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Władysław Bartoszewski Dies at 93

Former Polish foreign minister, an Auschwitz survivor, masterminded Poland’s relations with Germany and the Jews

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Former Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski on December 11, 2007, in Berlin. (Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images)

Władysław Bartoszewski, the preeminent Polish statesman credited with restoring post-war relations between Germany and Poland, as well as Poland and Israel, died today at 93. Bartoszewski survived Auschwitz, where he was held as a political prisoner, and devoted his career to mending his beloved country’s wounds not only through smart diplomacy but also through the dogged preservation of the memory of Nazi atrocities.

Tablet’s literary editor David Samuels spoke to Bartoszewski in 2013, when Tablet staffers traveled to Warsaw for the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in which Bartoszewski took part. The two-time foreign minister, honored with various prizes and knighthoods, was throughout his life a journalist, scholar, and activist. (more…)

Masha Gessen Named Carnegie Fellow

Organization honors author of ‘The Brothers,’ a book about Boston Marathon bombers

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(OR books )

On Wednesday the Carnegie Corporation of New York announced it will award up to $200,000 to 32 scholars in the organization’s inaugural class of fellows in the social sciences and humanities. Among them is Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen, who recently released ‘The Brothers,’ a book about Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Gessen, “a lesbian mother who is abandoning her home in Russia because of the anti-gay laws,” her bio reads, is working on a book about Birobidzhan, a Jewish autonomous region 50 miles short of the Chinese border, for Nextbook Press’ Jewish Encounter Series.

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Daughter of an Iranian Ayatollah Fights for Peace

Maryam Faghihimani shares how she learned to look past ‘black holes of pasts,’ befriend Jews

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(Image courtesy of Maryam Faghihimani)

Maryam Faghihimani’s childhood was spent in the living room of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, where she played with the children of other prominent Iranian ayatollahs. Her father, Faghih Imani, is still a senior ayatollah in Iran and was personally responsible for spreading Khomeini’s message of revolution to mosques and Muslim gatherings around Iran before 1979.

Faghihimani was educated in a religious school that served her a steady diet of hatred of Jews—Israel was erased from maps and the Holocaust from all history books. But in her earlier twenties, Faghihimani had an epiphany that radically changed the course of her life, which she’ll share Sunday as keynote speaker at Harvard Business School’s Economic Prosperity for Peace Conference.  (more…)

Arab-Israeli TV anchor Lucy Aharish Calls for ‘Peace’

Presenter makes tearful appeal for tolerance, coexistence on Israeli Independence Day

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Arab-Israeli TV anchor Lucy Aharish lights a torch at Israel's Independence Day ceremony on April 23, 2015(YouTube)

Of the 14 Israelis chosen to light the country’s Independence Day torches yesterday, only one delivered part of her speech in Arabic: Lucy Aharish, an Arab Muslim TV anchor on i24news and frequent face on Israeli television. In her brief remarks, which Aharish delivered while visibly holding back tears, she issued a plea for tolerance among all Israeli citizens, “for Sephardim and Ashkenazim, religious and secular, Arabs and Jews.”  (more…)

Belichick the Patriot

NFL coach wears Armenian flag pin at White House to mark 100 years since genocide

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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks during Super Bowl champion New England Patriots' visit to the White House on April 23, 2015. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As is tradition, the New England Patriots, winners of the Super Bowl XLIX, visited the White House to celebrate with President Obama one of the most exciting championship victories in recent memory. The team, led by head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, assembled behind President Obama who congratulated them.

“I’m particularly grateful that Coach decided to dress up today,” Obama said, poking fun at Belichick who typically dons an oversized hoodie on the sidelines during games. “We had some scissors if he wanted to cut the sleeves off.”

But Belichick’s sartorial choices were spot-on—and political. (more…)

A Eulogy for Vladimir Slepak

Natan Sharansky remembers his ‘loyal and dependable friend,’ Jewish refusenik and leader, who died yesterday

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(Soviet refusenik activists photographed in 1976. From left to right: back row: Vitaly Rubin, Vladimir Slepak, Lev Ovsisscher, Alexander Druk, Yossi Beilin, front row: Natan Sharansky, Ida Nudel, Alexander Lerner.)

Avital and I are shocked by the news of Volodya’s death.

Volodya Slepak, nicknamed Борода (The Beard), was not just an activist, not just a refusenik, not just a Prisoner of Zion. Over the course of nearly two decades he was the central figure of our entire movement of the struggle for the freedom of Soviet Jews.

Masha and Volodya’s home in the center of Moscow was the central hub of connections among Jews visiting from all over the world and Soviet Jews coming from every corner of the USSR. (more…)

Al-Qaida Hostage Warren Weinstein Mistakenly Killed by U.S. Drone Strike

Italian Giovanni Lo Porto also killed while captive in Pakistan

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President Obama during a press conference on April 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

American consultant Warren Weinstein, 73, who was captured by al-Qaida in 2011, was killed in a January drone strike aimed at the militant group, President Barack Obama said today.

“Under the terms of a secret arrangement brokered in 2004, the C.I.A. was allowed to conduct lethal strikes inside the tribal areas of Pakistan,” the New York Times reports. “But neither the American nor the Pakistani government could acknowledge their existence.”  (more…)

Celtics Need Auerbachian Lift

Back in Boston and down 2-0 to the Cavs, the men in green should draw inspiration from the man who took Celtics franchise to apex of NBA

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(Red Auerbach and Bill Russell)

After losing the first two games of its opening round playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics are in dire need of a win tonight in Beantown. And though the Celts are giving the LeBrons all they’ve got, I’m afraid—and I write this having grown up rooting for every three-ball Antoine Walker chucked up to hit the nylon aflush—that it won’t be enough. The Cavs, simply put, have far too much talent to fall.

And yet, the green blood of the Celtics flows through veins of gold, pumping oxygen back to the heart of the NBA’s winningest franchise.  (more…)

Can Shakshuka Bring Peace to the Middle East?

U.N. Secretary-General gets lunch in NYC at Israeli food truck

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dines at ShukaTruck on April 23, 2015. (ShukaTruck)

It looks like we’re not the only ones embracing ShukaTruck, the Israeli food truck serving up the delicious Middle Eastern dish throughout New York City. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stopped by the truck today for lunch, grabbing a bite of the North African specialty popular throughout Israel. The truck was parked outside Israel’s mission to the U.N. for Yom Ha’atzmaut.

(more…)

Naming a Royal Baby? Try This Jewish Tradition

Some tried-and-true advice for Kate and William who await the birth of their second child

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leave St Paul's Cathedral after a Service of Commemoration for troops who were stationed in Afghanistan on March 13, 2015 in London, England. ((Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images))

You guys, there’s a new royal baby coming any day now! You might have forgotten about it since none of us are quite as excited this time around—the curse of the second child persists no matter how many bizarre gold statues he or she is likely to receive as a christening gift from the Sultanate of Brunei, it seems—but that doesn’t mean it’s not slowly positioning itself at the inside end of the Duchess of Cambridge’s dainty and immaculately groomed birth canal as I write. (more…)

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