Frank Sinatra’s Yarmulke

Dec. 18 2018

At a recent auction at Sotheby’s, collectors had a chance to purchase numerous items from the estate of Frank and Barbara Sinatra—among them, a kippah with the singer’s name crocheted on it. Amy Spiro writes:

A hand-crocheted kippah that once belonged to Frank Sinatra was auctioned off . . . for $9,375. . . . Sotheby’s estimated [it] would sell for $200-400, but the final bid was close to 25 times that amount. The auction house did not say who crocheted the kippah or how Frank came to own it. The description of the item, rather, noted that “Sinatra was a lifelong sympathizer with Jewish causes, and was awarded the Hollzer Memorial Award by the Los Angeles Jewish Community in 1949.” . . .

A separate item sold in the auction was the final script for a short 1945 film titled The House I Live In. The film, written by Sinatra and Albert Maltz, was designed to combat anti-Semitism and promote religious freedom in America.

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The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey