When grandmaster Haim Gidon, a top-ranking practitioner of the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, entered a studio in New Jersey on a recent Monday, the 20-odd people in the room stopped pummeling each other and lined up like soldiers standing at attention. Gidon was visiting from Israel to give them advanced training, and the students — who included law enforcement officers, military personnel and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Mayer — treated him like a commanding officer.
As major media outlets across the country file for bankruptcy and scatter their employees to the wind, several college students affiliated with Hillel, the ubiquitous Jewish campus-life organization, are starting their own national magazine.
About a year ago, the owners of the Streit’s matzo factory, a pillar of Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 1925, announced that they planned to sell the building and move their operations to New Jersey.
In Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock, the usurious lender, attains the status of literature’s classic antisemitic stereotype, in part because of his relentless preying upon non-Jews.
While most of the media attention in the wake of the attack on the Chabad-run Nariman House in Mumbai has focused on slain Lubavitch emissaries Gavriel and Rachel Holtzberg, less noted was the death of a third Hasidic Jew in the assault, Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, a member of the Satmar sect. What makes Teitelbaum’s death particularly striking is that, though he and the Holtzbergs all came from Brooklyn, only in a city like Mumbai would they have eaten and prayed together in the same house.
On a recent Sunday afternoon at a historic Chicago synagogue, the sanctuary was packed but the mood was restrained: A longtime congregant had died, and about 300 people had turned out for his funeral service. But amid the solemnity, the occasional mourner discreetly pulled loved ones out to the synagogue’s front steps to snap cell phone pictures of a large brick house, mostly obscured by shrubs, across the street.
You might call it a one-state solution: The grandson of Edgar Bronfman, former president of the World Jewish Congress, is engaged to M.I.A., the Sri Lankan electronica star who raps on one of her hit singles: “You wanna go? You wanna win a war? Like PLO, I don’t surrendo.” The visibly pregnant M.I.A. has told the press that her fiancé, Benjamin Brewer, is the father.
After months of predictions to the contrary, American Jews voted for president-elect Barack Obama in higher proportion than any demographic group besides African Americans. For many Jewish liberals, this was a watershed moment, marking a return to the days when blacks and Jews were thought to have a special relationship founded on a shared language of suffering and joint efforts to promote civil rights.
Fighting poverty and improving public education are no easy tasks, but for young activists living in such a huge city as New York, finding kindred spirits to march with at the next rally can be a challenge in its own right. A group of politically progressive Jewish 20-somethings is trying to make it a little easier.
As polls closed in New Jersey on election night, the family of Dennis Shulman, a Democrat who ran for Congress in the state’s northernmost district, gathered around the television set — to cheer for Barack Obam