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Life & Culture

  • Muslim and Queer: Mourning after Orlando

    As a Queer person, the shooting on Sunday reminded me how ugly bigotry is. As a Muslim woman the media frenzy surrounding the shooting on Sunday reminds me of how ugly discrimination is. By Suhad Babaa I am Queer and Muslim, raised in a Muslim and Christian household. I was taught to love and be gracious, to be humble and to embrace ideas, cultures and experiences that were not my own. I have also been taught to listen and learn. I have tried to live those values every day. I don't usually weigh in when there has been tragic loss of life in the communities…

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  • The Ramadan guide for the curious Israeli

    Most Israeli Jews know next to nothing about their Palestinian neighbors. Here are a few pro-tips for the holy month of Ramadan. And so it begins. Ramadan, the month of fasting in Islam, in which Muslims are made to fast from sunrise until sunset for 29-30 straight days, after which they celebrate three days of the Al-Fitr holiday. [tmwinpost] For those who are fasting, including myself, I wish you an easy fast and hope that it passes quickly and without unnecessary heat waves. This month is difficult enough, so I hope the weather doesn't become Islamophobic. And now for all…

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  • Finding home in a new memory: A journey to the Golan

    Maintaining a boundary between support, solidarity and an acknowledgment of Israel’s wrongdoing toward Palestinians without appropriating the memory is an ongoing and constant effort. In Mansura, I found something different. By Eitan Bronstein Aparicio For years, I have been acting in the realm of the political memory, the construction of memory, deconstructing and erecting myths. I launched an organization dealing with memory. But somehow, I always remained external to the memories I touched upon: it was the Palestinian memory, which isn’t mine organically. I organized visits of Israelis to the Palestinian villages Israel destroyed during the Nakba and I initiated the…

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  • What we left behind in Egypt: Mizrahi thoughts on Israel

    Even when they had reached the borders of the Promised Land, after 40 years in the desert, all the Children of Israel wanted was to go back to Egypt. In Erez Biton's poem, the immigrant from Algeria and his son fail to build a home in Israel. Independence Day is also the tale of the rift in our identity, created by immigrating here. By Mati Shemoelof "And the children of Israel said unto them: ‘Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat bread…

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  • The Long Road to Bethlehem: Epilogue

    Read the full series: The Long Road to Bethlehem I began writing this series in December 2014, just a few months after I arrived in the United States, and finished in September of 2015. Much has changed since then. Shortly after I finished the last essay, the current escalation in violence began. I also returned to Israel-Palestine for October and November of 2015 (read about that trip here) to update my research for a forthcoming book about migrant workers and African asylum seekers in the Jewish state, a project I’ve been working on in one form or another since 2007.…

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  • At Peace Holiday, normalcy is the best act of resistance

    A new holiday was established by the binational, bilingual school kids at Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam. We painted, cooked, built puppets and celebrated. Only the roar of aircraft on their way to Gaza brought a small reminder of reality. Please mark down May 7, 2016 as the first “Peace Holiday” - a new addition to the already crowded calendar of the binational, bilingual school of Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom. It is in the proximity of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Nakba Day, Independence Day, Land Day, Passover, Easter, Mimouna, Asraia and al-Miarg'. With grief and bereavement rituals, religious celebrations and festivals…

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  • WATCH: Overdue recognition for Mizrahi poets

    For decades, the poetry, literature and culture of Mizrahi Jews, those who came from Arab and Middle Eastern countries, was excluded from and marginalized in the Israeli mainstream and educational curriculum. That is beginning to change, and there exists a unique opportunity to correct the course. Read more: The roots of anti-Mizrahi racism in Israel Riches to rags to virtual riches: When Mizrahi artists said 'no' to Israel's pioneer culture It is time to rebuild ties between Mizrahim and the Arab world

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  • 'Literature's task is to pose alternatives to political reality'

    “Art and War: Poetry, Pulp and Politics in Israeli Fiction”, by Lavie Tidhar and Shimon Adaf; Repeater, 300 pages, $14.95 Have you ever eavesdropped on the conversations of the brilliant people at the table next to you, and wanted to jump in and interrupt, to ask your own questions? Art and War: Poetry, Pulp and Politics in Israeli Fiction, a new book of conversations between two writers, is sure to make readers feel that way. Art and War consists of conversations between Sapir Prize winning Tel Aviv resident Shimon Adaf and World Fantasy Award winning London resident Lavie Tidhar about the…

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  • Israel's forgotten heroes of the Red Army

    This Holocaust Memorial Day, a group of young Russian-speaking Israelis is calling attention to the stories of their grandparents —  Soviet heroes who defeated the Nazis, living on the margins of Israeli society. By Edi Zhensker and Berry Rosenberg A lot of us stare at them and wonder: who are these elderly people who speak Russian? What are they wearing on their chest? Who gets so many medals? Many wonder whether it is some weird 90s fashion trend that these immigrants brought with them, and which they refuse to let go of. Others have a hard time pronouncing the word…

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  • Mimouna, a Jewish-Muslim festival everywhere except Israel

    Moroccan Jews have always celebrated Mimouna with their Muslim neighbors – and still do in Belgium, Italy and France. But in Israel, this charming custom fell prey to Zionism's primeval instinct to divide and rule.  Mimouna, the Jewish-Moroccan post-Passover festival, always offers an interesting glimpse into Ashkenazi-Mizrahi relations in Israel, by virtue of being the only Mizrahi custom that successfully acceded into the Israeli mainstream. Fewer and fewer Ashkenazis come out of it unscathed: Those who look down on Moroccan customs as primitive and uncivilized get their share of abuse, as well as those who pay lip service to multiculturalism…

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  • The Long Road to Bethlehem: Part six

    Read the previous chapters of The Long Road to Bethlehem here. We live with Mohammad’s brother for the first two months as I look for an apartment—a difficult thing to find in America when you’re both living off of your meager savings, your ex-husband has successfully wrecked your credit (long story), your foreign partner doesn’t have a social security number, and neither of you have proof of current employment. In early October I see an advertisement on Craigslist for a house with three small bedrooms and hardwood floors. The pictures show a tidy, clapboard, whitewashed home, edged with mango and…

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  • The diaspora is an integral part of Hebrew literature

    There is a ceaseless movement of Israeli culture — and the diaspora experience is just waking up and testing its global limits. By Mati Shemoelof BERLIN — There is no such thing as “Hebrew literature written outside Israel” because the definition of “outside Israel” cannot address art in general or literature in particular. Literature is created in a space that is not a state or a country. The categorization of literature that is written outside or inside a country is problematic. As such, we should understand that Hebrew literature from the get-go belongs to every country in which there are writers…

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  • COMIC: The Haggadah's evolution from generation to generation

    Haggadot have historically evolved to reflect the needs and aspirations of their respective communities. Eli Valley envisions an American Jewish Haggadah for presidential primary season. Eli Valley is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Gawker and elsewhere. A collection of his comics will be released later this year by OR Books. His website is www.elivalley.com and he tweets @elivalley.

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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Illustrations: Eran Mendel