Hillel Council of New England Supporting & Connecting Jewish Life Across Campuses

Chinese Self-Help Books Teach Readers How to Be More Like the Jews

Posted on September 11th, 2017
BY TAMAR FOX for Jewniverse

Head to the self-help or business section at a bookstore in China and you’re likely to see books with titles like Learn To Make Money With the Jews, and Jewish People and Business: The Bible of How to Live Their Lives. These cringy titles might suggest something weird, or even anti-Semitic, but they’re actually part of a booming philo-Semitic culture in China, where Jews are widely perceived as entrepreneurial and successful, exactly what so many Chinese people hope to become.

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American Muslims Want To Increase Mosque Security. They’re Turning To Jews For Help.

Posted on September 4th, 2017
BY BEN SALES for The Jewish Week

With Islamophobic hate crimes on the rise, Muslim leaders are working harder to secure their mosques and institutions. Some are turning to Jewish experts for assistance.

A few Jewish organizations have partnered with local and national Muslim groups to advise them on best security practices and advocate jointly for stronger hate crime legislation. Cooperation between the two communities, which was growing late last year, is turning toward the particulars of staying safe in a nervous climate — how to prevent attacks and handle hate crimes.

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This Holocaust monument in Belarus is haunting — and subversive

Posted on August 28th, 2017
By Cnaan Liphshiz for JTA

KHATYN, Belarus (JTA) — Even by Soviet standards, the massive memorial complex near Minsk to the victims of Nazi atrocities stands out for its immense scale and ambition.

Spread across half a million square feet — roughly the size of 10 football fields — the haunting Khatyn Memorial is essentially a graveyard not for people, but for entire villages wiped out by the Nazis in Belarus.  Byelorussia, as it was then known, was one of the few places in Europe where German brutality toward non-Jews matched their anti-Semitic savagery.

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Polish villagers hold Jewish wedding without Jews

Posted on August 21st, 2017
By Cnaan Liphshiz for JTA

Nostalgia for Jews is a well-documented phenomenon in Eastern Europe, with cultural and even substantial commercial aspects.

In Ukraine,  so-called Jewish-themed restaurants with pork-heavy menus compete for tourists, while figurines of Jews are sold at markets as good luck charms. In Poland, graffiti reading “I miss you, Jew” have become a common sight.

Beyond the kitsch, Jewish cultural festivals draw large non-Jewish audiences in Krakow, Warsaw and Budapest.

Some credit this trend to a feeling of loss over the near annihilation of once-vibrant Jewish communities. Others trace it a desire to reconnect with the pre-Soviet past.

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114 people just converted to Judaism in Nicaragua

Posted on August 14th, 2017
By Josefin Dolsten for JTA

Over the course of just a few days, the tiny Jewish community in Nicaragua more than doubled when 114 people converted to Judaism.

Last month, community members answered questions before a beit din, or religious court, of three Orthodox-trained rabbis from Israel and the United States and immersed in a newly built mikvah in Managua, the Central American country’s capital. Male converts underwent circumcisions or symbolic circumcisions if already circumcised.

On July 23, following the conversions conducted at the Managua home of a community leader, 22 couples wed according to Jewish tradition in a Managua social hall rented for the occasion. Kulanu, a New York-based nonprofit group that supports communities around the world seeking to learn about Judaism, had facilitated the conversions.

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