International

An Outlaw In Autumn

Yosef Begun, the old
prisoner of Zion,
still defiant.

05/18/2010
Associate Editor

Yosef Begun, 78, one of the great refusenik “outlaws” of the last century, walks with a gentle lope through the streets of big cities, as out of place as an old cowboy after the frontiers got civilized. Others his age might think of themselves in life’s twilight but his twilight was long ago, when he was in his 30s, in the half-light of prison cells, where he’d remember a song about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, fearing nothing.

Yosef Begun’s place in Jewish life has gone from myth to among the missing. michael datikash

Limmud Moscow Draws Crowd

05/05/2010

Limmud Moscow drew more than 550 young Jews from the Russian capital and other cities earlier this month for three days of intensive Jewish learning, discussing and socializing. One conference theme was Jewish Nobel Prize winners from Russia and Israel, and among those represented were Yitzchak Rabin (by his daughter, Dalia), Shimon Peres (by his daughter, Tsvia Walden) and Menachem Begin (by Herzl Makov, director of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center). Limmud FSU was founded four years ago by Chaim Chesler of Israel, Michael Chlenov of Russia and Sandy Cahn of New York.

 

A poster for Limmud Moscow.

‘Sex And The City,’ Beijing Style

With a nod to Carrie Bradshaw, Anna Sophia Loewenberg webcasts her search for love in a town that’s never heard of JDate.

08/14/2009
Staff Writer

In a bright pink button-up dress, white knee-highs and dangly earrings, a daringly confident Su Fei saunters into a swanky Beijing boutique hotel for an evening of speed-dating, where she’ll sit down with 21 eligible bachelors — like Hai, Wukejia and Richard.
 

But for Su Fei, a curly-haired Carrie Bradshaw look-alike whose real name is Anna Sophie Loewenberg, finding a boyfriend in Beijing isn’t easy.
 

Loewenberg grew up in California, but was drawn to China by stories of her father finding refuge there from the Nazis.

‘We Lost A Friend’

Polish president, victim of plane crash in Russia,
had close ties to the Jewish community.

04/13/2010
Special to The Jewish Week

Note: The Polish people suffered a loss when President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 other passengers on a Russian jet, including many top Polish officials, were killed in a crash Saturday near Smolensk, Russia. Jewish leaders in Poland praised Kaczynski, 60, as a true friend of the Jewish community and Israel, and participants in the annual March of the Living wore black armbands this week in the president’s memory.

Late Polish President Lech Kaczynki, right, with Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich at Chanukah celebration in Warsaw shul.

Slow Jewish Revival In Gdansk

A Passover seder on the Baltic is a rare chance for isolated Jews to celebrate together.

04/07/2010
Staff Writer

Gdansk, Poland – Marianna Grochola left her home at 11:30 a.m. last Monday for a 6:45 p.m. seder.

A widow and retired accountant, a child survivor of the Holocaust who grew up in communist Poland, Grochola took a bus to her railroad station in Slupsk, a small town 120 miles west of Gdansk. Then she took a slow train north, then walked a few miles from the main railroad station here to the city’s sole extant synagogue, the site of the first-night seder.

Marianna Grochola, travels 120 miles from her small town in northern Poland to a seeder in Gdansk each year.

In Germany, Confronting the Nazi Perpetrators

04/01/2010
JTA

BERLIN (JTA) -- It isn't easy facing the cold stare of a Nazi perpetrator, even in a photo. Increasingly, however, memorial sites in Germany are making the confrontation possible, opening a door that long has been sealed.

A new exhibit at the former Ravensbrueck women's concentration camp in the ex-East German state of Brandenburg is the latest example.

Let My People ... Tweet

Welcome to the Tweder. Can Twitter and the Passover seder coexist?

03/24/2010
Staff Writer

 Last Passover, Dan Berkal spent the first seder dining with family and friends at the James Hotel in Chicago — chanting the prayers and songs of the Haggadah, sipping the four requisite glasses of wine ... and updating his Twitter status.

“Suddenly four children enter the room,” he tweeted at 4:53 p.m. “Nobody seems to like the wise child,” he added a minute later, followed by the 4:55 p.m. announcement: “We tell the wise son, ‘No dessert for you!’”

Screenshot from last year’s Tweder, featuring a matzah background on Dan Berkal’s Twitter page.

Gauging The Fallout From British Expulsion

Action against Israeli diplomat could pave way for possible arrests of IDF officers in England.

03/24/2010
Staff Writer

Britain’s expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over the use of a dozen forged British passports in the killing of a Hamas terrorist in January means Israeli army officers could be arrested if they visit Britain, according to a specialist on the United Kingdom and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Reaching Out In Battle Against Hate

12/24/2004
Staff Writer

In the highly charged political and religious climate of France, the country’s influential Jewish student union has been on the front lines of the fight to beat back hate.It made world headlines this year when it launched its controversial, and since pulled, advertising campaign with the words “Dirty Jew” scrawled in graffiti-like script over the images of Jesus and Mary.

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