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Raisman Makes Olympic Audiences Kvell
Raisman Makes Olympic Audiences Kvell

American Jews have a new reason to be proud of their country at this year’s 2012 Summer Olympics. Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman first wowed spectators when she earned one of the two spots in the all-around individual finals for the US. Then, she wowed Jews worldwide when performed a floor exercise routine to the tune of “Hava Nagila,” a Hebrew folk song that has become a staple at Jewish weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.

Natural Born Athlete
Natural Born Athlete

In the world of sports, Bobbie Rosenfeld had, what one might call, the “magic touch.” As it was once noted: “The most efficient way to summarize Bobbie Rosenfeld’s career…is to say that she was not good at swimming” (Jewsinsports.org). What is more amazing about her incredible sportsmanship is the fact that she had no formal athletic training.

Tisha B`Av
Tisha B`Av

The saddest day on the Jewish calendar, the ninth of Av, is this Shabbat. Because of Shabbat, the normally observed Fast of the 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av) is pushed off until Sunday. The observances of the day are very similar to Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. In addition to fasting (no food or drink) for a 25 hour period, additional restrictions include refraining from washing, using lotions, wearing leather shoes and marital relations.

The Burial At Betar
The Burial At Betar

In war, a common means of humiliating the enemy is to refuse them burial of their dead (which is also forbidden by the Geneva Convention). Certainly, demoralization was the goal of the Romans when they forbade the Jews from burying the dead after the fall of Betar on 9 Av, 133 C.E. And there were many dead–enough for the sages to pronounce that, “For seven years the gentiles fertilized their vineyards with the blood of Israel without using manure.”

Terror At The Olympics
Terror At The Olympics

On July 27, 1996, the world was startled when a pipe bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia. The bomb killed one person directly, another indirectly (heart attack) and injured 111 others.

Mourning Jerusalem: A Brief History Of The First Temple
Mourning Jerusalem: A Brief History Of The First Temple

On Sunday, Jews all over the world will observe the fast of Tisha B’Av. It is on this day that the Jewish people mourn the destruction of both the First and Second Temples. The First Temple was destroyed almost 2,600 years ago and the Second Temple 1,942 years ago. It is therefore not easy to understand what exactly it is that the Jewish people mourn.

Mourning Jerusalem II: A Brief History of the Second Temple
Mourning Jerusalem II: A Brief History of the Second Temple

The Babylonian Exile that followed the destruction of the First Temple lasted for 70 years. Under the leadership of  Ezra and Nechemia, however, the Jews began to return to the land of Israel and to Jerusalem. Many chose not to return, but those who did rebuilt the Temple, although on a far more modest scale than the First Temple.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Cruel and Unusual Punishment

One of the most repeated instructions in the Torah is that judges must do everything possible to provide equitable justice. In Deuteronomy 1, Moses reiterated this point once again, saying: “And I charged your judges at that time, saying: ‘Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. You shall not respect persons in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike; you shall not be afraid of the face of any person…’” (Deuteronomy 1:16-17).

The Hebrew University
The Hebrew University

Since its first official overseas program in 1955, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has attracted hundreds of young Jewish adults from both North America and Europe. Hebrew University is the oldest institute of higher learning in Israel and predates the State by several decades.

Chosen To Write: Chaim Potok
Chosen To Write: Chaim Potok

In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestled with an angel and emerged as Israel, “He who struggles.” In the 20th-21st century, Western Jews spend a great amount of energy wrestling with the world of tradition and the demands of the modern world. Few writers have portrayed this inner conflict of the American Jewish community as engagingly as Chaim Potok (1929-2002), a man who lived this struggle himself.

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