Daniel M. Jaffe

Your Duty as a Jew

‘It’s your duty as a Jew to stay here in Kiev.”

A Room With a View

‘Your parents bought us burial plots beside theirs?” Cassie brings hand to face in disbelief. “Without asking us first? Who buys someone burial plots without asking first?”

The Clouds Lift

‘Y know Torah, Leah Kleinbaum?’“There was a time.” Leah sighs at this Yiddish-speaking stranger on her doorstep. Only three weeks here and already half of Haifa knows she’s a widow just arrived from Kiev. Who is this man? A farkakte suitor? More chins than she can count, and look how he leans on that cane — not exactly an advertisement for

Cycles of Poverty

WASHINGTON, D.C. —A woman holding a placard stating “Behar, Leviticus 25” marched down the center aisle of the United States Senate, disrupting this afternoon’s session. As Senators scurried to hide beneath their seats, the protester paced before the podium for five minutes until Capitol police, guns drawn, surrounded her. Only after one

Reminders of the Lost Ark

Jonathan, a member of Temple Har Zion’s New Building Committee, has accepted the assignment of developing a design approach for its new ark. Jonathan figures that he might as well start at the beginning and be as authentic as possible, so he types “ark of the covenant” into his computer’s Internet search engine. He is chagrined

My Little Sister’s Wedding

Why am I standing here at my little sister’s wedding, and glaring? Unlike you, Joseph’s brothers (and sister!) would have understood me. Go read Vayeshev, my favorite childhood Torah portion.I’m glaring because you stopped letting me crawl into bed with you after she was born, there not being enough room between you for

A Blessing On Your Head

Rabbi Katz pats his stiff hand on a yellowing translation of the Torah. “My boy, we read this very week, in Nitzavim, that in order for us as a people to receive the Almighty’s blessings, we must obey His laws. So, what you’re requesting is obviously impossible. Nothing personal.”“Nothing personal?” Matt — thin, 27, wavy brown hair

Merry Wonderer of the Night

Marla’s Catholic husband, Billy, sometimes reads the Torah to understand her values. And now, just as they’re slipping into bed, he mentions this week’s portion, Ki Tavo. “It just sounds so… so Christian,” he says. “I figured the Jewish version would be different from what I was taught, but it’s the same: If the Hebrews disobey the

Much Ado About Something

Judy Frankel rushes into the Hillel cafeteria, late to campus as usual after her weekly volunteer work at the AIDS hospice downtown. How good to engage in tikkun olam, repairing the world — keeping patients company during dinner, holding this hand and that, eliciting memories of healthier times. But afterward, she needs the comfort of her Friday

Fathers and Sons

From across the kitchen table, Bobby asks, “You want your firstborn son to die on a battlefield?”“Don’t be ridiculous.” Phil Gutman shakes his head. “We’re talking registration with the Selective Service, that’s all. You’re 18. It’s the law.”“I’ll be drafted to Iraq. We already did the Babylonian exile thing a long time