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The Hope or the Glory? Herman Wouk Writes About the State of Israel

The award-winning Jewish-American author lived a secular life in his early years and claimed that one of the greatest influences on his life and work was the US Navy. What made him spend years writing a pair of thick novels telling the story of people whose culture was far removed from the one he grew up on, and for whom he had quite a bit of criticism to offer?

Jerusalem

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A True Jerusalem Story: The Failed Raid of the Lost Ark

More than a century ago, a group of English treasure-hunters showed up in Jerusalem with the most ambitious of goals: They were determined to find the treasures of the ancient biblical kings, no less. This grand quest and its strange results made sensational headlines in newspapers around the globe, not to mention the riots that erupted across the city…
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The Yemenite Jews Who Arrived in the Holy Land in 1881

Shortly before what is known as “The First Aliyah”, a group of Jews from Yemen arrived in the Land of Israel. Several dozen Yemenite families had embarked on a long and arduous journey to settle in Jerusalem. Once there, they encountered hostility, arrogance, and deprivation on the part of their fellow Jews. Where did they turn and who came to their aid?

Life on the Border: A Tribute to the Communities of the Gaza Border Region

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Nir Oz Will Blossom Again: The Story of a Legendary Kibbutz Gardener

In the early days, members of Kibbutz Nir Oz suffered from terrible sandstorms that made it difficult to move, see and even eat. Ran Pauker, the kibbutz’s legendary landscaper, was called to solve the problem, and along the way, Nir Oz became a green, ecological gem. When asked about the future of the kibbutz that suffered a fatal blow on October 7 – he says the vegetation will be restored within a year, as for the community: “We’ll have to wait and see”

We Shall Return: The Spirit of Kibbutz Nirim Will Prevail

“We shall return” – these were the words printed in Hebrew on t-shirts made by the survivors of Kibbutz Nirim. These words embody a history of heroism, pioneering, culture and Zionism which should serve as a model for all of us. Kibbutz Nirim, founded in 1946, faced a desperate battle for its very existence just two years afterwards. It survived then and survives now thanks to the unique spirit of its members.

The Man Who’s Been Documenting the People of Ofakim Since October 7

Nadav Mishali founded the cinematheque in the southern Israeli city of Ofakim. His personal story is bound up with that of the city itself and its brave and exceptional residents. Mishali has now taken on an even bigger mission – to document the stories of hardship and heroism that took place in Ofakim on Saturday, October 7, 2023

Refugees in Their Own Land: The Children of Yad Mordechai Leave Their Homes

After spending long hours hiding in their safe rooms, with the local civilian security team and members of the Border Guard bravely fighting armed terrorists seeking to break into the kibbutz, the residents of Yad Mordechai were evacuated from their homes until further notice. Many might describe this as a “once in a lifetime” experience – but for some kibbutz veterans, this was not the first time they left their home behind without knowing when, or if, they would ever return.

Forced to Leave His Home in Nir Am as a 3-Year-Old, and Again at Age 78

In 1948, 3-year-old Yigal Cohen was smuggled out of Kibbutz Nir Am at the outbreak of the War of Independence. He later returned to the kibbutz, grew up, and started a family. 75 years later, on October 7, the kibbutz was attacked again. Residents evacuated, among them 78-year-old Yigal, who was doing this for the second time in his life…

History of Israel

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The Hope or the Glory? Herman Wouk Writes About the State of Israel

The award-winning Jewish-American author lived a secular life in his early years and claimed that one of the greatest influences on his life and work was the US Navy. What made him spend years writing a pair of thick novels telling the story of people whose culture was far removed from the one he grew up on, and for whom he had quite a bit of criticism to offer?
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Hollywood in the Holy Land: The Story of the First (and Last) “Matzah Western”

The Israeli film industry has known its share of successes despite a whole range of challenges. But the dream of setting up an international film studio producing Hollywood-level movies in the Holy Land never really got off the ground. This is the story of the plan to transform the resort city of Eilat into Israel’s filmmaking capital and its connection to Gregory Peck and the first “Matzah Western.”

Space Left Behind: Ilan Ramon’s Diary Has Arrived

He was the kind of guy everyone wants to be. Ilan Ramon’s story began in Be’er Sheva in Israel’s Negev desert and came to an end somewhere beyond our planet. But before he became the first Israeli astronaut, he was just Ilan – a husband, father, son, and brother. Miraculously, the diary he kept aboard Space Shuttle Columbia survived. This diary, containing his personal feelings as well as descriptions of the historic event he was a part of, somehow landed relatively intact in Texas. It later underwent complex restoration processes and recently received a warm welcome at its new home – the National Library of Israel, where it is on extended loan.

Jewish Communities

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Keepers of Jewish Treasures: Meet the Participants of the International Judaica Curators Conference

Some 50 men and women charged with preserving the cultural treasures of the Jewish People came from all over the world to attend a professional conference which now took on a different, deeper, and more urgent significance. “Here, we felt a little less alone” was something we heard from everyone we spoke to. Here’s a peek behind the scenes into the world of those who seek to protect the cultural heritage for the Jewish People.

The Final Days of the Jewish Community in Gaza

Documents recently discovered in the Archives Department of the National Library of Israel shed new light on the forgotten Hebrew community of Gaza, as well as the Jews who lived in and visited the city even after the community no longer officially existed

Judaism

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The Story of a Nation That Redeems Its Captives

From Abraham who saved his nephew from captivity, to IDF helicopters carrying Israeli hostages back from Gaza – for thousands of years, Jews have fought, paid any sum necessary, and even endangered their lives to redeem and save their brethren from captivity and imprisonment

The Mysterious Case of Joseph G. Weiss’s Hasidic Library

Prof. Joseph G. Weiss was one of the 20th century’s leading scholars of Hasidism. Following Weiss’s tragic death in 1969, his mentor Gershom Scholem selected 250 books from his former student’s personal collection to be brought to the National Library in Jerusalem. Yet something happened along the way. To this day it’s not clear what became of many of these books…

Once Every Seven Years: Dismissing Debt on Rosh Hashanah

The concept of Shemittah – the Jewish Sabbatical Year – includes among other things a provision to release people from debts owed to others. Though clearly a noble and moral sentiment, such a law can easily lead to problematic situations and even exploitation. Levi Cooper delves into one possible solution to this issue, provided by a 2000 year-old legal loophole…

IDF

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The State’s Watchful Guardians: Female Field Observers on the Border

IDF field observer war rooms are spread across Israel’s borders, working 24/7. The soldiers and officers who operate the systems contained within know that the security of their entire sector often depends on their judgment calls. On October 7, dozens of field observers were killed by Hamas terrorists who broke into Israeli army outposts. This is the story of the IDF’s field observers – the eyes that protect Israel’s borders.