Arts & Culture


Lighting a Yahrzeit Candle, And Cursing the Darkness

By Jenni Person

‘Don’t forget you need to light the candle,” my mother responded when I asked her how she was planning on coping come Monday. I wanted to know what she was going to do, how she was going to spend the day. I was concerned about her — but I was also feeling completely at a loss myself. And the truth was, even as I planned aRead More


Film Examines Court Jews Who Dominated Basketball

By Ethan Porter

In Miami there are men whose memories burn with images of athletic glory long-relegated to private collections of black-and-white news reels — images of swooping majestic passes back and forth, baskets swishing with grace, running up and down a court of giants. These men possess the story of how Jewish Americans, most of them the children ofRead More


Numbers Game: Red Sox Win, Kerry Whiffs

By Ami Eden

George W. Bush played a hunch in the late winter of 2003.Against the advice of many intelligence, military and diplomatic experts, the president ordered the invasion of Iraq, convinced that the United States would uncover weapons of mass destruction, be welcomed by the native population and transform the country into a democracy.Seven monthsRead More


A Confused Hanukkah

A Confused Hanukkah By Jon Koons With Illustrations by S.D. Schindler Dutton Children’s Books ——-Hanukkah is fast approaching in the Village of Chelm, a very simple town with some very simple people (“some might even call them fools”). Meanwhile, the rabbi has disappeared, and even the wise men can’t remember how to celebrate.Read More


Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah

Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah By Linda Glaser With Illustrations by Nancy Cote Albert Whitman & Company ——It’s the first night of Hanukkah, but Mama tells Rachel they won’t be having company — or making latkes — until next week. No company? No latkes? Rachel can’t wait! She goes next door to Mrs. Greenberg’s house, andRead More


Now for the Hard Part: Teaching Morality

By Jennifer Lerer Eden

With a new baby girl and two toddler sons, my husband and I have very little use for alarm clocks these days. It is usually still dark outside when the boys creak open our bedroom door and tiptoe together to the foot of our bed, whispering, “I want milk please”; “Let’s build a LEGO castle, Daddy”; “Is it still night?” The clockRead More


It’s a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook

It’s a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook By Stephanie Spinner With Illustrations by Jill McElmurry Atheneum Books for Young Readers ——Owen Block is the OCL — official candle lighter — of his family, and Grandma Karen is the official storyteller. Each night, after the menorah is lit, she tucks him into bed and asks,Read More


Once Upon a Jewish Fairy Tale

By Joshua Halberstam

Recently I joined my colleague, Nick, a visiting professor from Rhodes, to shop for suitable books to read to his children here in the States. He was appalled by the available choices.“Incredible. You Americans still tell your children stories about princes and princesses? Didn’t you fight a revolution to get beyond that?” He decidedRead More


Reviving the Flaming Tea Ceremony

By Miriam Leberstein

For many Jews from Eastern Europe, holiday celebrations were bound up with sugar cubes and tea — and Hanukkah was no exception. In keeping with the custom of making it a “Festival of Lights,” many Russian Jews practiced what is known as the Flaming Tea Ceremony. Celebrants dip lumps of sugar in brandy onto teaspoons and stand in line; asRead More


Authors Unafraid of Kids’ Inner Lives

By Jennifer Siegel

King Matt the FirstBy Janusz Korczak, Translated by Richard LourieAlgonquin Books, 352 pages, $13.95.——Your children — even those who generally shun books in favor of shoot-’em-up videogames — will truly enjoy “King Matt the First.” Written by Polish physician Janusz Korczak and first published in 1923, the novel stars a pint-sizedRead More


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