Or, Why It’s Hard to Make a Minyan in a Snowstorm in Queens
Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
Special to the Jewish Week
Writing an on-line article is a tricky business.
When you write for a hard copy local newspaper, which the Jewish Week is in the New York area, you are, essentially, writing for a local audience. New Yorkers will catch the regional references that won’t necessarily make sense to people reading my article online in, say, Des Moines, Chicago, or, for that matter, Jerusalem.
The National Yiddish Theater/Folksbiene has come a long way in its 96th season. In fact, the highlight of its annual cabaret dinner on Dec. 8 at the Bohemian National Hall on the Upper East Side, were two African American actors who brought the house down with their versions of classical Yiddish medleys.
Elmore James, a veteran of five Broadway shows and the Metropolitan Opera, dazzled with “Es Brent” and “Ot Azoy.” Tony Perry, featured in the film “Mickey,” thrilled the audience with his rendition of “Vos Iz Gevorn.”
As this week’s blizzard blanketed New York City in snow, Jewish Community Councils and other organizations scrambled to continue providing much-needed services in the hardest-hit neighborhoods, as well as meet emergency needs.
A prolific author and professor of media studies at The New School, Douglas Rushkoff is a prescient observer of the Jewish community. His 2004 book, “Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism,” advanced his advocacy of an “Open Source Judaism” that draws on the Jewish traditions of iconoclasm and no-holds-barred inquiry. He is a frequent critic of what he describes as contemporary Judaism’s tendency to unquestioningly follow accepted wisdom and authority figures.
I was in Barcelona, dropping by a friend’s shared apartment, when it started up. “I’ve been so busy here, I haven’t even had time to go shopping!” I laughed, and was met with this teasing response from my friend’s housemate — a Bulgarian cellist I barely knew. “No shopping? Why, for you, that must be as unthinkable as not building settlements would be for an Israeli!”
Quinoa is known in many Ashkenazic Jewish households for one reason: Pesach. The healthy, sort-of-grain plant is actually a seed, and it is neither chametz (leavened) nor kitniyot (grains and legumes – including rice, peas and beans), meaning they can be used on the food-challenged holiday (according to most rabbis).
Q - My son's bris is in a couple of days and lots of family and friends will be attending. I'm OK with people taking pictures but I really don't want photos of my son all over the Internet. What can I do?
When I'm not pouring over my Chumash or studying the Talmud, you might find me, upon occasion, flipping through an issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine for alternative inspiration. Truth be told, EW wins out over the big books 99.9% of the time, as it is significantly less cumbersome sitting on the magazine rack of my treadmill.
Cory Booker seems to find himself in the right places at the right times. Two decades ago, as a 22-year-old Rhodes scholar at Oxford, he found himself one night at Shmuley Boteach’s L’Chaim Society, a Jewish cultural center on campus.
He was invited by a young woman for a Simchat Torah celebration. When he walked into Chabad House everyone froze. He looked for his date but found men with beards and skullcaps.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.