every human problem. Organizations here and in Israel will arrange…

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