Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Culture

Gothamist’s 4 Best Jewish Articles — From Mitzvah Tanks To Gefilte Fish

This morning, those of us who pine for quality local journalism woke up to a startling sight: Actual good news. A consortium of local radio stations, including New York’s WNYC, Washington D.C.’s WAMU and Southern California’s KPCC announced they had banded together to revive beloved local news organizations Gothamist and DNAInfo.

As Wired reports, Billionaire Joe Ricketts shuttered the sites last fall, a week after employees at both companies chose to form a union. The move understandably shocked Gothamist’s founders, Jake Dobkin and Jen Chung. Dobkin told Wired, “I think you can imagine how we felt. It was unexpected.” Many called Rickett’s move to close the sites spiteful, particularly criticizing his choice to remove DNAInfo’s and Gothamist’s archive of stories.

The archives were later restored; they will now be maintained by the consortium of local radio stations. In addition, Gothamist, DNAInfo, and associated sites — including DCist and LAist — will begin publishing new content this Spring.

In celebration of this fantastic announcement, we found some of Gothamist’s best Jewish coverage.

1) “Why Do So Many Jews Who Leave The Ultra-Orthodox Community Commit Suicide?” by Batya Ungar-Sargon

The Forward’s intrepid opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon wrote an extremely powerful piece for Gothamist in 2015 on the concerning number of suicides among Jews who choose to leave the Ultra-Orthodox community. She spoke to a number of Jews who felt ostracized and shunned by their families and loved ones, and described the work of the organization Footsteps, which helps give ex-Haredi Jews looking to live a secular life a community of peers, supportive counseling, and referrals for long-term care.

2) “Heeeere’s Moshiach: My Surreal Trip In the Orthodox Jewish Mitzvah Tank” by Rebecca Fishbein

In 2016, Rebecca Fishbein tagged along with the annual Chabad-Lubavitch “Mitzvah Tank Parade” and wrote about the surreal experience for Gothamist. The piece sheds light on the Lubavitcher community for those unfamiliar, and contains a number of gems. Did you know the “Mitzvah Tanks” are known as such because they’re meant to combat an “army of evil”?

3) “‘Animal Holocaust!’: Protests Against Ritual Jewish Chicken Slaughter Get Ugly” by Nathan Tempey

Nathan Tempey covered the outrage surrounding kapparot, the annual ritual slaughter of chickens practiced by certain Ultra-Orthodox groups, in 2016. The article is an example of Gothamist’s coverage at its best: It explores the history of the ritual, which apparently began around the year 600 C.E., and introduces many competing perspectives on this divisive practice.

4) “Cooking ‘Liquid Gold’ Schmaltz & Other Old World Jewish Classics With The Gefilteria by Nell Casey

Admittedly, this is less “hard-hitting journalism” and more “appealing to me because I haven’t eaten today.” Regardless, Nell Casey’s video conversation with the founders of The Gefilteria, which sells both Gefilte fish and a cookbook that reimagines recipes from the “old world,” is a great watch. In the video, the company’s co-founders, Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, talk schmaltz — and even give a great recipe for making schmaltzy chopped liver pate.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.