Seeing the Light

This aerial view shows the damage of a December 2014 oil leak in the Arava area of southern Israel, near where the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative is 
underway to reduce the world's reliance on petroleum.

TEL AVIV — In the sun-parched fields near where the largest oil spill in Israeli history poured millions of liters of crude oil into the desert on Dec. 4, an ambitious effort is underway to help reduce global dependency on petroleum for energy. Known as the Eilot Belt, the area is the site of Israel’s… Read More

Israeli Youth Movement

A student village built by Ayalim in the embattled town of Sderot will house 300 students next year.

LOD, Israel — He says he’s a leader of a “Zionist settlement” movement, but Raz Sofer’s home is no West Bank outpost. Sofer, 25, is the manager of a 100-member student village in this mixed Jewish-Arab city in central Israel. The village, comprised of several apartment complexes, offers students cheap rent in exchange for volunteer… Read More

Sephardic Vogue

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ROTA, Spain — While setting up a synagogue at the American naval base where she works, Ahuvah (Amanda) Gipson made something of a bitter-sweet discovery. Rifling through a storage area at the sprawling American-Spanish military complex Naval Station Rota in 2012, Gipson, a former naval outreach professional who now teaches off base, found three dusty… Read More

Alphabet Soup

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The announcement last week that HIAS, the century-old Jewish immigrant and refugee aid organization, will relocate its headquarters from New York City to Silver Spring is just another sign that the Jewish organizational universe is changing. Once known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the agency has responded to the end of Jewish refugee immigration… Read More

President Praises Community Efforts to Free Gross

December 17 remarks from President Barack Obama on the release of Alan Gross: “I wanted to begin with today’s wonderful news. I’m told that in Jewish tradition one of the great mitzvahs is pidyon shvuyim. My Hebrew’s not perfect. But I get points for trying. But it describes the redemption. The freeing of captives. And… Read More

Statement from Gross on Return Home from Cuba

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Upon returning home from five years of imprisonment in Cuba, Alan Gross had the following to say: “Chag Sameach.  What a blessing to be a citizen of the United States of America.  Thank you President Obama for everything you have done today. I want to acknowledge the extraordinary and determined efforts of my wife of… Read More

What Matters Most

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TEL AVIV — This government was supposed to be different. During the last election campaign in 2012, Israelis seemed to tire of the existential issues that have plagued the country for decades. Barely anyone talked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Long-simmering social tensions over the rising cost of living and the economic burdens of the underemployed… Read More

Yesha Council Pushes for Alternative Solutions

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Israelis living in the West Bank have a message to politicians and world Jewry: The two-state solution is no solution. Members of the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization that represents the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and, up until the 2005 Israeli disengagement, Gaza, have ramped up outreach in an effort to open up dialogue… Read More

A Safe Haven

A concern for safety pushed Julie and Nathanael Weill and their sons Eytan and Lior to move from France to Montreal.

TORONTO — When Dan Charbit and his wife, Gaelle Hazan, moved to Montreal from Paris two summers ago, it was meant to be a temporary fix — a yearlong attempt for Charbit to reboot his stalled career as a special-effects artist in Quebec’s thriving film and television industry. They agreed to fly home if the… Read More

Soldier for His People

Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch stands at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport, where he was arrested in 1970.

ST. PETERSBURG — Through the backseat window of a black KGB car, Yosef Mendelevitch could see university students his age hurrying to take their finals. It was June 15, 1970, and the 23-year-old Mendelevitch had just been arrested along with 11 accomplices for trying to hijack a plane to escape the Soviet Union. On the… Read More