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Zion’s World

04/01/2008
Staff Writer
Zion Ozeri, globetrotting photographer who lives on the Upper East Side, packs a few camera bodies, several lenses and lots of film when he sets off on a working trip. But that’s not the most vital part of his job. “I have a big smile,” says Ozeri, whose pictures of Israeli families, with roots in native lands around the world, are featured in these pages. “People have to trust you. You have to convince them to allow you into their homes.”

A Bounce For Israel PR

11/12/2004
Staff Writer
Dozens of young Israelis have traveled to three continents on a privately sponsored public relations campaign for the Jewish state because Joey Low asked himself a question two years ago. Low, a national Hillel board member who lives in Purchase, found that “college kids knew nothing about Israel” and he wondered, “What can we do to change that?”

Homecoming On The Tarmac

08/03/2007
Staff Writer
A group of French Jews who made aliyah last week to be part of Israeli life avoided one of the less-enjoyable parts of Israeli life — a nationwide strike, the third in eight months. Histadrut, Israel’s major labor federation, exempted Ben-Gurion Airport from a general strike that paralyzed the country for 24 hours. Workers at the airport remained on the job to handle the arrival of more than 600 French citizens, the largest single-day aliyah from France since 1972.

Arab Land-Ban Panned

07/27/2007
Staff Writer
American organizations that advocate equal rights for Arab residents of Israel were critical of a bill passed by the Knesset in an early stage last week that would limit the sale of Jewish National Fund land sales to Jews. The bill, approved in its first reading by a 64-16 vote, would bypass a 2004 court ruling and in effect bar the Israel Lands Authority from selling JNF land to Israeli Arabs.

France Remembers Deportation

07/27/2007
Staff Writer
Sixty-five years ago, France tried to show its loyalty to the Nazis. Last week, France showed its loyalty to history.On the anniversary of the July 1942 deportation of some 13,000 Jews by Vichy police from a bicycle stadium that served as a transit camp, French officials took part in a series of memorial events.

Shavuot, Samaritan-Style

06/22/2007
Staff Writer
Five weeks after the Jewish world celebrated the Festival of Weeks, the Samaritans celebrated theirs. On Sunday, Shavuot on the lunar calendar of the Samaritans — descendants of Jewish tribes exiled from the Holy Land nearly three millennia ago — several scores of members of the extant group made their annual pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, their holy mountain near Nablus in the West Bank.  

Culture Clash Reigns At Parade

06/15/2007
Staff Writer
Plans to host a Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last year brought protests from Israel’s Orthodox community. The parade was cancelled, a casualty of public concern over the military battles at the country’s northern and southern borders. Last week Tel Aviv’s annual Gay Pride rally took place, and both gay marchers and Orthodox protestors turned out.

Celebrating At The Wall

06/08/2007
Staff Writer
For Jewish boys through the ages, the bar mitzvah, usually in a local synagogue, usually on a Saturday morning, is a communal passage from childhood to adulthood. For a growing number of 13-year-olds, the passage takes place in the shadow of Judaism’s holiest site. Sometimes on a Monday or Thursday morning, or on Rosh Chodesh, when the Torah is chanted.

Lag b’Omer High In Israel

05/11/2007
Staff Writer
The mountaintop city of Meron, in northern Israel, is the country’s second-highest spot, but for one day each spring it is the highest in religious passion. On Lag b’Omer, the 33rd day of the period between Passover and Shavuot, an estimated quarter-million people, from secular to haredi, ascend to the open grounds of the city that becomes Israel’s answer to the Kentucky Derby or the Indianapolis 500 — an annual Woodstock that attracts families instead of hippies. Pilgrims and tourists come days in advance, arriving by car and bus and van.

Passover, Samaritan Style

05/04/2007
Staff Writer
Mount Gerizim, in the northern West Bank halfway between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, holds a special place in Jewish tradition. It was the site where half of the biblical tribes were commanded to pronounce the blessings upon the Children of Israel after Joshua led them into the Promised Land. In Samaritan tradition, Mount Gerizim holds the highest position of honor.
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