The 17th-Century German Former Minister Whose Illustrations Graced America’s Best-Known Haggadah

Aware that Ashkenazi custom forbids the consumption of legumes on Passover, Maxwell House decided in 1932 to publish and distribute haggadot for the holiday—aiming to reassure Jews that coffee beans were not beans by either rabbinic or botanical standards. Henry Abramson tells the remarkable story of the artist behind the images reproduced in the early editions of this now-famous bilingual guide to the seder.

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Read more at Jewish Star

More about: American Jewish History, Conversion, Haggadah, Jewish art

Why a Government Victory in Southwestern Syria Is Bad News for Israel

Sept. 17 2021

Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebel forces in the city of Daraa, where the initial protests that sparked the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. The agreement ended a 75-day assault on the city, located near the country’s southwestern border, by Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the significance of these events:

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Golan Heights, Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war