Donald Knuth

In Which We Devote Far Too Much Space To Analyzing A Really Strange Essay

I don’t know how Elizabeth Cohen’s bizarre and disturbing piece in Tablet about a group of intermarried Jewish women who “gather for Shabbat but pack away their identities” escaped my notice, but thanks to InterfaithFamily.com’s Ed Case for directing my attention to it.

There is something kind of odd and overwrought about the essay, which, to judge by the comments it’s attracting, some readers are interpreting as a cautionary tale about the perils of intermarriage.

One Family, Two Faiths, A Multitude Of Questions

Interfaith marriages are hard enough, but a Jewish-Muslim family raising dual-identity children?

07/06/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Her father fled Nazi Germany before World War II, arriving in New York as a refugee; her grandparents and an aunt were murdered at Auschwitz; and another aunt, now 92, somehow survived two years of hiding in Berlin.

His grandfather built a life in India as a renowned Islamic and Persian scholar, a teacher and an imam at the local mosque, and his Muslim family continues to live in South Asia.

With two such markedly different backgrounds, the chances of Helene Lauffer and Muzaffar Chishti meeting, much less falling in love, could be seen as remote by many observers. 

Helene Lauffer and Muzaffar Chishti are hoping their daughter Maryam “examines both sides of her background and synthesizes them

The "Half-Jewish" Glass: Half-Full Or Half-Empty?

 Jews in All Hues, a new-ish “peer-led program that provides a safe space for people from interfaith families to explore their identities as mixed heritage Jews,” is holding a conference in San Francisco on Sunday, May 30.

I attended their conference last year in Philadelphia and came away with mixed feelings, a no doubt appropriate emotion for an event focusing on the state of being mixed!

When Intermarriage Happens To 'Good' Parents

Undoubtedly the two most vexing theological questions are the issues of bad things happening to good people and free will versus destiny.
While most of us are all too aware of the randomness and injustice in the world, we nonetheless are quick to credit ourselves for our good fortune and blame ourselves (and others) for bad fortune.

Fundamentalists are especially good at this little exercise. 9/11? God’s punishment for permissiveness and homosexuality. The Holocaust? A punishment for assimilation and Reform Judaism. Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War? Divine intervention.

Seeing Beyond the Immediate in the Synagogue

04/30/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Of the many things that I admire my wife for, one (surely not the most significant) is her ability to walk into an empty room in a house and imagine how it might or ought to look with furniture and everything else that makes up a room. The couch can go there, the rocker there, that painting over there… it’s this remarkable ability to see beyond what presents right now and have an image of what it might be.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

In the Mix: Religion And A House Divided

04/28/2010
Associate Editor

My parents’ divorce, a month before I entered first grade, was undoubtedly the great trauma of my life.
 
I say this not to make them feel guilty or even to argue against divorce; had they stayed together, their unhappy marriage would likely have caused just as much, if not more, misery for all involved.

The Jewish Picasso Of Tremont

In a gritty Bronx neighborhood, a 91-year-old retired lamp manufacturer pumps out enough ‘outsider’ art for a museum.

04/20/2010
Staff Writer

Hidden behind rows of shoddy warehouses, auto-repair junkyards and single-room-occupancy tenements, the Museum of the People of the World is largely invisible to the sporadic passersby in its gritty Bronx location, just east of the Grand Concourse and down the hill from the jagged bedrock of Tremont’s Echo Park.

The museum of what, you say? Where?

In a city of museums — from one on sex to one on biblical art — you won’t find this one in any museum index or listing, in print or online.

Herbert Lagin stands before his 9/11 memorial. Inset: Abstract painting suggests the Holocaust.  Sharon Udasin

Cross-Training the Body

02/02/2010
Staff Writer

For Caroline Kohles, cardiovascular fitness is a vital part of both her career and her personal life. Kohles, 48, has been the Health and Wellness fitness director at the JCC in Manhattan since it opened in 2002. Both an athlete (she has participated in triathlons) and a dancer, she is known for her combined emphasis on mind and body in every workout, a trademark that specifically comes to life in her work as a Nia martial arts trainer and black belt teacher.

Caroline Kohles

In Western Queens, New Blood Raises Hopes for Jewish Revitalization

Young Jewish singles and families are flocking to Astoria, Long Island City and Jackson Heights — but can the existing synagogues draw them in?

11/18/2009
Staff Writer

When Cara Bernstein walked down the aisle a month ago to meet her fiancé under the chupah, she knew her wedding day was a crossroads not only in her life, but in the life of her Queens synagogue, which had not hosted a bride and groom for 22 years.

Nearly the entire congregation at Astoria Center of Israel celebrated her marriage that day, whether or not they knew the couple personally.

“A fellow congregant told me that I’m part of a new wave of congregants,” said Bernstein, who is 38.

Young Jews in Long Island City celebrate Sukkot on a condo rooftop. Rabbi Zev Wineberg

Stream Of Criticism For Jewish Comic Larry David

11/03/2009

 Lenny Bruce cursed a blue streak. Don Rickles insulted anyone within hearing distance. Sacha Baron Cohen has raised embarrassment of the unsuspected — Jews and non-Jews alike — into an art form. And for Sarah Silverman, not even the memory of the Holocaust is sacred.

David in mid-stream during last week’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
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