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.

Read more at Vogue

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

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security