Shira Levine


Exploring Pre-teen Angst — From the Shopping Mall to the Bimah

By Shira Levine

When you’re 12 going on 13, everything feels just so serious. Stacy Friedman, the protagonist of Fiona Rosenbloom’s young adult novel “You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” (Hyperion), has an accessory bag full of problems standing in the way of having an absolutely perfect life. Her parents’ marriage is on the fritz, and her dadRead More


Guide for the Perplexed

By Shira Levine

The day it is suggested that your mother’s kitchen isn’t kosher enough is the day the cinnamon-raisin kugel hits the fan. The Jewish holidays can be a stressful time for families, particularly for those whose members adhere to different levels of religious observance. Nearly every clan has someone in need of a special diet, but accommodatingRead More


Making a Career of Cracking Wise

By Shira Levine

What do Randy and Jason Sklar have to kvetch about as they enter a new season of their very own TV show? Not much. Slouched on a couch, cracking jokes and watching memorable sports moments on a wide-screen television sounds like every guy’s dream job. And to think, they nearly signed away their humor away to attend law school.With moreRead More


Lost for a Century, the Minhogimbukh Returns

By Shira Levine

There was once an Eastern European tradition to cook chicken livers on Rosh Hashanah because their name in Yiddish, leberlakh, sounds like the injunction “leb ehrlikh,” to “live honestly.”In fact, there were loads of other customs worldwide — some communities shunned vinegar while celebrating the New Year, because of its sourRead More






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    • 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.
    • "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?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
    • "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
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