Fast Forward


DER YIDDISH-VINKL March 18, 2005

On his 50th yahrzeit, poet Yosef Rolnick was featured in the Forverts on the pages devoted to Pearls of Yiddish Poetry. Rolnick’s poems were the works of a man whose life was crammed with loneliness, sorrow and sentiment. What follows is his most famous poem, “Zun in Mayrev” (“The Sun in the West”), as transliterated by Goldie Gold andRead More


Whew! The Unsung Art of Whistling Returns

By Allison Hoffman

In the fictional shtetl of Frampol, the home of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Gimpel the Fool, whistling on the Sabbath would have been strictly forbidden, and whistling a tune at night was known to bring out the demons. During the Holocaust, the simple act of whistling a familiar melody became a mode of communication in the Nazi camps. After the war,Read More


Goodbye to an Old Friend

By Marjorie Ingall

March 1, 2005. My cat, Sebastian, died early this morning. He’d been in my life for 15 years. When I was single, I cried into his fur after every heartbreak. When I moved cross-country to live with my new boyfriend, Jonathan, Sebastian came, too. When Jonathan and I, now married, moved back to New York, so did Sebastian. He toleratedRead More


A Mikveh Celebrates a Birthday and Finds Its Voice

By Michelle Memran

Somewhere in suburban Detroit, my mother and I tread water naked in what could be a petite synagogue rec pool. I am almost 8 years old. A rabbi stands outside the doors. His voice is barely audible as he recites a prayer in Hebrew, which, for all intents and purposes, is Moravian Morse Code. A foreboding lady in black hose and sandals tells me notRead More


New Yorkers Hail Their Hometown

By Masha Leon

Liz Smith, host of the February 14 Citizens for NYC New Yorker for New York Awards dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, recalled 1975, when “… the Daily News headline read: ‘Ford to City: Drop Dead’…. Some courageous people… created a committee… transformed the city via block associations [and] civilian patrols… neighbors workingRead More


DER YIDDISH-VINKL March 11, 2005

Al Grand is back with us again, with one of his inimitable translations of Gilbert and Sullivan into Yiddish. The Savoyards, so called because their musicals were performed in the Savoy Hotel’s theater, were and are Grand’s passion. His e-mail address is Savoyid. What follows are passages from G&S’s “Pirates of Penzance” inRead More


One Synagogue, Two Religions

By Seth Rosen

UTRECHT, Netherlands— Near the bustling heart of this Dutch university town, at Springweg 162, there stands an imposing brick building with gold Hebrew letters engraved above the doorway. But the building exterior belies what occurs inside. On Saturdays, no prayers are read from the Star-of-David-adorned altar. The Holy Ark, which usedRead More


Pickpockets, Players, Prostitutes –– Jews?

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

The recent news that a part of Sing Sing, the New York State penitentiary that was home for a spell to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, as well to as Murder, Inc., the Brooklyn-based gang of ruthless racketeers, is going to be transformed into a museum brings to mind an aspect of our past that many, undoubtedly, would prefer to forget. I’m referring,Read More


Bringing Up Baby –– and Doctor

By Zackary Sholem Berger

Even God needs help when making miracles. He sent a wind to split the Red Sea rather than doing it directly; Moses took intensive elocution lessons before he could shout the Ten Commandments down to the Israelites, and the walls of Jericho could well have been jerry-built by history’s first unscrupulous contractors. Add to thisRead More


New York Meets ‘Chicago’ at Red Ball Bash

By Masha Leon

The arrival of Catherine Zeta-Jones with husband Michael Douglas at the February 7 Red Ball at The Pierre dazzled the 500 guests, celebrities and paparazzi, who went into flash overdrive. Alluding to event honorees Carey Lowell and her husband, Richard Gere, emcee Christine Baranski gushed, “This feels like a ‘Chicago’ reunion” — aRead More


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