Miriam Shaviv



Samuel Pepys goes to shul

By Miriam Shaviv, September 29, 2010

OK, ok, I know I post this every year before Simchat Torah, but I just love it.

On October 14, 1663, diarist Samuel Pepys made a visit to a London synagogue at Creechurch Lane (later Bevis Marks). It was Simchat Torah, but he had no way of knowing that what he was witnessing was not typical. Here is his horrified description of the goings-on:

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Ahmadinejad's rocky PR plan

By Miriam Shaviv, September 28, 2010

Next month, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to visit Lebanon. After political meetings in Beirut he will travel south, tour the areas damaged in the war with Israel in 2006 – and, according to reports, lob a rock at Israel over the border fence in a symbolic gesture.

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Who owns Meah Shearim?

By Miriam Shaviv, September 27, 2010

A row is brewing in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Meah Shearim over the right of women to walk in the street. (I feel like I'm writing about Afghanistan and can hardly believe this isn't satire.)

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Miliband's mum: backer of Jews for Justice for Palestinians

By Miriam Shaviv, September 26, 2010

Much energy has gone into figuring out where the Miliband brothers stand on the Jewish spectrum. For the most part, they show few signs of anything beyond a cursory interest in their Jewish heritage, they are uninvolved in the community, neither of their partners are Jewish and relatively little is known about their positions on Israel.

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Michael Oren's Yom Kippur sermon

By Miriam Shaviv, September 22, 2010

Jeffrey Goldberg, by far my favourite Jewish blogger, has posted the text of a sermon delivered by Israeli ambassador to Washington Michael Oren to three Washington syngogogues on Yom Kippur. It is an absolute must-read.

Oren starts by explaining the dilemma faced by the biblical Jonah:

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Attention, European do-gooders

By Miriam Shaviv, September 21, 2010

According to Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, this is what happens to European aid to Gaza:

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A religious model?

By Miriam Shaviv, September 20, 2010

 

On American television, there is hardly a reality show out there which has not featured a religious Jew. The Apprentice, at one stage, had two Shabbat observant contestants at the same time (who had to miss an assignment during the High Holy Days); recently, there was a frum doctor from Florida on Big Brother, who kept Shabbat in the house.

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Sarah's silence: a completely original reading

By Miriam Shaviv, September 20, 2010

I know it's a bit late for Yom Kippur, but this interpretation of the story of the akedah, the binding of Isaac, is just dazzling in its originality and imagination.

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Most gruesome Yom Kippur practice, ever

By Miriam Shaviv, September 17, 2010

Apologies for lowering the tone around here, especially on the eve of the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, but - butt....

According to the Huff Post:

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The pope's Jewish timing

By Miriam Shaviv, September 16, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, is going to give the response to the Pope at the Pope's main interfaith event, tomorrow - eruv Yom Kippur.

Finally, someone really will be able to say gut yontiff to the pontiff!

(Sorry...)

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Israelis are not allowed to live normal lives, apparently

By Miriam Shaviv, September 15, 2010

NYT.com columnist Roger Cohen, never one for original thought, has jumped on the

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Now, Jewish MEN wear burkas

By Miriam Shaviv, September 13, 2010

Great news for Charedi women. Ladies, from now on, you can do your shopping in mini-skirts, tank tops, bikinis - whatever. There is no issue of modesty. Your men can't see you anyway!

Because as of last week, the latest meshugaas to emerge out of the Charedi world is the burka-wearing men. Actually, they're not exactly burkas: they are even more extreme. Not only do these pieces of cloth leave no slit for the eyes, that's their whole point: to stop the men from seeing.

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The rape of "B" and the media lynch that followed

By Miriam Shaviv, September 7, 2010

This summer, both the Israeli media and the international media went beserk covering a case in which an Arab man was convicted of "rape by deception" - in this case, having sex with a woman after masquerading as a Jew (two men were previously convicted of the same crime, however they had misrepresented their socioeconomic status). The Israeli legal system, concluded pretty much everyone, was racist.

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To learn Hebrew, just have fun

By Miriam Shaviv, August 26, 2010

My column this week is on my ongoing attempts to get my kids to speak Hebrew, and on my summer holiday in Israel:

Parallel universes exist mostly in the realm of science fiction. But this summer, I was privileged to enter my own alternative reality. For four weeks, I got to see a life I could have lived but don't, a child I could have had, but don't. I got as close as I will probably ever get to bringing up Israeli children.

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To learn Hebrew, just have fun

By Miriam Shaviv, August 26, 2010

Parallel universes exist mostly in the realm of science fiction. But this summer, I was privileged to enter my own alternative reality. For four weeks, I got to see a life I could have lived but don't, a child I could have had, but don't. I got as close as I will probably ever get to bringing up Israeli children.

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How (not) to explain an eruv

By Miriam Shaviv, August 26, 2010

The BBC is reporting on the planning application for an eruv in Bury, Manchester, prompting one friend of mine to ponder on Facebook why this might be of national interest.

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Most bizarre chuppah?

By Miriam Shaviv, August 24, 2010

The LA Times is running an amusing/horrifying story on the wild extravagance of Persian weddings in California, with many of the examples coming from the Jewish Persian community, which has a significant presence in Los Angeles.

I particularly liked the following detail:

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Some Lady

By Miriam Shaviv, August 23, 2010

While VS Naipaul is engrossed in a row over his portrayal of Africa, his wife's comments on Jews have gone unnoticed.

In the Times Magazine on Saturday (sorry no link - it's behind a paywall), Lady Naipaul casually comments:

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