Courtesy Fatpossum Records
When the Belfast Hebrew Congregation commissioned its new synagogue in 1964, it chose a circular building held up by concrete beams marked out in the shape of a Star of David. Tall, narrow windows and triangular peepholes allowed shafts of lights to penetrate the space. Today, a thin wall cuts across the center of the synagogue, slicing the Star of David into two parts. As the city’s Jewish population declined to 80, down from a peak of 2,000 in the 1940s, the synagogue’s committee decided that the space had become too large for the dwindling congregation, so it separated the building into a smaller worship space and a community area for more informal gatherings.
An exhibition of rare Jewish books, now on display at the Jewish Religious Center at Williams College, Massachusetts, marks the center’s 20th anniversary. Alumnus and Jewish art collector Sigmund R. Balka loaned the books — part of his own personal Judaica collection — to the center as a means of honoring its contribution to his alma mater and passing his love of Jewish heritage on to the next generation.
Last night on Jon Stewart, Wyatt Cenac reported from West Hampton Beach- the West Bank of Long Island- where trouble has arisen over an Eruv. Some residents aren’t happy about the invisible boundary that allows ultra-observant Jews to carry keys or push baby strollers on the Jewish Sabbath.
On March 10, Skopje, the capital of Macedonia — home to more than a quarter of the country’s population of 2 million — gained a new cultural artifact: the Holocaust Memorial Center of the Jews from Macedonia. A landmark in the middle of the city, the center remembers Jews lost in the Holocaust from Macedonia and from neighboring Southeast European nations.
On “Shalom Sesame,” the Jewish version of “Sesame Street,” a charming Jake Gyllenhaal has lost the afikomen. Turns out it was in his shirt pocket the whole time! Other big name celebrities starring in this season include Debra Messing, Christina Applegate and Greg Kinnear.
A new British sitcom “Friday Night Dinner,” inspired by Jewish family life, will debut in the UK this evening starring Tamsin Greig of the TV show “Green Wing” and Simon Bird from the teen-comedy “The Inbetweeners.”
While Orthodox Jews tend to shy away from mixed dancing, Conservative Jews seem increasingly keen to get moving.