Who by Fire book events, spring 2022

Some upcoming book events (live and in person!) in the US and Canada: Tuesday, March 29, 2022, Los Angeles: Writers Bloc at the Skirball Center, 7:30 p.m. With Rabbi David Wolpe and a musical guest Sunday, April 3, 2022,Toronto: 11:30a.m., Beth Tikvah (3080 Bayview) Monday, April 4, 2022, New York: Streicker Center, 6 p.m. With author Abigail Pogrebin and a …

The New Ukrainian Aliyah (Tablet Magazine, Mar. 7, 2022)

Israel’s last wave of Ukrainian and Russian Jews is preparing to absorb the next one Matti Friedman New people with old stories are sitting on the benches in Nahariya, the beach town in northern Israel where my parents live. One woman sits in a park near the Jewish Agency’s immigrant absorption center, holding her smartphone and crying as another woman’s …

Chinese Itzik Comes to Haifa (Tablet Magazine, Jan. 10, 2022)

Beijing’s courtship of Israel has been canny and effective Matti Friedman Last week I drove up to Haifa to see with my own eyes a sight that, for most Israelis, has yet to sink in: the country’s brand new port, our third, which is beautiful, automated, efficient, and operated by the same Chinese company that runs the megaport at Shanghai. …

The New Bitcoin (Tablet Magazine, Dec. 7, 2021)

The incredible strength of the shekel is playing havoc with Israel’s economy, while leaving its humble and egalitarian past in the dust MATTI FRIEDMAN For people of my disposition, the financial news is a blur in the background: a graph in the newspaper, a ticker with ominous acronyms, a smattering of words like “fiscal,” which have an effect equivalent to …

The Mysteries of “King Solomon’s Mines” (Smithsonian, cover story, Dec. 2021)

Photo: Yadid Levy   An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament’s Historical Accuracy Beneath a desert in Israel, a scholar and his team are unearthing astonishing new evidence of an advanced society in the time of the biblical Solomon Matti Friedman If you stand on one of the outcroppings of the Timna valley, the most salient fact …

The Next Lebanon War (Tablet Magazine, Sept. 10, 2021)

By Matti Friedman (Read the piece in Tablet here.) The rule for watching the Israel-Lebanon frontier is that although nothing seems to be going on, something always is. Nothing seemed to be going on, for example, on one of the afternoons I recently spent along the electrified fence trying to sense the course of events this fraught summer, gazing out …

Israel’s Country Music Wizard (Tablet Magazine, July 8, 2021)

Kobi Oz might be the most influential musician in Israel. His songs brought Mizrahi stylings into the mainstream, painting a vivid portrait of a place coming to terms with its Middle Eastern identity. By Matti Friedman (Read the piece in Tablet here.) Who is the most important Israeli musician of the last generation? Not the most gifted or popular, but …

Building Israel’s Dust City (Tablet Magazine, Aug. 10, 2021)

Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO After decades of great expectations, Beersheba often seems like a lost cause. But a recent visit revealed a city finally on the cusp of a breakthrough. (Read the piece in Tablet here.) Every city is a battle against entropy, and Beersheba (to paraphrase a famous saying about Jews) is like other cities, but more so. There’s …

Kids Need Dirt and Danger (The Atlantic, June 16, 2021)

Photo courtesy of Elisha Haas Malka Haas turned children loose to play with discarded objects, giving them a different sort of preparation for life. By Matti Friedman (Read the piece in The Atlantic here.) When you pass the kindergarten at Sde Eliyahu, a kibbutz near the Jordan River in northern Israel, you might not recognize it. Instead, you’ll see a yard for …

Theodor Herzl Is Alive and Well and Living in New York (Tablet Magazine, June 3, 2021)

(Read the piece at Tablet here.) A few weeks ago, between watching thugs drive through north London shouting “F*** the Jews, rape their daughters,” and reading a tweet from an American TV personality with a pink bikini and 275,000 Twitter followers that read “These Jewish people are really killing children,” I picked up a vintage hardcover that was gathering dust …