Joshua Yaffa

Can't Take the Heat?: Ezra Cohen owns the Azuri Café in Midtown Manhattan.

Serious Falafel: Served With(out) a Smile

On November 2, 1995, NBC aired the 116th episode of “Seinfeld,” titled “The Soup Nazi.” It featured a brilliant but moody chef known for his transcendent lobster bisque and his less-than-warm personality. Since then, fans of the show have deployed the title as something of a term of endearment for their own local culinary wizards: The Pasta Nazi of Irvine, Calif.; the Bagel Nazi of Cincinnati; the Sushi Nazi of Los Angeles, and, here in New York City, Ezra Cohen, the Falafel Nazi.

TOP CHEF: Mark Strausman says of Jewish and Italian cooking: 'They are both peasant cuisines.'

Inspired Cuisine: An Italian (Jewish) Kitchen

As a kid growing up in Queens, Mark Strausman would often walk down the hall of his family’s apartment building to trade his mother’s stuffed cabbage for some of his neighbor’s eggplant parmesan. The flavors might have been a little different, the ingredients not quite the same, but there was something familiar in how the two families approached cooking.

Spiritual Vintners

As biblical legend tells it, Noah, having successfully unloaded his animal cargo on the craggy peaks of Mount Ararat, set off to handle some business of no lesser importance: planting a vineyard.

Dear Diary: Back in Time

In the early hours before sunrise on February 24, 1924, Harry Scheurman sat awake in his tenement apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He had returned earlier that night from a reunion ball for émigrés from his Eastern European hometown, and he took out his diary in the hope of preserving the excitement of the evening. “Perhaps in the pursuit of action, yesterday’s dream will be forgotten before the day is over,” he wrote.

Musical Musings: The Leevees Get Serious

They may sing about gelt, latkes and their parents’ timeshares in Florida, but that doesn’t mean The LeeVees don’t take their craft seriously. “Obviously there is going to be some shtick there,” guitarist and vocalist Dave Schneider said. “But bottom line, we are really serious about the music.” The music, as featured on the group’s debut album, “Hanukkah Rocks,” released last year, is wholly devoted to the glory, grief and gestalt that surround Judaism’s most visible holiday — all set to a decidedly indie-rock rhythm.

Good Taste Meets A Slimmer Waist

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 35, Nechama Cohen was forced to rethink the traditional kosher kitchen she kept with her husband and their six children. Schmaltz was certainly out. So were refined sugar and high-gluten flour. In short, all the things that Jews have been led to believe are necessary to make plump, fluffy challah and silky, marbled gefilte fish.

Food for Thought

Denial. Pleasure. Certainly neither is a foreign concept to Jews on Yom Kippur, when a seemingly interminable day of fasting segues into an orgy of kugel and smoked salmon. But would a simple piece of challah dipped in honey really taste so transcendental if we hadn’t spent all day mentally salivating for so much as a saltine and a glass of tap water?

Israel Leads the Way on Stem Cells

For people who suffer from familial dysautonomia (FD), hope recently came in the form of an Israeli chicken egg.

Canavan Researcher Sees Future in Stem Cells

As a groundbreaking clinical trial examining the use of gene therapy in treating Canavan disease winds to a close, the country?s leading researcher into the hereditary brain disorder is now looking to stem-cell therapy to treat the disease.

Israeli-Palestinian ‘Odd Couple’ Tackles the Conflict — and the Dishes

Though Israeli Edward (Edy) Kaufman and Palestinian Manuel Hassassian teach a summer course together at the University of Maryland on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, their discussions rarely end when the class bell rings. Often they will continue on through the dinner hour at the house the two share near campus — as part of a