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At the school board table

By Ruth Kraut, special to the WJN For many Jews, time is now split into “before” and “after” October 7. In the “before times,” the Jewish Federation/Jewish Community Relations Committee convened a parents’ group to discuss antisemitism in Washtenaw County schools. (See the October 2023 WJN for a summary.) They had also requested, from the…

The enormous weight of our history: Nahal Oz on my mind  

The enormous weight of our history: Nahal Oz on my mind  

By Shifra Epstein and Clare Kinberg Last month, my friend Shifra Epstein, an Israeli folklorist and longtime Ann Arbor resident, sent me a series of messages about Kibbutz Nahal Oz, which was among the first communities in the Otef Azza/Gaza Envelope to be invaded and brutalized by Hamas on October 7. Shifra wrote me, “In…

Highlighting humanity: The hope of two progressive Jews in the aftermath of October 7

Highlighting humanity: The hope of two progressive Jews in the aftermath of October 7

By Micah Sweet and Matan Berg October 7, 2023, was a day that neither of us expected. As we woke up that Saturday morning, we were horrified by dozens of news notifications of an unprecedented terrorist attack on the Jewish people. We were sad, shocked, angry, and confused all at once — more than anything…

Dizengoff in Odessa

Dizengoff in Odessa

By Shifra Epstein In memory of my grandparents, Shifra Epstein (1879–1925) and Israel Epstein (1872–1932), who moved in 1919 with their four children from Bialystock (Russia) to Jaffa. My grandparents are buried in the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv, not far from Zina and Meir Dizengoff. A Jewish city An Odessan was asked one day,…

Finding Jewish community Ann Arbor to Switzerland

Finding Jewish community Ann Arbor to Switzerland

Two years ago, my company offered my family and me an opportunity to move from Ann Arbor to the French-speaking part of Switzerland for a four-year assignment. It was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when travel still felt like a distant dream. Our family had moved around a lot, but we’d been in Ann Arbor for seven years and had finally settled down. We had recently bought and started fixing up a charming old home, and our two children were very happy at school. We also had never felt more connected Jewishly, having found an extended family with the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation (AARC) and also being able to connect virtually with a wonderful Jewish Renewal synagogue near our old home in California. The idea of blowing up our lives was completely unnerving, but it felt like an opportunity of a lifetime that we couldn’t pass up.