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 False Messiah: Shlomo Molcho’s Fascinating Life

When Portuguese crypto-Jew Diogo Pires met the daring adventurer David Reubeni, his life took an unexpected course. Converting to Judaism, Pires set off around the globe, learning Kabbalah, inspiring the greatest of Rabbis, attempting to create a Jewish army, and most famously, appointing himself as the Messiah.

The Kabbalistic Tree: The Map of God

The second commandment states that “You shall not make for yourself a statue or any image”. The Jewish Kabbalists found a rather unique and complicated way to circumvent this prohibition…

The First, Last, and Only Female Hasidic Rebbe

Would you break all the traditions of your society, turn against the will of your family, and shatter all the boundaries that you have known to be true in order to follow your destiny? Chana Rochel Verbermacher did just that – breaking out of all the known gender stereotypes to make her own way in a world dominated by men, Chana decided to become the first, and only, Hasidic female Rebbe.

Unveiling the Connection: Why We Read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot

Each Shavuot Jews gather to read the Book of Ruth… but why? The Book of Ruth doesn’t seem to have any connection to this joyous festival! Dig a little deeper however, and we can find many intricate hidden harmonies and surprising ties between the timeless tale of Ruth and the cherished holiday of Shavuot

Yom HaZikaron: A Light in the Darkness

Memorial candles are woven into all aspects of Yom HaZikaron: lit during public ceremonies, by bereaved families at gravesides on Har Hertzl, and of course in homes up and down the country. But why do we use a candle to commemorate the fallen heroes of Israel? What inspires us to shed light in a day full of darkness?

Did Medieval Jewish Kabbalists Design the Tarot Deck?

Until the 18th century, tarot cards were simply playing cards. It was then that occult researchers became convinced that these cards in fact held magical properties, and that they contained a secret truth that originated in ancient Egypt and was preserved in Jewish mysticism…

Kwisatz Haderach: Translating “Dune” into the Original

A new cinematic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic was a great opportunity to speak with Emanuel Lottem, who translated Dune into Hebrew. The result was a fascinating conversation about fantasy literature in Israel and how Lottem came to translate the book while enlisting the help of his colleagues at the Foreign Ministry…