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It's Always Hanukkah in this Picture-Perfect Italian Town

Posted on December 10th, 2017
From virtualjerusalem.com



Jews have lived in Casale Monferrato for half a millennium, where Hanukkah is celebrated year-round through an exhibit featuring dozens of menorahs.



It's always Hanukkah in this picturesque town in northern Italy's Piedmont region.


Jews have lived in Casale Monferrato for more than 500 years, with the community reaching its peak of 850 members at about the time Jews here were granted civil rights in 1848. The town still boasts one of Italy's most ornate synagogues, a rococo gem that dates to the 16th century.


These days, only two Jewish families live in Casale. The synagogue, which is part of a larger museum complex, is now a major tourist attraction - and not only because of its opulent sanctuary with huge chandeliers, colorfully painted walls and lots of gilding. The former women's section has been transformed into a Judaica and Jewish history museum. And the synagogue's basement, formerly a matzah bakery, is now home to the Museum of Lights.


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Turns out, a Jewish woman was Miss Germany in 2011

Posted on December 4th, 2017
By Josefin Dolsten for JTA


Last week, the story of a Jewish woman competing in the Miss Germany competition went viral, appearing in JTA along with media outlets around the world. Tamar Morali, 21, said organizers told her she was the first Jewish woman to get this far in the beauty pageant.

It turns out the story — and the world of beauty pageants in general — isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

In 2011, a Jewish woman, Valeria Bystritskaia, was crowned Miss Germany. But out of fear of anti-Semitism Bystritskaia, a Russia native who moved to Germany at the age of 7, kept her Jewish heritage a secret.

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The Hollow Promise Of Jewish Identity

Posted on December 3rd, 2017
BY ABIGAIL SHRIER for The Jewish Week


A couple of weeks ago, leaders of Conservative Judaism caused a stir by reaffirming a ban on interfaith marriage while reiterating the movement’s commitment to welcoming intermarried couples to its congregations. If this bit of legerdemain seems awkward, its stated goal will be familiar: strengthening Jewish identity.

“We believe — and the data confirm,” read a June statement from the Jewish Theological Seminary, “that by far the most effective path toward building a Jewish future is to strengthen Jewish identity, beginning with the Jewish family.”

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Yitzhak Rabin assassin Yigal Amir files request for retrial

Posted on November 27th, 2017
From JTA


Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, filed a request for a retrial.

The request was submitted to Israel’s Supreme Court Sunday after Amir met with his attorney, Gabi Shachar, in prison. During the meeting, Amir signed the documents necessary to request the retrial, the Hebrew-language Hadashot news reported.

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Orthodox Modesty Culture Under Fire As ‘Sex-Positive’ Spaces Emerge

Posted on November 19th, 2017
BY HANNAH DREYFUS for jewishweek.timesofisrael


Orthodox Vagina Monologues expands, days schools re-examining modesty education as Weinstein effect lingers.


Ayala Tiefenbrunn, a 21-year-old design student at FIT and an Orthodox young-married, took the mic in front of 75 people a few months ago. She took a deep breath and launched into a personal essay about her tortured relationship with birth control.

While acute communal and social pressure dictated that she and her husband start “trying,” her young age and professional aspirations kept her dutifully on the pill. But, she said, the choice isn’t easy. “Every time I don’t see a friend for a few months and she’s pregnant, it hurts a little — I so want to be there.”

Married at 19, Tiefenbrunn addressed an audience of young, predominantly Orthodox women; she wore a silver and blue head wrap, horn-rimmed glasses, and a layered top. Later, she confessed, “I constantly feel guilty because I’m on birth control.”

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