Madoff, The Tragic Hero?

02/09/2016 - 11:31
Special To The Jewish Week

Something strange happened to me. I went to sleep one evening and woke up in a parallel universe in which Bernard Madoff was considered a tragic hero.

George Robinson

On The Kotel Compromise: Non-Orthodox Streams Deserve Funding, Not Just Gestures

02/03/2016 - 10:21
Jewish Week Online Columnist

The decision this week by Israel’s governing Cabinet to formally approve a proposal accommodating non-Orthodox, egalitarian prayer at the Kotel – the remaining Western Wall of the ancient Jerusalem Temple – has evoked passionate, but predictable, responses.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

How Claudia Met Dan

02/03/2016 - 09:50
Jewish Week Online Columnist

“If Dan doesn’t text me by 5 PM, then I’ll text him,” decided Claudia. He didn’t; so she did. Dan explains: “In 2011 I was 21 and didn’t think I was ready to date.”

Dan and Claudia. Roni Weiss

Days Of The Locust: Adventures In Kosher Food

02/02/2016 - 17:50
Travel Writer

Note: This is the second of two stories on kosher travel.

Over three decades of globetrotting, Rabbi Ari Zivotofsky and Dr. Ari Greenspan have cultivated a career as kosher adventurers — and accidental entomologists.

The “two Aris” in an underground grotto matzah-baking facility in Ptigliano, Italy. Courtesy of Ari Greenspan

A Visible Sign of Support For Threatened French Jews

02/02/2016 - 17:30
Staff Writer

In France, which is becoming an increasingly unsafe place for Jews — especially those who openly identify as Jews — it is particularly dangerous for Jewish men to wear a kipa in public.

Photo By Getty Images

The Hardest Questions Are Rarely New

01/29/2016 - 10:35
Jewish Week Online Columnist

In one of the sadder episodes of my rabbinate, I officiated recently at the funeral of a young soldier in the American army who died suddenly of natural causes. The death was, to understate the case dramatically, a horrific shock to the soldier’s family, and to all of us who knew him and his family through the years. His death was a great tragedy.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Too Many Holocaust Books?

01/28/2016 - 15:07
Special To The Jewish Week

Those who forget the past, George Santayana famously said, are doomed to repeat it. But is it possible to go overboard in terms of the history of the Holocaust? On last check, out of the 100 titles on Amazon’s list of bestselling Jewish history books, no fewer than 92 are related to the Shoah. A book on Jewish history, for the vast majority of both Jewish and non-Jewish readers, is a Holocaust book.

Ted Merwin

Abe Vigoda Started Life Old

01/27/2016 - 11:28
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Abe Vigoda, who died on Tuesday at the ripe old age of 94, started life old. His first-grade teacher formed a drama group and needed someone to portray Baron von Richenhoffen, a 50-year-old man who finds his wife in the closet with a strange man. She looked around and settled on a dour child. “You look old, Abe. I think you’ll do for the part.”

Abe Vigoda at the New York Friars Club in 2008. Tim Boxer/JW

When The Deli Was A ‘Surrogate Synagogue’

A new book 'Pastrami on Rye' delves into deli culture, history and its layered connection to Jewish identity.

01/27/2016 - 09:36
Culture Editor

Ted Merwin, The Jewish Week’s longtime theater critic, was just awarded a National Jewish Book Award in the category of Education and Jewish Identity for his new book, “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli” (NYU Press). Extensively researched, the book delves into deli culture, history and its layered connection to Jewish identity, seasoned with humor. Merwin, who is associate professor of religion and Judaic Studies at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., is founding director of the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life. He grew up in Great Neck, L.I., where he spent many Sunday evenings procuring turkey and roast beef for his family from a nearby delicatessen, where he first observed the “intricate, elegant choreography to the movements of the counterman as he sliced up the meat.” We interviewed him via email.

Ted Merwin: Neo-retro delis like Mile End “have upped the gourmet quotient in Jewish food.”

A World Of New Food Options

01/26/2016 - 18:30
Travel Writer

Note: This is the first of two stories on kosher travel.

Whenever she travels, Rhoda Farbowitz of Staten Island always packs a fallback kosher “meal” — a pack of tuna, cheese, challah rolls. “You just never know,” said Farbowitz. “You always have to carry something in your pocketbook.”

A kosher McDonald’s in Buenos Aires. Wikimedia Commons
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