Blogs
09/19/2014 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World
Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

I don’t anticipate having a chance to write for next week’s paper– the week of Rosh Hashanah is just a little busy for rabbis in the pulpit– so I hope you’ll indulge me in sharing a thought that, though a few days early for the holiday itself, is actually timely for the Shabbat of S’lichot, the penitential prayers recited on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.

09/16/2014 | | Staff Writer | Lens
Getty Images

During World War II, while most of the world’s countries shut their doors to Europe’s endangered Jewish population, Shanghai, a Chinese city under Japanese occupation, opened its own.

09/16/2014 | | Culture Editor | The JW Q&A
Mark Obama Ndesandjo: Pays tribute to his Jewish roots in new memoir. Lyons Press

At first glance, the resemblance is unmistakable — the diction, gestures, cadences of the deep voice of author Mark Obama Ndesandjo seem uncannily similar to his brother, President Barack Obama. In fact, with his shaved head, Ndesandjo looks like a younger, hipper, more smiling version of the President. But as he shows in his just-published compelling memoir, “An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey of Self-Revelation Across Three Cultures” (Lyons Press), he’s very much his own person, exploring issues of identity, race and family, along with his Jewishness. The two men share a father, Barack Obama, Sr., but they were born to different mothers; the president is the son of the second wife and Ndesandjo is the son of the third, a Jewish woman named Ruth Beatrice Baker. (Ndesandjo’s parents divorced when he was 7, and he later took on the name of his stepfather, only to reclaim the Obama name in recent years.)

09/16/2014 | | Travel Writer | Travel
St. John, a city of about 100,000 feels like a small British city, relaxed and easy to enjoy.  Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Note: This is the first of three stories on eastern Canada. Pieces on Prince Edward Island and Montreal will follow in subsequent weeks.

Of all the wild, strange places in Canada, Newfoundland stands out for an oddity unique in North America: its own separate time zone, a half-hour ahead of everyone else.

09/16/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person
Myron Kandel

Leipzig was a flourishing German city before World War II. In 1964, as part of communist East Germany, it was a desolate place, bomb damage still not repaired, store shelves bare and streets dimly lit. It was not a tourist destination.

09/12/2014 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World
Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

With the revelation this week of a video clearly and unambiguously showing former Baltimore Raven football player Ray Rice punching his wife in a casino elevator in Atlantic City, knocking her unconscious, and then unceremoniously dragging her out of the elevator, a whole host of disturbing questions have come to the fore.

09/09/2014 | | Culture Editor | Lens
Photo by Frederic Brenner

One hundred years, 1,000 sunflowers.

That was photographer Frederic Brenner’s idea for a centennial birthday portrait of his dear friend Ralph Goldman, the esteemed honorary executive director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

09/09/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | All She Wrote
Elicia Brown

When I ask my family to consider how we can improve ourselves in preparation for the Jewish New Year, my daughter Talia, who is 12, grins and shifts her gaze to Joel. Oh yes! She has an idea or two for her 9-year-old brother. “Maybe it would be a good goal for you to stop putting your foot on this,” she says, indicating the wooden table leg they squabble over on a nightly basis.

09/09/2014 | | Travel Writer | Travel
Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale, a museum and a center for cultural events and arts exhibitions. Wikimedia Commons

As a longtime Europhile, I have to stifle a sigh when yet another friend tells me about an upcoming Paris vacation.

It’s not that I have anything against the City of Light. Au contraire! Paris has picturesque boulevards, iconic monuments, myriad museums, fabulous food, addiction-inducing shopping and a delightful urbanity that has seduced generations of Yankees. It is rightfully a mecca for connoisseurs of architecture, opera and European-Jewish culture.