News And Politics


Battle for Historic Lower East Side Synagogue Ends With Old Guard in Charge

By Paul Berger

Three years after a Lower East Side match that seemed made in heaven, Manhattan’s historic but struggling Sixth Street Community Synagogue and popular Chabad rabbi Simon Jacobson have divorced amid acrimony to rival that of a bad marriage from an Isaac Bashevis Singer tale.Read More


100 Years Later, Saying Kaddish in a Staten Island Cemetery

By Jon Kalish

In a cold and windswept Staten Island cemetery, four dozen people huddled together to recite Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer, and to mark the 100th yahrzeit of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire’s victims. Twenty-two of the victims were laid to rest in 1911 at the Mount Richmond Cemetery, which is owned by the Hebrew Free Burial Association.Read More


Paying Tribute To the Fire’s Pained Legacy

By Lillian Swanson

Piece by piece, the everyday blouses were assembled by hand, crafted in small steps from cuffs to collars, from basting to buttons. In cramped quarters, garment factory workers stitched the seams, fitted the sleeves and attached the lace as hundreds of $3 shirtwaists took form.Read More


Camp in the Catskills: A Summer Tradition

By Rukhl Schaechter

In 1959, a group of Holocaust survivors, most of them living in the secular, Yiddish-speaking enclave of the Amalgamated Houses in the Bronx, did something remarkable. Each of them shelled out $500 of hard-earned money to found a summer camp in the Catskill Mountains. The survivors’ goal was to pass on to the next generation their own devotion to democratic socialism and to Yiddish language and culture, mirroring their childhood experiences in Poland between the two World Wars. They called it Camp Hemshekh, which means “continuation.”Read More


Book Center Goes Digital

By Nathan Burstein

Long faced with extinction, Yiddish literature has been preserved for the digital age with a newly activated online archive.Read More


Yiddish Teachers Form New Group

By Rukhl Schaechter

When Lori Cahan-Simon, a singer and music teacher at the I. L. Peretz Workmen’s Circle school of Ohio, in Cleveland, was promoted to Yiddish teacher 10 years ago, her excitement was hampered by anxiety.Read More


My Father’s Words

By Rukhl Schaechter

This month, during the first yahrzeit of my father, Mordkhe Schaechter, of blessed memory, I recalled a story my father used to tell us about his paternal grandfather, Reb Itsye Mordkhe — a shokhet (slaughterer) who was not very popular among the butchers of the shtetl because whenever he rendered one of their animals treyf, the animal could be sold only to non-Jews and at a much lower price. One day, the chief butcher in the shtetl warned him: “Reb Itsye Mordkhe, if you tell me one more animal is treyf, I’ll break your neck.” This did not frighten my great-grandfather, who continued to follow the letter of the law. One day, after he once again declared an animal nonkosher, the chief butcher, a large, muscular man, waited for him on a side street, and when Reb Mordkhe passed him by, the butcher struck him so hard that he was knocked unconscious. Several months later he passed away.Read More


Yiddishists: The Next Generation Takes the Reins

By Eli Rosenblatt

It’s been more than three quarters of a century since young intellectuals were voicing their Yiddish-inflected ideas in the parks, cafés and tenements of lower Manhattan. But the days of the Yiddish intelligentsia are still rolling for 24-year-old Menachem Yankl Ejdelman, who is the newly appointed leader of Yugntruf, a worldwide organization of young Yiddish speakers and learners. “We attract all types of people, from high-school students to young people with day jobs. Many of the people who come to our events love languages,” he said.Read More


Yiddish Comes to the Non-Hasidic Orthodox Classroom

By Rukhl Schaechter

In a brightly lit classroom, decorated with colorful posters and Hebrew lettering, the 24 second grade schoolgirls, dressed in crisp blue uniforms, listened as the young, modestly attired teacher reviewed the Genesis chapter in which God commands Abraham to leave his homeland.Read More


Rabbi Navigates Polish-Jewish Minefield

By Rukhl Schaechter

After one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Poland was vandalized last week, the chief rabbi of Poland found an unexpected source of help for the clean-up: 20 Polish art students and the mayor of the town himself, all of whom helped scrub the 100 gravestones spray-painted with black swastikas.Read More





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  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • 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
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