Gavriel Rosenfeld


Sacred and Profane History of Cherished Jewish Number 18

By Gavriel Rosenfeld

Sacred and Profane History of Cherished Jewish Number 18
Jews have long considered the number 18 to be a serious lucky charm. How many of us know that neo-Nazis also cherish the number — or why?Read More


Rebooting The Führer

By Gavriel Rosenfeld

Rebooting The Führer
What would happen if Adolf Hitler came back to life? That’s the premise of a satirical novel — and its best-selling success hints at Germans’ desire for different approaches to the Nazi era.Read More


Stealth Museum

By Gavriel Rosenfeld

Stealth Museum
Pan Pacific Park has long been an oasis in Los Angeles’s bustling, heavily Jewish Beverly-Fairfax neighborhood. Basketball courts, baseball diamonds, picnic areas and playgrounds predominate in the park’s hilly setting. It may strike certain visitors as somewhat incongruous, therefore, that the latest addition to the park is an institution that appears to run counter to its carefree spirit: the new Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.Read More


Blessing a Building — Building a Blessing

By Gavriel Rosenfeld

Blessing a Building — Building a Blessing
The construction of a new synagogue is always an occasion for celebration, so it was with particular pomp that the Rhineland city of Mainz recently dedicated its new synagogue and Jewish community center. The dedication ceremonies, held September 3, featured an array of German politicians, including German President Christian Wulff. Many of them blessed the new building and underscored its symbolic significance. Yet, while the synagogue received its share of blessings, it also gave physical expression to them in its architectural form. Designed by the German-Jewish architect Manuel Herz, Mainz’s striking new synagogue complex traces its inspiration back to the third “blessing” in the Amidah — the Kedusha. The connection between the word and the synagogue’s appearance is not immediately obvious. But Herz’s drawings for the building reveal that its sawtooth form partly derives from the jagged pattern produced by the word’s five Hebrew letters: kuf, daled, vav, shin and hay.Read More


Fish(y) Forms

By Gavriel Rosenfeld

Fish(y) Forms
The High Holy Days might incline most Jews to think of fish as a traditional food served on deli trays after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. But the Jewish Museum’s new exhibition, “Fish Forms: Lamps by Frank Gehry,” asks us to think more deeply about how fish have influenced the work of one of the world’s most celebrated architects.Read More






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  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
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