Park Slope, Brooklyn Reacts to Rising Anti-Semitism


Though comfortable Park Slope, Brooklyn has not witnessed violent anti-Semitic attacks which have been proliferating in Crown Heights and Williamsburg, some local congregations aren’t taking anything for granted. After Donald Trump was elected, the historic Temple Beth Elohim was transformed into an activist hub intent on rolling back anti-Semitism. If […]

Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Anti-Semitism


What’s behind the wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?  The neighborhood is home to Orthodox, Hassidic and Satmar Jewish communities, and recently there has been a spate of violent attacks as well as arson against Jews.  Though Donald Trump has certainly aggravated social tensions by pursuing ties to right-wing […]

Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Anti-Semitism


What’s behind the wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Crown Heights, Brooklyn?  The neighborhood is home to a substantial Hassidic community, and recently there’s been a spate of violent attacks against Jews, as well as vandalism.  Though Donald Trump has certainly aggravated social tensions by pursuing ties to right-wing nationalists and […]

Reflections on the Rusyn People and a Voyage to Transcarpathia


As I sat in the café, I felt myself getting more and more nervous.  Behind me, an irate woman shouted “secessionist!” while filming me with her cell phone camera.  Eager to learn more about ethnic politics, I had come here to Uzhgorod, a city lying in the western Ukrainian province […]

World-Wide Anti-Semitism and Ukraine: Old Patterns or a “New Wave”?


While many people routinely employ the word “anti-Semitism,” the term itself is rather ill-defined.  Though the news media has reported on recent anti-Semitic attacks which have spread through both Europe and the United States, such coverage has fallen short of the mark by failing to contextualize this “new wave” of […]

A Forgotten Moorish Synagogue Amidst Uzhgorod’s Tangled Ethnic History


Late last year, while walking around the otherwise somewhat drab western Ukrainian town of Uzhgorod, I came upon a building which looked like something straight out of 1001 Arabian Nights: a Moorish-influenced synagogue constructed in red brick with Andalusian-style motifs and flourishes displayed on the façade.  Originally constructed in 1904, […]

L’viv and the Anti-Semitism Question: An Eyewitness Report


Recently, the western Ukrainian city of L’viv has been getting some pretty bad press.  Last year, the Jewish Daily Forward noted the town had hosted a march in remembrance of a World War II-era SS unit, complete with Nazi salutes no less.  The march, which drew a thousand people, honored […]

Ukrainian Election: Religion and Culture Wars


When Ukrainians speak of their yearning to join the European Union, what is their innate understanding of the west or “western values”?  Such questions are assuming greater importance as Ukraine’s presidential election approaches in March.  Though western leaders may have thought Kyiv was on track to embrace social tolerance and […]

Assessing Yulia Tymoshenko, Grande Dame of Ukrainian Politics


Champion of the underdog or pseudo-populist?  Ukrainian patriot or kowtowing to Russian interests?  Inheritor of Maidan’s legacy or channeling the oligarchs?  Love or hate her, Yulia Tymoshenko is one of the most controversial figures on Ukraine’s political scene and this grande dame will no doubt play a key role in […]