Jo-Ann Mort


Beloved Israeli Director Shemi Zarhin Tries His Hand at Fiction

By Jo-Ann Mort

Beloved Israeli Director Shemi Zarhin Tries His Hand at Fiction
Shemi Zarhin is best known for his films. With “Some Day,” set among the working class people of Tiberias, he makes a memorable transition into novel writing.Read More


Babs Plays the Holy Land

By Jo-Ann Mort

Babs Plays the Holy Land
It was Barbra Streisand’s 100th performance in 50 years and the first time she performed in Israel—and most likely her last—when she took to the stage inside Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield stadium last Saturday night. The 71- year-old doesn’t like performing, she revealed, while explaining the presence of a giant teleprompter which broadcasted both lyrics and stage cues for all to see. “I performed in Central Park in 1967 and forgot the words to three songs, so I didn’t sing again for 30 years until I realized that a teleprompter would work, but hopefully you will look at me,” she explained with grace and humor to 14,000 very-accepting fans. I don’t think any of us had any trouble looking at her.Read More


On the Verge of a Nation's Breakdown

By Jo-Ann Mort

On the Verge of a Nation's Breakdown
Samar Yazbek’s memoir is a diary of the first 100 days of the Syrian uprising. It’s an urgent and graphic chronicle of a people’s urge to fight for freedom.Read More


Zionism and Its Discontents

By Jo-Ann Mort

Zionism and Its Discontents
In her newest book, University of California Professor Judith Butler makes the case for a Jewish critique of Zionism. Jo-Ann Mort isn’t impressed with the argument.Read More


The Dishonesty of Park Slope Coop's BDS Debate

By Jo-Ann Mort

The Dishonesty of Park Slope Coop's BDS Debate
While I am not a member of the Park Slope Food Coop, I can’t help but be pulled into the controversy surrounding a prized neighborhood institution as it debates whether or not to take a position on boycotting Israeli food products. The coop will vote on March 27th on whether or not to hold a referendum for the coop to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement. What I don’t understand is: What is the goal of the organizers of this effort? If their goal is to end Israel’s occupation and create a Palestinian state side by side with Israel, then this is the wrong way to go about it. If the goal is delegitimize Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state, then full speed ahead.Read More






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  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
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