01/27/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | First Person

We will soon be celebrating Tu b’Shvat, the day that marks the new year for trees, and while it is cold and grim in New York, the plant world is awakening in Israel and the agricultural year is coming to life. Think of it as the beginning of the magic that leads to the harvest festival of Sukkot.

01/22/2015 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | A Rabbi's World

Unless you were in a cave this week or otherwise out of touch with the world, you will surely have heard or read about the great ‘selfie incident” at the Miss Universe pageant.

01/21/2015 | | Lens

When can beauty pageants turn ugly? When Middle East politics get involved.

A selfie featuring Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon smiling side by side ignited a raging debate between Israel and much of the Arab world over the weekend.

01/20/2015 | | Calendar Editor | The JW Q&A

Much like real estate, security and sales of holiday knick-knacks, New York’s jazz scene has acquired an unmistakable Israeli accent — so much so that JazzTimes magazine stated that “no foreign country’s citizens are playing a more visible or essential role on the New York scene these days.” How did this happen? Acclaimed bassist and composer Omer Avital was among the first wave of Israelis to land here in the early 1990s. The Jewish Week caught up with him last week fresh off a gig at the Jazz Standard, which marked the release of his new CD, “New Song” (Motema Music). This is an edited transcript.

01/20/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Culture View

The timing was pretty good, as the Sony hacking scandal continued to be front-page news; Britain and the U.S. had just announced new cyber war games; and The New York Times had just profiled a new website offering “hackers for hire,” available for everything from breaking into your ex-boyfriend’s Facebook page to changing the rent on your apartment’s website.

01/20/2015 | | Travel Writer | Travel

What does it mean for Jewish travel if everyone makes aliyah?

I ask this question rhetorically, of course. No matter how charged the rhetoric or how tense the security situation, some Jews will always feel a stronger pull to their native or adopted territory — to the brilliance of South African sunshine or, yes, the warm, crisp baguettes and tidy green parks of the Paris Marais. And the solidity of our American Jewish community is reassuring.