Remembering the Man Who Bought New York Jews’ Leaven for Four Decades

March 15 2021

To observe the biblical prohibition against having ḥamets—foods and beverages made from leavened or fermented grain—in one’s possession during Passover, Orthodox Jews customarily sell such products to a Gentile before the holiday begins. Rabbi Mordechai Willig, a highly regarded scholar, first sold ḥamets on behalf of his congregation in the Bronx to a real-estate agent named John J. Brown in 1977, and since then many of his students followed suit with their own congregations. Brown, a Bronx native and Korean War veteran, died on February 6 at the age of eighty-eight. Ben Sales writes:

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Read more at Jewish Telegraphic Agency

More about: American Judaism, New York City, Passover

Why a Government Victory in Southwestern Syria Is Bad News for Israel

Sept. 17 2021

Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebel forces in the city of Daraa, where the initial protests that sparked the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. The agreement ended a 75-day assault on the city, located near the country’s southwestern border, by Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the significance of these events:

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Golan Heights, Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war