The JW Q&A

A weekly interview with notable figures and names in the news.

A Lens On The New Polish Jewry

11/05/2013
Staff Writer
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Dina Kadisha Aspen, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker from an Iranian Jewish family, spent several weeks in Poland earlier this year documenting the post-Communism rebirth of Jewish life there. The result is “The Revival of Jewish Poland,” a 48-minute documentary, produced under the auspices of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Entwine young leadership program.

Dina Aspen, left, accompanied by an American cousin, documented current Jewish life in Poland for new film.

SNL's Debbie Downer, On The Upswing

Comedienne Rachel Dratch dishes on dating disasters and an accidental pregnancy.

10/29/2013
Contributing Editor
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From her days as Boston Teen Denise “Zazu” McDonough to her recurring appearance as Debbie Downer on “Saturday Night Live” from 1999 until 2006, Rachel Dratch has amused millions. In 2012, after becoming pregnant by accident at nearly 44, she penned an autobiographical book, “Girl Walks into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle” (Gotham), about her journey from singlehood to motherhood and partnership with her baby’s father, John Wahl.

Former “SNL” cast member Rachel Dratch says she will raise her son “with Jewish influences.” Mary Ellen Matthews

Kosher Advice For President Clinton

An Englewood rabbi has corresponded with the former president for more than two decades.

10/22/2013
Staff Writer
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Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division and spiritual leader of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Englewood, N.J., has had another, unofficial, title for two decades — “Bill Clinton’s rabbi.” Since the rabbi and the then-presidential candidate met in 1992, they have engaged in what the former president calls “a written dialogue,” an exchange of thoughts on religious and ethical issues.

Rabbi Menachem Genack: President Clinton “is an enormous friend of Israel.”

Am I Too Late? Seeking Forgiveness from Someone Who Has Passed Away

10/21/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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We all know that the work of asking for forgiveness from others is necessary, albeit difficult. What do we do when a person we have wronged has already passed away?

Rabbi Shuly Yanklowitz

Sanguine About Relations Between Catholics, Jews

10/15/2013
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Betty Ehrenberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, North America, has been elected the first woman chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), the representative Jewish group that deals with other world religious bodies. (This week she is traveling to Madrid to take part in the biennial Catholic-Jewish summit). Ehrenberg took office July 1 for a two-year term.

Betty Ehrenberg: Pope Francis urges Christians to "understand Jewish history and traditions." Photo courtersy IJCIC

Hated At The Human Rights Council

Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, tries to hold the UN to its own charter and to fight anti-Israel bias.

10/09/2013
Staff Writer
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Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch, which last month celebrated its 20th anniversary as a human rights NGO (non-governmental organization) at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Hillel Neuer: On the lookout for anti-Israei bias at UN. Photo courtesy UN Watch

Helping Syrian Refugees

The president of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding says aid to refugees in Jordan is a Jewish imperative.

09/24/2013
Staff Writer
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Georgette Bennett, president of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, spearheaded the effort with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) that led to the creation of a coalition of 16 Jewish organizations to aid Syrian refugees who have fled to Jordan.

Georgette Bennett

New Cantor, New Look

A Borough Park-raised hazzan knows that he has 'big shoes to fill' at the shul his predecessor served for 50 years.

09/17/2013
Staff Writer
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After nearly a half-century, Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side is getting a new cantor. Cantor Yaakov Lemmer, a native of Brooklyn’s fervently Orthodox Borough Park neighborhood, is succeeding Cantor Sherwood Goffin, who has served at Lincoln Square since its founding in 1965.

Cantor Yaakov Lemmer: “Big shoes to fill.” Via Cantorlemmer.com
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