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סלימה מוראד פאשה, זמרת יהודיה-עיראקית

Women of Choices: The Sad Story of Greatest Jewish-Arab Female Singers

One interesting phenomena of Jewish life in the modern Arab world was the stardom achieved by many Jewish female singers. There was reason for this: with Muslim society constraints on issues of modesty – often forbidden to appear in front of men – it was easier for Jewish women to make significant breakthroughs in local music business. These included Alice Fitoussi, Line Monty and Reinette L’Oranaise in Algeria, Zohara Alfasiya in Morocco, Sultana Yusef and Nadhima Ibrahim in Iraq – to name a few. But stardom in Arab society soon presented life choices. Emigration into anonymity in Israel or remaining[…]

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Once a Prodigy, always an Outsider: The Amazing Story of Salomon Maimon

In a new Israeli Reality Show “Married at First Sight”, couples meet for the first time at their wedding. 250 years ago, this format was an acceptable practice, having quite the same motives – mostly financial ones. Our tragic hero had such an experience. Salomon Ben Yehoshua was born in 1753 in the town of Nieswiez, Lithuania. He was an exceptional famous “Iluy” (Torah and Talmudic prodigy), which automatically made him a most desirable match. Unfortunately, his father had financial problems which he wished to solve by marrying his son at the very young age of 11. One (allegedly wealthy) widow[…]

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"תושיה יהודית", קריקטורה המתארת יהודי רפורמי מברך על נרות חנוכה שהודלקו על עץ אשוח. מתוך העיתון "דער גרויסער קונדס", ארה"ב, 30 בדצמבר 1910. (בית התפוצות, ארכיון התצלומים באדיבות אליהו בנימיני)

Just Like the Ones I Used to Know? Christmas Music and its Jewish Songwriters

Christmas is, ostensibly, one of the least Jewish days in the calendar. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a less Jewish day than one that celebrates the birth of a religious figure who was firmly and decisively rejected by Jews, and is traditionally celebrated with a special church mass and/or a Christmas ham. Historically, Christmas could also be a dangerous time for Jews, such as when a pogrom broke out in Warsaw in 1881 on Christmas Day. And yet, Jews have had a major impact on Christmas and the way it is celebrated in one fundamental way: through its soundtrack.[…]

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Reception in Honor of Beit Hatfutsot in Vienna

Ambassador of Israel in Austria, Ms. Talya Lador-Fresher, hosted a festive reception and Hanukah candles lighting at her home with respected members of the Jewish community in Vienna, marking the 40th anniversary of Beit Hatfutsot. Ambassador Lador-Fresher pointed out the importance of Beit Hatfutsot, the unique museum telling the ongoing story of the Jewish people, emphasizing the cultural richness and the diversity of different movements. Mr. Dan Tadmor, CEO of Beit Hatfutsot, Ms. Adi Akunis, director of the Friends Association, Ms. Enia Kupfer Zeevi, director of the Israel and Europe Desks, Ms. Hannah Pri Zan, chair of the Friends Association, and Dr. Joanna[…]

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A Miserable Hanukkah in Paducah – Ulysses S. Grant’s General Order no. 11

Hanukah eve, 25 Kislev 5623 – 1862. A heavy snow blister was raging outside, while the town’s Jews gathered in their homes, around the Hanukia. Scents of fried latkes filled the warm living rooms, dreidels were spinning, blessings were sung. Suddenly, strong bangs on the door and loud calls were yelled: “Jews Out!”. Copies of an expulsion order were being nailed to the wooden doors. The General Order no. 11 was now officially on. Sounds exactly like a classic pogrom scene in Europe, or in Northern Africa, right? Well, not quite so. The above did not take place in Galicia,[…]

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Eight days – Eight facts you may not have known about Hanukkah

Before There Were Potatoes There Was … Cheese!  Potatoes only reached Europe in the 16th century – following the “discovery” of the Americas. Hey, so what about Latkes? Before there were potato Latkes the tradition was to eat cheese pancake – commemorating brave Judith who fed the Greek general before she decapitated him in his sleep, saving her village. Hanukkah 24/6 The high Jewish holidays can only begin on four out of seven days of the week. Hanukkah can begin on any day of the week besides Tuesday Hanukkah at the White House  In 1951, Prime Minister of Israel David[…]

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Knesset Celebrates World Jewry with Beit Hatfutsot

The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs initiated a national day to mark and promote the relationship between Israel and global Jewish communities. Beit Hatfutsot, a leading educational and cultural institution, was invited to address members of the Knesset and present a display featuring projects from “The Jewish Lens”, one of the Museum’s leading international programs. Dozens of guests and invitees were enamored with the innovative presentation and were familiarized with Beit Hatfutsot’s concepts for meaningful Jewish engagement. Two parliamentary committees were convened in order to review existing initiatives for strengthening close relationships with global communities, while exploring new ideas for additional[…]

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A Special Visit to Beit Hatfutsot by Mr. Tony Blair

We were proud and delighted to have the former Prime Minister of Britain, special envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East and founding chair of The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Mr. Tony Blair, for a short visit at Beit Hatfutsot on Friday, December 8. Mr. Blair was hosted by Ms. Irina Nevzlin, chair of Beit Hatfutsot Board of Directors and president of the Nadav Foundation, and Mr. Dan Tadmor, CEO of Beit Hatfutsot. They guided him through the new wing, and thanked him deeply for his dedication to Israel and the Middle East. Tony Blair visited the exhibition Forever Young – Bob[…]

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Human Rights Day: The Story of Julius Rosenwald

The history of the Civil Rights movement in the United States, and the strive of African-Americans for equality, is illuminated with many Jewish names. Rabbi Abraham Heschel  marched with Martin Luther King. Lawyers such as Joel Spingarn and Samuel Leibowitz fought groundbreaking legal cases. Artists, like Bob Dylan, helped mobilize the masses to protests. Most important,  many less known activists who marched and demonstrated for their fellow Americans. Some like Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman would pay with their lives for their ideals. They all continued, in the words of President Obama, the Jewish mission of Tikkun Olam. In many[…]

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Joseph Trumpeldor (1880-1920) in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1911-1912. Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center

Joseph Trumpeldor’s Amazing Days of Glory in Japanese Captivity

“It is good to die for our country” is undoubtedly one of the most famous quotes in Israeli collective ethos, referred to Joseph Trumpeldor before dying from his wounds in the battle of Tel Hai in 1920. At that point Trumpeldor was already a famous hero, mainly for his glorious actions in the Jewish Legion during World War I. However less is known about his leadership qualities demonstrated years earlier, during the Russo-Japanese War, in which he lost his hand and was captured by the Japanese. A certain background about early 20th century Japan is in place in order to[…]

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Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv Entrance from gate #2 (Matatia gate)