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Reconciling identities, between Germany and Austria

By emily · Posted March 24, 2014 at 3:39 pm

The rice factory-turned concentration camp in Trieste, Italy. c. Emily Alhadeff, 2006.

Reading this week’s personal essay by Corinne got me reflecting on my own experience traveling through Europe a few years ago.
I was 26 and, unlike Corinne, impartial to Germany.
As soon as I got to Lisbon — my first stop in a trek to Israel via Spain, Morocco, France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, and Egypt (completely overland except one flight and working on organic farms to “pay the rent”) — I noticed that my hostel was full of German tourists. My first farm, a few hours down the Atlantic coast, was run by one “Klaus.” Would my entire year of adventure be defined by Germans? Would I have to learn German to get by in Portugal?
On the bus out of Lisbon, I happened to sit next to an Austrian surfing enthusiast named Bernhard who actually became a good friend, and who treated me wonderfully me when I passed…

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Jewvangelist: The new webisode with potential

By emily · Posted March 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Jewvangelist is a goofy new web series about rabbinical life. Created by and starring Becky Kramer as Rabbi Leah Levy, Jewvangelist follows Leah’s leadership at Temple Beth Shalom, a California synagogue which has been in the Levy family since its inception. When synagogue membership begins to drop, Leah must build the congregation back up or risk the synagogue closing its doors, ending her family’s legacy forever.
The Jewvangelism gets rolling after Leah has a “run-in” with Mormon missionary Tripp Hopley, and realizes that proselytizing is the best method for building a congregation quickly. She heads out with her young sidekick cantor, Jay Katz, to observe the methods of missionaries and charismatic pastors in order to adopt similar tactics and gain membership for Leah’s synagogue.
This series has serious potential — after all, who doesn’t want a Jewish version of 7th Heaven? But Jewvangelist has a lot of ground to cover before it will leave a lasting impression. Structurally, the intended…

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Angry white kids, all grown up

By emily · Posted February 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm

By Dikla
Photo: Dikla

Four months ago, I had the privilege of covering an incredible presentation and open discussion at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood by an organization called the Parents Circle.

After the article ran in JTNews, I received some positive and negative feedback from the Jewish community, as such issues always elicit some sort of response. I expected it. I was not surprised.

But what bothered me, what really got to me was something I hadn’t really experienced since I was a 20-year-old Israeli-American political science student on San Francisco State University’s campus in 2002 during the second intifada.

At that time, campus rallies were held almost daily by handfuls of white, middle-upper class 19-24 year olds screaming about apartheid and equating the State of Israel to Nazi Germany, big, bold swastikas scrawled callously on poster board, held by a young man who probably had never read “Night”…

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By emily · Posted February 13, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Photo: Creative Commons/jazzijava

By Dikla

This week, Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, Vox Tablet, focused on the topic of Jewish day schools and the gender roles that they instill in young Jews both in the US and abroad.

In the podcast, host Sara Ivry interviewed author Elana Sztokman about her newly published book, Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools which Sztokman co-wrote with Chaya Gorsetman. Sztokman holds a doctorate in education and sociology, and she’s written extensively on gender issues and Jewish life and the book recently won a National Jewish Council Book Award.

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The liberal case for Israel

By Joel Magalnick · Posted October 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

When the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens visited last week to speak for the Seattle chapter of the American Jewish Committee, we sat down and chatted about a wide range of stuff. You can see his take on the Middle East here, but he had some specific words about Israel:

This is Seattle and probably a lot of your readers think I’m some kind of a right-wing lunatic. The case that I make when I speak is the powerful case to be made on Israel’s behalf is not the Jewish case, which is essentially a narrow case. It’s not the Christian case, and it’s not even the conservative case, though it’s worth pointing out that American soldiers have died for Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Saudis, Afghans, Somalis, Bosnians — but not a single American soldier has ever died defending Israel, the only ally we have that actually defends itself. But the powerful case is the liberal case, which is to say that there is one state in the Middle East you would want to live in if you’re gay. The one state you’d want to live in if you’re a woman with any kind of career…

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