Rabbi Yitzhak Spotted Using iPhone, Despite Ban

A recent picture of a rabbi in a compromising position that scandalized the haredi community was finally explained on Sunday. Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, renowned for his outreach work among Sephardi Jews, was photographed several weeks ago holding what looked suspiciously like an iPhone. This was surprising, to say the least, since the device has been […]

Rabbi Yosef: Secular Cannot be Cantor

A secular person must not be allowed to serve as a cantor at a synagogue, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has ruled. If the synagogue manager erroneously allows it, worshippers had better go back home and pray alone – rather than take part in such a quorum. In honor of the High Holidays, Shas […]

Best To Get Rid of ‘Modern Haman’ Ahmadinejad Without War

“All of us would prefer to get rid of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the modern Haman, without war,” President Shimon Peres told former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in his Sukkah in Tuesday. Peres also put in a plug for the Obama administration. Haman was the second in command to the king of Persia – […]

Widow of Former Chief Rabbi Asks Jews to Pray for Pollard

Rabbanit Tzvia Eliyahu, widow of Israel’s former Chief Sephardic Rabbi HaRishon LeTzion, Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zts”l, put out a special request on Sunday and asked Jews around the world to say a prayer for Jonathan Pollard in the synagogues during the Rosh Hashanah holiday. The rebbetzin mentioned the words of her late husband, who said […]

Days of Awe Begin Sunday Evening with the New Year Holiday

The Jewish People begin the High Holydays, or Days of Awe, on Sunday evening, on the first of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, ushering in the year 5773 with nearly a month of special days: Two days of Rosh Hashannah on Monday and Tuesday, the Fast of Gedaliah on Wednesday and then Shabbat Shuva, the Sabbath of Repentance. Rosh Hashannah […]

Discrimination of Sephardic Schoolgirls on Par with Mengele

Victims of the racial discrimination in the haredi schools have resorted to using the Holocaust in their fight against school principals. Shas party newspaper “Yom le Yom” published a caustic article last week comparing Principals who employ racial discrimination in school to Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, who decided who would live or die in […]

Israeli National-Religious Group to Field Candidates for Chief Rabbi

Israeli National-Religious Group to Field Candidates for Chief Rabbi

Tzohar, the rabbinical organization that has recently launched a campaign to “strengthen the Chief Rabbinate” is considering running candidates in the upcoming elections for Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis. The candidate for Ashkenazi chief rabbi will probably be the organization’s chairman, Rabbi David Stav, though the move and the choice must still be approved by […]

Tisha B’Av, Ride, and Mayer

Over the weekend, I was at a Modern Orthodox temple honoring Tisha B’Av, the 9th day in the month of Av, the saddest day in the Jewish year. I was dressed modestly, wearing a skirt to my ankles, my arms covered to my wrists, and like Jewish mourners throughout the world and throughout time, I […]

Todos Es Gracia Even Though I’m A Hot Mess

Fabulous article in the Forward featuring Ladino songstress Sarah Aroeste: “For Ladino Musicians, The World’s A Stage: Artists are Forging a Global Sephardi Culture” I’ve been a fan of this spicy Jewish singer ever since my mother quoted her lyrics in her novel The Blind Eye (currently being re-released on L’Image Press with an awesome […] Newsletter Issue # 37 – July 04, 2012

Jewish and Muslim leaders in Germany unite last Wednesday in their condemnation of a German court’s decision to outlaw the circumcision of boys. The representatives of the two religious communities called the ruling insensitive and discriminatory, and an attack on centuries of religious tradition. A Russian ice cream company produced a special kosher line of […]

Jewish Ladino Musicians Form a Global Sephardi Culture

On July 9, amid rainwater cracks in limestone rock, charcoal ibex painted by prehistoric man and discarded artifacts from Victorian-era picnics, a loose collective of Jewish women will sing songs of the Sephardic Diaspora. Vocalists Sarah Aroeste, Mor Karbasi and Françoise Atlan will perform at the inaugural Gibraltar World Music Festival in the time-formed Cueva […]

100 Rabbis Protest Recognition of Non-Orthodox Rabbis

Over 100 rabbis participated Tuesday in an “emergency gathering” following the State’s decision to recognize rabbis of Conservative and Reform movements as official rabbis and give them the same funding as Orthodox rabbis, who are appointed by the Chief Rabbinate. The gathering was called by Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who received Shas spiritual […]

Young Haredim want to Study, Open to Army, Work

About 70 percent of young haredi (ultra-Orthodox) students see themselves spending an extended amount of time engaged in religious studies in yeshiva, according to research conducted by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. The survey published on Monday reviewed the opinions and attitudes of 400 unmarried yeshiva students aged 17- 20 from a cross section […] Newsletter Issue # 24 April 4, 2012

An Orthodox Jewish girls high school in Brooklyn ordered their students to close their facebook accounts or face being fined or worse expulsion. Benzion Stock, the administrator of the Crown Heights school said girls are getting killed on the Internet that’s the reason why they are telling their students to close their accounts. In Israel […]

Eating Jewish: Quajado for Passover

Passover cooking is certainly defined by the dietary restriction of abstaining from chametz, or leavened grain. We all know those people (perhaps you’re one of them) who actively count down the days until they can eat that coveted slice of pizza or bread at the end of the eight-day observance. Still, I see this as […]

Rabbi Yitzhak Levy to Head Conversions Authority?

Rabbi Yitzhak Levy to Head Conversions Authority?

Rabbi Yitzhak Levy is the leading candidate to replace Rabbi Haim Druckman as head of the conversions authority, Ynet learned Thursday. Levy’s candidacy is promoted by the locator committee formed to find a replacement for Druckman.  According to a report in Makor Rishon, Levy’s in favored by both the Prime Minister’s Office’s and Chief Sephardic […]

Chabad Breaks Ground on New Center in Mexico

Chabad Breaks Ground on New Center in Mexico

An historic event took place in the famous tourist destination of Cancun, Mexico: the laying of the cornerstone for the new 15,000 square foot edifice that will serve the thousands of Jewish visitors and the small local Jewish population of Cancun. The Chabad Welcome Center will serve as a home away from home for all […]

Shabbat Shalom vs. Good Shabbos

I like to consider myself a Jewish profiler. I remember when everyone was going nuts over racial profiling in airports. I used to do a little profiling of my own – on the streets of my Jewish community every Saturday morning. I am sure there was a simpler time in the Orthodox community, a time […]

“Sipping from the Nile”: A Memoir of the Exodus of Cairo’s Jewish Daughters

I was raised in a beautiful mansion on the banks of the Nile, in a multicultural multilingual Sephardic Italian Jewish family in Egypt: a Middle Eastern family, where men rose to prominence by their acts in a larger world, while women ran households, managed a large staff, volunteered their services to Jewish charities, and gained […]

Eating Jewish: Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas)

Hamantaschen are the signature food of Purim, and I definitely look forward to this time of year knowing that I’ll get to eat my fill of those delicious cookies. Yet despite wishing that I could eat nothing but hamantaschen for the entirety of the holiday (don’t you wish you could eat cookies all the time […]

Children Write a Torah Scroll on the Ashkelon Coast

Children in the coastal district of Ashkelon were invited Wednesday night to begin a new project: to participate in writing a Torah scroll for their area. The project, sponsored by the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, will involve children ages three months to 18 years old. “It is considered a great deed, to write a Torah […]

Easy TuBishvat Combo–Almond-Silan Baked Apples for TuBishvat

TuBishvat isn’t some kind of trivial pursuit question (remember that 80s game in which players showed off their command of arcane and irrelevant information) TuBishvat is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud’s list of New Years (Any cheder boy will tell you that there are four the best known being Rosh Hashana) and TuBishvat is the […]

Haredi school discrimination ruling postponed

The High Court of Justice decided on Tuesday to delay ruling on a petition by anti-discrimination group Noar Kahalacha until a clearer picture of alleged discrimination against Sephardi girls in haredi (ultra-Orthodox) schools was available. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, who was presiding along with Justices Edna Arbel and Uzi Fogelman, recommended that a further […] Newsletter Issue #9 December 21, 2011

The Obama administration’s holiday reception season was in full swing. And so began the fastidious frenzy to make the White House’s kitchen kosher last week, a nearly four-hour drill that started at 10 p.m. Wednesday. A deadline approached: a truckload of kosher food was due Thursday at 10 a.m. Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidim around the world launched […]

Ethiopian chief rabbi’s brother supports those left behind

Emanuel Hadane, the brother of Israel’s Ethiopian Chief Rabbi Yosef Hadane, has taken up the cause of more than 20,000 Ethiopians of Jewish descent who are not eligible under Israeli government criteria to make aliya. According to Hadane, who is a trained lawyer, his brother – the rabbi – is supportive of his attempts to […]

Chief Rabbi: Woman Can Serve on Dayanim Committee

The Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Rav Shlomo Amar, said Sunday he does not object to the idea that women would sit on the Committee for Appointment of Dayanim (Rabbinical Judges). In an interview on Radio Kol Chai, Rav Amar said categorically, however, that women can never be rabbinical judges themselves. “G-d forbid that this bad dream […]

New Musical Play Tells the Story of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu

Following the popularity of a series of books for youngsters that was published after the death of former Sephardic Chief Rabbi, HaRishon Letzion Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of blessed memory, telling some of the many fascinating stories about his life, edited by his son, the Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu — now comes the play. Entitled […]

Ashkenazi and Sephardi Rabbis Battle over Sabbath Hours

The inauguration of the Sabbath in Elad has recently become the tensest hour of the week, following a disagreement between the city’s Sephardic rabbi and its Ashkenazi rabbi. The two cannot agree on the exact time for inaugurating the Sabbath. Even the leaders of the Orthodox public, Gedolei Yisrael, were involved against their will, but […]

‘Clinton unfamiliar with Jewish modesty’

Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar responded Monday to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s harsh criticism against the exclusion of women in Israel. “She has no real knowledge of a Jewish woman’s modesty,” he said. “The Jewish people respect women and treat them like queens and princesses.” According to the rabbi, had Clinton learned […]

Israel’s second-most visited Jewish holy site, now under state control

Israel's second-most visited Jewish holy site, now under state control

The cabinet Sunday decided to place the ancient tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai under the management of a special government company under the supervision of the tourism minister. It is expected to cost approximately NIS 27 million to implement the decision. About 10 days ago the High Court turned down a petition by a […]