Arts & Culture


Buried Leads: A True Story

By Andree Aelion Brooks

The purveyors of Jewish history have tended to be highly selective in what they choose to focus on. In America, for example, we almost completely ignore the mercantile achievements of the Sephardic Jews through the ages, as well as their role in the development of modern capitalism. And we rarely talk about Jewish involvement in the explosion ofRead More


Unafraid of Sentiment, Never Sentimental

By Noga Tarnopolsky

Israeli painter Jan Rauchwerger is a small, reserved man of youthful appearance and countenance, his face round and unlined, his eyes inquisitive, a pale fuzz of hair covering his skull. As his wife, etcher Galit Rauch- werger, and two teenage boys move around his Jaffa house, he seems to take it all in through an osmosis that allows him both toRead More


Good Dog! A Summer Taste Test

There’s no way to know this for sure, but I would suggest that kosher frankfurters first entered the wider American consciousness in the 1970s, thanks to, of all things, a TV commercial. In this commercial — for those of you who threw out your televisions in the 1960s — a man dressed as Uncle Sam stands holding a hot dog in front of him,Read More


The Dark Patches of Your Life

By David N. Weiss

Let’s start by taking some questions that any of you might have… (silence). Anyone?… (more silence). Okay, I’ll start. Let’s say I had this friend who had a tough week. And he/she was feeling a little down on him/herself. Is there anything in this week’s Torah portion, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22, that might encourage me — I mean myRead More


Shemer Zemer Added to Tisha B’Av Liturgy

By Ami Eden and Steven I. Weiss

For many Israelis and American Jews, the recently deceased singer-songwriter Naomi Shemer always has been a religious figure of sorts, with an unmatched ability to move even the most secular listener with her spiritually uplifting songs about Israel and Zionism.Now Shemer’s status as a modern-day psalmist is official: Her most famous song,Read More


Hot Diggity Dog: The Maven’s Faves

Abeles & Heymann Beef FrankfurtersThe overwhelming favorite — it beat the runner-up by nearly 30% on tasters’ scorecards — and the consensus choice. These franks have a beautifully balanced taste: mildly smoky, not overly salty (a common failing among the contenders), with no off flavors or unpleasant aftertaste. The skin crackles nicelyRead More


The Beastie Boys Grow Up

By Dimitri Ehrlich

The question posed by “To the 5 Boroughs” (Capitol), the sixth album by the Beastie Boys, is: Can irreverence and social-consciousness coexist? As the three rappers push 40 — Adam Yauch, aka MCA, is 39; Mike Diamond, aka Mike D, is 38, and Adam Horovitz, aka Adrock, is 37 — it was perhaps inevitable that they would shed some of theRead More


Honoring the President’s Mensch

By Masha Leon

“As a Jew I have found myself becoming angrier and angrier at the current times we face,” declared Kenneth Bialkin, chairman of the board of the America-Israel Friendship League at its July 1 lecture — “Agenda Setting in the Middle East: Media, the Third Party in the Conflict Between the Israelis and the Palestinians”— heldRead More


A Mega Bar Mitzvah for Actor Fyvush Finkel

By Masha Leon

The June 21 tribute to Yiddish-English stage, film and TV star Fyvush Finkel — hosted by The Yiddish Artists & Friends Actors Club and The Yiddish Theatrical Alliance at the Lincoln Square Synagogue — was akin to a mega bar mitzvah. As the 350 guests mingled, noshed and wished 81-year-old Finkel nor oyf simkhas (“onlyRead More


Religion in the New World

in an intensive manner that was unknown to their parents earlier in the century.The Havurah movement of the 1960s and 1970s was a positive response to these developments, and the appearance of what is today called “Jewish renewal” owes its origins to those years. The Reconstructionist movement opened the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College inRead More





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  • "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?
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  • "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."
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