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Judith Ish-Kishor: This Too Shall Pass

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“This too shall pass” is an adage that has provided succor for many a person in distress. It is a powerful reminder that life does not stand still, and that one must always anticipate change, hopefully for the better.

Much mystery surrounds this adage. We know almost nothing about its origin, whether in its Hebrew or...

The Holocaust Messenger Who Confronted FDR

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Jan Karski. Credit: Courtesy of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

Seventy years ago this month, on July 28, an eyewitness to the Nazi atrocities against Europe’s Jews brought the horrifying news directly to the most powerful man on earth. It was the moment that President Franklin D. Roosevelt came face to face with the Holocaust.

By the time he was 26, Polish underground member Jan Karski had been imprisoned by the Soviets, tortured by the Gestapo, and nearly drowned while escaping from a hospital in German-occupied Slovakia. After all he suffered it would have been understandable if Karski had ended his service at that point.Instead, he chose to risk his life again...

Celebrating Sainthood

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As a rule, Jews should have little interest in the canonization process of Roman Catholic saints. We don’t worship saints, we revere the righteous, yet we recognize that there is “no righteous person who has not sinned.” And yet, we should not only make note of the decision by Pope Francis I to make Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII saints, we should celebrate it. It bodes well for Jewish-Catholic relations under this new Pontiff.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the greatest strides in Catholic-Jewish relations in the entire two millennia of that relationship were made by the initiative of two Popes who were innocent during the Shoah and yet who felt responsible for the...

The Charming Community of Talbiyeh

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Talbiyeh is an upscale Jerusalem neighborhood located between Rechavia to the north, Yemin Moshe to the east, the German Colony to the south and Old Katamon to the west. Talbiyeh’s streets are lined with trees and the gardens are beautifully manicured, and many of its buildings date back to the British Mandate period.

Talbiyeh is well located: it is a quick walk to the Old City, Ben Yehuda Street and to Emek Refaim. In addition, Keren Hayesod Street on the edge of Talbiyeh has many bus lines, offering its residents easy access to all public transportation lines.

Talbiyeh is one of the most popular destinations for vacationers and retired olim, as it is easy to live there speaking...

Tisha B’Av: Some Introductory Thoughts

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The Fast of the Ninth of Av (Tisha B’Av) is one of the most significant and important, as well as one of the most misunderstood, days in the Hebrew calendar. Jewish law requires that we fast for a full twenty-five hours and refrain from other physical pleasures on this day, like on Yom Kippur.1 In addition, tradition has mandated some forms of mourning for the three previous weeks, like refraining from washing clothes and taking haircuts.2 And we do all of this, we are told, as an expression of mourning for the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem, the first in the year 586 BCE, over 2500 years ago, and the second in the year 70 CE, almost 2000 years ago.  Why?  Why are the...

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