Jonathan Kesselman


Part V: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps

By Jonathan Kesselman

Part V: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps
After the battle at Tamra, my father’s commander, Norm Schutzman, moved the men of B-Company up to the coast North of Haifa for more training. In late fall, Schutzman received orders that the entire 7th Brigade, including his company, was to clear the Galilee of Arab troops to the Lebanese border.Read More


Part IV: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps

By Jonathan Kesselman

Part IV: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps
Prior to the arrival of my father and the first wave of Machalniks in May 1948, the fledgling Israeli army had taken huge losses. These losses weren’t simply because the soldiers were heavily outnumbered, but because the Israeli army had not yet become a unit: It was still a disorganized patchwork quilt of antagonistic freedom fighters (including the Irgun, led by Menachem Begin — the group responsible for the rescue of political prisoners from the British prison in Acre a year earlier), World War II vets and concentration camp survivors, all waiting for weapons and equipment to bypass the blockade.Read More


Part III: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps

By Jonathan Kesselman

Part III: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps
My father arrived in Marseilles in late July 1948, as a lace salesman from Belgium. Gloria Kessler, a nurse working at a hospital in Chicago, had decided to give up her career to smuggle herself into Palestine to help. She, too, received falsified documents from Teddy Kollek at the Hotel Fourteen and remembers sailing with my father to Marseilles from New York. Once they arrived in France, my father met three more American volunteers: Frank Perlman, Jack Shulman and Ralph Lowenstein.Read More


Part II: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps

By Jonathan Kesselman

Part II: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps
When my father was 9, his mother, Bessie, developed cancer. At the age of 12, my father returned home from school to find all the mirrors in his home covered; Bessie had passed away, and my father was told by his father, Bennie, a fruit salesman, that Bessie had died because my father had been “bad.” Bennie decided he could not care for his son, and for five years my father was passed around from relative to relative.Read More


Part I: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps

By Jonathan Kesselman

Part I: Writing in My Father’s Footsteps
This is a story of loyalty and betrayal. It’s a story of bravery and subtlety, of mortal stakes on a global stage. It is also a thrilling story filled with “cloak-and-dagger elements,” featuring storied American men both famous and infamous: Harry Truman, Mickey Marcus, Hank Greenspun, Jimmy Hoffa and Charles Winters (the man who was recently posthumously pardoned by President Bush), just to name a few. It is a story of unknown heroes, as well: Norm Schutzman, Ralph Lowenstein, Si Spiegelman, Paul Kaye. And, as it turns out, it is also a story of my father.Read More






Find us on Facebook!
  • 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."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.