Louis Finkelman


In a Pickle: Giving a Full Sour Its Due

By Louis Finkelman

In a Pickle: Giving a Full Sour Its Due
Consumer Reports recently recruited a team of five expert tasters to sample 10 different brands of pickles. After three days of pickle chomping, the taste testers reached a conclusion: Only the Whole Foods house brand, 365 Everyday Value, earned the ranking of “excellent.” Trader Joe’s pickles came in second. Almost all of the other brands, including Vlasic, B & G, Claussen and Boar’s Head kosher dill spears, merited the rank of “very good.” One poor entry, the Ba-Tampte Kosher Dill Deli Spears pickle earned the sad rank of “good,” the lowest rank of the bunch.Read More


Beth Din of America Launches New Journal

By Louis Finkelman

Beth Din of America Launches New Journal
Standard halacha, or Jewish law, demands that Jews take their disputes to a court of Jewish law — a beit, or beth, din. It’s a hard sell in countries where Jewish courts have no power of enforcement and the secular courts seem fair. To get Jews to follow the policy in real life, rabbis have to convince them that their courts provide just and prompt resolutions to disputes. The recently produced first issue of The Journal of the Beth Din of America, published in collaboration with the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, seems a sophisticated effort to do just that.Read More


Why ‘Dialogue’ Journal Is One-Sided

By Louis Finkelman

Why ‘Dialogue’ Journal Is One-Sided
Anyone who starts publishing a journal must feel dissatisfied about something. The editors of “Dialogue: For Torah Issues and Ideas” seem to feel dissatisfied about you.Read More


Lord Byron and His Forgotten Hebrew Melodies

By Louis Finkelman

Lord Byron and His Forgotten Hebrew Melodies
Lord Byron was a celebrity before the word was invented. All over Europe, men saw his portrait, and wanted to look like him. Women — also a few men — saw him and wanted to make love to him; a surprising number succeeded. The details of his private life made good topics for public conversation. Unlike some modern celebrities, Byron was good at something: He wrote spectacular poems, still read, and loved, today.Read More






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    • 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?
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    • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
    • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
    • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
    • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
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    • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
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