Topsy-Turvy // Yair Lifshitz

An annual outlet for the pressure cooker of the medieval Jewish community, the Purim spiel subtly subverts the power structures of Jewish society, making a mockery of their authority


Why We Eat Hamentashen // Shmil Holland

How did the traditional Purim pastries originating in Eastern Europe become associated with the festival? And how did Haman’s ears end up in his pocket-book?

The Fire of Faith // Shai Secunda

In the Persian empire of the book of Esther, it was the Gnostic fire-worship of the Zoroastrian faith that reigned supreme. The meeting of Persian and Jewish cultures generated mutual influences, as well as the sparks of confrontation

A War of Words // Ari Geiger

Far from the gentle poet of contemporary imagination, Dunash’s pen was mightier than a sword and its sting more venomous than a snake-bite. The prizes at stake were fame and fortune, and the battlefield – the field of Hebrew grammar

Jerusalem Carpenter // Mordechai Eshel

A Jordanian king dreams of the perfect parquet, but it takes a Jewish carpenter from Jerusalem to make it happen. While Arab riots raged in Palestine, royal limousines whisked Mendel Cohen to work in King Abdullah’s palaces

Book review

In Ishmael’s House, Marin Gilbert // Lara Kwalbrun

Herod: The Man Who had to Be King, Yehuda Shulewitz // Elka Weber

Jerusalem – the Biography, Simon Sebag Montifiore // Henry goldblum

This blithely written book presents Jerusalem as the home of all monotheistic faiths, disregarding the unique bond between Jews and their ancient capital

From the Archives

The Jewish Gauchos // Yochai Ben-Gedalia

Jewish settlers in Argentina


Where There Are No Trees… // Moshe Haim Shapira

The remains of the forests in the Land of Israel

Laterally Speaking

The Attitude in Latitude // Moti Passal

Ancient maps in perspective