PresenTense: Fostering Innovation Through Idea Slam

Aaron Herman sits in on a forum to brainstorm great ideas with the folks from PresenTense.

A Somber Anniversary

Staff Writer

In Berlin, Gleis 17 (railroad platform 17) means more than a transportation site.

It’s where part of the Final Solution began.

The first deportations of Jews from the capital of the Third Reich started 70 years ago last week on Track 17 of the Berlin Grunewald station, with 1,000 people bound for the Lodz ghetto in Poland. The date was commemorated with a ceremony in which Holocaust survivors, leaders of the current Jewish community and German politicians took part.

Photo By Getty Images

New Brand, But Still Green

Associate Editor

Even diehard “reduce, reuse and recycle” proponents have to get something new occasionally.

Just before Rosh HaShanah, the 18-year-old beacon of Jewish environmentalism, the Teva Learning Center, acquired a new website, new logo and new name: Teva Learning Alliance. A few weeks later, it became one of 50 nonprofits included in the seventh annual Slingshot: Resource Guide for Jewish Innovation.

Nili Simhai, Teva Learning Alliance’s co-director, says community could use “deeper rootedness in Jewish ecological literacy.”

A Different Roman Holiday

Travel Writer

We were in Apulia, lounging on beaches along Italy’s coastal heel, when it occurred to my husband and me that both we and our rental car needed to be dropped off in Rome — 400 miles and two metropolitan traffic jams away.

We could have booked an airport hotel and written off the last day as a multi-hour schlep. But we wanted to extend our beach vacation to the very last possible hour — and in doing so we hit upon some inspired, even under-sung corners of Roman charm.

The beach at Anzio, located on a scenic point just south if Fiumicino. Photos by Hilary Larson

Sorry About That

Special To The Jewish Week

I don’t know about you, but I made a lot of mistakes this past year. I forgot to pick up my kids at school once. I gained weight in all the wrong places. I was consistently late in writing this column — and in just about everything else of importance in my life.

This is par for the course, and most of the time, after purging myself on Yom Kippur, I can make it at least to Sukkot before a new mistake haunts me — usually in the form of an injury to myself or a small child during the construction of the sukkah in our backyard.

Daniel Schifrin

Sukkot 2.0

Aaron Herman checks out some innovative sukkahs, including a portable one.

Gilad Shalit: How Do You Measure The Life Of A Man?

Jewish Week Online Columnist

The title of this piece is, of course, taken from the painful but magnificent song from Jonathan Larson’s RENT titled “Seasons of Love.”  As two of the protagonists are slowly dying from AIDS, their friends struggle to assess the value of their lives, which they know will end far too early.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

A Strike For Retired Major Leaguers

Staff Writer

A Queens native and lifelong baseball fan, journalist Doug Gladstone is interested in more than the sports’ pinnacle, the World Series, which began this week. He’s also interested in the welfare of the players — particularly some of the retired athletes, who played briefly in recent decades before they were able to qualify for baseball’s current pension plan.

Doug Gladstone: His work on behalf of retired ballplayers was inspired by the prophet Zechariah.

Standard Sukkah, Unusual Setting


Like any sukkah, the 10-by-10-foot tarpaulin hut put up by the Academy for Jewish Religion in Riverdale last week attracted people committed to religious tradition.

In the case of some who ate and studied in the AJR sukkah, it’s the Catholic tradition.

The nondenominational rabbinical school is located on the campus of the College of Mount Saint Vincent, a Catholic institution that is also the home of nuns affiliated with the Sisters of Charity.

Photo By Helene Santo And Irwin Huberman

Along The Apulia Promenade

Travel Writer

Lungomare is the Italian word for a seafront promenade. Every coastal town worth its dot on the Italian map has one: a stretch of travertine where lovers snuggle on benches, locals walk their dogs and everyone comes to contemplate the sea.

A piazza in Lecce Photos by Hilary Larson
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