Recha Freier and Youth Aliyah

Youth Aliyah (originally called the “Committee for the Assistance of Jewish Youth”) opened its office in Berlin on this date in 1933 — the same day that Adolf Hitler took power as chancellor of Germany. “The utter senselessness of Jewish life in the Diaspora stood palpably before my eyes,” wrote Recha Freier, a poet, musician, […]

Read More

Esther Abrahams and the First Jews in Australia

Esther Abrahams, born in 1767 (or 1771 by some sources), was one of between eight and fourteen Jews among 800 British convicts who anchored in New South Wales on this date in 1788, as part of the first fleet of British prisoners sent to colonize Australia. Abrahams, convicted of shoplifting silk lace in 1786, had given […]

Read More

Jews as an Indigenous People

LET’S PRACTICE SOLIDARITY WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES by Marc Daalder   AMONG ALL the indigenous peoples of the world, the Jewish people have a unique tale. Suffering displacement from their ancestral land twice (the Babylonian captivity in 597 BCE and the diaspora from 135 CE), Jews nonetheless succeeded in retaining their cultural connections to the Land of […]

Read More

Cuomo and Antisemitism

by Ron Skolnik ANDREW CUOMO meant well. When, in the wake of the Trump inauguration, a disquieting series of bomb threats menaced Jewish community centers and acts of vandalism struck Jewish cemeteries nationwide, Cuomo’s rejection of antisemitism was commendably swift, impassioned and principled. “New York,” declared the state’s Governor, “has zero tolerance for bias or […]

Read More

The Long History of Chinese Jews

by Dusty Sklar ONE OFTEN HEARS the Chinese, especially those who live in the huge international Chinese diaspora, being referred to as the “Jews of the Orient” and labelled with stereotypes similar to those that have been used to insult Jews. According to Christopher Hale, a media producer in Singapore, a book of that title […]

Read More

September 10: Simon Dubnow

Simon Dubnow, one of the founders of modern Jewish historical scholarship and a prolific memoirist and essayist about secular Jewish life and politics in Eastern Europe, was murdered at age 81 by the Nazis during the liquidation of the Riga Ghetto on this date in 1941. Dubnow was an advocate the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, […]

Read More

In Defense of the Diaspora

Has the Wandering Jew Reached Home? by Nicholas Jahr This is an edited version of an essay that originally appeared in the Spring, 2015 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora is Good for the Jews, by Alan Wolfe. Beacon Press, 2014, 296 pages. The People in Between: […]

Read More

Is Israel Really “The Jewish State”?

by Bennett Muraskin OVER SIX MILLION Jews live in Israel, the largest Jewish community in the world. Its flag is a Jewish symbol; its national anthem appeals to the “Jewish soul;” Jewish holidays are national holidays; the official language is Hebrew. Jerusalem, the capital of ancient Judea, is the also the capital of modern Israel, […]

Read More