Gil Shefler


Can Sheinkin Street Survive a Spiff-Up?

By Gil Shefler

Can Sheinkin Street Survive a Spiff-Up?
Sheinkin Street is to Tel Aviv what St. Marks Place is to New York: a playground for poets, posers, and fashionistas. Old-timers fear urban renewal could end the fun.Read More


Finding New Life As a Cult Classic

By Gil Shefler

Finding New Life As a Cult Classic
Take a barefoot American hippie clad in a rabbit-skin jacket and a bowler hat, trying to run away from the traumatic memories of the Vietnam War by traveling to Israel, of all places; a sexy redheaded vixen who can’t seem to keep her shirt on for longer than a few minutes, and a naive flower power couple happy to go along for the ride. Put them on a desert island surrounded by crude plastic prop sharks and murderous mimes, and what do you get? Probably the worst Israeli movie ever made, and a serious candidate for the worst movie of all time, which, surprisingly, is enjoying an unexpected revival 38 years after it was made.Read More


Israeli Turks Wrestle With Turkey’s Involvement in Gaza Flotilla Incident

By Gil Shefler

Israeli Turks Wrestle With Turkey’s Involvement in Gaza Flotilla Incident
Passions were flaring at the local Turkish Heritage Center. At a hastily organized meeting, participants — old and new Turkish immigrants to Israel and their descendents — debated in Hebrew and Turkish what, if anything, they could do to improve Israel’s plummeting image in Turkey.Read More


Can Pastrami Conquer the Palate in the Land of Hummus and Falafel?

By Gil Shefler

Can Pastrami Conquer the Palate in the Land of Hummus and Falafel?
At Ruben, a new restaurant with a distinctly American Jewish flavor, there’s almost no need for a menu; the thick smell of pastrami is like a business card for the eatery’s unabashed focus on smoked meats. Patrons can choose among freshly sliced heaps of pastrami, turkey or a mix, placed between two thin slices of rye with sauerkraut and a schmear of mustard, horseradish or harrisa — a Tunisian hot sauce that is one of the few concessions made to suit the local palate.Read More


Past and Present: Israel’s Impact on the Developing World

By Gil Shefler

Past and Present: Israel’s Impact on the Developing World
In 1958, Israel was a fledgling state barely able to provide for its own. It was beset on all sides by enemies threatening imminent attack and trying to cope with the absorption of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Nonetheless, that year it launched an ambitious initiative aimed at sharing its nation-building know-how with newly nascent countries in Africa and Asia that were gaining independence from colonial powers.Read More






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    • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
    • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
    • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
    • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
    • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
    • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
    • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
    • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
    • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
    • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
    • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
    • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
    • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
    • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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