Short Takes

Birthright Holocaust?

04/28/2006
Staff Writer
For decades, the organized Jewish community has attempted to make Israel the linchpin of American Jews' Jewish identity, while downplaying the emotional, but sure to fade, role of the Holocaust. That community received a jolt this week: American Jews 18 to 39 still consider the Holocaust more crucial to their Jewish identity than Israel.

A Taste Of The Mama Loshen

04/07/2006
Staff Writer
If you go to a seder these days in the United States, you may hear the Four Questions read in Yiddish as a sop to the Old Country. At an annual model seder in lower Manhattan this week, everything was in Yiddish. The event sponsored by the Yiddish Artists and Friends: Actors Club was held, ironically, at The Hebrew Actors Union Hall.

Another Hero Of Turin

04/07/2006
Staff Writer
Emanuel Segre Amar, a member of a prominent Jewish family in Turin, buttonholed a Jewish visitor from the U.S. during the recent Winter Olympics with questions about a certain New York Jewish family he wants to contact. Segre Amar doesn't know their name, or when they left Italy, their homeland. All he knows is they live (or lived) here, and owe their lives to Attilio Francesetti.

The Yankees' Chosen Player

04/07/2006
Staff Writer
For Ron Blomberg, making the Baseball Hall of Fame was literally a walk in the park. On April 6, 1973, he was listed in the Yankees' lineup as a batter without a position in the field, thus becoming the first designated hitter. Blomberg earned a base on balls in his first appearance as DH, an innovation the sport introduced to replace the typically poor-hitting pitcher with a stronger batsman.

Different Kind Of Passover

03/24/2006
Staff Writer
Come this time of year, Jewish thoughts turn to the ancient Hebrews' rescue from slavery and Passover traditions.

An Ethiopian Pen Pal

03/24/2006
Staff Writer
This bat mitzvah girl isn't getting pens as gifts. She's giving them away: to strangers in Ethiopia.

Longtime Cuban Jewish Leader Dies At 80

03/17/2006
Staff Writer
Dr. Jose Miller, a physician who served as president of Cuba's Jewish community for two decades and shepherded a revival in the country's Jewish life, died Feb. 27 in Havana after a brief illness. He was 80. Dr. Miller's years of leadership coincided with the government's decision in the early 1990s to change its character from atheistic to secular, eliminating the persecution of people who participated in religious activities and allowing the open practice of Judaism and other faiths.

Tale Of The Torchbearer

02/24/2006
Staff Writer
Turin, Italy: Vladimir Prikuptes brought his own Olympic torch to the Winter Games. Prikupets, a 74-year-old native of Odessa who immigrated to San Francisco in 1975, for the past two weeks here has shlepped in a navy blue pouch a curving, polished silver torch he had bought after serving as a torchbearer before the Athens Olympics in 2004. He held it up, unlit, during the opening ceremonies here as his personal, silent statement in memory of the victims of persecution.

Warm Weather At Olympics? Snow Problem For Israel!

02/10/2006
Staff Writer
Torino has had an unusually mild winter this year. Not enough snow. Which could spell bad news for the XX Winter Olympics, whose skiing events will take place on the Alps near the Piedmont city. For snow, Olympic officials turned to a seemingly unlikely spot: Israel. Bermad Control Valves, a kibbutz-based firm that usually makes products for warm-weather irrigation, supplied a key element of the man-made snow that will cover the mountainsides during the Games.

A Partisan Comic Strip

02/10/2006
Staff Writer
A U.S. Army reconnaissance unit parachutes into Vilna in 1943. Surrounded by the Nazi and Russian armies, under heavy shelling, the American soldiers rendezvous with a Lithuanian partisan, a bearded hulk of a man named Bear. Stepping out of the rubble, Bear declares "We got package for you, very valuable, very ... breakable."
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