Preserving the Customs of Jewish Damascus

Moshe Chadid, an Argentine-born Jerusalem rabbi, has devoted much of his career to preserving the unique religious rites and traditions of his Damascus ancestors. Toward that end, he is publishing a series of liturgical works, many of which have been passed down either orally or only in manuscript form. Eliezer Hayun writes:

“For years,” [said Chadid], “[Damascene] communities used notes kept by the elderly that [detailed their] ancient customs. On Yom Kippur, for example, we commemorate the greatest rabbis who served in the city of Damascus in the past, going back 300 years, immediately after the Kol Nidrei prayer. The [names of] dozens of rabbis with their specific titles are now printed in our Yom Kippur prayer book.” . . .

Chadid recently completed what appears to be his greatest project: reviving the bakashot, a collection of supplications, songs, and prayers that were sung by community members at their synagogues in the small hours of Friday night, generation after generation.

The bakashot were a dominant component of [Jewish communal life in] Damascus. . . . Every Friday night, for hundreds of years, Damascene Jews would gather and sing the songs from midnight until dawn.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Mizrahi Jewry, Piyyut, Prayer, Religion & Holidays, Syrian Jewry

 

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin