Arts & Culture


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


‘Peter and the Wolf’ Gets Klezmerized

By Seth Rogovoy

After having reinterpreted Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” as the “Klezmer Nutcracker” a few years ago, it wasn’t a great leap for Boston-based klezmer group Shirim to revisit Sergei Prokofiev’s classic story “Peter and the Wolf” as “Pincus and the Pig: A Klezmer Tale,” which they have done on a new CD by thatRead More


A Shanda in Shpittsburgh!

By Jeffrey Griggs

What makes a hero? Is it his cape or his capabilities? Or is it simply enough to “do good,” to help those around you in times of need? As adults, we might not remember the significance of these questions, but for a child, they are paramount. In answer to the call, Agent Emes has returned to confront these questions and more as he tacklesRead More


Family Honor in Distress

By Naomi Myrvaagnes

Jacob has settled down at last. Prosperous in middle age, blessed with four wives and 12 sons, he has escaped from his exploitive father-in-law, made peace with his estranged brother and returned to his native land, the land the Almighty promised to him and his descendants. A herdsman, Jacob has pitched his tents and set up hisRead More


Nodding Off on Wedlock’s Bed

By David Curzon

This week’s portion contains Jacob’s dream and many other passages that have given rise to midrashim. One of these passages is Genesis 30:1: And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto Jacob: ‘Give me children or else I die.’ Robert Burns (1759-1796) was inspired by this verse toRead More


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