Beth Schwartzapfel

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Rachel!

Although Judaism is front and center in Deborah Heiligman’s coming of age novel ‘Intentions,’ at the core of the story are questions of faith with which all teenagers grapple.

When Part Is Lost, What of the Whole?

The pace of Joshua Henkin’s novel, ‘The World Without You,’ is slow and deliberate. Each conversation, each passing hour, takes on the weight of something much larger.

'Our Bodies' Gets an Israeli Makeover

The groundbreaking women’s book ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’ has been adapted for Israel. Now we know how to say ‘menopause,’ in both Hebrew and Arabic.

Getting Rooted: Nalini Nadkarni, a forest ecologist and professor, speaks at synagogues, church- es and Buddhist temples about science, spirituality and a special love of trees.

A Tree Evangelist Who Connects Heaven and Earth

During a Sabbath evening service one Friday in February, Seth Goldstein and his 9-year-old son, Ozi, sat with their eyes closed in the synagogue in Olympia, Wash., where Goldstein is the rabbi. From the bimah, Nalini Nadkarni asked congregants to imagine a tree that was important to them. She described the maple trees that had lined the driveway of her childhood home. Amid the confusion of growing up, they had been a refuge. She would climb their limbs with a book and a snack, and spend entire afternoons up in the air.

New life: Rabbi Mark Robbins with his wife, Amy, and son, Caleb, who made aliyah in August.

Aliyah an Option for More North American Jews Escaping a Bad Economy

When Nisan and Gilan Gertz stepped off the plane at Ben-Gurion International Airport with their children last August, they were seven of almost 4,000 North Americans to make aliyah in 2009 — the largest number to do so in a single year since 1983.

Controversial Arabic School Stays Mum

As children, joking and gossiping, spilled out of Brooklyn’s Khalil Gibran International Academy on a frigid Friday afternoon recently, one stopped to answer a waiting reporter’s question about his experience there.

Healing Properties: A California vendor displaying his wares.

From Reform to Orthodox, Jewish Opinions Abound on Medical Marijuana

From the time Lisa Siegel was a little girl, she had terrible nausea, mental fog that came and went, and tightness and cramping in her muscles so severe that it would wake her in the night. She was 47 before she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but she remembers a childhood dominated by hospitalizations, doctors and pain. Nothing worked — not Advil, not Tylenol, not the other medications her doctors kept prescribing.