How a Fashion Journalist Found Her Way to Orthodox Judaism

The lifestyle of an Orthodox Jew may seem like an odd choice for someone with the title of “beauty and lifestyle director” at a high-end fashion magazine, but this was the choice made by Jessica Diner in 2013, when she underwent a conversion. She describes the journey to Judaism as “three years of study preceded by two years of careful reflection,” requiring “immeasurable patience and immense love,” all made possible by “a lifetime of subconscious preparation.”

I chose to do an Orthodox conversion—a process that you have to want to embark on from the depths of your soul. It requires dedication and desire beyond any [romantic] relationship. . . . As dramatic as it sounds, this was my destiny.

A conversion to Judaism sees you learn and live all aspects of Jewish life. There is no masking the fact that it is a huge transition. I was still maintaining my job at Vogue, and the continuity of work that I adore grounded my experience—a typical week could see me going from backstage at London Fashion Week in the day to three hours with my Jewish- studies teacher that night.

Observing the Sabbath in the early days of the conversion seemed like such an insurmountable notion, too. Downing tools and going offline for 25 hours each week? An impossible task for someone with a busy work and social life. But as with every part of the process, it slowly infused into my everyday. The Sabbath is a time for self-reflection and to connect exclusively with friends and family. . . . When people find out I have converted, they are always intrigued about what they perceive to be restrictions, not realizing the positive reinforcement that these traditions bring. I genuinely can’t envisage life any other way.

Diner reckons as well with the less appealing consequence:

My son’s Jewish primary school has security guards and surveillance at the gate; I am fearful for my husband and oldest son walking to synagogue on Saturday mornings wearing their kippahs; and the community has security walkthroughs in advance of significant Jewish holidays in case of an attack—all poignant reminders that the world we live in now, for all its wokeness, still poses a simmering threat to the Jewish community.

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Read more at Vogue

More about: Anti-Semitism, Conversion, Judaism, Shabbat

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy