The Folk Beliefs That Made Christmas a Time of Fear for Jews

Dec. 20 2019

Today some ḥasidic communities, keeping alive a venerable Ashkenazi custom, refrain from studying Torah in the evening on December 24, usually staying home and playing chess or cards. Itzik Gottesman examines various explanations as to why:

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Read more at Forward

More about: Christmas, Jewish folklore, Judaism

Iran’s Elections Could Complicate U.S. Plans to Renew the Nuclear Deal

June 11 2021

This week, after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced its suspicions that the Islamic Republic is hiding nuclear materials from its inspectors, the White House decided to lift some sanctions on Iranian oil, and still plans to forge ahead with nuclear negotiations. Meanwhile, Iran will hold its presidential elections next week. The exercise is not particularly democratic—the supreme leader approves the candidates in advance, and his minions have from time to time fixed the results—but neither is it entirely meaningless. While there are important differences among the candidates, not one can be dubbed a moderate, even by the standards of this brutal Islamist theocracy. Reuel Marc Gerecht explains why this matters:

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Ali Khamenei, Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden