Blogs
04/18/2014 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World
Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

When we think of the challenges of hosting a seder, the physical – the cleaning and cooking – immediately spring to mind. Another challenge is negotiating the tension between the meal’s ritual requirements and the obligation to make the story actually speak to the participants who are there.

04/18/2014 | | Travel Writer | Travel
The quintessentially Gallic streetscapes of Perpignan. Henri Moreau

Overlooked and underrated, the French city of Perpignan reveals its charms to those with the patience to look.

Perpignan, best known as a transit hub for the beaches of the Languedoc-Rousillon, has the misfortune to be located amid a region of surpassing visual splendor and historic import. Were it a city in Hungary or Romania, it would surely be a major draw. But Perpignan’s quintessentially Gallic streetscapes, riverside quays and plethora of medieval architecture are hardly unique in this corner of France.

04/14/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person
Merri Ukraincik

For as long as I can remember, Pesach has conjured up the image of a mound of whole walnuts on a white kitchen table. My mother, grandmother, sister and I encircled it, as if sitting around a campfire telling tales. We dismantled the shells with unwieldy nutcrackers, filling three bowls: one with the shards, another with the meats, and the last, with the mortar wrought by a hand-cranked nut grinder.

04/14/2014 | | Staff Writer | The JW Q&A
Benjamin Ish-Shalom: Wants conversions handled by local rabbis, not Chief Rabbinate.

Benjamin Ish-Shalom is president and founder of Beit Morasha in Jerusalem. In 2000, the university founded the Institute for Jewish Studies-The Joint Conversion Institute; Ish-Shalom is its chairman.

04/14/2014 | | Staff Writer | Lens
Lacrosse in motion. Robert Berkenblit

It was a day of blue and white, of orange and green.

On a recent Sunday morning, men’s lacrosse teams from Israel and Ireland met for a “friendly” — sports talk for an exhibition game or match — at Centre Island Beach Park in Bayville, L.I., near the edge of the Long Island Sound.

04/10/2014 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | Tim Boxer
 Sharri Berg and husband Barry Levine with daughter August. Tim Boxer/JW

Roger Ailes, the eminence of Fox News, has been coming to the annual benefit dinner of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) ever since he was guest of honor in 2005. Last week he hobbled into the Pierre Hotel with the aid of a cane, which startled Michael Miller, longtime JCRC executive vice president and CEO.

04/09/2014 | | Staff Writer | The JW Q&A
Peter Willner: Stepping down from AFHU post amid concerns about Israeli “brain drain.”

Peter Willner will be stepping down this summer after 12 years as national executive director of the American Friends of The Hebrew University. During his tenure, AFHU increased its annual fundraising from $18 million in 2002 to $500 million by the end of 2013; last year the group raised $50 million. Willner spent more than 30 years in executive positions in the nonprofit sector, the Anti-Defamation League and UJA-Federation of New York. The Jewish Week caught up with him recently for a discussion about the philanthropic landscape in the Jewish community and the so-called “brain drain” of Israeli academics. This is an edited transcript.

04/08/2014 | | Staff Writer | Lens
Michael Datikash/JW

Jewish tradition suggests that preparation for Passover starts 30 days before the holiday starts. In other words, right after Purim.

04/08/2014 | | Staff Writer | First Person
Hillel Butman

A few months ago I reunited with a stranger who was an important part of my life more than three decades ago. For a few years in the late 1970s, while I was working as editor of Buffalo’s weekly Jewish newspaper, I decided I wanted to personalize the plight of Russia’s imprisoned refuseniks, the Jews who lacked the freedom to live as Jews in their homeland, or leave for freedom elsewhere.

04/08/2014 | | Travel Writer | Travel
A replica of President Bill Clinton’s Oval office in Clinton Center. Courtesy of Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau

April in Little Rock, Ark., brings a myriad of Southern blossoms,  warm afternoons and a flowering of Jewish culture.

The Arkansan capital makes a diverting and attraction-rich stop for cross-country drivers on Interstate 40, which cuts across the United States from Wilmington, N.C., to Barstow, Calif. Already home to a prominent civil rights-era history, Little Rock has lately attracted tourists with Bill Clinton’s presidential library and museum.