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Azazel, the Scapegoat

By Daniel M. Jaffe

Jed stands with the Shabbos congregation, mutters the Amidah by heart while steeling himself for the upcoming Kaddish. He looks over at the Gutmans in the front row, their boy a bar mitzvah today. A good boy, who answered the rabbi’s questions correctly, recited the rules for laying our sins upon Azazel the goat, sending him off into theRead More


Southerners Up North: When ‘Shalom Y’all’ Meets ‘New Yawk City’

the seventh generation,” she said. “And it really struck me. It made me realize how connected I still am. Writing about it is one way that I maintain that connection. Sometimes it feels like I am there even when I’m not.” And even though she doesn’t want to move back, she said she can’t imagine anyplace else ever truly feeling likeRead More


Rabbis’ Rules on Rice

By Wendy Belzberg

Every year as Passover approaches I wonder why there are so many different points of view about what is acceptable to eat over the holiday. This year I’m asking Wendy: Why can’t I eat rice on Passover? — Sorting the chaff

An accident of birth — or your ancestors’ birth, to be more precise — seems to separate you fromRead More


In Every Generation, Finding Redemption in the Seder

By David Arnow

A single word captures the concern of the Passover Haggada: redemption.Encyclopedia Judaica defines redemption as “salvation from the states or circumstances that destroy the value of human existence or human existence itself.” At its core lies a relatively simple idea: The future will be better than the present. Not just a little brighter —Read More


A Small Anthology for Pesach

By David Curzon

In the great modern exodus of Russian Jews from the Soviet Union during the 1980s, many of those who came to New York worked for a while as taxi drivers, as other immigrants have done before and since. On a day during this exodus I started a conversation with my Russian taxi driver by saying, “I’m Jewish, are you?” He replied, with aRead More


Songwriter Denise Rich: ‘Inside of Me Is a Black Woman’

By Masha Leon

“Inside of me is a black woman,” declared songwriter Denise Rich, who hosted the April 2 Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s annual spring benefit at her lavish Fifth Avenue penthouse. “It’s why I write the songs I do,” Rich told the 150 guests. “The world needs more than ever… to…Read More


Picking the Perfect Passover Wine: Chilean Red With the Roast?

By Erica Brody

As the Seder draws near, Jews of all stripes become oenophiles, setting out to stores to choose the perfect wine for their Passover meals. As with the meals themselves, which by now include vegetarian and gourmet selections as well as the traditional brisket, kosher wine options have increased exponentially in recent years, leaving brains swimmingRead More


Take-out Chinese, Anyone?

By Linda Frank

When Moses and the children of Israel hastily left Egypt, they had to worry about that weird bread that didn’t rise and how to cross the Red Sea pursued by Pharaoh’s soldiers. The last-minute departure allowed for no time to plan ahead. Fortunately, God led the way and sent manna.When my husband, Eli, and I decided to celebrate Passover withRead More


Is a Name Change Identity Fraud?

By Wendy Belzberg

I never gave serious thought to changing my last name (it’s about as Jewish as you can get) until I realized how pervasive antisemitism has become. I am in my 50s and beyond the age where it might matter, but my daughters are in their early teens and will soon be applying to college and then entering the work force. I amRead More


A Thing More Monstrous Than Flux

By Jeffrey Fiskin

Moses and Aaron, bent with wandering, walk from the Tent of Meeting. Aaron: This one is trouble.Moses: You’re a worrier. You thought the commandment on adultery would be trouble.Aaron: No. That one people could simply ignore. This one is trouble. Trust me.M: Don’t be silly. Men and women don’t want relations at that timeRead More





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