Beshert | Bonded by the Bard

“Was that your friend Bill Shakespeare?” my youngest son, Alex, then six, asks after my husband, Steve, hangs up the phone. 

If that seems like a crazy question from a child, it was par for the course in my household, because it was words that wooed me, words that won me, and words that keep us – the entire family – in thrall. 

From the very beginning, in fact. 

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What Should the Anti-Semitism Czar Do?

For two years, America did not have a point person dealing with global anti-Semitism, and much has changed in that time: In Eastern Europe, attempts to blur historical facts regarding the Holocaust have increased, especially in Poland, while Hungary experienced a government-backed anti-Semitic smear campaign against George Soros. Anti-Semitic incidents in Western Europe remain on the rise, and in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was widely denounced for failing to deal with anti-Semitism in its leadership and ranks. But the biggest shift in anti-Semitic trends did not happen in distant countries overseas. It occurred in the U.S., where white nationalist anti-Semitism reared its head, leading murderous attacks on synagogues, hateful Nazi marches and countless incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism. In addition, attacks on Jews in the New York area, many of them by African Americans, also saw an alarming surge.

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Beshert | Really Glad We Didn’t Skip That Party

That we met on February 22, my Grandma Clara’s birthday, my parents’ wedding day and my Bar Mitzvah day on my mom’s and dad’s 22nd anniversary, must be pure coincidence, right? We chose our wedding day, June 10th, randomly; it turned out to be my grandparents’ wedding day nearly 70 years earlier. Another coincidence… unless one accepts that beshert operates in strange and mysterious ways. 

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Are We All Hasidim?

In a world in which any Jew is a potential target of anti-Semitism, it is the most visible Jews who are most threatened. Jews with black hats, with tight curls hanging down below their ears and black coats and women wearing modest head coverings, they are the most vulnerable. Jews in synagogues. In Brooklyn, as in Jersey City and Monsey, violence against individuals in their Hasidic communities is almost an everyday event. If someone wants to do harm to a Jew, Hasidic Jews and their communities are and have become easy targets.

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Qassem Soleimani and the 2020 Elections

An attack that lasted less than a minute on Thursday night marked a new phase in America’s standing in the Middle East. What was until that moment a tense standoff between the Trump administration and the Ayatollahs in Tehran turned into a rapidly escalating conflict, which could lead to anything from a cycle of attacks and counter-attacks to an all-out war.

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