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Liberté, Egalité – Yes, Fraternité – No: The Philosopher Who Challenged the Socialist Model

Two contradictory ideologies dealing with distributive justice were dominant in modern history: the model of the Socialist State, that strive to expand government’s power and interference in the lives of citizens, and the opposite model of the Liberal State, that focused on individual rights and wished to limit governmental interference in private lives. In a […]

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Two Hanukkah Narratives – Choose Yours

In the early 1930’s, an unknown young Jewish lyricist called Aharon Ze’ev published the poem “We are carrying torches” – Anu Nos’im Lapidim, which became popular overnight among Zionist sing along lovers. It was a one-liner essence of all Zionist core ideas: No miracle happened for us / No cruise of oil did we find […]

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The Patria Disaster: Forgotten Zionist Mass Tragedy

November 25, 1940, 9 am. The illegal immigration ship “Patria” is docking in Haifa port. Suddenly, a loud blast rips the side of the ship. Huge amounts of water flood the ship and within minutes the old ocean liner, carrying 2,000 passengers, starts to sink. Chaos and panic all around, old people slip and fall […]

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The Mysterious Childhood of King David

You can tell a lot about religions by their archetypal protagonist. Generally speaking, Christianity is fond of pure, untarnished guys, those who turn their other cheek. The Muslims adore men who sacrifice their lives to reach paradise, whereas the Buddhists respect he who can live an entire life doing one thing – avoiding. Avoiding over […]

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Black Hole: When the Worst Holocaust-Denier was Defeated

If we had to choose a date for “The Memorial Holocaust Denial Day”, it must be November 11. On this day in 2005 the historian David Irving, considered the greatest Holocaust deniers in the world, was arrested. This dubious title Irving owes to Deborah Lipstadt, a Jewish Professor from Emory University in Georgia. Lipstadt came from […]

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Menasseh Ben Israel and the Return of the Jews to England

Hear this out: Hitler wasn’t just a diabolic psychopath, but also a wretched plagiarizer of symbols and ideas. The yellow badge, for example, was borrowed from another Jew hater, who lived centuries before the Nazis came to power in Germany: Edward I King of England (1239-1309). Old Ed hated and loathed the Jews so much, […]

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Queen of the Desert: The Amazing Story of “Jewish Khaleesi”

A ruthless steadfast warrior, as well as a merciful leader who liberated thousands of slaves – this was Dihya al Kahina, a Jewish Berber Northern African woman. The Jewish Khaleesi, if you will, but unfortunately, not nearly as famous as that the Game of Thrones fictional character. Dihya al Kahina lived in Northern Africa at the end of the […]

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Who Was “the Other”? The Wise Sage Who Became the Greatest Heretic

Try to picture this: Shabbat morning, a synagogue in Bnei Brak, and the late rabbi Elazar Shach delivers his sermon to his listeners, in sheer atmosphere of silence and holy awe. Then suddenly, a loud defying horn sound from a nearby sport car is heard just outside the synagogue. Now which scene is more likely […]

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Rosh Hashanah: The Politics and Theology Behind Jewish Time

He who has control over time, has control over agendas. Therefore, it is not surprising that the greatest revolutions in history always sought an opportunity to change or replace the calendar in use: the leaders of the French revolution replaced the Gregorian calendar with a new one, in which each month had three weeks, ten […]

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Sacred Orgies: the Extremist Sabbatean Sect of Jacob Frank

Surely, some concepts delivered by Judaism hit Jews back like a boomerang: God; the atom bomb; summer vacation, to name just a few, and also, the sociological concept of the excommunication. Such sanctions weren’t invented by the BDS movement, who simply adopted an old Jewish concept and used it against the Jews. The origin of the […]

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The 1901 Case: How Herzl Tried to Bribe the Sultan

The kind of bribe a leader receives or offers can reveal a lot on his set of values. Think, for example, about the elephant granted by Sultan Harun Al Rashid to Charles the Great, or the shoes that “Norman” the hustler bought for Prime Minister Micha Eshel in Yossef Cedar’s film, or the cash packed envelopes […]

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Jews and Occupation: How One Hand-Fan Started French Colonialism

Anti-Semites, the people who brought us The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the belief that any evil is caused by Jewish fortune, would probably rejoice at knowing that while the English branch of the Rothschild family funded the English wars against Napoleon in early 19th century, two wealthy Jewish families from Algeria supported Napoleon […]

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The Jewish Blast of Journalism in Hungary

“If journalism aims to serve the public, it must strive for as large circulation as possible. And the reason is simple – larger circulation means more publicity, which means more money, which means optimal journalistic freedom” – said Joseph Pulitzer, the Jewish journalism magnate who immigrated to America in the 19th century and was one […]

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The Fearless, Politically Incorrect Lenny Bruce

Miki and Sally Schneider’s only son was born in Long Island in 1925. He was circumcised when he was 8 days old, and named Leonard Alfred, or “Lenny”. Little did his parents know then, that this baby was about to smash the idols of his time and announce a new religion: counter-culture. “Lenny Bruce was […]

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The Great Speeches: Menachem Begin’s Civil War Threat

What makes a great speech? A great speech confronts two universal values with one another and forms an unsolvable conflict. Such was the steering speech by Elazar ben Yair, which led to mass suicide on the Masada. A great speech can be addressed in a seemingly insignificant occasion, and still enter indifferent hearts, like Elie […]

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The Jewish Mother: From “A Yiddishe Momme” to Philip Roth

A short while after losing her beloved mother in 1928, the Jewish-American singer Sophie Tucker recorded the song “A Yiddishe Momme” which made her famous. Every time she performed the song the used to tell the audience about her late mother, “a woman with a pure Jewish heart, with eyes reflecting endless devotion”. The song […]

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Green Park: The Most Famous Jewish Hotel in England

Green Park hotel was standing upon four things: tradition, religion, family, and food – as declared in the opening scene of Marsha Lee’s award winning film about the most famous Jewish hotel in England. The story of Green Park reflects the story of the entire Jewry of England. First, mass immigration due to pogroms in […]

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Ruth The Moabite: The Foreigner Who Taught Us Compassion

If Ruth was living among us today, how would we categorize her? An illegal immigrant? A refugee? An infiltrator? A work seeker? If Ruth was living among us today, she probably would not be considered “Jewish” enough to be converted by the chief rabbinate, nor “Israeli” enough to represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest. […]

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Medieval Tycoons: The Amazing Story of the Radhanites

On January 30, 1939 Adolf Hitler addressed a historical speech, in which he announced publicly for the first time his intention to exterminate the entire Jewish people. In his address he mentioned several times “the world Jewish capital” as the source of all humanity’s evil. Many researchers asserted that Hitler’s pathological hatred of the chosen […]

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Who’s A Real Hero? An Historic Glimpse on Simon Bar Kokhba

Every Israeli child knows these lines by heart: “He (Bar Kokhba) was a hero, he struggled for freedom, the whole nation loved him. Hero!”. Written by Levin Kipnis in 1930, this children song depicts Bar Kokhba as a Jewish version of Che Guevara – tall, handsome, riding a roaring lion, wasting Romans in one hand, […]

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The Story of the Yekkes – Jewish Germans in the Land of Israel

After the Nazis came to power in Germany 1933, some half a million German Jews were gradually leaving Germany. The vast majority of those descendants of Ashkenazi communities, who lived along the Rhine since the ninth century fled to America and Great Britain, while a small 10% chose to immigrate eastwards to the Land of […]

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Big Ben: The Hollywood Screenwriter Who fought the Code of Silence

It was a cold night in January of 1943. Two friends were walking in the fifth avenue in New York. Children were making snow men on the sidewalks and the showcases still had remains of bright neon lights decoration from New Year’s Eve celebrations. Then the two men sat on a bench under a street […]

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Bloody Matsot? Passover, Blood Libels and Kidush Ha-Shem

As Prof. Israel Yuval was standing with his three daughters at the bottom of the deep cistern under the famous basilica in the German town of Trier, he felt it was a life changing moment for him. 900 years beforehand, at that very spot, Jewish parents were willing to throw their children into the pit […]

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Osnat Barazani – The Brilliant Woman Who Headed a Yeshiva

It is safe enough to state that humanity is progressing, even without delving into philosophers such as Hegel. True – slavery still exists, classes still count, women and minorities are still being discriminated – but not as much as they used to. In a long perspective, human history is indeed moving forward. On the other […]

Noticias en español

El traductor judío de Colón en su viaje al Nuevo Mundo

¿Será que el estereotipo antisemita sobre los judíos, que son un factor contaminante se originó en relación al intérprete judío Luis de Torres, quien es en gran parte el responsable por la llegada de los primeros cigarros a Europa? No, no tiene nada que ver. Los antisemitas modernos les atribuían a los judíos la culpa […]

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Samuel Pallache – The Famous Jewish Pirate

Back in the 16th century, “explorer” and “traffic” certainly did not mean what they mean today. These two concepts actually used to mean physical motion through lands and seas. Those were the days of the flourishing seamanship industry, in which some of the sharpest minds of that period were involved. The leading “startup nation” of […]

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The Jewish Tunisian Girl Who Became the Legendary Habiba Msika

What triggered the butterfly effect 50 years before Habiba Msika became the most famous Jewish Tunisian woman in the world, was in fact not a butterfly, but bacteria – the tuberculosis that entered the body of a poor little baby named Edgardo Mortara, born in 1851 to a Jewish family in Bologna, Italy. His Christian […]

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Beit Hatfutsot 40th Anniversary – Our Building is an Architectural Icon

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months” (Oscar Wilde) In this postmodern era of ours, when the concept of “truth” is undermined every single minute and dissected into numberless narratives, the building of Beit Hatfutsot is here, maliciously annoying all relativists. For five decades it […]

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Star of David: Birth of a Symbol – Legends vs. Facts

In April 1959, the chamber of the Arab League Boycott of Israel submitted a demand that the Swiss watch company Ardath remove the Star of David from their logo, as it was an ancient Jewish emblem. A short while after, the Maariv newspaper delegate,  Yosef  “Tommy” Lapid  Z”L, published an item about the British tea […]

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Himmler’s Healer – the Story of Felix Kersten

Oscar Schindler used his enamelware factory as a cover in order to save Jews; Jan and Antonina Żabiński used the zoo they were running for this very same purpose; and Jaap Penraat from Holland used to smuggle Jews dressed as construction workers. All of them justly received the Righteous Among the Nations honorific from the state […]

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Forgotten Torch: The Untold Story of the Jewish Resistance in Algeria

26,000 Jews were living in Algeria in 1830, when France invaded Algeria and made it a French colony for 130 years. The Jews of Algeria enjoyed freedom and equality thanks to Adolphe Crémieux, who was minister of justice in the second French republic and gave the Jews full equal rights in 1870. The Crémieux decree […]

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Once a Prodigy, always an Outsider: The Amazing Story of Salomon Maimon

In a new Israeli Reality Show “Married at First Sight”, couples meet for the first time at their wedding. 250 years ago, this format was an acceptable practice, having quite the same motives – mostly financial ones. Our tragic hero had such an experience. Salomon Ben Yehoshua was born in 1753 in the town of […]

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A Miserable Hanukkah in Paducah – Ulysses S. Grant’s General Order no. 11

Hanukah eve, 25 Kislev 5623 – 1862. A heavy snow blister was raging outside, while the town’s Jews gathered in their homes, around the Hanukia. Scents of fried latkes filled the warm living rooms, dreidels were spinning, blessings were sung. Suddenly, strong bangs on the door and loud calls were yelled: “Jews Out!”. Copies of […]

Noticias en español

El Viaje Maravilloso De Keter Aram Tzuva, Desde Alepo A Jerusalén

Traducción al español: Kalman Gabay Esta es la maravillosa historia del manuscrito más antiguo de la Biblia, el diamante de la corona. Como corresponde a quien refleja en sus páginas la epopeya bíblica plena de drama y misterio, su historia también está compuesta de innumerables tramas y giros sorprendentes. La Festividad de Simjat Torá nos […]

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70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.N. VOTE IN FAVOR OF THE PARTITION PLAN: THE UNTOLD STORY

The Jewish People are characterized by dualities: exile and redemption; slavery and liberty; Holocaust and revival; calamity and heroism; restraint and uprising; Memorial Day and Independence Day. This duality was, in fact, the historical backdrop behind the United Nations’ final vote in favor of the Partition Plan for Palestine on November 29, 1947 in the […]

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SCHUND LITERATURE: THE YIDDISH PULP FICTION

The renowned author Shalom Aleichem thought Schund was trash literature and called for casting it entirely out; the critic Simeon Dubnow claimed that Schund characters are all flat and cheesy; and I.L. Peretz, the founding father of Yiddish literature loathed it altogether. But the more the refined intellectuals scorned upon Schund, the more young authors such as […]

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“HINENI” – when Leonard Cohen and Martin Buber Met in Heaven

“You want it darker” was Leonard Cohen’s last album, released shortly before the great musician’s death. The album’s theme song is “Hineni” in which Cohen added extracts from the Kaddish prayer. In the dramatic peak he cries: “I’m ready my lord. Hineni! Hineni!” He passed away 17 days later, on November 7, 2016, at 82. […]

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The Great Speeches: “The Perils of Indifference”, Elie Wiesel

“Fifty-four years ago to the day, a young Jewish boy from a small town in the Carpathian Mountains woke up, not far from Goethe’s beloved Weimar, in a place of eternal infamy called Buchenwald.” These were the opening words of “The Perils of Indifference” by Elie Wiesel – a holocaust survivor, author, philosopher and intellectual. […]

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The Myth of the Vampire Jew and Blood Libels

“For hours the black-haired Jew boy, diabolic joy in his face, waits in ambush for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood and thus robs her from her people … The end is not only the end of the freedom of the peoples oppressed by the Jew, but also the end of this parasite […]