THE WORLD’S MOST ISOLATED JEWISH COMMUNITIES

Posted on December 17th, 2017
BY IVANA MITROVIC FOR BEIT HATFUTSOT 


Different estimates show the number of Jews living in the world between 14.4 and 17.5 million – about half in Israel and more than half of the rest in the United States. But the bond to Judaism is not about strength in numbers.Here are five small and distant Jewish communities in the far corners of the Jewish world.

Iquitos, Northern Peru

The city of Iquitos, in northern Peru, is tucked deep in the rainforest. It is the largest city in the world inaccessible by road; people and supplies arrive by air or by boats on treacherous Amazon.

The first Jew to arrive in this remote area was Alfredo Coblentz, who moved from Germany to the nearby town of Yurimaguas in 1880 to work in the Amazon’s booming rubber industry. Five years later, three brothers – Moises, Abraham and Jaime Pinto – moved to Iquitos to work in the rubber field. They only stayed a few years, but others followed. Jews from Morocco soon arrived to try their luck in rubber trading.

 

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Hanukkah FAQ

Posted on December 10th, 2017
MJL Staff

 

Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.
 


From pronunciation to scheduling, questions and answers about the Festival of Lights.


How do you pronounce Hanukkah?

Is there a correct way to spell Hanukkah?

Why does Hanukkah last eight days?

What is Hanukkah about?

Is it OK to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas?

Why does Hanukkah fall on a different date each year?

Is the candelabra lit on Hanukkah called a menorah or a hanukkiah?

Why do Jews play dreidel on Hanukkah?

Do Jews traditionally exchange gifts on all eight nights of Hanukkah?


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Learning To Take a ‘Soulfie’ at Hanukkah

Posted on December 3rd, 2017
By Naomi Levy for Hadassah Magazine

Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in Jvillage's Hanukkah Guide.
 


What would Hanukkah be without the burning candles reminding us of God’s miracles in the time of the Maccabees and in our own days? But the candles we kindle on the holiday—which begins the evening of December 12—can also teach us about the miracle shining within each of us. As Proverbs 20:27 reminds us: “God’s candle is the human soul.” We are carrying God’s light within us. It burns like a pilot light, always available to help us and guide us. It’s our responsibility to honor and tend that light, to keep sharing it and spreading it.

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Who Saved Israel in 1947?

Posted on November 26th, 2017

Martin Kramer for Mosaic


The usual answer is Truman—but it could just as easily be Stalin. In fact, thanks to Zionist diplomacy, it was both; and therein lies a lesson for the Jewish state today.


November 29 marks the 70th anniversary of UN General Assembly resolution 181, recommending the partition of Mandate Palestine into two separate Jewish and Arab states. On that day in 1947, millions of listeners sat glued to their radio sets to follow the voting. The outcome set off spontaneous celebrations among Zionists everywhere, for it constituted the first formal international endorsement of a Jewish state.

To celebrate the anniversary, Israel’s embassy to the United Nations is restoring the hall in Flushing Meadows, New York—today the main gallery of the Queens Museum, then the meeting place of the General Assembly—to its appearance in 1947. The announced plan is to reenact the vote, with the current ambassadors of member states that voted “yes” recasting their ballots.

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The Kibbutz Movement

Posted on November 19th, 2017
BY RACHAEL GELFMAN SCHULTZ for myjewishlearning.com 


The proud and turbulent history of Israel's experiment in communal living.


The kibbutz — a collectively owned and run community — holds a storied place in Israeli culture, and Jews (and non-Jews) from around the world, including 2016 Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders, have volunteered on them. Launched in 1909, with the founding of Degania, Israel’s first kibbutz, this unique movement has changed dramatically over its more-than-100-year history.

Degania, in northern Israel, was founded by a group of young Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. They dreamed of working the land and creating a new kind of community, and a new kind of Jew — stronger, more giving, and more rooted in the land.

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