Today on the streets of Jaffa, where I live, I saw for the first time in my life a woman in hijab (helmet on top) driving her motorbike in full throttle along Jerusalem Boulevard. She was too quick for me (on my peddle bike!) to take a photo. I was pretty proud of her, because […]
The Ebola virus, already said to be virtually out of control in west Africa, may also be threatening Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East. The virus, which still has no known cure, has so far resulted in more than 3,300 confirmed deaths in the three West Africa countries of Guinea, Liberia and […]
Shmita is a Jewish way to let the land rest once every 7 years. For Jewish Israelis it’s a deeply spiritual practice. Some may be surprised to know that the significance of this commandment is deeply ecological too.
British Muslims went green this past Saturday, as Muslims from all over London took part in a 100 km cycle ride from Mosque to Mosque. Muslims pray 5 times a day from dawn until dusk, and each “Salah” prayer constituted a different stop at some of London’s most iconic houses of worship, from the East […]
Maybe we’d have a little more tolerance and understanding in this world if ISIS just smoked some of the plants instead. Or maybe the plan is to smoke some of the spoils. Watch the video above as ISIS burns alleged cannabis plant fields in Syria.
Saudi cleric Saleh al Fawzan has decided that all-you-can-eat buffets are against Sharia (Islamic) law, unappetizing news for Muslims devoted to bargain dining deals!
Could a fatwa, a religious Muslim order, save a tiger? Watch and see, because the Indonesian Council of Clerics (ICC), the country’s highest Islamic body, has just proclaimed that hunting endangered animals is haram!
The Jewish holiday of Purim begins this coming Saturday night, the 15th of March, and continues through Sunday. In Jerusalem and other ancient walled cities, the holiday is called Shushan Purim and occurs on Sunday night, the 16th, through Monday.
Last Monday, Orthodox Christians across the Middle East kicked off the 40-day Lenten season with a wonderful food-based tradition called Green Monday, when folks tuck into a delicious (and usually outdoor) luncheon of greens, olives, potatoes and seafood.
According to Islam, being breastfed is a right for all children. Now Abu Dhabi has passed a clause in their Child Rights law that requires all women to breastfeed their children – up to the age of two.
For many years Hebrew schools in North America barely related to the Jewish holiday of Tu B’shevat, New Year for the Trees.
See the images: These very rare textiles were found in the Wadi Murabba’at caves south of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Why is this ancient find so exciting for the Jews?
For more than 3000 years, Jews dreamed of recovering a lost blue dye called techelet. Using clues laid down over 100 years ago by one rabbi in Poland, and another in Israel, Ptil Techelet, the Association for the Promotion and Distribution of Tekhelet, has succeeded in tracking down the dye’s source and reviving it.
Too many people have an idealized picture in their head of what Bethlehem looks like today, but St. James Church in central London aims to change that with an 8 meter temporary tall wall that obscures the church’s façade.
Polygamous Arab men who buy property in Turkey must choose just one of their brides to carry over the threshold; polygamy isn’t legal in this country which grants residency permits to just one wife.
Hand-holding, smooches and inter-gender chitchat between strangers are prohibited in Saudi Arabia, as are all public demonstrations of amor. So passionate Saudis stymied by morality laws are turning to their cars to show some love.
The smirky little ram gracing billboards across Amman, Jordan is the face of Tkiyet Um Ali, an organization launched in 2006 by Jordan’s Princess Haya Al-Hussein in memory of her mother, the late Queen Alia, who conceived this project to (literally) cater to the needy.
Digital developments are lessening reliance on traditional architecture. The internet enables us to dine in “restaurants” and sleep in “hotels” that are actually ordinary people’s homes. Our retail therapy is increasingly conducted online in virtual stores. And now a nutty little website is muscling out conventional places of worship.
Rabbis in an ultra-Orthodox settlement in Israel have attacked the popular Brazilian dance-ercize known as Zumba, declaring that it conflicts with the teachings of the Torah and runs counter to holy living.
Recognizing our likenesses even in superficial traditions can chip away at the sense of “otherness” that prevents connection. With Syria on the brink, will anyone dispute that the West and the Middle East need better connection?
The Jewish New Year 5774 starts at sundown tonight, Wednesday September 4th, and ends on the night of Thursday the 5th. On the first night, families sit together and enjoy a meal rich in delicious symbolism, as we explained in this post. Carrots are a more interesting vegetable than one would suspect. They’re also one […]
Want a jump up on impressing the hosts of upcoming Eid al-Adha parties? Conspicuous consumption is hard work in Jordan where I live. Product selections are slim, and tasking distant friends with doing the shopping requires gambling on Jordan Post, where parcels disappear like socks in the dryer. Internet retailers can be the answer, if […]
Children in Central Asia practice a tradition in the lead-up to iftar (the evening breaking of the Ramadan fast – read our green iftar guide here) that has a decidedly Western resonance: they go Ramadan caroling. As with Christmas caroling, the children go door-to-door singing their neighbors holiday songs. After performing, carolers ask for a […]
Planning on a trip to Dubai before intense summer heat hits? Brush up on behavioral norms to avoid holiday disasters far worse than sunburn and frizzy hair. Among the seven member states of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai – if it was a Disney dwarf – could be called “Tolerant”. That’s modern Middle East tolerant, a term […]
Islamic nations defer to astronomers in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Turkey (depending on political affiliation) to determine when the new crescent moon harkens the Holy Month of Ramadan. Dependence on real-time moon-spotting means heightened anxiety. Rumors reel about Ramadan’s start, leaving the requisite housecleaning and food prep open-ended.