One Family’s Story of Jewish Life and Rebirth in the Shadow of the Shoah

Directed by Steve Brand, the 1984 film Kaddish tells the story of Yossi Klein Halevi, his father the Hungarian Holocaust survivor Zoltan Klein, his mother Breindy, and his experience growing up in Brooklyn in the shadow of the Shoah. The film has recently been remastered and rereleased, and was screened last week by Mosaic along with an interview with Klein Halevi. Karen Lehrman Bloch writes in her review:

Kaddish . . . is an intimately powerful documentary about the effects of the Holocaust on its first- and second-generation survivors, [which] movingly contemplates how trauma is passed down from parent to child.

At first, Zoltan didn’t see the point of bringing Jewish children into the world. But Breindy insisted. Three years later, Yossi was born. As with many survivors, having a family helped Zoltan reintegrate into society. But while other survivors did not talk about it openly, Zoltan wanted his son to be “emotionally prepared.” For many coming of age in the 1950s and 60s, the postwar years were a time of stability and calm, but Yossi’s childhood was dominated by his father’s belief that the Shoah could recur at any time.

As a child, Yossi and his friends organized civil-defense units, planning escape routes through Borough Park’s sewer systems. In the sixth grade, Yossi became a writer and activist, forming a Zionist discussion group and joining the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. He led student delegations to confront Jewish establishment organizations in New York and eventually the Ovir—the Soviet migrations office—in Moscow.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: American Jewry, Film, Holocaust, Yossi Klein Halevi

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy