It is that time of year again, the so-called “Three Weeks” preceding Tisha B’Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temples in ancient Jerusalem. The observant Jewish community is in an unusually somber mood. There are no weddings, no major parties, and a variety of other quasi-mourning practices are followed.
When I was a kid growing up in Poughkeepsie and the Five Towns, my father’s parents lived with us. Although they were both born in Manhattan, they spoke fluent Yiddish when they didn’t want me to know what the subject was, and my father, who spoke little Yiddish, understood enough to join the mysterious (to me) conversation. They’re all dead now, and I still haven’t learned much Yiddish
It can take days — maybe a week, if you’re on the scenic route — to see all of California’s major cities. But next door in Washington State, Olympia, Seattle and Tacoma are all within a drive of less than two hours.
Tel Aviv native Rabbi Aryeh Stern was elected the capital’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi last October
Rabbi Aryeh Stern, a native of Tel Aviv who has served since 1982 on the staff of Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav yeshiva, a leading religious Zionist institution, was elected the capital’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi last October. For political and bureaucratic reasons, the city’s two chief rabbi posts, chosen by religious and political figures, had not been filled for almost a dozen years. The rabbi, 70, who, unlike many charedi Israelis, has served in the Israeli Army in two wars, and his children and grandchildren have also done Army service. The Jewish Week interviewed him during a recent visit he made to New York for a Rabbinical Council of America conference. This is an edited transcript.
My wife and I have been blessed with four beautiful children, but we lost a number of pregnancies along the way. During those difficult times years ago, when we sometimes wondered whether we would ever realize our dream of a large family, or even have children at all, I developed a deep personal antipathy for the cavalier use of abortion as a form of birth control.
After more than 20 years of globe-trotting, I recently had my first consultation with a travel medicine specialist.
I don’t know what took me so long. Hubris, I suppose — the fantasy that my own common sense and good luck would spare me the maladies that afflict so many fellow travelers. I’ve spent my share of time in overseas emergency rooms, but overall I have indeed been lucky.
Ann Toback, executive director of the Workmen’s Circle since 2008, has led the organization through a rebranding process in which it has adopted a new Jewish learning-based mission rooted in intergenerational learning and cultural celebration. Taking a page from its history of progressive activism, Toback, a former union leader, has also launched an activist agenda focused on making $15-an-hour the national minimum wage. This is an edited transcript of The Jewish Week’s interview with her last week.
Being a “New York Jew”— and a New York Rabbi, no less — is what many of the more sharp-tongued among us would call a diagnosis. In the mouths of some non-Jews, it is a not-so-polite way of implying pushy, opinionated, parochial, narrow-minded, prickly, and demanding. And in the mouths of many Jews, particularly those from outside of this geographical area, it implies ethnically narrow, religiously conservative, along with a few of the aforementioned adjectives. None of them are particularly complimentary.