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On Purim, Dress Up, Drink Up and Be Merry

Jews are not big drinkers. Maybe it’s because kishke and cocktails don’t mix. Maybe it’s because we’re too neurotic to kick back with a six-pack. Or maybe it’s because we know our mothers would kill us if we made a drunken spectacle of ourselves. Whatever the reason, many Jews will choose milk over a martini every time. But on Purim thatRead More


Ups and Downs of the Holiday of Lots

Over the years, Purim has had its ups and downs. Sometimes marked with exuberance and at other times barely noted, its lot in America has not been a happy one. In New York of the 1860s, for instance, fancy dress balls and masques were all the rage. “Astonishing the lovers of fun and good society,” as one eyewitness put it, these eventsRead More


An Opportunity To Look Again at Interfaith Relationships

By Sarah Flicker

I grew up as the model “good Jewish girl.” I attended day school. At college, I taught part time at a Hebrew school and was vice president of my university’s Hillel chapter. I even worked for the Jewish community after graduation. Yet when I started dating a Buddhist, I suddenly felt that the community that raised me did not have space forRead More


A Summons With the Character of a Call

By David Curzon

This week’s portion, Vayikra, opens with a phrase translated as “And the Lord called to Moses.” The call to a prophet such as Moses summons him to a task, a vocation, a calling, that is not freely chosen, a task that the true prophet shrinks from because he feels, and is, inadequate to it. The task takes over the lifeRead More


DER YIDDISH-VINKL March 14, 2003

The word “hamantashen,” which makes its distinguished appearance at Purim time, cannot be translated into English. The word refers to Haman, the evil pre-Hitler Hitler who wished to wipe out the Jews of ancient Persia. The word “tashn” means pockets. The combined word refers to a delicacy served at Purim in which dough is shaped as aRead More


Shmoozing the Dharma, Davening on the Sly

By Moshe Waldoks

While fierce February winds howled outside as another week of winter’s deep freeze began, inside a meditation hall in Barre, Mass., 100 people sat silently, many wrapped in blankets. Some cross-legged and others in chairs were part of a weeklong silent metta retreat hosted by the Insight Meditation Society, based inRead More


Sephardic Music Comes Out of the Shadows

By Andrew Muchin

More than faithfully reproducing centuries-old Sephardic melodies, an emerging group of American Jewish songwriters is developing a Jewish world-beat sound that includes Sephardic melodies and instruments, whether sung in Hebrew, English, Ladino (Sephardic Judeo-Spanish) or even Yiddish.In St. Louis, for example, Jewish Renewal Rabbi James StoneRead More


Having a Gay Old Time At Uncle’s Brit Ahava

By Marjorie Ingall

Josie’s childhood is already pretty different from mine. I took my first airplane flight when I was a year old (to see Grandma in Florida); she took hers at 5 weeks (to see Auntie Ellen wed in Milwaukee). I wasn’t present at my own baby-naming; my dad ran into shul on a Monday morning and had an aliya. Josie, meanwhile, had her own carefullyRead More


Big Brass on Board for Intrepid ‘Salute’

By Masha Leon

The “winds of war” were on hold aboard the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum for the February 14 Intrepid Museum Foundation’s Salute to Freedom Award dinner honoring Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Greetings by the foundation’s chief operating officer, BillRead More


Columnist Castigated: Minority of One?

By Wendy Belzberg

My February 7 “Ask Wendy” column on collective punishment was ill received by many readers. Whenever I discover that my opinion is in the minority — a minority of one, it seems — I am prepared to take my licks in public. The points made in the letters below are compelling and valid, and I would have been well served to qualifyRead More





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