Who Is the Empty Chair at the Passover Seder Intended for?

Along with the ancient tradition of leaving an empty chair on the Seder Night for Elijah the Prophet, a modern Zionist tradition has developed in which we leave an empty chair for our loved ones who have not yet returned from captivity. In the 1970s-80s, these were the “Prisoners of Zion”. Today these are the hostages of October 7. “Let my people go,” Moses commanded Pharaoh in the name of God, and thousands of years later the same call is carried in Passover celebrations around the world, and with it we leave an empty chair and a glass of wine waiting for every single one of them to return

What Happened to Libyan Jews in the Holocaust?

The horrors of the Holocaust did not pass over the Jews of North Africa, but theirs is a story that is rarely told. This is the story of those who were called “schwarze Juden” (“black Jews”) by the Nazis. Some were sent to concentration camps erected in the desert, and others shipped off to Europe as prisoners of war…

The Search for Meaning Continues: When Viktor Frankl Returns to the Bestseller Lists

In late-1945, Viktor Frankl faced the broken shell that remained of his life: Though he had survived the Nazi concentration camps, he had lost the love of his life, the baby she carried in her womb, his professional status, and the manuscript of his book. He needed to start over. But was that even possible? His answer was an unequivocal – yes

Yavnieli and the Yemenite Aliyah

With the birth of the State of Israel, over 850,000 Jews were forced to leave the Arab and Islamic world. In Yemen, however, this was not the first time a mass immigration to Israel had taken place. More than three decades earlier, with the help of a young man named Shmuel Yavnieli, over 1,500 Yemenite Jews started their own journey to the Land of Israel, and embarked on a voyage largely untold…

When Israel Comes Together

Israel has been at war since October 7, 2023. The darkness of these days cannot be overstated, but at the same time the most miraculous of things have been occurring all the while: as life collapsed around us, people rose up and came together in the most amazing ways. Israel is a country like no other – a land full of upstanding people who truly exemplify what kindness really means.

Not Only on the Front Lines

Over the last two weeks of war, IDF soldiers have been defending Israel with the utmost courage and heroism. But while many troops fight to protect Israel directly from the battlefield, most soldiers actually serve the State of Israel in a plethora of other integral ways: within the IDF, an entire world exists beyond the front lines…

When Judaism and Buddhism Meet

Why does the National Library of Israel have a collection of more than 100 pieces of Buddhist art? Why are so many Jews drawn to Buddhism? Why did the Dalai Lama attend a Passover Seder? The answer to all these questions can be found by exploring the fascinating connections between the two religions.

The Kindergarten That Became the Mossad HQ in Morocco

In 1954, Yehudit Galili arrived in Morocco as part of a Jewish Agency mission. She set up a kindergarten, an “Ulpan” for teaching Hebrew, and a network of contacts within Casablanca’s Jewish community. One day she discovered a group of strangers in the building that housed her kindergarten and was surprised to hear them speaking Hebrew. This is the true story of how a kindergarten teacher became a spy for the Jewish underground in Morocco.