04/21/2015 | | Staff Writer | Lens

Not much is known about the early history of München 12 246.

Like other German railway cars, it was built there early in the 20th century and was used to transport cattle.

04/14/2015 | | Staff Writer | Lens

For some elderly Polish Jews, a bike ride from Auschwitz to Krakow that began last year ended last month in Israel.

The 30 Polish seniors, most of them Holocaust survivors, visited the Jewish state in March as guests of a trip financed by a 2014 “Ride for the Living” under the auspices of Krakow’s seven-year-old JCC (jcckrakow.org). Nearly 20 riders, some of them from abroad, took part in the 55-mile trek through the Polish countryside last spring, from the infamous death camp to the American-style JCC, which has become a symbol of new Jewish life in the country.

The leaders envisioned the ride as a consciousness raiser, about Poland’s ongoing Jewish revival, and as a fund-raiser, to pay for the aging Polish Jews’ weeklong trip to Israel this year. Many of the participants in the trip, members of the JCC’s Senior Club, set foot in Israel for the first time; for others, it was a last chance.

The now-annual bike ride takes place under the patronage of Michael Schudrich, Poland’s Long Island-born chief rabbi. It was inspired by Robert Desmond, a JCC member who had ridden his bicycle 1,350 miles from London to Auschwitz, stopping at World War liberation sites along the way. He decided that future bike rides should end in a place of life, not death.

Last year’s bikers joined Krakow’s small Jewish community for Shabbat, then took part in the annual 7@NiteFestival, a cultural celebration organized by the Joint Distribution Committee.

04/07/2015 | | Staff Writer | Lens

After sundown on the last day of Passover, holiday dishes go into storage, exchanged for ones fit for year-round use. In some communities, chametz-starved Jews head to the local pizzeria.

03/31/2015 | | Staff Writer | Lens

A Erev Passover in Israel is not a good time for anyone with respiratory problems.

Everywhere you go, smoke gets in your lungs. And in your eyes. And all over you.

03/25/2015 | | Staff Writer | Lens

A  carton of matzahs cost a dollar or less, and the already-declining Jewish population of the Lower East Side still stood at a few hundred thousand when the Streit’s kosher food company opened a matzah factory in four converted tenement buildings on Rivington Street 90 years ago.

03/17/2015 | | Staff Writer | Lens

In response to the recent increase in anti-Semitism in Europe, some Jewish communities have responded with added security measures, some with rallies, some with political lobbying.