Howard Smith


In Search of the Meaning of Life

By Howard Smith

I love being an astronomer, especially at times like the midnight of Shavuot when, according to mystical tradition, people who look skyward are rewarded with a taste of the revelation that occurred at Sinai.Read More


In the Beginning, 13.73 Billion Years Ago

By Howard Smith

Since the start of the Hebrew month of Elul in late August, Jews have been examining the year past in search of lessons to apply to the year ahead. Now, as the holiday season winds to a close, the weekly cycle of Torah readings offers another opportunity to examine the past as we return to the study of the very beginning: Genesis and the story of creation. This year, modern science has something new to add.Read More






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    • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
    • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
    • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
    • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
    • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
    • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
    • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
    • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
    • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
    • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
    • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
    • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
    • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
    • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
    • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
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