Features

Brandeis’ New President: ‘We Need To Have Diversity’

Ronald Liebowitz says the school needs to understand itself: Who it is and what it wants to become.

12/29/2015 - 11:11

Brandeis University announced last week that its next president will be Ronald Liebowitz, the former president of Middlebury College. Liebowitz, a professor of geography, served as Middlebury’s provost for seven years. He replaces Frederick Lawrence, who served from 2011 until this past spring.

Though he won’t start until next July, Liebowitz shared some of his ideas about the challenges he faces in an interview with JTA. A condensed version of the conversation follows:

Ronald Liebowitz: “How does [Brandeis] reconcile its rich past with its future?”

New Israelis, From France

12/23/2015 - 09:00

From blue-and-white-and-red to white-and-blue.

The latest group of French Jews to make aliyah exchanged more than the colors of their national flag when they arrived one recent day at Ben-Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv. They are starting new lives in their spiritual homeland.

Jewish Agency

New JCPA Head Sees Outreach To Latinos

12/22/2015 - 12:23
staff writer

David Bernstein takes over next month as president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the voice of the Jewish federations’ 125 Jewish community relations councils on domestic and international issues, and which represents 14 national organizations.

A longtime Jewish advocacy professional, Bernstein was president of Culture Solutions LLC, which helps Jewish federations and national foundations become more effective, and served as executive director of The David Project, which helps to improve Israel’s image on campuses. In addition, he handled community and government relations at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. This is an edited transcript of an interview with him.

David Bernstein: Heading out on a listening tour to help determine priorities.

Eastern Exposure

12/22/2015 - 12:15
Travel Writer

If you thought of Chanukah as a holiday that unites Jews everywhere, Rabbi Marvin Tokayer has a message: Think again.

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer at concert hall in Birobidjan, Siberia. Photos courtesy of Lotus Tours

Bound To The ‘Boat People’

12/22/2015 - 10:14
Special To The Jewish Week

On Thanksgiving I was reunited with a Vietnamese family with whom I had no contact for more than 30 years. It was a heartwarming reunion and a poignant reminder that aiding immigrants and refugees is not only a matter of advocating enlightened policy, but also should be seen as a personal responsibility — and a wonderful opportunity.

Martin Raffel

Chasidic Rock Duo Takes Webster Hall

12/15/2015 (All day)

The Rolling Stones, U2, Kiss, Madonna, Sting — and now the Bulletproof Stockings.

On Sunday, the chasidic rock group fronted by keyboardist/singer Perl Wolfe and drummer Dalia Shusterman added its name to the list of rock legends who have played Webster Hall, the prestigious club in the East Village.

Federica Valabrega

Working To ‘Construct’ A ‘New Yiddish Culture’

Josh Waletzky is creating a new festival to celebrate a culture in the making.

12/15/2015 (All day)
Culture Editor

As much of the city will be marking the festive end of 2015, the Lower East Side will be alive with Yiddish culture, with a new festival of Yiddish language, music, dance, theater, art and foodways. Yiddish New York, which runs from Dec. 24 to 30, includes workshops, concerts, lectures, dance parties, a visual art exhibition, walking tours in English and a nature tour in Yiddish, and programs for kids and teens, in a variety of venues below 14th Street. The festival is an unusual partnership between the Center for Traditional Music & Dance, the 14th Street Y, Town & Village Synagogue, YIVO, Workmen’s Circle, the Stanton Street Shul and other organizations.

Josh Waletzky: Yiddish New York festival replaces “hole in the calendar” left by KlezKamp.

Greater Boston’s Jewish Hub

Brookline excels in the suburban pursuits of eating, shopping, and outdoor leisure.

12/15/2015 (All day)
Travel Writer

I’ll admit it: Charming though it may be, Boston can literally drive me crazy. My Honda and I have gotten lost more times than I can count amid picturesque alleys and baffling bridges.

A shot of Washington Street in downtown Brookline. Wikimedia Commons

Tied To Jackson Heights, Still

12/15/2015 (All day)
Special To The Jewish Week

I grew up in the small but undaunted Orthodox community of Jackson Heights, back in the 1950s and ’60s. I turned my back on the humble turf, as much for its relentless exhortation of piety as its failure to thrive.

Susan Reimer-Torn. Photo by Joan Roth

Trump: Not a Joke Any More

12/09/2015 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Since he entered the race for the Republican nomination for President months ago, Donald Trump’s candidacy has been the greatest gift that late night television comedians could have hoped for. From Jimmy Fallon to John Stewart to Jimmy Kimmel, and virtually every week on Saturday Night Live, Trump’s increasingly grandiose bellowing has been a comedian’s dream. He has been the proverbial well that never runs dry, a sure-fire laugh every time.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
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