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Serious Summer Fare

08/17/2007
Jewish Week Book Critic

Even books with footnotes can make for great summer reading.

For those who prefer their late summer fare more substantial than breezy novels and suspense fiction, many new works of nonfiction offer compelling reading. Some are inspirational, looking toward the month of Elul with its contemplative mood beginning the process of teshuvah; some break down stereotypes and perhaps prompt readers to rethink long-held assumptions.

Memoir Of A ‘Brovender’s Girl’

06/22/2007
Jewish Week Book Critic

Houses of Study: A Jewish Woman Among Books" by Ilana M. Blumberg is a slim volume, published by the University of Nebraska Press. It’s a quiet type of book, not one that shouts for attention — a book that could easily be missed among the thousands of new titles published each year.

Shirtwaist Fire Revisited

08/03/2006

Nobody shops for shirtwaists anymore. Even those who favor women’s tailored blouses are unlikely to know their traditional name. The word shirtwaist still recalls the worst factory fire in the history of New York City, on March 11, 1911, at the Triangle Waist Factory, also known as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. That day, at least 146 workers died, most of them immigrant Jewish women, many jumping through the blazing windows to their deaths. The building, at the corner of Washington and Greene Streets in Greenwich Village, still stands.

Remembrance Of Things Past

11/28/2007
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

Before being written down, the rabbinic tradition of Judaism, the “oral law,” was preserved by professional memorizers. These “reciters” could repeat page after and page of text without a second thought. Indeed, second thoughts were dangerous; reciters should not be inventive, lest they alter the tradition. Reliable memories are characterized by fidelity, not creativity.

A Suspected Pedophile Eludes The System

05/08/2009
Special to The Jewish Week

 A married Jew with peyos and a black hat, Stefan Colmer used to spend hours, according to reports, reading the Talmud in the main study hall of the Mirrer Yeshiva on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. While there, he also befriended some boys  in and around the yeshiva and, on occasion, invited a few of them to his nearby home.

And, according to a source close to the case, Colmer allegedly sexually abused several of them — in addition to other young boys from the “general neighborhood” near the yeshiva, a law enforcement source believes.

Sex-Abuse Statute Of Limitations May Be Extended

03/13/2009
Special to The Jewish Week

Survivors for Justice, a support and advocacy organization formed by victims of child sexual abuse in the fervently Orthodox world, traveled to Albany this week to educate legislators about the problem of child sexual abuse in their communities and to discuss legislative efforts to help curb it and aid victims in seeking redress. 

The Matchup: Table For More Than Two

11/08/2007
Special To The Jewish Week

Good food, candlelight, wine and conversation after a long week is the quintessential (hoped-for) weekend plan, whether it’s for a night out, or — as it is for many Jews — for a Friday-night dinner. But for married couples that host weekly Shabbat dinners, each Friday night also represents an opportunity to help singles who might otherwise go unfed physically, spiritually or romantically.

Jewish Professor, Black Culture

01/26/2010
Staff Writer

About five years ago, Vincent Brown, a historian at Harvard, had to teach a seminar on the birth of black studies. Though the discipline has flourished since the 1960s, its origins were not well known, so Brown, an iPod-generation professor, thought a documentary on the topic might help. He was an amateur filmmaker himself, deft with a Camcorder, and figured he might try to make one on his own.

Specter's Defection: Unbridled Ambition, Not Ideology

04/29/2009
Special to the Jewish Week

1980 was a golden year for Jewish Republicans. That November Ronald Reagan won nearly 40 percent of the Jewish vote for the presidency, a modern record for the GOP and a mark that they have never come close to achieving since then.

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