Bermuda Gets Its First Full-Time Rabbi

Aug. 11 2022

While the British island territory of Bermuda has had an organized Jewish community for three decades, it has only now become home to a congregational rabbi—Chaim Birnhack, who is establishing a Chabad House there along with his wife. Zvika Klein writes:

Bermuda has a population of approximately 65,000 residents, of whom 500 are believed to be Jewish. . . . The island also hosts many Jewish tourists every year. The Birnhacks will be the thirteenth family to open an island Chabad House in the North Atlantic. The first one was founded in Puerto Rico in 1999.

North Carolina is the closest land to the archipelago of 181 islands. According to the Jewish Virtual Library (JVL), few Jews moved to Bermuda because of the harsh policies of the English toward Jews on the island in the 18th century.

Yet there is one place on the island, Jews Bay, which is evidence of Jewish origins in Bermuda. The name of the bay, which dates to the early 1600s, is thought to come from a group of Jews who did business on the island. According to the JVL, a Jewish congregation was formally established in the 20th century in the capital of Hamilton.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Chabad, Jewish community, Jewish history

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam