Weighing in at more than five pounds and offering up more than 500 pages of text and illustrations, Venice, The Jews and Europe: 1516-2016 (Rizzoli) is a comprehensive and valuable resource for understanding the institution of the first Jewish ghetto, on the 500th anniversary of its establishment in Venice, Italy.
Amos Oz is one of Israel’s best known authors, and one of the most controversial. At 77, he is widely considered as the godfather of Israeli peaceniks. After fighting in the 1967 Six-Day War, he was the first Israeli to call publicly for the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the newly occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. “Even unavoidable occupation,” he wrote, “is a corrupting occupation.” His opposition to Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, led to his co-founding Peace Now in 1978.
Parashat Lech L’cha tells us the story of the very beginning of Jewish history, when God says to Abraham and Sarah that they are to “go forth” and begin the story of Jewish commitment.
Parashat Vayeira starts with a cliffhanger. We’re told that God appeared before Abraham, but that’s it—we never find out where God appears or what God says. Instead, we get three desert wanderers, who have important news for Abraham. So, where is God in this story?
Translated, Chayei Sarah means “the life of Sarah.” It’s an odd title for a parashah that opens with Sarah’s death, but even though this parashah doesn’t detail Sarah’s life, it does teach us about the kind of life she lived.
A chapter in Parashat Eikev reads, “when you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless.” What does it mean to be satisfied, and what kind of power does a good meal have?