The opinions expressed on this webpage represent those of the individual authors and, unless clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of TBS.

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The TBS Book Club

When bad things happen, you must try to turn them into good things. So our shul took the terrible, lonely, bizarre months of the pandemic and came up with programs that promoted togetherness. (more…)

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Kol Nidre 5782

Gut yontif. I have heard there are three secrets to a successful Kol Nidre speech. First, have a good beginning. Second, have a good ending and third, have the two as close together as possible. I will try to make it short and sweet. This is (about) the 75th time that a President has stood in front of this congregation on Kol Nidre. What a wonderful milestone and I’m very proud to be standing here right now. (more…)

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“Only the rich could afford toilets.”

Archaeologists find 2,700-year-old toilet in luxurious palace in Jerusalem

The extraordinary find sheds light on life under the kings of Judah: “Only the rich could afford toilets.”



 The rare stone toilet is 2700 years old. Most likely used by one of the dignitaries of Jerusalem. (photo credit: YOLI SCHWARTZ/IAA)

The rare stone toilet is 2700 years old. Most likely used by one of the dignitaries of Jerusalem.
(photo credit: YOLI SCHWARTZ/IAA)

A privatetoilet dating back

to some 2,700-years was uncovered in a luxurious palace in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.

“A private toilet cubicle was very rare in antiquity, and only a few were found to date, most of them in the City of David,” said archaeologist Yaakov Billig, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA. “In fact, only the rich could afford toilets. A thousand years later, the Mishnah and the Talmud raised various criteria that defined a rich person, and Rabbi Yossi suggested that to be rich is ‘to have the toilet next to his table’.” (more…)

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Israel Matters! – October 2021

From Citrus to Cyberspace

When was the last time you had a Jaffa Orange? As children we gushed with pride and boasted that the very best oranges in the supermarket were from Israel! The Jaffa Orange was a tangible (and tasty!) reminder of the miracle of Israel. The ability to irrigate and re-engineer agriculture produced results (and produce!) Out of the desert … oranges! Israel produced as much as 1.8 million tons of caitrus in the 1980’s. I’m telling you, that fruit has appeal! But times have changed. Annual Israeli citrus production has dropped about 75% since those years. More broadly as shown in the chart below, while agriculture was responsible for over 40% of the value of Israel’s exports in the late 1950’s, these days agriculture only amounts to about 2% of the value of everything Israel sends to the world. What happened? (more…)

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Israel Matters! – September 2021

Israel and the Delta Variant: Lessons for US

In the July/August issue of Israel Matters, you were promised in-person reporting from Israel. Well, as you might have guessed, Covid had other plans in the form of an Israeli Delta Variant outbreak. So, in place of an in-person story, here is a one-person-removed accounting of what is going on in Israel.
To set the context, recall that in October 2020, all of us were isolated from each other and sad at the situation into which the pandemic had forced us. I decided to do something that always makes me happy and booked a trip to Israel, convincing my NYC friend Shari to join me. We made reservations for July 2021, at which time we assumed this mess would be over.
Obviously, we were wrong. (more…)

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Are the Taliban descendants of Israel?


Pashtun practices include circumcision on the eighth day and refraining from mixing meat and milk — Is there a connection to ancient Hebrews?



 TALIBAN FORCES patrol in front of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 2 (photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)

TALIBAN FORCES patrol in front of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 2
(photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)
With the fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban just shy of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the world’s attention has once again turned to Afghanistan.
Tucked away in south-central Asia, with unsavory neighbors such as Iran to the west and Pakistan to the east, the landlocked country, which once served as a base of operations for al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, is as beguiling as it is complex.
And yet amid its turbulent past, in which it has served as a flashpoint for the British Empire, the Soviet Union and now the United States, Afghanistan has long been home to one of the more intriguing unsolved mysteries of Jewish history: the fate of some of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. (more…)

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Rosh Hashanah

“Let the old year end and the new year and its blessings begin!” Certainly, this year, these words resonate for us.

In the last year, some of us suffered and recovered from COVID, while others sadly lost loved ones. Many of us have stayed physically well but have had to deal with anxiety or depression. Some of us have lost jobs or economic security. Others were worried about their kids, their young adult children or the elders they could not even visit in person. There is a sense of collective grief over all that has been and may be lost, as well as anxiety over the divisions in our society. (more…)

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July 2021: President’s Message

As we come upon the new year, we should reflect on what we have learned from the unusual nature of this past year. We look forward to a positive new year, with all its promise and possibilities. (more…)

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