Joshua Yaffa


Serious Falafel: Served With(out) a Smile

By Joshua Yaffa

Serious Falafel: Served With(out) a Smile
On November 2, 1995, NBC aired the 116th episode of “Seinfeld,” titled “The Soup Nazi.” It featured a brilliant but moody chef known for his transcendent lobster bisque and his less-than-warm personality. Since then, fans of the show have deployed the title as something of a term of endearment for their own local culinary wizards: The Pasta Nazi of Irvine, Calif.; the Bagel Nazi of Cincinnati; the Sushi Nazi of Los Angeles, and, here in New York City, Ezra Cohen, the Falafel Nazi.Read More


Inspired Cuisine: An Italian (Jewish) Kitchen

By Joshua Yaffa

Inspired Cuisine: An Italian (Jewish) Kitchen
As a kid growing up in Queens, Mark Strausman would often walk down the hall of his family’s apartment building to trade his mother’s stuffed cabbage for some of his neighbor’s eggplant parmesan. The flavors might have been a little different, the ingredients not quite the same, but there was something familiar in how the two families approached cooking.Read More


Spiritual Vintners

By Joshua Yaffa

As biblical legend tells it, Noah, having successfully unloaded his animal cargo on the craggy peaks of Mount Ararat, set off to handle some business of no lesser importance: planting a vineyard.Read More


Dear Diary: Back in Time

By Joshua Yaffa

In the early hours before sunrise on February 24, 1924, Harry Scheurman sat awake in his tenement apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He had returned earlier that night from a reunion ball for émigrés from his Eastern European hometown, and he took out his diary in the hope of preserving the excitement of the evening. “Perhaps in the pursuit of action, yesterday’s dream will be forgotten before the day is over,” he wrote.Read More


Musical Musings: The Leevees Get Serious

By Joshua Yaffa

They may sing about gelt, latkes and their parents’ timeshares in Florida, but that doesn’t mean The LeeVees don’t take their craft seriously. “Obviously there is going to be some shtick there,” guitarist and vocalist Dave Schneider said. “But bottom line, we are really serious about the music.” The music, as featured on the group’s debut album, “Hanukkah Rocks,” released last year, is wholly devoted to the glory, grief and gestalt that surround Judaism’s most visible holiday — all set to a decidedly indie-rock rhythm.Read More






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  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “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:
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