Miriam Shaviv

How to make Israel's case

By Miriam Shaviv, August 21, 2014

How can Israel improve its hasbarah - public relations? The question pops up after every round of fighting. Allowing that Israel made some improvements during Operation Protective Edge - its spokespeople were mostly native English speakers and the IDF was pro-active on social media -the overall picture was still dire.

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Governmental deception

By Miriam Shaviv, July 10, 2014

The Israeli reaction to the revelation that an Arab teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was allegedly murdered by Israeli Jews has ranged from denial to - more commonly - disgust and depression that Jews could be responsible.

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Sneers from rabbis won't stop women

By Miriam Shaviv, March 6, 2014

In an Anglo-Jewish community known for its internal rifts and often harsh rhetoric, the discussion surrounding Partnership Minyanim – Orthodox prayer groups at which women lead some parts of the service — has been a breath of fresh air. Although it is a highly charged subject, commentators on both sides, from Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis downwards, have behaved with respect and sensitivity.

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Why death is trending on social media

By Miriam Shaviv, January 24, 2014

How do you approach death in the age of social media?

Avoid writing about it, is the advice of former New York Times editor Bill Keller and his wife Emma. Earlier this month, the couple published columns in the NYT and on the Guardian website, questioning the motives of Lisa Bonchek Adams, an American woman tweeting about her stage IV breast cancer.

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My cure for Holocaust fatigue

By Miriam Shaviv, December 13, 2013

About 10 years ago ago, I felt myself getting Holocaust fatigue.

Not that – God forbid – I stopped caring about the terrible atrocities or the national tragedy. Rather, I had reached saturation point. I had been surrounded by Holocaust stories and history for so long, I did not feel the need to know any more.

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Getting the girls’ message

By Miriam Shaviv, October 31, 2013

Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote a piece for a Jewish student magazine on the excitement of giving my first dvar Torah, or mini-sermon, at my Orthodox synagogue in Montreal.

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Stop this barmitzvah madness

By Miriam Shaviv, September 3, 2013

It’s time to do away with barmitzvah parties.

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Women's prayers answered

By Miriam Shaviv, June 17, 2013

When you hear the same promises from leaders for years, or even decades, cynicism is inevitable. So I will forgive any readers who laugh when I predict there is going to be significant progress on one of the thorniest issues facing our community: the role of women in Orthodoxy.

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End this personality cult

By Miriam Shaviv, May 2, 2013

It has been a bad year so far for Orthodox rabbis. Across the channel, French chief rabbi Gilles Bernheim quit after admitting plagiarising texts and faking his academic credentials while, last weekend, similar charges were levelled by Maariv against the Israeli chief rabbi, Yonah Metzger.

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Israel’s blaming of the ‘shrew’

By Miriam Shaviv, March 24, 2013

Where does the buck stop in the new Israeli government? You might think it was with the prime minister. Not so. Judging by the hysterical media reports over the past six weeks, it stops with Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, who is apparently responsible for most of his bad decisions in the coalition negotiations.

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Crisis ‘worse than JFS’ looms

By Miriam Shaviv, February 7, 2013

How fair are entrance criteria to Jewish schools? It's a question that has continually challenged Anglo-Jewry, culminating in the traumatic JFS case.

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Job for the cops, not the rabbis

By Miriam Shaviv, January 11, 2013

How should the Orthodox community handle allegations of sexual abuse? The scandal currently rocking London's Charedi world provides a classic example of how not to do it.

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Plan for Mirvis’s successor now

By Miriam Shaviv, December 31, 2012

Rabbi Mirvis's appointment as the next chief rabbi has been greeted warmly by the community. He clearly has the respect of his rabbinic colleagues, the affection of his own congregation and he is popular in other synagogues, too.

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Arrest threatens Orthodox too

By Miriam Shaviv, November 16, 2012

Last month, Anat Hoffman donned her talit and began leading a prayer service for women at the Western Wall. As she hummed her first tune, she was interrupted by a policewoman demanding that she wear her talit like a scarf. She complied and continued. During the Shema, she was interrupted again, this time by a policeman telling her to lower her voice.

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Help! I’m an internet addict

By Miriam Shaviv, October 7, 2012

I realised that I had a problem straight after Yom Kippur went out. I had spent the last two hours of the fast with a splitting headache and was desperate for something to eat. So, as soon as the clock struck 19.37, I ran to the kitchen - to find my mobile phone and check my email. After 25 hours, supper could wait.

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Are all eyes on Meir Soloveichik for Chief?

By Miriam Shaviv, August 30, 2012

When Rabbi Meir Soloveichik delivered the blessing at the opening of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, all eyes in America were on him - as were, probably, quite a few eyes in United Synagogue HQ in London.

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Shuls that are too big to manage

By Miriam Shaviv, August 17, 2012

This is a painful and unusually personal column, because it concerns the complete breakdown of management at my shul and the partial breakdown of community relations.

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Stop this teachers’ brain drain

By Miriam Shaviv, July 15, 2012

Has Britain got Jewish educational talent? Yes - but it is slipping away and no one seems to care.

I reached this conclusion after interviewing Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, JCoSS headteacher, who is departing for a community school in Australia next month.

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Don’t push our dutiful daughters

By Miriam Shaviv, June 6, 2012

It feels silly, on the Jubilee weekend, to be discussing women's roles in Orthodox Judaism. This country and its church have been headed by a woman for 60 years, and the public seems perfectly pleased. Yet here we are, still debating whether a woman can be president of her shul. It's ridiculous.

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Chasidic woman's flight from New York Orthodox life

By Miriam Shaviv, May 25, 2012

Unorthodox is an account of Deborah Feldman’s Chasidic upbringing in New York, her unhappiness at what she sees as her oppression, and ultimately her escape into secular society. Inevitably, the Satmar community in which Feldman grew up has responded aggressively, accusing her of mistakes, omissions and outright lies.

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