Stephen Schwartz


Traces of Trotsky, Remnants of a Rebbe: A Hunt for Icons

By Stephen Schwartz

Democracy took a half-step forward in Kazakhstan when the September 19 parliamentary elections resulted in victory for Otan, the party that supports President Nursultan Nazarbayev and is expected to take seven of the 10 seats in the lower house. True, monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe declared that the electionRead More


Philadelphia Story

By Stephen Schwartz

For someone who has searched out the traces of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, the story is hauntingly familiar: a cemetery “neglected, vandalized, and filled with trash, listed on the City’s roster of abandoned properties,” as the words of a fundraising appeal put it. Nestled among the almost total disarray are toppled memorial stones,Read More


Ex-Soviet Republic Counts Many Critics, Few Friends

By Stephen Schwartz

The ex-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan is the largest and wealthiest of the core states of Central Asia, and it is home to 23 million citizens, 88% of whom are Muslim. Few Americans can find it — or its capital, Tashkent — on a map, a point that was highlighted in a popular American TV sitcom, “The George Lopez Show,” in which a teenagerRead More


Historic Cemetery in Serbia Desecrated

By Stephen Schwartz

BELGRADE, Serbia — A firestorm of commentary has broken out in the Serbian media, stoked by a former president of the Bosnian Jewish community who is raising an alarm over the desecration of a historic Jewish cemetery in the city of Nis.Ivan Ceresnjes, who served as president of the Jewish community in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war of 1992-95,Read More


Balkan Dreams, Modern Realities; Sarajevo, Center of Sephardism

By Stephen Schwartz

Of the friends I have made in my Balkan travels, there is nobody alive who is dearer to me, in certain respects, than professor Muhamed Nezirovic´ of the University of Sarajevo. Born in Sarajevo in 1934, in the mixed Muslim and Serb mahala, or neighborhood, of Nadmlini, Hamo — as he is universally known — and his family had strongRead More






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    • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
    • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
    • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
    • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
    • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
    • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
    • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
    • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
    • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
    • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
    • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
    • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
    • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
    • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
    • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
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