‘The Westchester Of Paris’

12/12/2011 - 19:00
Travel Writer

The chilly fog of Paris, and its neat rows of Hausman-era rooflines, receded as we drove north on the highway toward Lille, the city giving way to thick forests and wide-open fields of green still vivid on this late-fall weekend.

It was Thanksgiving weekend, to be precise, and my husband, Oggi, and I were spending the holiday with cousins who settled awhile back in French horse country. Twenty-five miles northeast through thick woods dotted with streams and the odd chateau take you into the Department of Oise.

The ruins of a royal castle ruins and Roman walls in Senlis. Photos courtesy of Office de Tourisme de Senlis

Responding To Merry Christmas

The key is to come up with strategies that affirm Jewish pride while not adding to the politicized atmosphere of Christmas.

12/08/2011 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Q: It’s that time of year, when everyone everywhere is saying “Merry Christmas” to me, even people who know that I am Jewish. Should I simply smile and repeat the greeting or politely correct the greeter and say, “I’m sorry, I don’t observe Christmas.”

What to say? Fotolia

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Soup

Warm up from the inside out with a hot bowl of soup
12/07/2011 - 19:00
Online Jewish Week Columnist

When it's the middle of winter, I don't want to go to the supermarket, and I want to enjoy something warm and hearty, I turn to one thing: soup. By simply rummaging through my fridge and pantry I usually manage to locate at least one vegetable (squash) one protein (chickpeas) and one grain (barley). Tada - soup! A quick simmer on the stove and you can be digging in to a satsifying bowl too.

Butternut squash and chickpea soup. Photo by Amy Spiro

And the winner for Best Work of Zionist Art Goes to...

The culture wars in Israel these days makes you pine for the ones we had here, in the States, some 15 years ago.  In America, it all seemed like grand theater--Giuliani, for instance, catering to hard-core Christians aghast at a painting of the Virgin Mary covered in feces.  But in Israel the state has a far stronger hand in culture.  So when the current Likud Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, threatened to withhold money to artists who refused to perform in the Ariel performing center, in the occupied West Bank, it meant something.

Thoughts On That Israeli Ad Campaign

12/07/2011 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist


Much ink has already been spilled on the ill-fated ad campaign launched by Israel’s Ministry of Absorption, aimed at convincing Israelis living here in the United States to return to Israel. I’m afraid I’m going to spill a little more.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Prayer on the Go? There’s an App for That!

12/07/2011 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

I slowly walked down the stairs, brain still half asleep, eyes half-closed. I saw my dad seated at my dining room table, wide awake, staring intently into his Kindle. My parents were in town for the High Holy Days, a time of year we hadn’t spent together in a long time. “Whatcha reading?” I mumbled, mid-yawn, and he promptly told me that he was enjoying his early morning Rashi. Rashi – on his Kindle! And then he was planning on studying a bit of Talmud before continuing with his day.

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

How Daniel Met Lauren

12/06/2011 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Want to meet your match?  “Come to the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan,” advises Daniel Singer.  That’s what he did.

He wasn’t just visiting. Daniel is the senior cantor of the temple, and so attends the Havdallah service marking the beginning of a new week.  On Saturday evening, March 28, 2009, he was there as was Tamara Engel, a greeter from the temple, who is known for her good deeds and is an amateur matchmaker. “It’s like Tamara has a Rolodex in her head,” says Daniel.

Lauren Rabinowitz and Daniel Singer

An Ethiopian Celebration in Jerusalem

12/05/2011 - 19:00

The roots of the Ethiopian Jews’ Sigd holiday — it may date back to the sixth or 15th century — are shrouded in mystery, but its celebration now is contemporary. Marked 50 days after Yom Kippur in remembrance of the date, according to Ethiopian belief, when God first revealed Himself to Moses, Sigd was observed in Ethiopia with fasting and praying on a mountaintop.

Photo By Getty Images

Lessons To A Rabbi, From Her Children

12/05/2011 - 19:00
Staff Writer

A rabbi for a decade, a mother for seven years, Ilana Grinblat combines both identities in “Blessing and Baby Steps” (Behrman House). In 48 essays, she traces the lessons she has learned from the parenthood experience, starting with conception. Her book follows ones like Wendy Mogul’s “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children,” which lean on Jewish tradition.

Rabbi Ilana Grinblat: Learned from her children “to fund wonder in the simple moments of daily life.”
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