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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


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


DER YIDDISH-VINKL March 7, 2003

Mark Warshawsky (1840-1907) was a versatile poet whose songs voiced both hope and despair, depending on the situation he was describing. In his poem-song “Dem Milner’s Trern” (“The Miller’s Tears”), he sounds a note of melancholy. It is a dark dirge about the Jews who are being driven from their shtetl in czarist Russia. To the miller,Read More


T.G.I.S.

By Ephraim Z. Buchwald

We live in a pressure cooker. You can’t watch the news or read a newspaper without being bombarded with stories about war and terror threats. Our government gives us tips on how to prepare for possible chemical, biological or radiological attacks. The economy and stock market continue to sag. The Jewish psyche is taking a thrashing theseRead More


Sundry Lessons of the Exodus

By David Curzon

This week’s portion, Pekude, covers the last chapters of Exodus and so is a good place to try to draw some general lessons from our story of stories.The poets have been finding metaphors and similes in Exodus for quite some time. John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), for example, found in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6) an extended metaphor forRead More


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