First Person

Finding Death And Life In Poland

Special To The Jewish Week

We came to Poland expecting to find death. And death we found in the death camp of Majdanek. It was situated with prewar homes and parks all around it, as if it were just any business in full view of the town’s population, which could never claim innocence.

Hugh Pollack

The Cousins I Never Had

Special To The Jewish Week

On a trip back home to Ireland where I grew up, I was thinking less about the modern bustling country of today and more about some letters of 77 years ago that recently turned up in my childhood family home.

Gideon Taylor

A Seder In ‘Paradise’

Special To The Jewish Week

Recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I first came to Bonaire, a Dutch Caribbean island near Curacao, more than 30 years ago. I was treating myself to a vacation where no one knew me and I was far away from the stressful life in the “big city.”

On The Front Lines

Special To The Jewish Week

My son recently finished two-and-a-half years of service in the IDF’s Golani Brigade. While I have written several essays about my experience during this time, permit me to share yet one more. 

Andrew Kane

Friday Night In Cuba

Special To The Jewish Week

Havana, Cuba — I had never seen a keyboard played at a Friday night service before. Then again, I had never been in Cuba before.

Gerald Eskenazi

Becoming A Man In Zagreb

Special To The Jewish Week

It was, at first glance, a scene out of a Yiddish folktale, transposed from the Old World shtetl to modern-day Zagreb. There were rabbis and healers, plot twists and turns, a small miracle, even the requisite chickens. And just when I thought it would remain a vision from the pages of my imagination, the pictures that flashed on my iPhone confirmed it was real. 

Merri Ukraincik

Jews, Muslims And A Hamsa

Special To The Jewish Week

I wear a necklace with a hand-shaped charm that’s called a hamsa as a point of Jewish pride. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris in January, I was asked at a gathering in Manhattan if I wore it because I was Muslim. 

Diane Cole

How Green Was My Wadi

Special To The Jewish Week

We will soon be celebrating Tu b’Shvat, the day that marks the new year for trees, and while it is cold and grim in New York, the plant world is awakening in Israel and the agricultural year is coming to life. Think of it as the beginning of the magic that leads to the harvest festival of Sukkot.

Sura Jeselsohn

College Football: The Great Escape

Special To The Jewish Week

Birmingham, Ala. — On Thanksgiving at my son’s house, I found myself at the end of a long dinner table, some in-town family members on my left. They were chatting about college football, especially the Alabama-Auburn game that would be played two nights later.

Richard Friedman

A Banjo’s Soul

Special To The Jewish Week

Halloween was the furthest thing from my mind when I scheduled an appointment with the banjo repair guy for Oct. 31. As usual in our observant Jewish neighborhood, there was not a pumpkin or goblin in sight when the day arrived. No costumed revelers rang our bell in search of treats. But of course, I knew. 

Merri Ukraincik
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