After Arriving at the Sea of Galilee, a Group of Early Hasidim Encountered Plague

July 14 2020

In 1777, Rabbi Menaḥem Mendel of Vitebsk, the foremost leader of the still-young ḥasidic movement in what is now Belarus, set off with 30 of his followers and their families for the Land of Israel. Among his fellow travelers was another prominent Belarusian ḥasid, Abraham Katz of Kalisk, famous for his fits of wild prayerful ecstasy. They arrived—after an arduous six-month journey over land and sea—in Safed, which two centuries before had been an international capital of Kabbalah. A few years later they relocated to Tiberias, a city with its own rabbinic tradition dating to the 1st century CE. Yitzhak Melamed tells their story:

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Galilee, Hasidism, Ottoman Palestine

Despite Reasons for Worry, Jews Shouldn’t Lose Faith in the American Promise

Sept. 24 2021

From synagogue shootings, to attacks on Jews on the streets, to the gathering strength and viciousness of anti-Zionism, especially in the corridors of political power, American Jewry has ample reason for concern about its safety and wellbeing. But, surveying both the present situation and the deep roots of what has made America a welcoming home to Jews with “no analogue in the 2,000 years after the destruction of the Temple,” Josef Joffe argues that the U.S. remains exceptional. The bad news, however, is still bad:

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Read more at Commentary

More about: American exceptionalism, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Chuck Schumer