News

Passover, Samaritan Style

05/04/2007
Staff Writer
Mount Gerizim, in the northern West Bank halfway between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, holds a special place in Jewish tradition. It was the site where half of the biblical tribes were commanded to pronounce the blessings upon the Children of Israel after Joshua led them into the Promised Land. In Samaritan tradition, Mount Gerizim holds the highest position of honor.

Mourning Online

04/27/2007
Staff Writer
A few dozen friends of an elderly Jewish woman who died in February were not able to come to her funeral service at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel on the Upper West Side, but they joined the mourners, virtually, via the Internet. In cities across the United States and Europe, were the first people to take part in a new service: funerals carried live, or archived, on the Internet’s broadcasting, aka “streaming,” technology.

Remembering The Six Million

04/20/2007
Staff Writer
On Monday time stood still in Israel. For two minutes the sirens sounded, traffic stopped, and heads were bowed in memory of the Six Million martyrs of the Holocaust. Every year Yom HaShoah is marked by public displays of mourning and private recollections of loved ones who perished in occupied Europe. The theme of Yom HaShoah this year was “bearing witness,” a recognition of the diminishing numbers of Holocaust survivors. About 250,000 of them live in Israel, and 10 percent of that group dies each year.

At Home, Again, In Timisoara

04/13/2007
Staff Writer
Timisoara, Romania — Among the nearly 200 Jews who attended the pair of seders in the Jewish community building here last week were members of the local community, a visiting family of Israelis and one man with New York City roots. Rafael Schwartz lived in Brooklyn and New Jersey for nearly 20 years.

An Unorthodox Pesach Celebration

04/13/2007
Staff Writer
When you think of Passover, you don’t usually think of bungee jumping, yoga sessions and reggae music.Unless you were at Nitzanim beach, near Ashkelon, this week. That’s where the ninth annual New Age festival, Boombamela, took place during three intermediate days of Pesach. Inspired by the Hindu Kumbh Mela festival, Boombamela draws ten of thousands of Israelis, most of them in their 20s, for 18-hour-a-day seminars with imported Indian gurus, performances by rock bands, and nude beaches. And sesame sumo bouts, roller skate courses and karaoke.

Vice President Visits Israel

03/26/2008
Staff Writer
Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip throughout the Middle East last week found him in Israel on Easter — he joined thousands of pilgrims at a service in Jerusalem — but his visit there was no holiday. During his three days in Israel, Cheney met with Israeli and Palestinian officials, voiced the Bush administration’s continued support for the Jewish state, urged all sides in the Middle East peace process to make further concessions and criticized two belligerent governments in the region.

‘Heroic’ Seders

04/29/2005
Staff Writer
Grodno, Belarus — Tsilia Brido remembers her early Belarus Passover in her Polotsk hometown, her grandfather leading the seders in Hebrew, women from the neighborhood baking their matzahs in her family’s large wood stove. “It was before the war,” she says, referring to World War II. Belarus was the first of the former Soviet Union’s republics to be invaded by the German army. Brido remembers the seders ending after 1941, first under the Nazis, then under the communists.
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