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HBO Premiere of “50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. & Mrs. Kraus” and Holocaust Memorial Event at Temple Emanu-El

By Masha Leon

Myth-busting was an unexpected bonus at the April 3 New York premiere of HBO’s documentary “50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. & Mrs. Kraus” held at HBO’s New York headquarters. Among the guests: film director Steven Pressman, film narrator Alan Alda and Dr. Edwin Tepper and Henny Wenkart, whom the Krauses brought to the U.S. from Vienna in 1939. Pressman, who is married to the Krauses’ granddaughter Liz Perle, lauded the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as an “invaluable partner.” Museum director Sara Bloomfield, who welcomed multigenerational members of the Kraus family, said [the museum] was delighted to be a part of this film. “This is a lucky film for us…a lucky break for HBO,” Sheila Nevins, President of HBO Documentary Films told the guests. “What makes you cry [and] breathe in this film is the nobility of the Krauses who saved 50 children. Can you imagine giving your child away …to cross the Atlantic with strangers!”Read More


Marc Spiegel Plays Emanuel Ringelblum for U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

By Masha Leon

More than 2,000 survivors attended the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s daylong program of Holocaust-related films and workshops at the New York Hilton on March 3.Read More


Merryl Tisch Toasted and Jamie deRoy and Friends Performance

By Masha Leon

“There are three paths to being an educator — a teacher, an academic or a policymaker,” Lincoln Center Chair Katherine Farley said of honoree Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, at the March 5 Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education Gala. “She had been all three… and has a parallel career in philanthropy, with health care, education and the arts the focus of her generosity.”Read More


Rhodes Scholar Ronan Farrow, Nobel Laureate Martti Ahtisaari and Heinz Ketchup on the Menu at National Committee on American Foreign Policy Gala

By Masha Leon

“It seems like just yesterday I was wet behind the ears, a 23-year-old running a State Department bureau,” Ronan Farrow, the son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, told the 270 guests March 5, at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy’s gala. Held at the Plaza, the gala was co-chaired by Paul Volcker. “The problem was,” Farrow said, chuckling, “it was yesterday!”Read More


Lena Dunham's Purim Shpiel and 'Two by Two'

By Masha Leon

Wearing a sleeveless silver-and-black sequined dress that showcased her tattoos, 26-year-old Lena Dunham, creator and star of the HBO Series “Girls,” exclaimed “Welcome to my bat mitzvah!” to the 1,000-strong festive crowd at the Jewish Museum’s Purim Ball, titled “Who Wears the Crown?”Read More


NJOP Debate and Valentine's Salon

By Masha Leon

Guests at the National Jewish Outreach Program’s silver anniversary dinner on February 5 were told to “fasten [their] seatbelts” in anticipation of the debate on the state of American Jewry between NJOP founder and director Rabbi Efraim Buchwald and atheist philanthropist Michael Steinhardt.Read More


Remembering Vladka Meed

By Masha Leon

“This is a celebration of a life lived,” said David Posner, senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, in his invocation at the February 3 “Memorial and Celebration of an Extraordinary Life — Vladka Meed, 1921–2012,” held at the synagogue’s Lowenstein Auditorium.Read More


“Superman at 75” Unmasks the Superhero as a Jew from the Planet Krypton

By Masha Leon

On January 27, Superman fans—many sporting Superman logo T-shirts—landed on Krypton, also known as the Center for Jewish History for a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the creation of Superman.Read More


Remembering Joseph Landis and Gilbert and Sullivan's Amy Maude Helfer

By Masha Leon

Were it not for Queens College professor Joseph Landis, who died January 6, at the age of 95—Isaac Bashevis Singer and his wife, Alma Singer, might never have come to my home for a vegetarian Friday-night dinner of eggplant parmesan casserole.Read More


Remembering Jack Klugman, A Jewish Pastry Chef and an Animated Dutch Gem

By Masha Leon

Of my encounters over the years with actor Jack Klugman, who died at 90 on December 24, 2012, I vividly recall the February 1998 Annual Theatre Hall of Fame ceremony at the Gershwin Theatre, at which Tony Randall was an honoree. Introduced by Rudy Giuliani, who then was New York City’s mayor, Randall — who was at the time starring with Klugman on Broadway in a revival of Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys” — lamented, “America did not have a classical repertory theater akin to Israel’s Habimah or France’s Comedie Francaise.” Klugman, who was sitting a few seats away, next to Lauren Bacall, seemed amused. In the 1970s, Klugman and Randall starred in the popular TV sit-com “The Odd Couple,” which was a template for the oil ad vinegar personality duo in “The Sunshine Boys.” Klugman portrayed the slob, Oscar Madison; Randall was deliciously annoying as the fastidious neatnik, Felix Unger.Read More





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  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
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  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
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  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
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  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
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