Features

An Obama’s Jewish Connection, And Multicultural Journey

09/16/2014
Culture Editor
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At first glance, the resemblance is unmistakable — the diction, gestures, cadences of the deep voice of author Mark Obama Ndesandjo seem uncannily similar to his brother, President Barack Obama. In fact, with his shaved head, Ndesandjo looks like a younger, hipper, more smiling version of the President. But as he shows in his just-published compelling memoir, “An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey of Self-Revelation Across Three Cultures” (Lyons Press), he’s very much his own person, exploring issues of identity, race and family, along with his Jewishness. The two men share a father, Barack Obama, Sr., but they were born to different mothers; the president is the son of the second wife and Ndesandjo is the son of the third, a Jewish woman named Ruth Beatrice Baker. (Ndesandjo’s parents divorced when he was 7, and he later took on the name of his stepfather, only to reclaim the Obama name in recent years.)

Mark Obama Ndesandjo: Pays tribute to his Jewish roots in new memoir. Lyons Press

Rosh HaShanah In The Highlands

09/16/2014
Travel Writer
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Note: This is the first of three stories on eastern Canada. Pieces on Prince Edward Island and Montreal will follow in subsequent weeks.

Of all the wild, strange places in Canada, Newfoundland stands out for an oddity unique in North America: its own separate time zone, a half-hour ahead of everyone else.

St. John, a city of about 100,000 feels like a small British city, relaxed and easy to enjoy.  Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Rosh HaShanah In East Germany

09/16/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Leipzig was a flourishing German city before World War II. In 1964, as part of communist East Germany, it was a desolate place, bomb damage still not repaired, store shelves bare and streets dimly lit. It was not a tourist destination.

Myron Kandel

Why Are We Still Arguing About Domestic Violence?

09/12/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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With the revelation this week of a video clearly and unambiguously showing former Baltimore Raven football player Ray Rice punching his wife in a casino elevator in Atlantic City, knocking her unconscious, and then unceremoniously dragging her out of the elevator, a whole host of disturbing questions have come to the fore.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Centennial Celebration, With Sunflowers

09/09/2014
Culture Editor
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One hundred years, 1,000 sunflowers.

That was photographer Frederic Brenner’s idea for a centennial birthday portrait of his dear friend Ralph Goldman, the esteemed honorary executive director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

Photo by Frederic Brenner

Ukranian Jews Seen Looking To The West

Mark Levin of the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry says about 20 percent of Ukraine's Jews live in conflict areas.

09/09/2014
Staff Writer
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Mark Levin: Anti-Semitism is a constant in Ukraine, but the government is working to counter it.

‘Give Peace A Chance?’

09/09/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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When I ask my family to consider how we can improve ourselves in preparation for the Jewish New Year, my daughter Talia, who is 12, grins and shifts her gaze to Joel. Oh yes! She has an idea or two for her 9-year-old brother. “Maybe it would be a good goal for you to stop putting your foot on this,” she says, indicating the wooden table leg they squabble over on a nightly basis.

Elicia Brown

Echoes Of Paris

09/09/2014
Travel Writer
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As a longtime Europhile, I have to stifle a sigh when yet another friend tells me about an upcoming Paris vacation.

It’s not that I have anything against the City of Light. Au contraire! Paris has picturesque boulevards, iconic monuments, myriad museums, fabulous food, addiction-inducing shopping and a delightful urbanity that has seduced generations of Yankees. It is rightfully a mecca for connoisseurs of architecture, opera and European-Jewish culture.

Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale, a museum and a center for cultural events and arts exhibitions. Wikimedia Commons

Consider The Parents Of Converts -- To Judaism

09/03/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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What would you do if your child married out of Judaism?

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

How Daniella Met Tani

09/02/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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"We were in the same crowds, but I didn’t see her,” says Tani Guterman. “It’s like Daniella was under the radar screen.”  In the spring of 2012, Daniella Stein was a senior at Yeshiva University (YU) Stern College for Women, and Tani was a YU alum. They both came from Young Israel backgrounds – she, from Lawrence, New York, and he from Staten Island; and they both worked with children with special needs.

Courtesy of Daneilla and Tani Guterman
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