Features

Nothing Is More Important Than Shabbat!

03/03/2016 - 14:43

The Torah portion that we read this week (Vayakhel) features, in exacting detail, the building materials that were collected for the purpose of constructing the Mishkan, the ancient portable sanctuary that traveled with our ancestors through the desert. This much gold, that much silver, copper too, all used to create the humble ancestor of the Jerusalem Temple and its various pieces of sacred furniture.

Shabbat candles. Wikimedia Commons

New Dawn For An Old Jewish Center

Visiting Wrocław, a European Capital of Culture for 2016

03/01/2016 - 15:40
Travel Writer

One of the proudest buildings in Wrocław, a European Capital of Culture for 2016, is the White Stork Synagogue. Its white-brick neoclassical façade fairly shimmers since a restoration was completed in 2010, the bittersweet revival of a structure that outlived most of the community it today represents.

Wroclaw’s old city, a jumble of cheery Baroque facades in pink, pistachio and daffodil yellow. Wikimedia Commons

What’s Behind The Dark Charisma Of ‘Son Of Saul’ Star?

Geza Rohrig had very little acting experience, but his obsession with the Holocaust, own family tragedies brought depth to the role.

02/24/2016 - 09:20

Berlin — When the Hungarian-Jewish poet Geza Rohrig agreed to play the lead role in the Oscar-nominated Holocaust drama “Son of Saul,” he knew he was taking on a daunting challenge.

Geza Rohrig plays Sonderkommando member Saul Aüslander in “Son of Saul.” JTA

Touring Europe, One Jewish Festival At A Time

02/23/2016 - 12:17
Travel Writer

It’s nearly 60 degrees as I write this column. Spring is on the way and school will be out before you know it, which means now is the ideal time to start planning a European summer vacation. Book in March, and you’ll snare the best airfares (and they are good right now), the best lodging values (the Airbnb steals go fast), and take advantage of an incredibly strong U.S. dollar.

The Szeroka area of Krakow will be the base of this summer’s annual Jewish Culture Festival. Wikimedia Commons

Decluttering Judaism

02/23/2016 - 12:16
Special To The Jewish Week

It may be sacrilegious to admit it, but my favorite day of the week is not Saturday.

Ted Merwin

How Are Communities Built?

02/18/2016 - 14:05

My wife and I traveled to Florida over the Presidents Day week to visit with family and some friends. Given the weather that New York experienced in December, we imagined that New York might wind up being the warmer of the two places, but as it turned out, we couldn't have been more wrong! The weather in Florida was spectacularly sunny and warm, and the weather in New York has been equally spectacular, but in the other direction, with record cold temperatures. Through nothing but luck, we definitely won the vacation lottery.

Skyline of Tampa, Florida from Bayshore Blvd. Wikimedia Commons

Kahane’s Widow Disavows Today’s Jewish Extremists

02/16/2016 - 12:51

Her husband was assassinated and her grandson is in prison. But Libby Kahane, widow of the late far-right Rabbi Meir Kahane, has remained faithful to her husband’s ideology.

She repeats his call for Israel to expel its Arab population. She believes the Israeli left, Jewish media and some American Jews — particularly college students — are hurting Israel. She denies that Jews are responsible for last July’s arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed three members of a Palestinian family.

Libby Kahane. JTA

Into The Light Of The Dark Black Night

02/16/2016 - 12:47
Special To The Jewish Week

Last year I journeyed to the precipice of death. It was a horrible trip, ending in the loss of my sister-in-law, Ali.

Elicia Brown

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite

02/16/2016 - 12:45
Travel Writer

Recently in this column, we discussed kosher locusts. This week I will address a bug that is absolutely not kosher under any circumstances, not literally and not figuratively, either.

Style is no guarantee of a bedbug-free hotel room. Hilary Danailova/JW

If Solomon Were A Candidate…

02/11/2016 - 09:54

Once upon a time, long before a career in the rabbinate was even a remote thought, I was a political science major in college. Politics and the political process fascinated me as far back as I can remember, and they still do. Although we all now know that the “Camelot” image of the Kennedy years was carefully constructed to hide its very real human flaws, I grew up quite entranced by its magic, believing that a life in politics was a noble calling… at least until Watergate. But the fascination remains…

Donald Trump, Left, Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik, center, Bernie Sanders.
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