In "A Jew is Not One Thing," a film at the end of The Jewish Museum's permanent exhibition, a group of American, Israeli and European Jews (a rabbi, an educator, a psychologist, artists, scholars and even day school students) comment on themes that have shaped the Jewish people.
Each year the 12th-grade students of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester spend a week in Poland, on the way to Israel, learning about Jewish history at the site of death camps, synagogues and forests.
This year their most poignant lesson came at an antiques shop on a Warsaw side street.
It began with a visit to a single grave.
About a decade ago, Rabbi Manfred Gans, spiritual leader of Congregation Machane Chodosh in Forest Hills, accompanied a congregant, a recent widower, to the man’s late wife’s grave in Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, L.I. The congregant, Jack Kremski, and his wife, Anna, were Holocaust survivors, natives of Czestachowa, in Poland.
Lublin, Poland — On the first two nights of Passover, the ground floor of a former medical academy near Lublin’s historic Old City was crowded by early evening with members of the Jewish community. Children played for hours in the hallways while senior citizens schmoozed in a small office. After sundown, joined by other members of the community and a Jewish choir from Warsaw, they filed into a social hall for the seders; afterward, they stayed to play and shmooze some more.
David Weinberg will call his mother in Toronto on Sunday morning, as usual, to wish her a happy Motherís Day. Sunday afternoon heíll make another call ó for an end to the genocide in Sudan ó as the leader of a rally in Central Park.Weinberg, 23, a senior at Yeshiva University, is the founding director of Not Now Not Ever, a nonprofit organization he and two Stern College students launched a few months ago to protest the ongoing Sudan tragedy. The group already has gone national.The Not Now Not Ever rally will begin at 4:30 p.m.
With his odes to Italian restaurants and songs about Catholic girls, most Billy Joel fans may never have pegged the "Piano Man" for the scion of a once-thriving German-Jewish mercantile family whose fortunes were swept away in the Holocaust.
No tinsel, no Santa, no carols, no nog. Some Jews feel they're missing out on the fun of Christmastime. Sure, there are alternatives like Chinese-food-and-a-movie or Matzah Ball dances: the ethnic equivalent of artificial snow. These activities capture the season's festive mood without drawing on its Christian origins.
When history touched Yonia Fain's life, it hit with gale force. For 30 years he was "dragged by the storm of events over half a world," the Brooklyn-based painter and Yiddish poet once wrote.
Between 1923 (when a 9-year-old Fain and his family fled Bolshevik Russia, and 1953) when he settled in New York City: Fain outran Nazi troops in Poland, was imprisoned by the Soviets, escaped to Japan, was deported to China and eventually made his way to safety and artistic success in Mexico.
Roman Polanski's latest feature film is a dramatic account of one man's survival in wartime Warsaw. "The Pianist," which opens Dec. 27, is also a documentary in at least one respect: its star, Adrien Brody, nearly starved himself to portray the Jewish musician and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, shedding some 30 pounds from his already slender frame as filming progressed.