Outside of The Great Choral Synagogue in Kyiv, Ukraine

The Violent History—and Remarkable Transformation—of Jewish Life in Ukraine

When Russia attacked Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin stated that his goal was “denazification.” Historians agree that there is no substance to this claim—and that by invoking Nazism, Putin is attempting to weaponize the trauma of World War II to justify an invasion, and the many lives it has cost. 

Continue reading

Natan Sharansky recovering from COVID

Natan Sharansky Recovering From COVID

Natan Sharansky, hero of the Soviet Jewry movement and former head of the Jewish Agency, is recovering from a rough case of COVID-19. Sharansky, 73, who served in several top positions in the Israeli government and Knesset, contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated in Israel eight months ago. In a brief post on Facebook Friday, Sharansky confirmed that he and his wife Avital are recovering from COVID-19, thanking those who had offered help and expressed concern. “We are happy to report that we are slowly growing stronger and hope to go on improving,” Sharansky wrote. A friend who visited Sharansky on Friday said that he “looks like himself” again. Sharansky, according to an aide, tested positive for COVID-19 upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport on July 22, following a brief two-day visit to Washington, DC. He...

Continue reading

Talk of the Table | Why Feminists Should Eat Dairy on Hanukkah

Hanukkah is associated with the bravery of the Maccabees, the group of heroic Jews who rebelled against the Greek-Syrian empire, defeated it against all odds and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem. They lit a menorah with a little oil that lasted for eight days, sentencing us to centuries of eating fried food to excess. But there is an interesting feminist alternative to this male-dominated and oil-laden narrative. For some, Hanukkah is a time to celebrate the courage of a Jewish heroine, a woman who defeated, against all odds, a powerful enemy with her wit, daring—and some salty cheese. This is the story of Judith, a rich and beautiful widow who lived in the Judean town of Bethulia more than two and a half millennia ago. When the army of Assyrian King Nebuchadnezzar led by Holofernes invaded,...

Continue reading

Putin’s Jews

Mina Yuditskaya Berliner, a retired teacher of German, could be forgiven for feeling surprised when one of her former students invited her for tea after almost half a century. Berliner, now 94, hadn’t seen him since she made aliyah to Israel from the USSR in 1973. But in 2005, the former student came to Israel to visit—an official visit, no less, the first ever made by a Soviet or Russian leader.

Continue reading