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

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

The Real Palestinian Refugee Problem, and Mahmoud Abbas’s Indifference

Of the millions of so-called Palestinian refugees the world over, most are in fact not refugees by any standard definition, but are properly speaking the descendants of refugees, often kept in a permanent state of segregation and dependency by Arab regimes. But as a consequence of the Syrian civil war, numerous Palestinians living in Syria have become actual refugees, fleeing to countries like Lebanon. Khaled Abu Toameh explains their current discontent with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas:

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Joseph Biden, Lebanon, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian refugees, Syrian civil war