Ira Rifkin


The Roots Of the Concord

By Ira Rifkin

Squeeze a Concord grape, and it practically screams kosher wine. Jelly sweet, the much maligned Concord has been the traditional kosher wine of choice at American Passover Seders for what seems like forever. So brace yourself for irony: The Concord has a suspected antisemitic horticultural past.Read More


The Long Way Home to Lhasa

By Ira Rifkin

Tibet would seem to have little history in common with Israel. Yet much like Jews after the destruction of the Second Temple, today Tibetans face the daunting task of preserving their religious culture and national dreams while facing an indeterminate exile.The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled political and cultural leader, is well awareRead More


How Celia Cruz Saved an Amazon Night

By Ira Rifkin

I came of age at just the right time to enjoy Celia Cruz — the greatest female singer salsa has ever produced — in her prime, and for her to help shape my lifelong musical tastes. Without her knowing it, she once helped get me out of a frightening situation in a drug-saturated Peruvian river town.Some 40 years ago — between doo-wop and theRead More






    Find us on Facebook!
    • 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?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
    • from-cache

    Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















    We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

    Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.