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A Blue Tallit as a Red Herring

By Peretz Rodman

Ever since Sinai, Moses has been promulgating laws. A midrash informs us that Korah, the rebel leader from next week’s Torah portion, has a plan: If even just a few of those regulations, whose intricate details are assumed to be weighted with significance, can be made to appear capricious and nonsensical, the people may begin to suspect thatRead More


Tourists Trek to Tuscany To Shop, Chop and Bake

By Max Gross

Yes, the pumpkin ravioli is delicious; yes, the veal scaloppini is succulent, and yes, the tiramisu is divine — but are they kosher?No one who takes a vacation with La Cucina Kasher in Toscana (Kosher Cooking in Tuscany) ever need worry about that.Cucina Kasher is a weeklong “cooking holiday.” For the uninitiated, cookingRead More


Beyond the Pale: One Reporter’s Journey to Iraq

By Rukhl Schaechter

Jacqueline Gold, a senior reporter for Crain’s New York Business, spends most Saturdays at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale in the Bronx, scurrying after her daughters or reading Torah.This spring, however, found her in Iraq, where Crain’s had sent her to cover the reconstruction efforts, particularly the participation ofRead More


Keeping Score In Babyville

By Marjorie Ingall

We Jews are a competitive people. We are high achievers. We have major expectations for our children. And we’re invariably convinced that every one of our kids is spectacular, brilliant, extraordinary. As my father, a psychiatrist, likes to say, “Jewish children are all either gifted or ‘special needs.’ There are no averageRead More


Giving Gifts That Keep on Giving

By Adam Marcus

Like many people, Sarah Wildman and Ian Halpern thought the process of getting married was a form of corporate genuflection. The notion of all that spending and accumulating — the typical wedding now runs upward of $22,000, according to bridal-magazine publisher Condé Nast — made them both a bit queasy. But, they wondered, what ifRead More


Where They Wed: Catering Hall, City Hall and Synagogue

Some people are lucky enough to get married at the governor’s mansion, but the rest of us, wedding planner in tow, trudge from one catering hall, hotel ballroom or synagogue to another — and then another — in search of the perfect setting for our nuptials. Blessed with a multitude of possibilities and a plethora of willing caterers, weRead More


How Far for Distant Relative?

By Wendy Belzberg

A distant relative (the mother of my wife’s elderly uncle) — whom I have never met — recently died. My wife informs me that unless I travel to pay a shiva call, I will henceforth be looked at askance by her extended family. I have a very taxing job and have limited free time for my children and myself. Furthermore, I have no relationshipRead More


DER YIDDISH-VINKL June 20, 2003

If ever, dear reader, you are saddened by the state of the world and are looking for something to bring a smile to your face, Der Vinkl’s recommendation is to turn to any one of the several booklets of Yiddish humor compiled and edited by Ruth Levitan. As an example, what follows is a short, short tale drawn from her volume titled “Lakht aRead More


Not My Father’s Fathering: A Pledge

By Bruce Stockler

When I was a boy, my father was either absent or screaming, a lose-lose dialectic that forged my resolve to grow up to become a different kind of man. In the intervening decades, though, struggling to carve out my niche in the world, I rarely thought about fatherhood or children. But then, when I was 34, my son Asher was born, and, in a way,Read More


A Weighty Matter Strains a Father and Son’s Close Ties

By Max Gross

About a year ago an Israeli friend of mine called my parents’ house looking for me. “So what are you Israelis doing about the settlements?” demanded my father, a fervent believer in complete Israeli withdrawal from every last corner of the West Bank and Gaza.“I’m not doing anything,” my friend said.“Well, you should!” my fatherRead More


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