My Grandmother, the Undocumented Immigrant
By Aaron Hamburger for Tablet Magazine
On a recent trip to Cuba, I learned more about my grandmother’s journey to America—and the different ways my family has interpreted that piece of our history
In our family lore, we’ve regarded my grandmother’s year in Cuba as a bit of trivia in her heroic coming-to-America story, a peculiar intermezzo between the melancholy overture of shtetl life in rural Russia and the happy-ending crescendo of her American Dream. I hadn’t given it much thought until I decided to visit Havana myself in April, accompanying my husband, who was going there for work. It seemed like a rare opportunity to witness a country that had been off-limits to Americans for so long and was now going through a historic transformation.
We began preparing for the trip last fall, reading books and articles, filling out our visa applications, and loading up on essentials that our trip leaders had suggested we take along, like over-the-counter medications or extra rolls of toilet paper, which we were warned were not easily obtainable in Cuba because of the American embargo that’s still in effect.
The Forgotten Truth about the Balfour Declaration
Martin Kramer for Mosaic
For 100 years the British statement, which inaugurated Zionism’s legitimation in the eyes of the world, has been seen as the isolated act of a single nation. The truth is much different.
On November 2, 1917, a century ago, Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, conveyed the following pledge in a public letter to a prominent British Zionist, Lord Walter Rothschild:
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
At the time, as World War I raged, British forces were fighting deep in Palestine against the Ottomans, and were poised to take Jerusalem.
Are smart Jews too cool for shul?
By Jeffrey Salkin on Martini Judaism
I was a college freshman, and I was in a psychology class. The subject of religion came up, and I publicly admitted that I believed in God and was a committed Jew.
The professor grew pale. I will never forget what he said to me. “This makes me very sad. I am hoping that as you become more educated, you will, at the very least, question your faith.”
I had not thought of that professor (who was Jewish) and that experience for several decades – until this week with the release of a Pew study on the correlation between religious attachment and educational levels.
10 Photos to Remind You That Jews Don't Fit Into a Stereotype (And Never Have)
by ELAD NEHORAI for PopChassid
Okay, let’s be real. Most of the world, and especially America, when it imagines what Jews look like, usually has an image like this sticking out in their mind: (picture of Woody Allen)
Yep, thanks to Woody Allen, Hollywood, and plenty of other reasons that have no connection to reality, the majority of the world likes to think Jews are all white, nerdy, and short. And have been like that since day one.
50 years after the Six Day War, we shouldn't lament Israel's power to protect itself
By Rabbi Jonathan Miller, Temple Emanu-El, Birmingham, Alabama
In May of 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, who had joined in a military alliance with Syrian President Hafez el Assad, began to give speeches which galvanized the Arab world. Daily, he proclaimed to the Arab world that he promised to "drive Israel into the sea". He expelled the United Nations' Peacekeepers from the Sinai Peninsula. Syrian armies advanced on the Golan ready to attack Israel from their commanding heights.