Last Wednesday night, when much of the Jewish community was still bolting bagels and lox to break the Yom Kippur fast, about 50 Jews were taking in the art and music of Umbanda, an eclectic religion unique to Brazil, at a downtown gallery.
“We tried to provide a creative post-Yom Kippur experience,” said Alex Minkin, 39, a creator of Ticun Brasil, the group that hosted the party. He works by day as a consultant.
At age 13, Zak Kukoff of Thousand Oaks, Calif., would watch his autistic younger cousin sit alone on the playground. “It’s not that students didn’t want to be her friend — they just didn’t know how,” he said. “It hurt me to see.”
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For the first time, the U.S. Court of Appeals has found that a case may be brought against a foreign national railroad in a Holocaust-related case that seeks billions of dollars.
Late last month, the court in Chicago refused to dismiss a suit against the Hungarian State Railroads (also known as the MAV) brought by Hungarian victims of the Holocaust who claimed the railroad must compensate them for the property it took from them in violation of international law.
These days, most conversations about Israel have to do with politics alone, but there was once a time that young American Jews, particularly in New York, were as conversant about Israeli music and dance as they are now about things more somber. It was in the early 1960s when amateur Hebrew chorales and Israeli dance troupes began performing in major performance halls, and an Israeli folksinger such as Geula Gill was even the opening act for Woody Allen.
Mixing nationalism and religion causes a lot of problems,” mused playwright Misha Shulman as he prepared to debut his new work, “Martyrs Street,” in New York this week. As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict becomes increasingly intractable, Shulman, a former IDF commander, fears that violence will erupt between different groups of Israeli Jews. In his provocative drama, which is set in the West Bank city of Hebron, militant Jews buy a bomb from Hamas in order to kill a dovish, anti-settlement group of Jews in Jerusalem. The extremists in the play, he said, “hijack both sides and lead them toward an explosion.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a supporter of atheism who rejected her Muslim faith as anti-women and anti-tolerance, told a group of guests at the home of Israeli Consul General Ido Aharoni last Thursday evening, “One day I hope to convert to Judaism.”
When Michael Brand, 39, went down to Florida for vacation last June, he never expected to meet his future bride. But just for kicks, Brand, a divorced father of two from Manhattan, had signed up for JSwipe, the Jewish dating app likened to Tinder.