Features

Dutch Treats, Off The Beaten Path

09/02/2014
Travel Writer
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Alkmaar, Deventer, Groningen, Amersfoort: these are not prominent destinations on the European traveler’s itinerary.

Yet these small Dutch cities are all repositories of Jewish heritage, from synagogues to literary monuments. They all boast antique medieval districts and sights that range from castles to canals.

The canals of Alkmaar provide a typical flavor of a small town in the Netherlands. Wikimedia Commons

God Talk

How can we move past 'post-traumatic God disorder?' Rabbis David Ingber and Alfredo Borodowski discuss.

09/02/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Editor’s Note: David Ingber is spiritual leader of Romemu, a popular congregation on the Upper West Side whose motto is “Judaism for the body, mind and spirit.” Rabbi Ingber grew up in a Modern Orthodox home and attended a number of yeshivas. His long and diverse spiritual search led to his ordination by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the founder of Renewal Judaism. 

Rabbi David Ingber: “It is innately human to seek.”

A Simchat Bat Among Christians

08/29/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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The end of our stay in Okinawa, where my wife and I had been staying with our daughter and son-in-law upon the birth of their first child, coincided with the arrival of my son-in-law’s parents. Our brief overlap allowed all us to be present for our granddaughter Calanit’s Simhat Bat, the ceremony in which she was formally welcomed into the community of Israel, and the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people. 

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Pitcher Hits Home Run For Camp Simcha Kids

08/26/2014
Staff Writer
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Some youngsters at Camp Simcha got a baseball star’s autograph on a jersey last week, others on a baseball cap.

And for some kids at the Catskills camp for children with cancer and other blood-related diseases, a visit by New York Yankees ace pitcher CC Sabathia was a heady experience.

Courtesy of Camp Simcha

A Robot Walks Into A Rabbi’s Office…

Rabbi Mark Goldfeder is working on a book about such questions as whether robots could some day be welcomed as members of the Jewish community.

08/26/2014
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Robots can hold a conversation, but should they count in a minyan? A chatbot at Britain’s University of Reading was heralded earlier this summer as passing the Turing test, showing a conversational ability that managed to fool people into thinking it was human. Using the fictional identity of a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy with the name Eugene Goostman, the robot convinced a third of a panel’s members that they were interacting with a fellow human being.

Rabbi Mark Goldfeder: Interested in “the line between humans and non-humans in Jewish law.”

Late Summer On The Upper Cape

08/26/2014
Travel Writer
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There was more than a hint of September in the crisp blue sky as a massive white ferry boat glided into port at Woods Hole, Mass.

The dockside park in Woods Hole. Hilary Larson/JW

The End Of Jewish Liberalism?

08/26/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Registering minority voters, campaigning for stricter environmental laws, performing agit-prop theater against economic inequality — much of my free time in graduate school in New York in the 1990s was spent working with activist Jewish groups like Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ). When I moved to Central Pennsylvania a decade and a half ago, I assumed that the Jewish community here would be similar, in its political orientation, to the one that I had left behind on the Upper West Side.

Ted Merwin

Taking The Ice Bucket Challenge

A Queens rabbi gets a little goofy for a good cause.

08/22/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Unless you’ve been living in a cave, and particularly if you’re on Facebook, as I am, you’ve no doubt been (wait for the pun!) deluged with brief videos of people like me pouring buckets of ice water over their heads, or, more commonly, having someone else do the pouring. Were I to stop here, and you were, indeed, unaware of this phenomenon, you might simply think that it was some kind of fraternity initiation rite, or maybe a practical joke that had caught on.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Émigré Takes Helm Of Leading Russian Group

08/19/2014
Staff Writer
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The Genesis Philanthropy Group, best known for the $1 million Genesis Grant awarded to a member of the Jewish community who has achieved international renown in his or her chosen field (ex-Mayor Bloomberg was the first recipient), recently announced the promotion of Ilia Salita, the organization’s North American executive director, to CEO. In his new position, Salita, a native of Russia, will lead the private foundation’s global initiative to “develop and enhance a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews.”

Ilia Salita: Russian-speaking émigré community still can benefit from leaders from their ranks.

For Two Days In Israel, A New York State Of Mind

08/19/2014
Staff Writer
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is running for re-election, made his first overseas trip as the state’s chief executive to Israel last week.

Douglas Guthrie/Hebrew University
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