Stuart Schoffman

Turkey and the Gaza Flotilla: For Israelis, There Goes Another Friend

With loss of Turkey — once a leading vacation destination — life in the Jewish state feels even lonelier.

06/08/2010
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — There was a time, not very long ago, when Israelis had a friend in the Muslim world. As bad as things got with the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Lebanese, Israelis could point to Turkey as a solid bulwark against near total isolation in the Muslim world.

It was a salve to the Israeli psyche.

Israelis are reeling in the aftermath of last week’s flotilla attack.

Celestial City, Terrestrial City

The dizzyingly complex question of sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Special To The Jewish Week
05/12/2010

 Late last month, as Israelis celebrated the 62nd birthday of the Jewish state and the 150th of its inventor, the great Theodor Herzl, a full-page ad appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The text was penned by another esteemed Jew, the Nobel laureate, prolific author and Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel. Needless to say, his piece drew a lot of attention.     

 Jerusalem

When Shabbes And Shabbesdik Collide

Does stone-throwing count as work? How about Dylan in Hebrew?

Special to the Jewish Week
04/28/2010

Shabbes! Shabbes!! Has it ever struck you as odd, those scenes in Jerusalem of fervently Orthodox Jews blocking cars and throwing stones on the holy day, to protest its desecration? To you, this may seem absurd and repellent, a blatant violation of the tranquility of Shabbat. To them, it’s a matter of life and death, not just a lifestyle choice. In short: what is or isn’t shabbesdik — in the spirit of the Sabbath, in Yiddish — is very much a subjective affair.

AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DI STRIBUTION COMMITTEE. Shabbat held in one of the dormitories for Jewish refugees.  Shanghai, China 1940

“A Rabbi Walks Into a Bank . . . ”

Special to the Jewish Week
03/19/2010

 A witty man was once asked: “A doctor and a banker — which one is more important in the eyes of the Lord?”

Literary lights Alter Druyanov, Y.H. Ravnitzky, Simon Dubnow, Mendele Mocher-Seforim and Chaim Nachman Bialik

Ghosts And Giants

03/06/2009

Among visitors from the Old Country, Emek Refaim in the German Colony is the second-best known street in Jerusalem after Ben-Yehuda. The latter, where you buy mezuzahs and gorge on falafel, is named for a fabled fanatic who helped revive the Hebrew language. Emek Refaim, a three-minute walk from my house, goes back to the Hebrew Bible, and means either “Valley of the Giants” or “Valley of the Ghosts.”  According to the First Book of Chronicles, David fought the Philistines here. I count them, too, as neighbors.

Ghosts And Giants

Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim is haunted by Christian millenarians, North African immigrants, British polo players – even the grand mufti. Today, you’re more likely to find a yeshiva boy or yuppie

03/06/2009
Among visitors from the Old Country, Emek Refaim in the German Colony is the second-best known street in Jerusalem after Ben-Yehuda. The latter, where you buy mezuzahs and gorge on falafel, is named for a fabled fanatic who helped revive the Hebrew language. Emek Refaim, a three-minute walk from my house, goes back to the Hebrew Bible, and means either “Valley of the Giants” or “Valley of the Ghosts.”  According to the First Book of Chronicles, David fought the Philistines here. I count them, too, as neighbors.

Ghosts And Giants

Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim is haunted by Christian millenarians, North African immigrants, British polo players – even the grand mufti. Today, you’re more likely to find a yeshiva boy or yuppie

03/06/2009
Among visitors from the Old Country, Emek Refaim in the German Colony is the second-best known street in Jerusalem after Ben-Yehuda. The latter, where you buy mezuzahs and gorge on falafel, is named for a fabled fanatic who helped revive the Hebrew language. Emek Refaim, a three-minute walk from my house, goes back to the Hebrew Bible, and means either “Valley of the Giants” or “Valley of the Ghosts.”  According to the First Book of Chronicles, David fought the Philistines here. I count them, too, as neighbors.

No Room At The Inn

12/24/2009
Staff Writer

Stuart Schoffman’s article, “Who is That Guy,” in the Text/Context issue (“The December Issue,” Dec. 11) touches on a sore spot for those Israelis who hold Jewish religiosity dear. Orthodox Jews, modern and haredi, find Christmas symbols unappealing and objectionable. The influx of thousands of non-Jewish immigrants into Israel introduced the widespread sale of Christmas trees and wreaths as well as a myriad of decorations, which alarm many of us.

Text/Context October, 2009: A German Shepherd In Eretz Israel

Special to the Jewish Week
10/02/2009

Where I come from, people don’t like dogs much. I grew up in Flatbush in the 1950s, in an Orthodox home. My parents were both from Crown Heights, a generation removed from the shtetl. I was raised to be terrified of dogs.

Old joke: A baptized Jew is lambasted by his former yeshiva pal for becoming a goy—“You, the Talmudic prodigy, how could you leave it all behind?!” Replies the apostate: “Moish, relax, I’m still afraid of dogs.”

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