Of the elite jazz musicians working in New York, pianist Bruce Barth is probably the only one who can claim a klezmer pedigree.
Barth, 46, who has emerged as one of his generation’s most compelling pianists and will share the stage Monday at Merkin Hall with the legendary Cedar Walton in a two-piano duet, developed an ear for klezmer in high school in Harrison, N.Y. It was then that his brother introduced him to a clique of New York bluegrass musicians, including mandolinist/clarinetist Andy Statman and banjoist Tony Trischka.
Ramallah, West Bank — Walking through the sunny, well-kept streets of Deir Debwan, a half-hour outside Jerusalem, it is easy to see why this tony Arab enclave has been dubbed the Beverly Hills of the West Bank.
Thanks to the success of its far-flung sons and daughters, multi-level homes abound. Some have indoor swimming pools. And at one time or another, nearly half the town’s 8,000 residents have lived in the United States.
Yanukovich’s victory welcomed cautiously by community.
Moscow — In a country where anxieties about anti-Semitism are never far from the surface, Viktor Yanukovich’s victory in Ukraine’s presidential election is being welcomed with caution by Ukrainian Jews.
Yanukovich, who has close ties to the Kremlin, replaces Viktor Yushchenko, his West-leaning rival who won five years ago in a second runoff election between the candidates. Widespread protests claiming fraud in favor of Yanukovich in the original runoff spurred the rematch. The pro-democracy protests became known as the Orange Revolution.
Washington, D.C. — Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe had just begun hitting the shores in 1883 when a small group of American professors founded the Modern Language Association to advocate tongues other than ancient Greek and Latin. But they probably weren’t thinking of Yiddish, Hebrew or Ladino.
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.
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series connected to the 90th anniversary of UJA-Federation of New York. The differences between the American Jewish community of the early 1900s and today’s American Jewry are vast and notable. Volumes have been written about the ethnic division that marked the earlier community, between the well-established, often wealthy German Jews, who began arriving in the 1840s and ‘50s, and the more than two million new arrivals from the shtetls of Eastern Europe, many of them mired in poverty and “Old World” ways.
When Florence Greenglass and Sol Dubner converted from Judaism to Catholicism during World War II, it was as though a gate banged shut; neither looked back. Embracing Catholicism zealously, they broke with their families as well as their religion; Dubner’s father sat shiva. The pair met and married after each had converted independently; they became Veronica and Paul Dubner. Decades later, their son Stephen, the youngest of their eight children, unlocked the gate, opening to a renewed Jewish future.
When Ram Oren, the Israeli author likened by much of his country to John Grisham, learned of Michael Stolowitzky’s story, he was faced with a choice: He could turn the tale into a work of fiction, like 17 of his previous 20 books, or treat it as history.
For the first time, a high-level United States government delegation will travel to Moscow to press Russian officials to pay pensions to refugees and immigrants from Russia, and its predecessor, the Soviet Union, now living in the U.S., The Jewish Week has learned. News of the upcoming negotiations — which will be held in the Russian capital next week between a delegation from the U.S.
It’s not unusual for strangers to tell Helen Epstein that she changed their lives. They’re referring to her 1979 book, “Children of the Holocaust,” which identified and described an experience that many sons and daughters of survivors shared but few discussed in public. After 18 years, that book — her first — remains in print, still selling.