Lens

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.”

05/31/2011 | | Editor And Publisher | Lens

A surprising highlight of a touching Torah dedication ceremony aboard the USS Iwo Jima last Wednesday at Pier 88 was the fact that the admiral of the ship, who received the scroll on behalf of the Navy from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, happened to be Jewish.

(An estimated 1 percent of the U.S. military is Jewish.)

Adm. Herm Shelanski appeared moved by the ceremony, telling the 30 or so assembled JCRC representatives and guests that having a Torah on board is deeply meaningful not only to Jewish members of the crew but to all on board.

05/24/2011 | | Lens

Among Ashkenazic Jews, it’s Lag Ba Omer. For Sephardim, it’s Lag LaOmer.

The holiday this week — the name means the 33rd day of the Omer period between Passover and Shavuot — is a minor part of the Jewish calendar in many diaspora communities, but a prominent day in Israel. For students, a day off from school. For many workers, a day off from work. For many Israelis, a day of picnics, celebrations and bonfires, as here in Meron.

05/17/2011 | | Lens

One hundred and two people stood on the stage at a ballroom in the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan last week, during a break in the dinner marking the 20th anniversary of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. The foundation, which concentrates its work in the Jewish community, serves as a registry for life-saving donations of bone marrow, blood stem cells and umbilical cord blood.

Of the men and women in the photograph, 94 are donors or recipients; the other eight are foundation board members.

05/10/2011 | | Lens

As a music student in Manhattan for six years two decades ago, Israel’s Amir Gwirtzman has performed many times in New York City.