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For hundreds of years, they lived in fear, practicing remnants of a lost tradition in cramped cellars and dark corners. Their ancestors were tortured to death in the dungeons of the Inquisition; some were burned alive at the stake. Yet over the past two decades, many have come back to reclaim their heritage in broad daylight. Rabbi Nissan Ben Avraham, the first “Marrano” to be an Israeli-ordained rabbi, took us on a surprising tour of these reawakening Spanish kehillos.
When Rav Yitzchak Dovid Grossman declared he wouldn’t be running for Ashkenazic chief rabbi in the upcoming elections, there was a collective sigh of disappointment from all sectors of Israeli society. Who else could bridge the widening gaps and reinstate the dignity of the office with such finesse and kavod? But Rav Grossman had his own considerations — his deceased father’s command came first.
Many diplomats and even members of Congress shun Yehuda and the Shomron when they visitIsrael, characterizing their 360,000 Jewish residents with the same old tired epithets as “radicals” and “obstacles to peace.” But after years of unilateral concessions, stalled negotiations, and subversive use of humanitarian aid, Congress is finally hearing another voice.