Joseph Leichman


Songs of a Lost Tribe’s Longing

By Joseph Leichman

Songs of a Lost Tribe’s Longing
In the Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, far in the northeast near the Burmese border, some 7,000 people observe the Jewish Sabbath, kosher dietary laws and rules of family purity. Already, 1,400 of these people, known as Bnei Menashe, have immigrated to Israel. The remaining 7,000 wish to join their brethren as soon as possible in relocating to the Holy Land, the act known in Hebrew as aliyah.Read More


Celebrating Remembrance

By Joseph Leichman

Celebrating Remembrance
Yizkor, the memorial service chanted but four times in the course of the Jewish year, was composed in the wake of the Crusades, nearly 1,000 years ago. The spirit that spurred its creation has long since vanished.Read More


On the Scene: Young Jews Hit Music Fests

By Joseph Leichman

On the Scene: Young Jews Hit Music Fests
In the searing heat of a recent Saturday afternoon in July, three young men were disassembling a tent, cleaning out their cooler and packing up their car. After two days at Camp Bisco, a music-and-camping festival organized and headlined by the Disco Biscuits (“Bisco,” for short), the trio were hoping to beat the traffic out of the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, N.Y., about 20 minutes north of Albany.Read More


Homeschool of Rock

By Joseph Leichman

Homeschool of Rock
When Yuda Piamenta was 15, he skipped a day of school. His father, legendary Israeli guitarist Yossi Piamenta, punished his son in somewhat unusual fashion: He picked up a guitar, handed another one to Yuda and instructed him to start playing. Yossi then played a series of dissonant chords over Yuda’s melody. The cacophony might have prompted little more than an earache for some, but for Yuda it was effective reproach: He never skipped school again.Read More


From the Depths

By Joseph Leichman

From the Depths
In a large oblong room with raised ceilings and a faded brick veneer, Shmuel Levy was picking up the pieces of his scattered songbook. “This is terrible,” he muttered, crawling along the floor, examining more than 100 three-hole-punched sheets that just a moment before had spiraled from his black music binder. “This is a really terrible thing.”Read More






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  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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