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Robert Farber Exhibit, Society of Illustrators Panel and Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project

By Masha Leon

The crush of guests spilling out of Farber’s East Side Manhattan atelier onto his charming brownstone garden included philanthropist Francine LeFrak, publicists Edward** and John Wegorzewski, events producer Errol Rappaport and the event’s beneficiary, actor Richard Thomas, who for the past five years has been chairman of the National Meningitis Association — Gary Springer, co-chairman of the National Meningitis Association, touted son Nick Springer’s latest athletic medal at the London Paralympics. Having contracted meningitis at 14 at a summer camp, following the partial amputation of both his hands and legs, young Springer — now in his mid-20s and a gold medal winner in Beijing — competes in Paralympics Games all over the world and travels worldwide to speak on the need for vaccination.Read More


Military Gala at the Pierre and 'Waiting for Godot' in Yiddish

By Masha Leon

It was gold braid, medals, military dress and evening gowns at the October 5 Soldiers,’ Sailors,’ Marines,’ Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club’s 16th annual military ball at The Pierre. David H. Petraeus, a retired U.S. Army general, received the Service to the Nation Award at the ballRead More


Appeal of Conscience Foundation Ceremony and National Osteoporosis Foundation Lunch

By Masha Leon

“A crime perpetrated in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion,” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founder and president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, at the organization’s annual awards dinner held at the Waldorf Astoria on September 27. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and IBM Chairman, President and CEO Virginia Rometty were honored at the event.Read More


Middle East Hot Topics and Hospital for Joint Diseases Gala

By Masha Leon

There were no funny punch lines in the Milton Berle Room at the Friars Club, where 70 guests gathered on September 20 for a lunch featuring retired Army colonel Jack Jacobs, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East Colin Kahl. The event, hosted by the not-for-profit civil dialogue group The Common Good, was on “Middle East Hot Topics,” mainly, Iran’s nuclear ambitions.Read More


Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot Wow Yiddish-Savvy Audience at Center For Jewish History

By Masha Leon

Masha Leon visits the Center for Jewish History panel on Itzhak Perlman’s new collaborative CD.Read More


Avi Hoffman Channels Poet Itzik Manger at City University

By Masha Leon

“Why Manger?” I asked Matthew “Motl” Didner, producer and associate artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre—Folksbiene production of “Reflections of a Lost Poet: The Life and Works of Itzik Manger,” at the show’s September 9 performance, held at Baruch College’s Engelman Recital Hall. “Because it is the perfect companion piece to his ‘Megile of Itzik Manger’ — a poetic cycle about the Book of Esther that was set to music and was the last entirely Yiddish musical to play on Broadway in the 1968 season,” he said.Read More


'Six Million and One' Documentary and a Letter About Bel Kaufman

By Masha Leon

“Six Million and One,” a documentary by veteran filmmaker David Fisher, is a Holocaust film, yet it isn’t. It chronicles a journey that Fisher took with his Israeli-born middle-aged siblings— Esti Fisher, Gideon Fisher and Ronel Fisher — to retrace their late father’s life, as Joseph Fisher wrote about it in the memoir his children found after his death. As the Fishers drive through a picturesque Austrian countryside to the charming Austrian village of Gusen and then on to what had been the Gunskirchen concentration camp, the brothers argue and wax philosophical about the Holocaust, while sister Esti Fisher declares she is not interested in “revisiting a past” that she dubs as “akin to Timbuktu.”Read More


Honoring Amy Winehouse

By Masha Leon

Looming storm clouds did not keep 200 guests from attending the Amy Winehouse Foundation USA cocktail party, hosted by foundation board member David Hryck on August 10 at his Southampton house.Read More


Soviet Yiddish Writers Remembered; ‘The Essence' and More From the Yiddish Theater

By Masha Leon

“Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union began with a flourish of trumpets and ended with a mute, strangled voice,” said Thomas Bird, a Queens College professor of European language and literature, at a memorial. held on August 12 , it was for the Soviet Yiddish writers who were murdered on August 12, 1952, and was held at the Center for Jewish History. “Between the two world wars, Yiddish flourished in an unprecedented way. Books were published in the tens of thousands [by] some 300 Yiddish writers… in the Belarusian and Ukrainian Republics alone. Schools, newspapers, theaters, publishing houses… teachers colleges were founded, purely devoted to Yiddish. At the end of the 1930s, the regime began to turn its back on Yiddish, [and] the persecutions increased after Stalin realized that [Communist] Party propaganda had not succeeded in rooting out of the hearts of the millions of Jews in the Soviet Union, their connection to the Jewish people and to the Land of Israel.”Read More


Two Thousand Mourn, Celebrate and Sing at Marvin Hamlisch Funeral

By Masha Leon

“We are gathered here not because Marvin Hamlisch died, but because Marvin Hamlisch lived,” Rabbi David Posner said to the 2,000 mourners gathered on August 14 at the composer’s funeral, held at Congregation Emanu-El. He recalled: “I met Marvin when he was 15 years old. His mother said, ‘This is my son, Marvin. Someday he will be the greatest composer in Hollywood and on Broadway.’ In retrospect, she underestimated him: He became the greatest composer in Hollywood and on Broadway.” Posner explained that this was the same sanctuary where George Gershwin’s funeral was held, in July 1937. Rabbi Kushner quoted Hebrew poet Chaim Nahman Bialik, who, “anticipating his own death, wrote his own eulogy: ‘There is a man and he is no more. Before his time his life was ended. And the song of his life was broken. Oh, he had one more melody, and now that melody is lost forever.’”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.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "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?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "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?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
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