As I write this, [Cue: “We are the Champions” by Queen], I am completing a very profound weekend of rabbi-ing. From Friday morning through Monday afternoon, I took part in a number of major lifecycle events, ranging from birth to death. I am frequently the officiant for at least one lifecycle event on any given weekend, but rarely do I have a weekend such as this:
New Yorkers may consider their town the capital of Jewish deli fare, but Saveur magazine recently singled out Michigan’s Zingerman’s — arguably the foodie mecca of the Midwest — for producing the best Jewish rye bread in America.
Most of the Jewish community celebrated Shavuot, the holiday that marks the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, in mid-June.
Some residents of Israel, including the Black Hebrews of Dimona, celebrated Shavuot a few weeks later.
The group, like the Karaites and Samaritans, who also recognize only the Torah but not the Oral Law as a source for their traditions, count Shavuot as occurring on the Sunday seven weeks after the Sunday of Passover.
I recently inhaled Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole’s new book Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza. Part of the Jewish Encounters series from Schocken and Nextbook, this headlong excavation into one of the greatest literary finds in Jewish history opened my eyes to the complex drama behind the sudden “appearance” of this storehouse of medieval Hebrew documents.
‘Macedonia is Greece!” blares a sign scrawled in red paint across plazas in Thessaloniki, Drama and other towns across northern Greece. “Makedonia e Bulgaria!” screams the Bulgarian equivalent, just as fervent, in graffiti along that country’s southern highways.
Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh,
Here I am at Camp Grenada
Camp is very entertaining
and they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining.
I went hiking with Joe Spivy
He developed poison ivy
You remember Leonard Skinner
He got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner.
All the counselors hate the waiters
And the lake has alligators
And the head coach wants no sissies
So he reads to us from something called Ulysses.
- Allen Sherman, “A Letter from Camp”
Walking back to our home from a Shabbat lunch with friends last week, my wife and I happened to pass the apartment building in which now former Congressman Anthony Weiner lives with his wife. It’s just a few short blocks from where we live.