American Jews

On The Road, Discovering Jewish America

From Hoboken to Houston to Albuquerque, Jewish life bubbling up.

02/10/2015 - 19:00
Editor and Publisher

Phoenix — Doing a book tour is an enlightening, enriching, though often humbling, experience. My sporadic travels over the last six months, courtesy of a Jewish Book Council program encouraging communities to host Jewish authors, have given me new insights into how Jewish life plays out around the country, marked by both great contrasts and strong similarities. 

Gary Rosenblatt

What Now For The Jews Of Cuba?

A Cuban Jewish scholar suggests some possibilities, and longs for a good pastrami sandwich — if the Moishe Pipik deli reopens.

12/22/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When I began traveling to Cuba in 1991, hanging out in the ruined synagogues of Havana to learn the stories of the Jews who remained after Fidel Castro came to power, I suffered from attacks of vertigo.

Purim. Photo by Ruth Behar

The Editor's Desk: Tough Conversations

At the JCC, those who feel strongly about Israel and its Gaza campaign gather to share their thoughts in a safe, structured space.

08/05/2014 - 20:00
Editor and Publisher

The woman to my left said she felt “overwhelmed” and “emotional” in dealing with the news about Israel’s war in Gaza. The heavy volume of postings on her Facebook page were so upsetting, with their criticism of Israeli actions, that she was considering “unfriending” some of her online correspondents.

Gary Rosenblatt

Do Israelis Know How Much We Really Care?

08/04/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Some mid-summer reflections:

I wonder if Israelis know how emotionally involved many American Jews are with the current fighting in Gaza. Do they know that for those of us who love Israel, Gaza is the only thing we seem able to talk about when we go out to dinner or stay home with the family or speak on the phone? Do they know that we weep with them at the loss of each IDF soldier, or that the news from Israel is the first thing we turn to in our newspapers (and rue the unfair coverage) and the last thing we Google about before going to bed? Do they know that we can almost hear the rocket sirens go off in our heads and feel the rush of fear they experience as they run to shelters?

Francine Klagsbrun

Gaza And American Jews: ‘We Are One?’

07/22/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

‘We Are One!” 

That’s the oft-articulated mantra of American Jewish groups, expressing solidarity on core public-affairs matters, especially those threatening Israel’s security.

Jerome A. Chanes

Fault Lines Open As Civilian Deaths Mount

Jewish left voices concern over loss of life as polls show strong support for Israel.

07/22/2014 - 20:00
Staff Writer

The divisions in the Jewish community over the war in Gaza broke into the open this week as the number of Israeli soldiers killed reached 27 by Tuesday night and the number of Palestinian deaths neared 600.

Thousands of pro-Israel supporters rallied Sunday in Times Square. Getty Images

Don’t Confuse ‘Identity’ And ‘Affiliation’

04/22/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Two opposing trends can be discerned within today’s American Jewish community. The first is the move to precisely define the borders and boundaries between various Jewish denominations and religious groups. On the pages of this newspaper and elsewhere, there are debates about what precisely constitutes Open, Modern, or Ultra Orthodoxy, and where exactly the boundary is between Orthodox and Conservative Judaism. On social media, this splintering and boundary-setting is even more pronounced as quasi-denominational labels like Egalitarian Traditional, Left-Wing Conservative and Modern Ultra-Orthodox proliferate.

Elli Fischer

Passover Seder Losing Steam As Key Marker Of Affiliation

Observers gnash their teeth as attendance at ritual meal drops; young Jews want DIY Passover.

04/08/2014 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Monday night will be a typical weeknight for Sam Biederman.

After he finishes work as director of communications at the New School in Greenwich Village, he may head to the gym for a workout. Or go out for drinks with friends. Or watch some TV at home.

Brooklyn’s Avital Chizhik says many young Jews are turned off by the “Orthodox language” of many seders. Avital Chizhik

How Israelis, American Jews Differ, Even On Passover

04/07/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

My family and I always laugh at that part in the Passover Haggadah where people sing about tyrants rising up in every generation to destroy us,” my Israeli friend — a historian — said when I called to wish him a happy Pesach.

Francine Klagsbrun
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