08/02/2011 | | Editor And Publisher | Lens

Two “mind-opening books,” and their authors’ approach to writing them, were explored last Tuesday evening at a Jewish Week Literary Forum held at Congregation Rodeph Sholom on the Upper West Side.

07/26/2011 | | Staff Writer | Lens

‘The hot ticket” one morning this week in Bayreuth, the city in southern Germany that hosts an annual Richard Wagner opera festival, was not a performance of the composer’s “Die Meistersinger” in the main theater, but a smaller orchestra in a smaller hall as part of a fringe festival, England’s Guardian newspaper reported.

The Israel Chamber Orchestra was performing Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll.”

07/19/2011 | | Staff Writer | Lens

At its height, in the middle of the 20th Century, the two-millennia-old Jewish community of Libya numbered nearly 40,000 residents, served by dozen of synagogues.

Today, following several pogroms and an extended migration that started in the 1940s and accelerated in 1967, Libya has no known Jews.

And, of course, no functioning synagogues. The buildings were destroyed over the years, or turned into mosques or Coptic churches.

07/12/2011 | | Lens

Two months after Israelis celebrated their Independence Day, independence day came again last week in Israel.

South Sudanese independence day.

07/05/2011 | | Lens

In the 17 years since the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, died, celebrities have come and gone. But the chasidic movement he helped grow into an international phenomenon has kept up with the times. A Facebook page with thousands of fans and the 50,000 — chasidism, non-chasidism and non-Jews — who paid their respects at the Ohel at Old Montefiore Cemetery in Cambria Heights, Queens, this week are indicators that the rebbe’s influence is as strong, if not stronger, than during his life.

06/28/2011 | | Lens

Most of the Jewish community celebrated Shavuot, the holiday that marks the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, in mid-June.

Some residents of Israel, including the Black Hebrews of Dimona, celebrated Shavuot a few weeks later.

The group, like the Karaites and Samaritans, who also recognize only the Torah but not the Oral Law as a source for their traditions, count Shavuot as occurring on the Sunday seven weeks after the Sunday of Passover.