Route 17: Season Of Yizkor

The portal opens as quick as a dream.
09/24/2012 - 20:00
Associate Editor

This is the season of memory, of Yizkor. The memorial prayer for loved ones is recited four times in a year, two of them in these days between Yom Kippur and Shemini Atzeret.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Yizkor’s brevity reflects the brief connection between This World and the Next.

During National Poetry Month, Recalling One of American Jewry's Most Famous Poets

Listen to Allen Ginsberg read his harrowing poem, 'Kaddish'.

04/26/2015 - 20:00
Web Editor

As National Poetry Month comes to a close we recall one of the most acclaimed Jewish, American poets, Allen Ginsberg (1927 - 1997). Ginsberg, a Jewish boy from Newark, was one of the most respected poets of the post WWII generation and is widely considered one of the fathers of the Beat Generation.

The High Lonesome Sound In A Cemetery

Hebrew Free Burial offers life’s last courtesy.

09/23/2014 - 20:00
Associate Editor

Before Rosh HaShanah, mystics say, “the King is in the field,” no ticket needed to pray or talk. All the world is His “overflow service.” He’s looking for grace, in laundromats with garish light, in all-night diners where the waitress calls you “Honey.” His throne is the stoop of a single-room occupancy. He rides the interstate Greyhound like Elijah’s chariot. And He goes to the cemetery, for “field” (feld) in Yiddish is a euphemism for that “field of stone,” where gravestones sprout like grass. Before the holidays we’re told to visit the dead. They’re expecting us.

Even those who died poor are given all the honors of a Jewish funeral by local volunteers, led by Rabbi Shmuel Plafker.

Kaddish, From A Woman’s Perspective

Getting feminine voices into the discussion on mourning.

03/10/2014 - 20:00
Culture Editor

In many a shiva house, books of consolation and Jewish ritual are as ubiquitous as archival photos and cellophane-wrapped platters of food. You’re likely to find Leon Wieseltier’s “Kaddish,” Rabbi Maurice Lamm’s “The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning” and perhaps Rabbi Richard Hirsh’s “The Journey of Mourning.” A new book by Michal Smart and Barbara Ashkenas, “Kaddish, Women’s Voices” (Urim) belongs on the table.

“Kaddish: Women’s Voices” was recently awarded a 2013 National Jewish Book Award in Contemporary Jewish Life.  Courtesy of Urim

Staging Imre Kertész’s Take On Kaddish

12/30/2013 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Of all Jewish prayers, perhaps the best known is the Kaddish, the memorial prayer for the dead. But for the celebrated Hungarian Jewish author, Imre Kertész, who survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Kaddish became a way of mourning the child he never had, the child whom he refused to bring into a post-Holocaust world. Now Kertész’s celebrated stream-of-consciousness novel, “Kaddish for an Unborn Child,” has been turned into a one-man play, “Kaddish.” Starring Jake Goodman, it runs this month at the 14th Street Y.

Jake Goodman stars in the one-man play “Kaddish.” Atilla Takacs

The ‘Evidence’ Of Kaddish

09/10/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Why do we recite the mourner’s Kaddish? In his lyrical, insightful “Kaddish,” Leon Wieseltier speaks of the child reciting Kaddish as “evidence” — he is the proof that his parent lived such that he raised a son competent enough and concerned enough to recite the prayer.

But why this prayer? The Kaddish glorifies God but makes no mention of death. For many interpreters, it is an affirmation of life — in community we express our gratitude for the years we have left in the shadow of the death we memorialize.

Yizkor On Memorial Day: The Layering Of Memory

05/30/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Like most people, I would imagine, my first thoughts upon learning that the Memorial Day weekend here in America would coincide with the festival of Shavuot this year were not happy ones. Three-day weekends are a precious commodity, even for rabbis. Giving one up for three days of Shabbat and Yom Tov was simply not a fair exchange.  I’m sure that I like being in synagogue a little more than the average bear, but really… on Memorial Day weekend?

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Is A Synagogue A Relic Of The Past?

03/25/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Many Jews today claim that they are “spiritual not religious,” that organized religion is not relevant, or that they would rather spend their free time alone than with others. Those who attend synagogue weekly often reserve the service, especially the sermon, for a special naptime. Others prefer a 20–person basement setting for a quick prayer service rather than a formal, large gathering at shul. Around two-thirds of Americans claim to be members of a house of worship, which is more than 25 percent higher than Jewish synagogue membership.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

The Sound Of Ginsberg’s ‘Kaddish’

Eclectic jazz guitarist Bill Frisell tackles an iconic poem.
02/13/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It is purely coincidence, no doubt, that Allen Ginsberg wrote his epic poem “Kaddish” three years after the death of his mother Naomi, and eclectic jazz guitarist Bill Frisell began work on his musical accompaniment to that poem three years after the death of his mother Jane.

Guitarist Bill Frisell, right, call is “quite an honor” to put a score to Allen Ginsberg’s iconic “Kaddish.”

A Daughter’s Kaddish

No matter how familiar you are with death, it’s impossible to be prepared for the loss of your mother.
08/22/2011 - 20:00

Death is the subject I deal with daily as the executive director of the Hebrew Free Burial Association, in New York. HFBA arranges approximately 350 burials a year, and at least twice a month I am in one cemetery or another as part of my job. But my work didn’t inure me against the profound sadness I felt when my mother, Dorothy Koplow, Chaya Doboh bat Meir v’Breindl, died in the summer of 2010, at the age of 90.

Naomi Leshem Nitsan, 2007, Chromo- genic print. 47.25" x 47.25", Edition of  5. Courtesy Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York.
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