Jerusalem

Secular in City

March 16, 2016

Yaniv doesn’t like Jerusalem. “It’s nothing personal,” he said nonchalantly between demonstrative slurps of my wife Jody’s famous chicken soup, as he joined us at the Shabbat table a few weeks back “I just don’t feel welcome here – in the city that, is,” he added, looking sheepishly at Jody. “It’s just so…you know…religious.” There’s […]

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The Little Bakery that Could

February 25, 2016

When the German Colony branch of Jerusalem’s Pe’er Bakery closed down last year after 43 years of operation, fans of its signature sweet whole wheat challah let out a collective kvetch: where would we go for challah now on Fridays? But Pe’er’s challah is back in the neighborhood, albeit at another establishment – the Coney […]

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Pepper spray and the loss of innocence

November 1, 2015

“At the beginning of the day, we had four full boxes with 50 in each,” Yaakov says, gesturing to the one remaining carton and the hastily hand-scrawled sign above the window reading “pepper spray” at the Talpiot Jerusalem branch of the popular trekker supply store La’metayel. “And now look,” he says, “there are just 8 […]

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The slippery slope

October 19, 2015

There’s an old Jewish joke poking fun at religious prohibitions and the inevitable “slippery slope” that comes when one errs too far on the side of permissiveness. A soon to be married man goes to his rabbi to ask about what is allowed in the bedroom. “Can I kiss her here?” the man asks pointing […]

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Re-entry syndrome and the five stages of aliyah

September 27, 2015

“It’s called re-entry syndrome,” my therapist friend Nomi explained to me as I was describing the difficulty I was having returning to Israel after our recent vacation abroad. “It happens to everyone.” It’s especially acute, she added, when you’ve just come from an especially polite country such as Norway, where we’d just spent two weeks […]

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Magic, demons and Judaism: what to do with troubling texts?

September 19, 2015

Dr. Robin Stamler is a magic buff. It’s not magic tricks that interest him so much as the intersection between Jewish tradition and the mysterious and inexplicable. In a brisk one-hour session at the recent Limmud Jerusalem conference, Stamler laid out some of the more esoteric examples of Judaism’s quirkier, some would say, darker side. […]

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Ch’aliyah: immigrating because the bread is better

May 21, 2015

Ever since making aliyah, we’ve joked that we could never leave Israel, and certainly never move out of Jerusalem…because of the challah. All that changed two weeks ago when the bakery that has been the source of perhaps the best kosher sweet whole wheat challah in the world closed down. After 43 years in business, […]

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Who Took My Bar Munchies?

March 22, 2015

Who ever heard of a bar without bar munchies? But that’s exactly what happened to us recently when my wife and I mustered up the courage to head out with friends on a cold Jerusalem night to check out Gatsby’s, a much talked about new cocktail lounge in downtown Jerusalem. The first thing to know […]

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Crowdsourcing the Real Israel

December 28, 2014

If you were just to read the international press these days, you might think Israel was on the verge of catastrophe, with sanctions from Europe just around the corner, boycotts being adopted from academia and beyond, terrorism back in vogue on the streets of Jerusalem and tourism in a tailspin. You wouldn’t be faulted for […]

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Wartime Unity at Hutzot HaYotzer

September 17, 2014

In a summer where nearly every large-scale outdoor event was canceled on instruction by Israel’s Home Front Command, the annual Hutzot HaYotzer International Arts and Crafts Festival in Jerusalem represented a desperately needed welcome breather. Now in its 39th year, Hutzot HaYotzer is the country’s preeminent place to meet talented local artists – nearly 200 in […]

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