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Guest Voices

The Role of Jewish Food in My Life

I’ve been trying to pare down my cookbook collection, but couldn’t resist buying a copy of Crazy Good Kugel on a recent visit to Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, a historic synagogue in Charleston, South Carolina. The slim, coil-bound volume comprises 32 recipes for sweet and savory kugels – the entries in the congregation’s “Great KKBE … Read More

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Guest Voices

Africa’s Protracted Conflict

One of most protracted conflicts in Africa today concerns the former Spanish colony of Spanish Sahara, situated in the northwestern corner of the continent, adjacent to Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania.  By the 20th century, Spain’s once-grand empire consisted of a few small bits and pieces, all in Africa: Ifni and the protectorate of Spanish Morocco … Read More

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Guest Voices

The Power of the Past

In early 2011, I read The Jews of San Nicandro, a book written by a professor, John Davis. It’s about a group of Italian Roman Catholics in a small village who underwent a mass conversion to Judaism in fascist Italy, and who, over a period of 20 years of observing Jewish practices, left Italy and … Read More

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Holland’s Conspiracy of Silence

The French philosopher Michel Foucault, in his The Order of Things, stated that dominant powers determine discourse and, as a consequence, what is preserved in an archive. With this in mind, I started research into Dutch civil law notaries and their professional behavior during World War II. Their role was almost absent from historical discourse … Read More

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Preserving Jewish Material Culture in Poland

David Kaufman’s photographic exhibit, The Posthumous Landscape: Jewish Sites of Memory in Poland Today, is part of Holocaust Education Week in Toronto. It opened on Oct. 29 at Beth Tzedec’s Reuben and Helene Dennis Museum and runs until Feb. 2, 2014. Kaufman is a  Toronto-based photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses on architecture, urban landscape … Read More

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Guest Voices

Birobidzhan: A Remnant of History

Israel is, technically, not the only official Jewish homeland in the world. Hidden away in the far east of Russian Siberia, 8,361 kilometres east of Moscow, and not that far from the Pacific Ocean, is the Jewish Autonomous Region (JAR) of Birobidzhan.  And it’s even bigger than the far more famous Jewish state: Birobidzhan has … Read More

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Guest Voices

Isabella Monuments Must Go

Shloime Perel, a resident of Montreal, sent the following e-mail to the elected councillors of Montreal’s Snowdon/NDG borough; his MP, Irwin Cotler; his local MLA, Lawrence Bergman; the Communaute Sepharde, the main Jewish Sephardic organization in the Montreal area; and three local rabbis. —————————————————————————————————————— Dear friends: I was surprised to discover a monument in a … Read More

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Guest Voices

Israel and the Palestinians: The Price of Conflict, The Dividends of Peace

After 100 years of tears, the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians must end. The price of the conflict for Israel, holding the disputed territories and protecting the settlers, is astronomical. The Israeli government spends more on building Jewish settlements in the occupied territories than it does on housing, education and health combined. Israel’s social fabric has been … Read More

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Guest Voices

Letter From Malawi

  Guy Pickering, the former South African Army commander, former agronomist, former rugby player and, of late, the charismatic owner of the lodge where I was staying, exploded into the breakfast room with the news that the birth of a calf was imminent. “Mia, get up if you want to see this damn thing give … Read More

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Guest Voices

Turkey is Becoming a Major Power

No one doubts that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey since 2003, is a very tough man. He has demonstrated that in recent years, in run-ins with Israel, Syria, the United States, and his own citizens. In that sense, he epitomizes the Turkish character. Historically a warrior people, the Turks are a proud … Read More