Israel post-COVID-19: Haredi integration or end of liberal democracy?

This is the fourth and final installment in a series of in-depth articles examining key aspects of ultra-Orthodox society and its role in and influence on the country today.

HUNDREDS OF haredi protesters gather outside the IDF recruitment office in Jerusalem’s Mekor Baruch neighborhood to protest IDF induction, in 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

HUNDREDS OF haredi protesters gather outside the IDF recruitment office in Jerusalem’s Mekor Baruch neighborhood to protest IDF induction, in 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Passover 2015, I was in the midst of my term as Canadian ambassador to Israel, facing a dilemma that so many do, particularly those finding themselves without a home or family. (more…)

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The Last Class in Munkacs

The Munkacs Hebrew Gymnasium was among the most progressive experiments in the history of Jewish secondary education.

Bob Bahr – September 18, 2019

Students of the Munkacs Hebrew Gymnasium in 1941 on a holiday outing.

Students of the Munkacs Hebrew Gymnasium in 1941 on a holiday outing.

It was one of the most progressive experiments in the history of Jewish secondary education in Eastern Europe. The Munkacs Hebrew Gymnasium, in a major Jewish community in the Carpathian Mountains, was established in 1925 as a school where every subject in a modern high school curriculum was taught in Hebrew. Young Jewish men and women studied alongside one another as equals. Historians have described it as the most prestigious Jewish high school east of Warsaw. (more…)

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Coronavirus and the haredim: By the numbers

Why the haredi status quo cannot be sustained

By VIVIAN BERCOVICI – MARCH 11, 2021

 

Gathering at the Rashbi gravesite, Meron, June 6, 2020 (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)

Gathering at the Rashbi gravesite, Meron, June 6, 2020 (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)

This is the third in an in-depth series of articles examining key aspects of haredi society and its role in and influence on the country today. (more…)

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Haredim drift further from Israeli mainstream

This is the second in an in-depth series of articles examining key aspects of haredi society and its role in and influence on the country today.

BY  VIVIAN BERCOVICI – MARCH 4, 2021

SIMMERING ANGER: The torched bus burns in Bnei Brak in late January. (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESMAN)

SIMMERING ANGER: The torched bus burns in Bnei Brak in late January.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESMAN)

 The burning bus. Torched and aflame on a main street in Bnei Brak a haredi enclave abutting Tel Aviv, the bus was seen around the world in late January. It has become an iconic image, seen by some to reflect the lawlessness and autonomy among haredim in Israel that has become somewhat regular in the COVID era. Not even the firefighters would rush to douse the blaze without a police escort. (more…)

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Haredi impunity and autonomy: Tantamount to insurrection?

By VIVIAN BERCOVICI    FEBRUARY 26, 2021

A typical street scene in the bustling modern-day shtetl of Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

A typical street scene in the bustling modern-day shtetl of Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH

This is the first of an in-depth series of articles in the run-up to the March 23 election looking at key aspects of haredi society and its role in and influence on the country today.

“If we face the choice of transgressing the laws of Moses or the laws of the state, we will violate the laws of the state, not those of Moses.”

– Yitzhak Meir-Levin, haredi welfare minister, addressing his cabinet colleagues at a meeting, July 12, 1950 (more…)

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Modern “Noah’s Ark”

Harvard’s top astronomer to ‘Post’: Alien life could exist. Lightsail technology could allow humanity to achieve interstellar travel. * Modern “Noah’s Ark” could help save, reconstruct life on Earth.

By AARON REICH – JANUARY 11, 2021

If humanity is truly not alone in the universe, how would we go about finding extraterrestrial life, and would they be as advanced or perhaps even more so than we are?

These are the questions that Prof. Avi Loeb seeks to answer, and according to his newest book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, which is set to come out January 26, the clues might already be there.

Loeb, an Israeli-born scientist who has been the longest ever serving chair of Harvard University’s Astronomy department, has long been one of the most vocal advocates for the possible existence of alien life. (more…)

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Wherefore the Hanukkah scroll

Most Jews know only the legend about the miracle of the cruse of oil and very little about the actual military victories of the Maccabees.

TOMB OF the Maccabees near present-day Mevo Modi’im. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

TOMB OF the Maccabees near present-day Mevo Modi’im. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The festival of Hanukkah has many beautiful customs such as the dreidel, latkes and sufganiyot, but there is one custom we would expect to find on Hanukkah that seems to be missing – the reading of a scroll in public. After all, on Purim we read the Scroll of Esther every year in order to publicize the miracle. Why don’t we read a scroll on Hanukkah in order to publicize the miracles that God wrought for our ancestors in the days of Mattathias and his sons? The result is that most Jews know only the legend about the miracle of the cruse of oil (Shabbat 21b) and very little about the actual military victories of the Maccabees. (more…)

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500 drunken elephants: The untold Hanukkah story with no Maccabees

A different kind of redemption from Greek tyranny

By ZACK ROTHBART  – DECEMBER 10, 2020

 

Ptolemy IV Philopator's drunken elephants turn on their masters, by Jan Luyken, 1700. (photo credit: COURTESY THE RIJKSMUSEUM/NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)

Ptolemy IV Philopator’s drunken elephants turn on their masters, by Jan Luyken, 1700.
(photo credit: COURTESY THE RIJKSMUSEUM/NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)

Antiochus and his elephants left  Gaza in defeat.

One of the largest battles of the ancient world was over – apparently the first time Asian and African elephants had faced off against one another – though the victor’s herd had been of little help, famously fleeing the war zone in a crazed frenzy. (more…)

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Reinventing Israel’s History

‘Promised Land’ or revisionist history? A former Knesset member weighs in on Barack Obama’s telling of Israel’s story

By Dov Lipman – CT Jewish Ledger – December 11, 2020

(JNS) I have never criticized former U.S. President Barack Obama publicly – neither during my time in the Knesset nor anywhere else – despite my having disagreed with many of his policies. I am of the strong opinion that Israelis should not engage in or interfere with American politics, and I regularly offer a blanket thank you to all American presidents, including Obama, for their economic and military support for Israel.< (more…)

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