Benjamin Levisohn


The Silver Jews Return

By Benjamin Levisohn

This year, David Berman forgot when Yom Kippur was to begin. With his band, the Silver Jews, releasing a new album, “Tanglewood Numbers,” and Berman doing interviews to publicize it, he was convinced the holiday started a day later than it actually did. He realized his mistake an hour before the holiday began, andRead More


The Roman Era, Revised

By Benjamin Levisohn

In many Jewish imaginations, the Roman period — from the conquest of Judea in 64 BCE to roughly the sixth century C.E. — is remembered as a time of tragedy and catastrophe. The early years of the Common Era witnessed the destruction of the Second Temple and the devastation of the Jewish populace in Israel following the failure of the BarRead More


The Kid Stays in the Picture

By Benjamin Levisohn

As the one and only major Jewish celebration centered on the home and not the synagogue, the Seder must walk a fine line: It has to be equally compelling for young and old alike. We see this tension at the Seder’s very outset, with the Four Questions, which frame the evening’s agenda in a form that is both easy enough for a childRead More


Finding an Excuse To Celebrate Copland

By Benjamin Levisohn

No excuse is necessary to stage a concert of Aaron Copland’s works — over the last 60 years, his name has become synonymous with American classical music — but Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Kane Street Synagogue found one anyway. On November 14, it staged a tribute to the composer to coincide with the 91st anniversary of Copland’s barRead More






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    • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
    • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
    • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
    • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
    • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
    • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
    • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
    • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
    • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
    • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
    • This is the face of hatred.
    • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
    • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
    • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
    • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
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