The New Dynamic Between Israel and the Jewish World

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by Dvir Kahana Over the next few weeks, the Government of Israel will decide upon a crucial resolution which will have a lasting impact on Diaspora relations. The Joint Initiative of the Government of Israel and World Jewry is a new blueprint we expect will strengthen Jewish identity and bolster Israel-Diaspora ties for years to come. … [Read more...]

Hadassah WZOA Threatens to Halt Donations if Hospital Control is Taken Away

According to Globes, "In an urgent motion filed on Friday with the Jerusalem District Court, the Hadassah Organization threatens that if control of the hospital is taken away from the organization, not only will it halt donations to the hospital, the US philanthropic network for all Israeli organizations will be affected, as well as "the delicate fabric of relations with the Diaspora. … [Read more...]

Four Questions to Make Your Seder Night Different from all Other Seder Nights

As Jews throughout the world prepare to sit down at their seder tables, the UK's Institute for Jewish Policy Research has prepared a discussion guide to add a different dimension to your seder. Using some of the data from a recent UK community survey, it poses four new questions to add to the many other questions the seder raises. While the data points are UK centric, the questions posed are relevant around the world. … [Read more...]

In Ukraine, Caring for Caregivers

by Alan H. Gill My first visit to Odessa - the “pearl of the Black Sea” - was in the 1990s after the Soviet Union’s collapse. The city, even after decades of communist rule, remained a historical gem with its Potemkin Steps and ornate Opera House. It was also home to a significant Jewish population that has earned a distinct reputation for its special brand of pride. Having survived the Nazis and the Soviets, these Jews were eager to reclaim their identity and embrace the challenges of a post-communist existence. And they had a legacy of Jewish greats to draw from: Isaac Babel, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Boris Goldstein, and even the Olympic medal-winning swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg. In the more than 20 years that have passed since I first visited, the community has blossomed. A … [Read more...]

In Nepal, Piecing Together a Seder, Suitcase by Suitcase

Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, right, gives Torah classes for visitors.

by Dovid Margolin It’s past 11 o’clock at night at the Chabad House in Kathmandu, Nepal, and a calm breeze wafts through the Jewish center’s courtyard. Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz is wrapping up a Torah class he has been giving to 30 Israelis, and a few more sit about chatting. Although a serene quietness envelopes this Himalayan Chabad House, it is less than a week before Passover, and Lifshitz still does not have all the supplies necessary to ensure that Kathmandu’s iconic seder - along with three others held in other parts of the country - can take place. Yet the seders will undoubtedly go on. On March 23, the Israeli Foreign Ministry went on strike, stalling a container of Passover supplies that had been sent for the seders and addressed to the Israeli embassy in Nepal, in port in … [Read more...]

The “Wicked” Child of the Pew Study

by Rabbi Danny Burkeman Pesach is coming, and at sedarim across the Jewish community we will once again label four children as wise, wicked, simple, and the one who does not know how to ask. I have always struggled with this part of the seder for two reasons. All of my work with young people has taught me that we should avoid labeling children because it gives them a negative message, often encouraging them to live up to the label we ascribe. And on a secondary level, I have always found it hard to understand why the respective questions correspond to the labels which the Hagaddah gives them. While we could analyze each of the children and their corresponding labels, I would like to devote my focus on the wicked child. He asks: "What does this service mean to you?" The Hagaddah's preoccupation … [Read more...]