“The Bird Man” by Sarah Breger
“Is There Life After Death?” by Amy E. Schwartz
“Invisible Roma” by Ben Judah
“Yael Naim: A New Soul Comes of Age” by Daphna Berman
“118 Days in Iran’s Evin Prison”

Order print edition · Subscribe

Recipe for Libyan Chraime

(Serves 4) Ingredients 1 cup soy oil olive oil, for frying 1 onion, sliced into rings A head of fresh garlic, coarsely chopped 1 tsp. hot paprika 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. ras al hanout (described below) 4 fillets/slices of saltwater fish (Chaddad recommends grouper) 1 long potato, sliced 1 long red pepper, sliced   1| Boil the potato slices for about ten minutes in water. Remove, dry and deep fry in the soy oil with the peppers until they brown. Remove from the heat and strain out the oil. Keep the oil. 2| In a wide saucepan (ovenproof if you plan to finish the dish in the oven), quickly fry the fish in olive oil for about half a minute on each side. Remove fish from the pan but keep the oil. 3| In the same pan, heat the olive oil to a low temperature and add the onion. Fry over low heat for...

Continue reading

Culinary Lessons from a Libyan Prison

A year after he was arrested in Libya on charges of espionage and incarcerated for five months, Rafael Rafram Chaddad savors his freedom by sautéing a pile of sliced onions, browning chunks of lamb, dumping grated tomatoes on top and scattering handfuls of fiery Libyan spices into a pot—the makings of a stew he was served in prison. Released last August, the Israeli chef and photographer is cooking one of the meals of his affliction late into the night in a friend’s apartment in Jaffa. The Tunisian-born Chaddad, 35, traveled to Libya in 2010 at the behest of the Or Shalom Center, which is dedicated to preserving the heritage of Libya’s vanished 2,500-year-old Jewish community. When Or Shalom founder Pedazur Benattia asked Chaddad to photograph Jewish cemeteries and synagogues to document the community that once numbered...

Continue reading

Travels with Pnin

In college, I made the ill-advised decision to join the cross-country ski team. Slow, given to daydreams, and so lacking any sense of direction that my friends had taken to using me as a sort of reverse compass, I wound my way through the woods, miles behind, dreaming of another dreamer: Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin. Growing up in a family of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, I first knew Nabokov not as the author of the controversial novel Lolita, but rather as that rare Russian butterfly, the Friend of the Jews. I heard stories about how he ended friendships over anti-Semitic remarks, shopped in Nazi-boycotted Jewish stores, spoke up for Israel and against anti-Semitism. Nabokov had been born into an aristocratic Russian family with a tradition of fighting for Jewish rights. He fled the Bolsheviks for...

Continue reading

Roma in the Holocaust

What Jews call the Holocaust, the Roma (also known as gypsies) call Porrajmos, their “devouring.” Between 220,000 and 500,000 Roma were murdered by Nazi Germany and its sympathizers during World War II. Despite the enormity of these numbers, the Roma experience during the Holocaust is not widely known, even among the Roma themselves.

Continue reading

Roma Girl

Invisible Roma

Tied together through Romani, their mother tongue, and loosely organized in insular tribes, the Roma have traditionally served as craftsmen, musicians or seasonal hired hands, and have a reputation throughout Europe as thieves and swindlers. In an era when Europe’s birth rates have fallen to record lows, their numbers are exploding.

Continue reading

Yossi Leshem

Meet the Birdman

Yossi Leshem—the world-renowned ornithologist and champion of Israel’s environmental movement—resembles a cross between a linebacker and an academic. Frameless glasses perched precariously on his nose, he speeds through Jerusalem’s narrow streets, simultaneously leaning down to fumble for a pamphlet about owls, answering his cell phone and informing me that it is too cloudy to bird-watch.

Continue reading