Lens

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.

06/21/2011 | | Staff Writer | Lens

It’s not live from New York, but close by.

Across the Hudson River in Fort Lee, in a large set of studios, Shalom TV broadcasts a fare of Jewish shows on cable television available to 40 million homes around the country.

The network (shalomtv.com), founded in 2003, carries movies and documentaries, Israeli news programs and talk shows, High Holy Days services and singles programming.

06/14/2011 | | Staff Writer | Lens

As a young man in Moscow, Mikhael Izrael was interested in art and sculpture, but he became a scientist, earning a doctorate in physics and chemistry.

“You could not make a living” as an artist, he says. “It was a hobby.”

As an immigrant here three decades ago, he changed his name to Michael and decided to follow his dream.

He taught himself to become a silversmith, and has made his living at that ever since. “My family supported me,” he says.

06/07/2011 | | Staff Writer | Lens

The celebration was as innovative as its name.

To mark its 13th year, the Storahtelling education-theater project founded by Amichai Lau-Lavie held a “b mitzvah” ceremony recently at City Winery.

A “b mitzvah,” Lau-Lavie explained, is a “bar mitzvah, a bat mitzvah, a b mitzvah celebration for all genders.”