Michael Freund
Michael Freund
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Passover blood libels, then and now

April 13, 2014  •  The Jerusalem Post

Passover is a festival of redemption, a day when we celebrate our forefathers' exodus from Egypt and the start of their collective journey to the Promised Land.

Nowadays, it is a time when families typically come together around the Seder table, enjoy each other's company and revel in the abundant rituals and symbolism.

But during the Middle Ages, the holiday unfortunately came to be associated with an entirely different theme, one that has bedeviled the Jewish people for nearly nine centuries and has recently been making a bit of a comeback: the infamous blood libel.

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The Dangerfield of diplomacy

April 10, 2014  •  The Jerusalem Post

This coming October will mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of American comedic icon Rodney Dangerfield, a man who left his mark on our collective consciousness and provided us all with some priceless moments of side-splitting laughter.

Born Jacob Rodney Cohen to Hungarian Jewish immigrants on Long Island, Dangerfield worked as a door-to-door aluminum siding salesman before hitting it big in comedy. In his act, he adopted the image of a hapless ne'erdo- well for whom nothing ever goes right, peppering his routine with what quickly became known as his signature line: "I get no respect."

"I'm telling you," he once said, "I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician, I would be honest."

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The Arab pogrom that started it all

April 3, 2014  •  The Jerusalem Post

Today marks an important anniversary, that of a tipping point in the modern Middle East which not only continues to shape our current reality but also serves to remind us of some very important truths about the nature of the ongoing conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Jews.

It was the middle of the morning on April 4, 1920, precisely 94 years ago, during the intermediate days of Passover, and the Jews of Jerusalem thought the danger hanging over them had mostly receded.

Muslims were marking the third and final day of the Nebi Musa festival, and despite fears of large-scale Arab violence, the holiday had thus far passed more quietly than anticipated.

But all that was about to change.

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Build a 'Young Israel of the Temple Mount'

April 1, 2014  •  The Jerusalem Post

At first glance it would appear to be a recipe for disaster, a proposal so brash it could ignite a conflagration between Arab and Jew. But the idea to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which was recently put forward by an impressive array of rabbis, professors and other public figures in a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, might just contain within it the seeds of co-existence and should not be dismissed out of hand.

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The first Chinese rabbi in 200 years

March 27, 2014  •  The Jerusalem Post

Standing silently in the middle of an open field at his family's burial plot, Yaakov Wang gazes at his late grandfather's tombstone, seemingly lost in thought. Just over a year has passed since Yaakov, a descendant of the Jewish community of Kaifeng, China, completed his conversion before a rabbinical court in Jerusalem. And now he has come back to pay his respects at the grave of the man who first taught him about the family's unique Chinese Jewish heritage.

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