Michael Luongo


A Kosher Wine Industry Grows in Argentina

By Michael Luongo

A Kosher Wine Industry Grows in Argentina
Amid Buenos Aires’s Once-Abasto area — a tight knit urban oasis of kosher restaurants, stores, butcher shops and synagogues — sits the large but crowded flagship store of the wine producer Tariag 613. Fighting for shelf space are crates of matzo, kosher food stuffs and wines from the San Juan area, a lesser known wine region close to the more famous Mendoza region in the shadows of the Andes Mountains. The various crates are marked by their varietals — Malbec, Torrontes, various blends and sparkling wines. Here I met Ariel Hurtado, the young son of one of the owners of the wine company which launched in 2006. Hurtado tells me, “the whole idea of this enterprise, this business, is to introduce the Argentine culture of kosher wine to the whole world.”Read More


What Are Your Favorite Overlooked Jewish Sites Around the Globe?

By Michael Luongo

What Are Your Favorite Overlooked Jewish Sites Around the Globe?
From the pre-Inquisition sites that dot Spain to farming villages in South America, some Jewish places are so surprising and little known that not even the most traveled among us have stumbled across them in our journeys. Help the Forward’s Michael Luongo select the top 10 Jewish historical sites that most of us have never heard of, to rescue them from cultural oblivion and once again make them part of our cultural awareness. Whether it’s Ballarat Synagogue in Australia, Ohel Moishe Synagogue in Asia or the Marrakech Mellah in the Middle East, nominate your favorite overlooked Jewish sites from around the world by posting comments here, or send your thoughts to TopTen@forward.com. Then watch for the final list in the July 1 issue of the Forward.Read More


Touring Santiago’s ‘Little Israel’

By Michael Luongo

Touring Santiago’s ‘Little Israel’
“They say 20,000, and I say where?” tour guide Claudia Kravetz says of Chile’s Jewish population as we drive through the intersection of Las Condes and La Dehesa streets in Santiago’s Lo Barnechea neighborhood. With its wide, palm-tree-lined boulevards, reminiscent of Los Angeles, the area is nicknamed Little Israel for its concentration of synagogues.Read More


In Italy, ‘Bad Times, Good People’

By Michael Luongo

In Italy, ‘Bad Times, Good People’
Elizabeth Bettina is the author of the book, “It Happened in Italy: Untold Stories of How the People of Italy Defied the Horrors of the Holocaust,” published last spring by Thomas Nelson. The book tells the largely unknown story of Jews who survived World War II in Italy — both natives and those who fled there when no other country would take them. Bettina began research for the book in 2003, after seeing a photograph of a rabbi at the church where her maternal grandmother was married in Campagna, near Salerno. A native New Yorker who grew up in a largely Jewish neighborhood on Long Island, she is fluent in Italian, which aided her in researching and facilitating a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and Jewish survivors. Novelist and travel writer Michael Luongo talked with her in New York City.Read More



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