The Remarkable Story of a Founder of Orthodox Judaism and His Tomb

Nov. 13 2018

In 1943, Slovakia’s pro-Nazi puppet regime confiscated the old Jewish cemetery in Bratislava (known before 1918 as Pressburg)—which dated back to the 17th century—planning to pave it over and build a tram line where it once lay. Somehow, the Bratislava Jewish community managed to convince their rulers to allow them to reinter the bodies and even to preserve the grave of the city’s best-known rabbi, Moses Schreiber (1762-1839), perhaps because the authorities feared that there was a curse placed on his grave. The decision led to the construction of a mausoleum that still survives. Henry Abramson describes the cemetery and its history and tells the story of Schreiber, also known as the Ḥatam Sofer, who played a key role in the development of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Judaism. (Video, 13 minutes.)


Read more at Jewish History Lectures

More about: History & Ideas, Hungarian Jewry, Jewish cemeteries, Slovakia


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount