Special Sections

Old memories come out of storage each year.The Pesach Dishes

03/24/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Like the children of Israel leaving Egypt, the dishes emerge from the darkness of the Rubbermaid bins at the back of my garage, launching a reunion with long-gone relatives who come rushing across the parted sea into my patient, waiting arms. Slowly, I unfurl the newspaper wrapping and announce Pesach’s arrival in my home.
 

Clean SweepA feminist finds spiritual meaning in what she had seen as drudgery.

03/24/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

When I was a child, I watched my mother turn our New York suburban home upside down during her zealous Pesach cleaning. Later, as a young feminist, I resented the fact that my mother (with the help of our house cleaner) did all the cleaning and cooking before the seders, while my father led the ritual aspect of these meals.
 
I saw my mother as enslaved to an exaggerated notion of the halachic requirement to rid one’s home of chametz, which I thought was totally antithetical to the notion of Pesach as a holiday of freedom.
 

The Fifth Son

In those long-ago seders, who were the drab Peshevorskys,
and why were they at our table?

03/24/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Their name was pronounced Peshevorsky. I have no idea how it was spelled. Neither do I know their first names. I addressed them as “Mr. and Mrs. Peshevorsky.” It was such a mouthful, I had to practice saying it before they arrived.

They only joined us for the seders. It was, however, a perennial visit. Their presence defined Passover as certainly as the presence of a lulav and esrog defined Sukkot. The difference was, a lulav and esrog were more animated.

Special Section: Passover, 5770 - a Taste of Freedom

03/19/2010

Elegant macarons, against the grain with quinoa, kosher wines on the rebound, cool gifts for kids and much more.

 

Art by Debbie Richman

JOURNAL WATCH

Special to the Jewish Week
03/19/2010

 “Did you hear the one about … ?”

Humor is an enigma. Philosophers and physicians and psychologists, historians and linguists have for centuries pondered why we laugh. Aristotle and Freud, Kant and Bergson have offered explanations of humor. But at bottom, there ain’t nothing like a good joke.

Dark Humor

Special to the Jewish Week
03/19/2010

 Earlier this year, New York magazine ran a cover story announcing the death of Jewish humor. “Twilight of the Tummlers” was a profile of Woody Allen and Larry David, tied to the movie “Whatever

Works,” but it was also a prediction that their particular brand of bleak, self-lacerating comedy was not long for this world.

PHOTO: AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE: French refugee children, Portugal, 1941.

Swaggering Through The Shuk

Special to the Jewish Week
03/19/2010

I’m god. No—I’m bigger than god. And badder. I’m Clint Eastwood. I’m Jesus Christ, Captain America, and the Beatles.

I mean, look at me. Do you see me? Do you see me in my olive-green uniform, beret, and shiny black boots? Do you see the assault rifle slung across my chest?

That’s me! Finally! I am the badass Israeli soldier at the side of the road, in sunglasses, beret, forearms like bricks. And honestly—have you ever seen anything quite like me?

The 188th Crybaby Brigade

Taking Humor Seriously

Staff Writer
03/18/2010

 

Ruth Wisse has taught a course on Jewish humor at Harvard for years, but you might not know it given her most recent work. “Jews and Power,” published by Nextbook/Schocken in 2007, was a very serious book.

It argued that throughout history Jews have often blamed themselves for problems not of their own making. Since the destruction of the Second Temple, in 70 C.E., Wisse detected a pattern in Jewish history in which Jews aligned themselves with ideas that ran counter to their own interests in the hope that it might save them.

Ruth Wisse

Subversive and Sublime

Special to the Jewish Week
03/19/2010

 When Ronna Glickman and Beverly Ginsburg, two 50-something lifelong friends from Boston who between them have seven marriages, three children and several stepchildren they don’t talk about, come to Los Angeles to promote their book, “You’ll Do a Little Better Next Time: A Guide to Marriage and Remarriage for Jewish Singles,” they announce that they love the used bookstore they find themselves in because “everything is half-off” – and then berate the hapless Jewish clerk they meet because his wife isn’t Jewish.

Jewish Women’s Archive: Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers,Gilda Radner and Wendy Wasserstein

All In The Timing

Special to the Jewish Week
03/19/2010

Thirty years ago, when we were finishing up “The Big Book of Jewish Humor,” a few older comedians were still doing what comedians had always done. They told jokes — by which we mean funny little stories of indeterminate authorship — about a man and an elephant walking into a bar, for example, or a rabbi, a priest and a minister on a train.

PHOTO BY ADINA MENASHE, 2008, Marrakech/ the Kivunim photo exhibition, "ImagiNation: Young Photographers Engage the World"
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