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Gabe Friedman


Short track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov leading the Israeli Olympic team at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia in February of 2014

The world is about to revolve around Pyeongchang, a mountainous county in the northern half of South Korea, for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Jewish fans won’t have quite as many standout athletes to cheer for this year as they did in 2016, when multiple American members of the tribe won medals at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. But there are several compelling Jewish stories to catch up on before the action starts.

Israel is sending its largest team ever.

Before this year, the largest Israeli delegation at a Winter Olympics was five. That shouldn’t sound too...

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Collage of Israelis profiled in the blog post

When Natalie Portman was named the 2018 winner of the $1 million Genesis Prize, known as the "Jewish Nobel," it was in part an acknowledgement of her Israeli roots.

While the Oscar-winning actress mostly grew up in the United States, Portman — née Herschlag — is also Israeli. Her father, Avner Herschlag, grew up in Israel, and her mother married him there. The family moved to the U.S. when she was 3.

Portman's facility with Hebrew was on display when she directed and starred in the Hebrew-language film "Tale of Love and Darkness," based on the book by Israeli writer Amos Oz...

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Collage of images of individuals who died during the past year

It’s always difficult to whittle down the list of influential Jews who died in a given year, but this year the task seemed to be especially tough. The number of Jews who left historic marks on their fields — and, more broadly, on Jewish culture — was remarkable.

As 5777 draws to a close, here are some members of the tribe — representing areas as diverse as pop culture to politics — we've mourned since last Rosh HaShanah.

Carrie Fisher, 60

Most know Carrie Fisher because of her iconic role as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars films, but her tumultuous career extended...

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The four main actresses in Girls pose in front together in brightly colored outfits

The HBO series Girls may no longer be the definitive show of the millennial generation — but as it enters its sixth and final season this week, it remains relevant in myriad ways.

Girls debuted in 2012 — when the Jewish creator and star Lena Dunham was just 24 — and became the kind of smash success fueled by a maelstrom of both breathless praise and scathing critiques.

The show, which focused on four young women navigating Brooklyn and the turbulence of early adulthood, took on awkward sex, bad relationships, unpaid internships and minutiae of the entry-level “creative...

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It’s a fact of life: Scores of notable people pass away each year. But for some reason — whether it’s the continued aging of the baby boomer generation, the increasingly loud echo chambers on social media of condolences, or maybe just the expansion of who (or what) constitutes a celebrity in our collective psyche — the past year has been marked with an unusually high number of high-profile deaths, including David Bowie, Prince and Muhammad Ali.

Within the Jewish world, there were striking losses, too. This past year has taken many notable and influential members of the tribe from...

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