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Polish villagers hold Jewish wedding without Jews

Posted on August 20th, 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 13th, 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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Revealed in Israel, a 2,600-Year-Old Request for Wine

Posted on August 6th, 2017
By NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR for the New York Times


In 600 B.C. in present-day Israel, a soldier named Hananyahu sent his friend a request that many of us might empathize with: Send more wine.

He wrote his message on a piece of pottery that archaeologists found in 1965. For years, biblical scholars and researchers have studied the front side of the ink-inscribed pottery shard, known as an ostracon, which was commonly used to write receipts, lists or even letters.

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How one Florida town is turning air into water

Posted on July 30th, 2017
by Ilana Strauss for FromtheGrapevine 


To combat drought and prepare for hurricane season, Miami Gardens is the first U.S. city to use this Israeli tech.


When you think of amazing new sci-fi-style technology, you might imagine inventors in San Francisco or New York. But the U.S. city on the cutting edge of water technology is, surprisingly, a suburb of Miami.

Miami Gardens will be the first town in the country to turn air into water. The idea sounds like something out of a medieval alchemy legend, but it's already been enacted outside of the country. In fact, the company bringing the program to Florida is an Israeli startup called Water-Gen.

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Egypt reportedly spending $22 million to restore historic synagogue in Alexandria

Posted on July 23rd, 2017
From JTA.ORG


The Egyptian government reportedly has approved a $22 million plan to restore a 160-year-old synagogue in Alexandria.

The Ministry of Antiquities’ Project Sector on Wednesdsay approved the funds for restoring and developing the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, according to the head of the Islamic and Coptic Monuments Department, al-Saeed Helmy Ezzat, The Egypt Independent reported from a translation of the Arabic-language daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The synagogue was forced to close several months ago after part of its ceiling fell down, The Independent reported.

Ezzat said the government will pay for the restoration even though Egyptian law requires the community to cover such work.

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue can seat over 700 people and is considered to be one of the largest synagogues in the Middle East. It is the last active synagogue in Alexandria, which once was home to 50,000 Jews. Estimates today put the number of Jews living in all of Egypt at fewer than 50.

 

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