Who By Fire (Jewish Book Council review, March 28, 2022)

By Beth Dwoskin  Leonard Cohen fans know that Judaism was a crit­i­cal part of his iden­ti­ty. Experts know that sec­u­lar Israelis revere his mem­o­ry. These two facts come togeth­er in this riv­et­ing book by Mat­ti Fried­man. When the Yom Kip­pur War began in 1973, Cohen was one of so many dias­po­ra Jews who went to Israel with the com­mon and naive expec­ta­tion that …

Israel’s Minister of the Hyphen (Tablet Magazine, April 11, 2022)

Minister of Religious Services Matan Kahana arrives at the president’s residence in Jerusalem on June 14, 2021EMMANUEL DUDANDE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES Matti Friedman Matan Kahana’s lonely battle to build a religious-Zionist-labor-Orthodox-democratic Jewish state It’s impossible to understand Matan Kahana, the surprise star of the current Israeli government, or to grasp the spirit of the coalition that has governed here for …

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. …