For the past 62 years, two seemingly unrelated events in the Jewish world mark the early days of spring in New York City: The Annual Israeli Folk Dance Festival and preparations for the Passover seder.
Hans Guggenheim, a refugee from Nazi Berlin who found haven during World War II in England and Guatemala, and eventually in the United States, conducts his own seders every year in his Boston apartment that doubles as a personal art museum and extensive library.
Judaism offers much wisdom to help people in our communities cultivate the resilience to recover from the aftereffects of Sandy, a storm that created a unique situation affecting an estimated 54 million people in 24 states.
For me, like for most Israelis, the two weeks between the end of Passover and Yom Haatzma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day, are a time of year in which big concepts materialize in one’s daily life - our emergence as a people in the Exodus, the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, the remembrance, on Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), of the Fallen, through the celebration of the founding of the State of Israel.
One of the fun things about writing a blog is balancing the dueling pressure between Must Post Often and Must Say Something Compelling.
Generally I try to err on the Say Something Compelling, or At Least Moderately Interesting side. However, sometimes that, particularly when combined with competing demands on my time and brain, means being a completely delinquent blogger. For which, I apologize. I’m going to try to be a bit better in the coming weeks.
Re-entry from Israel to New York is always a surreal experience for me. Where I live in central Queens is one of the most densely populated Jewish areas in the United States. There is little Jewish that is lacking here. Outside of Israel, there are very few, if any, places in the United States where you can get quite as many Israeli products as my greater neighborhood, But after spending ten days in Jerusalem, I am reminded of just how much New York is not Israel.
Kosher for Passover Coca-Cola has been barred from California.
California's new state laws on toxic chemicals are keeping kosher for Passover Coke out of the state, a company spokesman told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Coke was required to change the way it manufactures caramel due to the high levels of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI, which California has listed as a carcinogen under its new guidelines. The manufacturing changes in California affected the kosher for Passover status of the cola, according to reports.
A couple of weeks ago, a Passover rap video—all in Hebrew, and with beat-boxing—went viral. It featured two fairly typical looking American Jews dressed up as Pharaoh, Moses, and a sleuth of other biblical characters. Then there were scenes of a Jewish girl in an Israeli-flag bikini; the two main singers playing poker in a retirement community; and then them again, rapping on a beach lined with skyscrapers. I thought, Wait, I know that place: Florida.