Two generations ago John Howard Griffin was a household name in the United States, admired in some places, hated in others. His fame/notoriety grew out of his landmark book, “Black Like Me,” which documented six weeks the white native of Dallas had spent traveling around the Deep South, with chemically darkened skin, posing as an African-American (known then as a Negro) laborer.
“Can I feed you?” he asked Joe, impatiently holding lunch and duly aware of the onlooker.
“Get the hell out of here!” Joe snarled, his face red. “You can tell the principal, damn it! Didn’t ask my sister for permission. Son-of-a-bitch,” Joe muttered under his breath.
Joe’s caretaker, Steve, waited for Joe to calm down. He then asked, “Would you like Avram to feed you?” pointing to me. “Of course I want him to feed me!” Joe shouted. “What do you think this is, a chicken coop?”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, keynote speaker at Yeshiva University’s 87th annual Hanukkah convocation at the Waldorf-Astoria, was impressed how the university’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) engages in the spirit of tikkun olam.
She said graduate Josh Teitcher spent a summer in Israel with Counterpoint Israel—a CJF initiative for students to help local youth connect to Jewish values—and changed the life one young boy named Yitzchak.
Chanukah Sameach! Here in Israel, Chanukah is - obviously - celebrated in a big way. Almost every storefront, restaurant and shop displays a menorah in the window, every bakery, coffee shop and restaurant sells sufganiyot and many add latkes to the menu for the eight-day holiday.
I love Chanukah. I love the fact that it gives us a reason to celebrate when the days are dark and (relatively) cold, and to light a light against the darkness. Last but most certainly not least, Chanukah also reminds us of the power of faith in God, and in the rightness of our cause, to carry us to victory in times of trouble, even against insurmountable odds.
This year, however, as we celebrate the ancient victory of the Maccabees, I am deeply concerned.
Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, senior spiritual leader of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue, has blessed uncounted congregants during his decades as a pulpit rabbi.
One recent afternoon he had the chance — for the first time — to bless some dogs and cats. And other animals.
Rabbi Rubinstein lent an interfaith aspect to the annual Blessing of the Animals at Christ Church on the East Side, sponsored by the ASPCA, Live Oak Bank and newspaper columnist/animal lover Cindy Adams.
When my mother- and father-in-law brought up the subject of taking a family vacation over the winter school break, my husband Michael and I weren’t surprised. We have come to expect that we will be invited to join my in-laws someplace warm and tropical, where the only rule is that if you want a strawberry daiquiri, you have to swim up to the swim-up bar to get it yourself so that you get a little exercise.
At a recent program at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center on the new digital landscape, a rabbi and three prominent writers debated whether our current “Digital Overload” — as the panel was titled — is leading to a more interesting cultural environment for our children, or whether we are going down a rabbit hole of apocalyptic distraction. Unsurprisingly, no answer was declared. But the conversation was notable for several reasons.