(JTA) — Providing a window into Jewish communities across the globe, on the ground — from European metropolises to more isolated outposts — has always been part of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s mission.
This year, our reporters ventured into places where Jews and Jewish life are at risk, including Ukraine — where we sent several reporters — and Ethiopia. They also headed to places where Jewish life is vibrant and colorful, from the southernmost region of South America to the melting pot of Paris. They even found exciting Jewish stories in places with few Jews, such as Guyana.
Here are 10 stories that took JTA readers off the beaten path in 2022. To follow along in 2023, make sure to sign up for our weekly Around the World newsletter.
Folk dance is a national pastime in Taiwan — and Israeli songs are a big part of that tradition. Why? Our correspondent investigated.
The city’s former Jewish ghetto, which became one of Europe’s leading Jewish cultural centers, is badly in need of renovations. Our reporter strolled through it, hitting sweet shops, historic synagogues and artisanal craft stores along the way, showing that it’s still a hub of Jewish life.
At least two Jews live in this tiny English-speaking South American nation, and both of their stories capture the dynamics that define the country.
Our former European correspondent visited a Jewish refugee hub for people fleeing the war’s violence in the east. It happened to be situated in a former 4-star resort.
Later in the year, for Rosh Hashanah, thousands of Jewish pilgrims visited the grave of a revered rabbi in this small city as usual, despite wartime restrictions. The party went on (almost) as planned.
San Martín de los Andes, Argentina
Patagonia is known as one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on earth. This year, a new synagogue set up shop in the Argentine part of the expansive region for the first time in decades.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
When they flew out of this country for Israel three decades ago, Askabo Meshiha’s family left a valuable Jewish text behind. Here’s the story of how they risked everything to get it back.
North African cuisine has been trending for years in the French capital. But Mabrouk may be the only outspokenly Jewish player in the culinary new wave, with a menu that reflects the habits and sensibilities of North African Jews.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
This coastal oasis is a vacation hotspot, but it’s growing a year-round Jewish community due to a variety of socioeconomic factors.
Half an hour up the Danube River from the city’s center sits a small campus that looks on the outside like a normal European university, with students picnicking and smoking outside. But Milton Friedman University, named for the Jewish Nobel Prize-winning economist, has ambitions to become a major hub of Jewish-themed scholarship.