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  • Survey: 4 in 10 British Jewish students experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism

    A new survey of Jewish students at British universities shows they are comfortable with their religious identity and not very concerned about campus anti-Semitism, even though 42 percent of them experienced or witnessed anti-Semitic incidents in a sample six-month span.

  • Odessa Jewish orphanage doesn’t fit the stereotype

    Chava Melamed, director of the Tikva Children’s Home facility for small children, leads a group of boys in a rendition of Chiddy Bang’s "Mind Your Manners." (Alex Weisler) As we pulled up to the orphanage, located in a historically Jewish Odessa neighborhood called Moldavanka, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d never been to an…

  • Despite language barrier, Odessa Limmud event has palpable energy

    Moscow cantor Dmitry Karpenko discusses the American Jewish musical tradition at Limmud FSU, held in Odessa, Ukraine. (Alex Weisler) I only speak English and bad high-school Italian, so covering a conference held almost entirely in Russian isn’t the easiest for me. Luckily, Limmud doesn’t make it too hard. There’s usually about five options for each time…

  • The week ahead: trips to Ukraine, Moldova and a country that doesn’t exist

    No one told me that today was the day to turn back your clocks in Europe. That’s why I’m currently sitting in a Caffe Nero near London’s Hammersmith tube stop in the southwest of the city, shamelessly abusing free WiFi and killing time before hopping an express train to Gatwick for my flight to Ukraine….

  • In London, a metropolis with a rich and diverse Jewish life

    If it feels like it’s taken me awhile to get started in London, blame Stephanie Oxner — or whoever the person actually is who impersonated a 29-year-old nurse and bilked me out of a good deal of money in a Craigslist apartment scam. But as I’ve spent about a week bouncing around from hotel to…

  • Finding Jewish leadership in far-flung Iceland

    Chicago native Mike Levin found his place in the Jewish constellation in a country with no synagogue, no Jewish community center and no Jewish organization.

  • Babushkas — occupational hazard or unexpected gift?

    In college, I lived in a house named after Kate Bush, so it’s only fitting that my nearly four months in Europe have been punctuated by babushkas — though I suppose Kate would insist that the proper word is "Babooshka." When I visited Vilnius, Lithuania, in late August, a wizened crone screamed at me as…

  • Through minyans, a better sense of my Jewish identity, responsibilities

    Members of the Jewish community in Nove Zamky, Slovakia, speak about the town’s Jewish history at its Orthodox cemetery. (Alex Weisler) Before this trip to Europe, I’m not sure I properly appreciated the value and simple beauty of the minyan. Minyans are about collective responsibility, the recognition that there are certain Jewish rituals we are…

  • In Belgrade, a warm, inviting Sukkot celebration

    Greetings from Belgrade. I got into the city — which on first glance reminds me alternately of Athens and Moscow — in late afternoon and had just enough time to drop my stuff off before the Sukkot celebrations began at the city’s only synagogue, located just a few blocks away from my hostel. I’m no…

  • Off to Serbia to … well, I’ll figure that out

    I’m off to Belgrade, Serbia, today for five nights before I move into a little flat in Westminster for about a month of London-based reporting. Why Serbia? Part of it is simply the appeal of geography. I’ve been dying to go to the Balkans for years. Yes, Thessaloniki in northern Greece, where I spent a…