International News


Limmud at 30: How a Tiny U.K. Conference Became a Worldwide Movement

By Paul Berger

When Réka Bodó was 13, she presented her mother with a choice. A rabbi had offered Bodó a bat mitzvah at a Jewish summer camp in Hungary. She told her mother that she could either have the ceremony there or in the city of Budapest, where her mother would be able to attend. Although Bodó’s mother, a non-practicing Jew, disapproved of her daughter’s interest in religion, she was a proud guest at the ceremony in the city’s Frankel Leo Street Synagogue.Read More


HRW Targets Businesses on the West Bank

By Gal Beckerman

For the first time, a Human Rights Watch report on the West Bank is calling on businesses to withdraw from there if they find themselves part of what the study describes as a “two-tier system of laws, rules and services” that favors Jewish settlers at the expense of Palestinians. This is a new move for the organization, whose officials acknowledged that the recommendation shared some unintentional “overlap” with the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, or BDS, as the campaign is known.Read More


The Name of Pétain, Hero and Villain, Is Cleansed From the Streets of France

By Peter Hellman

Renaming a street in a tiny French village should have been of no consequence to anyone other than its inhabitants. But when the municipal council of Tremblois-lès-Carignan (population 115) in the Ardennes region voted to change the name of Rue Pétain to Rue de Belle-Croix, it marked the end of an era. Theirs was the last street in France named for the white-mustachioed Marshal Philippe Pétain, hero of Verdun in the Great War.Read More


Progress Seen in P.A. Crackdown On Incitement by West Bank Imams

By Nathan Jeffay and Nathan Guttman

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has seen its ups and downs, but one issue has remained constant: the crusade by Israel and American Jewish groups against incitement to violence. Israelis raise the issue time and again when negotiating with Palestinians, and American Jewry has adopted the struggle against incitement as a key item on its advocacy agenda.Read More


A Year of Captivity in a Cuban Jail

By Gal Beckerman

Every Friday night, Alan Gross pulls out a photograph of a group of friends enjoying Sabbath dinner. Isolated in a Cuban prison cell, he intones the blessing over the bread and wine and stares at the photo of the people, a few families in Maryland that he and his wife used to gather with every week.Read More


Leaks Hint at Chance, Risk of Coalition Against Iran

By Gal Beckerman

It has always been safe to assume that the leaders of Arab nations within firing range of Iran view that country with suspicion and fear. It has been an open secret that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are perceived with as much dread in Riyadh and Bahrain as they are in Jerusalem. But who would have imagined that behind closed doors, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi would be saying, “Ahmadinejad is Hitler” — a line that could have been uttered by Benjamin Netanyahu himself?Read More


Senate Fight Over Arms Reduction Treaty Puts AIPAC in the Hot Seat

By Nathan Guttman

With ratification of the Russian–American nuclear arms-reduction treaty becoming a political football, pro-Israel groups are caught in the middle of a congressional showdown.Read More


Polish Jews Embrace Job of Cleanup and Restoration

By Josh Tapper

During a 1988 visit to Nowy Dwór Mazowieck, the town in central Poland where his Holocaust survivor father grew up, David Wluka found a child’s skull lying, unearthed, at the site of what was once the town’s Jewish cemetery. He picked up the skull and smuggled it into the United States.Read More


With Student Help, Belarus Rescues Its Shtetl Graves

By Judith Matloff

Somewhere beneath the birch trees lies the Jewish cemetery of Senno. The graves have been there for 350 years, but the markers are so sunken into the earth that they look like random stones. Moss covers the Hebrew letters, and few people know about the site, which is hidden from the road by the foliage. The only visitors are mosquitoes.Read More


Survivors Feel Fresh Trauma After Claims Conference Fraud

By Paul Berger and Maia Efrem

After Fira Stukelman lost her family during the Holocaust, the only document to her name was a letter from the orphanage for children of victims where she lived.Read More





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  • "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?
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  • "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
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
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