How a Hasidic Jew Came to Write for a Popular Indian Children’s Cartoon

When Menachem Wecker noticed his son watching a children’s cartoon created in India, he was surprised to see that the screenplay was written by one Dov Ber Naiditch—a name that stood out in the credits. Wecker soon tracked down the name’s owner, an observant Jew who was raised in a devout family of Lubavitch Ḥasidim and has a passion for writing. Naiditch spoke with Wecker about how he found his current vocation:

Through a friend of a friend, [Naiditch] connected with Marc Lumer, a Los Angeles-based children’s book artist, and the two collaborated on Babel, [a retelling of the biblical story for children]. When Lumer landed a job with India’s largest animation company, Green Gold Animation, he asked Naiditch to join him.

At Green Gold, Naiditch started writing for Mighty Little Bheem—the show my toddler was watching—a spinoff of the country’s most popular show, Chhota Bheem. “It’s about a kid with super strength,” Naiditch said. . . . Since joining Green Gold, Naiditch has written for the PBS-affiliate children’s show Sounder & Friends, which teaches phonics, and is pitching his own shows to networks.

Naiditch also discussed his own disillusionment with his religious upbringing during his youth, and how he eventually came to appreciate Judaism as an adult:

Naiditch’s “rebel-without-a-cause” teenage years soon gave way to his own understanding of his place within religion, which he could explore on his own terms.

“[Orthodox Judaism] is institutionalized, yes, and anachronistic, and parts are pathological, but my God, it’s like a grand old, dilapidated castle, and I’d been pointing at the mold in the basement but never bothered to look at the upper floors,” he said. “So I gained something like a foundational, personal interest in religious practice as a thing that provided meaning and value to me in the moment, despite my skepticism.”

In his thirties, Naiditch has come to understand better his place across time, as a religious person transmitting both knowledge and meaning from the past to the future.

Read more at Rough Sketch

More about: Children, Hasidim, India, Judaism, Television

Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy