Apparently, tefillin are sexy — why do you think that is?

The News And Times Review

from Michael Novakhov on Inoreader


“Putting on tefillin is hot,” says Cindy Seni, one of the contestants on Netflix’s Jewish Matchmaking. “Every Jewish woman, I don’t know what it is about tefillin, but we’re obsessed with it.”

I don’t know if every Jewish woman — or man — is obsessed with tefillin, but I have to agree that there’s something sexy about them, and I’m not alone. There’s an Instagram page called “Hot guys in tefillin” and plenty of tweets on the topic.

Tefillin are hot, sorry Gd, you commanded a Hot Prayer Accessory, it’s just a fact

— Maladroithe (@Maladroithe) October 19, 2022

Of course, not everyone agrees. On Reddit, one user said they found the fetishization of tefillin to be disrespectful to a sacred object. Others just don’t really see it, or find religiosity in general to be a turnoff.

But for those who are into the religious wrappings, what’s the appeal? I have some theories.


If you’re religious, you probably want a partner who is similarly devoted to God. (This was a theme for several couples on Jewish Matchmaking.) Laying tefillin every morning is an act of devotion and spirituality that has obvious appeal to religious Jews looking for someone with a relationship to Hashem.

Seni herself said the same in an interview with Hey Alma. “I appreciate that the first thing a man does at the beginning of the day is realize that it’s not about them, and that there’s a higher power,” she said. “I think that’s what turns women on: that idea that you’re putting God before you.”

The leather

People love leather — how many models have posed in leather jackets? Laying tefillin may be the sign of a good Jewish boy, but the black leather still carries a bad boy association. Let’s be real: Leather is hot, whether or not it has parchment inscribed with Torah verses inside. A non-Jewish friend of mine once said she could imagine tefillin being the next big thing on the runway of New York Fashion Week.

The arm accentuation

It’s hard to argue with the fact that a tefillin strap wrapped around a well-muscled arm highlights the biceps; they make a flattering arm accessory. If you’re into arms, maybe you’re also into tefillin.

The bondage

OK, this is where some people probably think that a healthy admiration crosses the line into disrespect — when it becomes an actual fetish.

But I’ve seen tweets drooling over the marks tefillin leave in people’s arms when they remove them, which is awfully similar to posts in the fetish community about the imprint of rope bindings from BDSM play. After all, aren’t you literally binding yourself to God?

Years ago, I even had a non-Jewish friend, who was dating an Israeli man, ask me about the black leather straps she saw other Jewish men wear. “It does look a little like leather bondage kink,” she said.

Relatable or weird?

Let us know your thoughts on the relative hotness — or lack thereof — of tefillin in the form below. (It’s anonymous, I swear.)

The post Apparently, tefillin are sexy — why do you think that is? appeared first on The Forward.

The post Apparently, tefillin are sexy — why do you think that is? first appeared on The Global Security News – The News And Times.


(JTA) — A high-profile movie project depicting Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War could star “Jane the Virgin” actress Yael Grobglas.

Oded Raz — known for directing the Israeli box office hit “Maktub,” which now streams on Netflix — will direct “Jerusalem 67,” Variety reported on Friday.

Grobglas — a French-Israeli actress who starred in last year’s holiday rom-com “Hanukkah on Rye” — is in “advanced negotiations,” according to Variety, to play the lead role: “a civilian haunted by a painful childhood who leaves her family to serve on the frontlines of war.”

Variety added that the film has been a passion project for New York-based lawyer Joseph Schick, who has been developing it for a decade. It is slated to begin shooting in Israel in August, amid a spate of recent conflict and an atmosphere of division spurred by the election last year of the country’s most right-wing government in history.

“In 1967, Israel had social, cultural, economic divisions and it wasn’t a perfect society by any means. And I think what happened then is a reminder of how to handle that situation,” said Shick, who noted that the cast will be mostly Israeli.

The filmmakers considered shooting abroad before Israel enacted a tax-incentive program aimed at spurring more domestic film production, according to Variety.

“Jerusalem is a is a very special place to shoot,” said Raz. “It’s not an easy city to film every day. Something can happen because of the political situation but this environment and this atmosphere creates a special energy.”

Multiple other fictionalized films in recent years have been set during or right after the Six-Day War, including the spy thriller “The Angel.” Decades earlier, Israel’s 1986 submission to the Academy Awards’ foreign film competition, “Avanti Popolo,” followed Israeli and Egyptian soldiers wandering in the Sinai Desert after the war.

Israel’s 1973 Yom Kippur War was chronicled in a series that HBO picked up in 2020 titled “Valley of Tears,” which was dubbed at the time as the most expensive Israeli film or TV production ever.

This article originally appeared on

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Ukraine on Monday (May 15) hailed its first substantial battlefield advances for six months as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy won pledges of new long-range drones in Britain to add to a haul of Western arms for a counteroffensive against Russian invaders. Edward Baran has more.

A Ukrainian soldier gives water to a captured Russian army serviceman, according to them, on a position recently gained in offensive, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, near the front line city of Bakhmut, in Donetsk region, Ukraine May 11, 2023. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Ukraine on Monday hailed its first substantial battlefield advances for six months as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy won pledges of new long-range drones in Britain to add to a haul of Western arms for a counteroffensive against Russian invaders.

Since last week, the Ukrainian military has started to push Russian forces back in and around the embattled city of Bakhmut, its first significant offensive operations since its troops recaptured the southern city of Kherson in November.

“The advance of our troops along the Bakhmut direction is the first success of offensive actions in the defence of Bakhmut,” Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander of Ground Forces, said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

“The last few days have shown that we can move forward and destroy the enemy even in such extremely difficult conditions,” he said. “We are fighting with fewer resources than the enemy. At the same time, we are able to ruin its plans.”

In its evening battlefield update on Monday, Ukraine’s army General Staff said Russian forces were pressing efforts backed by heavy shelling to gain ground but had failed to advance around the village of Ivanivske on the city’s western fringes.

The battle for Bakhmut has become the longest and bloodiest of the war and has totemic significance for Russia, which has no other prizes to show for a winter campaign that cost thousands of lives.

Over the past half year, Kyiv has dug in on the defensive while Moscow mounted its campaign, sending hundreds of thousands of fresh reservists and mercenaries into Europe’s bloodiest ground combat since World War Two.

Kyiv is now preparing a counteroffensive using hundreds of new tanks and armoured vehicles sent by Western countries since the start of this year, aiming to recapture the sixth of Ukraine’s territory that Moscow claims to have annexed.

Zelenskiy met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on Monday, the latest stop in a tour that brought him to Rome, Berlin and Paris over the past three days, pocketing major new pledges of weapons along the way.

Britain, which last week became the first Western country to offer Ukraine long-range cruise missiles, followed that up during Zelenskiy’s visit on Monday with a pledge of drones that could strike at a range of 200 km (125 miles).

Sunak’s government also said it would soon start training Ukrainian pilots to fly fighter jets.

Zelenskiy described the new weapons pledged by the Europeans as “important and powerful”.

In a video address from a train taking him back to Kyiv later on Monday, he said, “We are returning home with new military help. Newer and more powerful weapons for the front, more protection for our people. Greater political support…”

Sunak said the war was at a “pivotal moment” and Britain would remain steadfast in supporting Ukraine. “It is important for the Kremlin to also know that we are not going away. We are here for the long term.”

The Kremlin said it did not believe the added British hardware would change the course of the conflict, which it calls a “special military operation” on its part to eliminate security threats posed by Kyiv’s pursuit of ties with the West. Kyiv and Western backers call Russia’s actions an unprovoked land grab.

Ukrainian forces drove Russian troops back from the capital Kyiv a year ago, and recaptured ground in two major offensives in the second half of 2022, but have since endured a punishing Russian assault while waiting for arms to arrive.

Ukrainian officials are generally mum about details of their offensive operations while they are under way, but have reported substantial gains retaking territory on both the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut over the past seven days.

Moscow has acknowledged retreating north of the city, and the head of the Wagner private army fighting inside Bakhmut has said Russia’s regular forces have fled positions on the northern and southern flanks.

Ukrainian officials portray the fighting in that area as localised advances, rather than the major counteroffensive push which they say has yet to get under way.

A respected Russian news outlet’s report on Saturday that four Russian military aircraft had been shot down near the borders of Belarus and Ukraine while preparing to attack targets inside Ukraine was inadvertently confirmed by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday.

He spoke while visiting an air force command base in Belarus, according to the Pul Pervovo Telegram channel, a Belarusian state outlet that reports on Lukashenko’s activities.

“Three days after the events near us – I mean in the Bryansk region, when four aircraft were shot down, we are forced to respond. Since then, we, our troops, have been on high alert,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying.

There was no official response from Ukraine, which usually declines to comment on reports of attacks inside Russia. But Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Zelenskiy, on Saturday called the incident “justice … and instant karma”.

Belarus is a close ally of Russia, which used it as a launch pad for the invasion of Ukraine, though Lukashenko has insisted that Belarus is not a party to the war and has not sent troops to fight alongside Russian forces.

The post Ukraine hails gains in Bakhmut as Zelenskiy wins more weapons in Europe first appeared on The Global Security News – The News And Times.


Greg Becker, President and CEO at SVB speaks at the 2022 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Greg Becker, former CEO of collapsed lender Silicon Valley Bank, apologized in congressional testimony for what he called the “devastating” collapse of the firm while citing rising interest rates and social media as key causes of its demise.

In prepared testimony published on Monday by the Senate Banking Committee, Becker said he believed the bank was responsive to regulator concerns about managing risk and working to address issues before an “unprecedented” bank run led to its failure.

“The takeover of SVB has been personally and professionally devastating, and I am truly sorry for how this has impacted SVB’s employees, clients and shareholders,” he said.

Becker’s account contrasts with those of regulators and banking industry executives who blamed SVB’s leadership for its failure to manage interest rate risks or diversify the bank’s business beyond the highly concentrated tech sector in the Bay Area.

Becker said he did not believe “that any bank could survive a bank run of that velocity and magnitude.”

Becker, along with Signature Bank’s former co-founder and Chairman Scott Shay and former President Eric Howell, are set to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) where they will appear publicly for the first time since their firms collapsed, triggering rare government intervention to backstop deposits.

The former executives for New York-based Signature Bank, which also failed in March, maintained the bank could have survived had regulators not chosen to close it, according to separate testimony.

California banking regulators moved quickly to shut SVB down on March 10 after depositors withdrew $42 billion in 24 hours. Regulators closed Signature on March 12 after it also experienced liquidity issues following SVB’s collapse.

The post Former Silicon Valley Bank CEO says rate hikes sank firm first appeared on The Global Security News – The News And Times.


U.S. officials on Monday said there will be “tougher consequences” for migrants illegally crossing the Mexico border as U.S. President Joe Biden transitions away from COVID restrictions known as Title 42 that blocked many migrants from applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border over the past three years.

The number of migrants caught crossing the border illegally since Title 42 ended on Friday dropped sharply from highs last week, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Blas Nunez-Neto said on a call with reporters.

The drop in apprehensions came as Biden implemented a higher standard for asylum at the border and has opened up new legal pathways for migrants abroad, and as countries further south stepped up border security, Nunez-Neto said.

Nunez-Neto said migrants crossing illegally “now face tougher consequences at the border, including a minimum five-year bar on reentry and the potential to be criminally prosecuted if they try again.”

Some asylum officers have internally expressed concerns with the rapid rollout of the new asylum standard and said it undercuts the right to claim asylum under U.S. law and international treaties, as well as Biden’s own campaign promises. Immigration advocates are suing in an effort to halt the new regulation.

Last week, some migrants told Reuters they were rushing to the border to try to enter the country before the new asylum rules took effect. After Title 42 ended at midnight on Thursday, some asylum seekers said they were told by U.S. authorities they could not enter until they applied for an appointment on a new app known as CBP One.

U.S. border officials had cautioned for months that the end of Title 42 restrictions, in place since March 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic, could lead to a rise in illegal crossings. Title 42 allowed U.S. authorities to expel migrants to Mexico or other countries without the chance to request U.S. asylum.

The Biden administration has also expanded legal pathways that allow more people to enter the U.S. without crossing illegally, including the CBP One appointments and applications available abroad for humanitarian parole and refugee status.

The number of migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally dropped to an average of 5,000 per day since Title 42 ended, down from daily highs of over 10,000 last week, Nunez-Neto said, cautioning that the situation “is very fluid.”

“This is a continuously evolving situation that we are monitoring in real time,” he said.

“We are processing people safely, orderly and humanely, and quickly delivering consequences to those that do not establish a legal basis to remain in the United States,” Nunez-Neto added.

Mexico and Guatemala have toughened enforcement at their own southern borders with military personnel, while Panama and Colombia have clamped down on smuggling networks, Nunez-Neto said.

Thousands of migrants have been deported since Friday, he added. At the same time, 2,400 people have been returned to Mexico, including Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans, whom Mexico has agreed to continue accepting as deportees.

DHS did not provide the exact figures for non-Mexicans returned to Mexico.

U.S. border facilities holding migrants were strained last week with more than 28,000 people in custody.

The figure dropped to 22,000 on Saturday, a senior DHS official said, requesting anonymity to share internal data.

The Biden administration has surged personnel to help with the border transition, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) workers who evaluate asylum claims.

Related Galleries:

Migrants seeking asylum cross the Rio Bravo river to return to Mexico from the United States, after members of the U.S. Texas National Guard extended razor wire to inhibit migrant crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, May 13, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico May 13, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico May 13, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Migrants stand near the Rio Bravo river after crossing the border, to request asylum in the United States, as members of the Texas Army National Guard stand guard to inhibit migrant crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico May 13, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

A young migrant, traveling alone from Guatemala, stands near the Rio Bravo river after crossing the border, to request asylum in the United States, as members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico May 13, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

The post U.S. warns against crossing Mexico border illegally as Title 42 ends first appeared on The Global Security News – The News And Times.

Robert Shonov was reportedly detained in Vladivostok, site of his former employment, and is being held in Moscow

Russia’s FSB security service has charged a former employee of the US consulate in the far eastern city of Vladivostok with illegal covert collaboration with foreigners.

The state news agency Tass reported on Monday that Robert Shonov had been detained in Vladivostok and that “after interrogation, he was charged with committing a crime under Article 275.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (‘Cooperation on a confidential basis with a foreign state, international or foreign organization’)”, punishable by up to eight years’ jail.

Continue reading…

471776 Russia | The Guardian

6597550 1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites)

The post 1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites): Russia | The Guardian: Former employee of US consulate charged by Russia with espionage first appeared on The Global Security News – The News And Times.

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