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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  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • 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.
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