A Stolen Synagogue Seat and the Fate of a Russian-Jewish Family

Born in 1893 in a small, backwater Russian shtetl, Doba-Mera Medvedeva began writing her memoirs—filled with rich and detailed descriptions of Jewish life—while living in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Her grandson, the Israeli historian Michael Beizer, later published these Russian-language memoirs, which have recently been translated into English by Alice Nakhimovsky. The passage below describes the arrival in the shtetl of Medvedeva’s uncle Alter, who would use his relative wealth to exploit her family. Crucial to this passage is the mizra, or eastern wall of a synagogue, where the most desirable seats in the sanctuary could be purchased; sitting near the eastern wall was the ultimate sign of status:

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Russian Jewry, Shtetl, Synagogue

Fearing Abandonment by the U.S., the Saudis Look to Russia and China

Sept. 15 2021

Saudi Arabia has been in the news this week because of the recent release of a 2016 FBI report on the role of its subjects in the September 11 terrorist attacks. But there is other, more timely news from the country that the press has largely ignored: a military cooperation agreement concluded last month between Riyadh, a traditional U.S ally, and Moscow, a supporter of the anti-American Iran-Syria axis. Ilan Berman comments:

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: Abraham Accords, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy