Monday, February 23rd, 2009
Few things illuminate just how useless Israel can sometimes be better than its film industry. This year, “Waltzing With Bashir” was Israel’s entry for Academy Award’s Oscar for best foreign language film.
It lost. Good.
The film focused on the killings at Sabra & Shatilla during the first Lebanon war. That’s when, in Menachem Begin’s words, “goyim kill goyim, and they come to blame the Jews.”
The announcement last month by the UJA-Federation of New York of a $300 million matching program to support Jewish education — and similar initiatives in Los Angeles and MetroWest, New Jersey — comes at a time when middle-class Jewish parents find themselves increasingly caught between the Scylla of rising day-school tuitions and the Charybdis of declining real-dollar income.
Studying Aramaic often feels like saying Kaddish — which, fittingly, is written in that language. Yet interest remains strong in this dying, yet holy, language.
Aramaic is my first language. I don’t get to speak it much with fellow native speakers in Los Angeles, where I live now. The number of Jewish Aramaic speakers has dwindled so much that we now quixotically call ourselves “The Worldwide Federation of Aramaic Speakers.” The group would fit in a small room.
Just outside Bryant Park’s wintertime ice skating rink, a young Israeli named Oz clutches a basketful of purple and green squares of soap, distributing samples to eager passersby. Meanwhile, a muffled version of Bing Crosby’s “Happy Holiday” echoes through the park’s loudspeakers, reminding visitors that all their wishes should come true “while the merry bells keep ringing.”
While millions of Americans spent their Columbus Day weekend home from work or scoping out one-day sales, more than 100 young Jews trekked down to South Florida, where they scouted out not only their own grandparents, but also hordes of Bubbe and Zeyde’s closest friends.
For Marisa Hester, a Pentecostal Christian from Prattville, Ala., choosing an outfit for an ultra-Orthodox Crown Heights wedding wasn’t easy. Sorting through her two sets of formalwear, she eventually opted for a knee-length floral skirt and a high-necked black chiffon blouse, embellished with sparkling beads.
She worried, however, that her slightly sheer sleeves were too revealing and would insult her newfound family.
But at the June 24 wedding, the bride and her relatives could not have been less offended.
The fight over Edgardo Mortara is heating up again 144 years after Vatican police abducted the 6-year-old Jewish boy from his family's home in Bologna. At that time, the dispute was about who should raise the child, his parents or the Catholic Church. Today, it's a legal battle over who should tell the story.
The product of a Modern Orthodox home and a longtime resident of Boston, Yehuda Kurtzer reached an important spiritual decision while he was living in Washington, D.C., for a while three years ago. He and his wife, Stephanie Ives, had become active in the D.C. Minyan, an independent prayer group that meets in the capital’s Dupont Circle area, and wanted to start a similar minyan when he moved back to Boston with her for graduate school.
“We knew we had to have something like this in Boston,” Kurtzer says.
Today they do.
The models and movie stars filing past the phalanx of flashbulbs at the New Museum last week had not come to see the latest exhibition of contemporary art or next fall's fashions. They had been invited to the book launch party for "The 72 Names of God: Technology for the Soul," the latest publication from the Kabbalah Centre International.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.