Blogs

A Joyful Noise

I sing to make a joyful noise.

In the face of an uncertain New Year, with tensions high across ethnic and religious divides, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) has entered into an exciting new partnership with Museum of Jewish Heritage and to encourage the long-standing ties of brotherhood between all men of good will.

Tony Perry, left, Magda Fishman, Elmore James during the Soul to Soul concert. Courtesy of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Preparing For Our Son's Bar Mitzvah Is A Coming-Of-Age Moment For Us, Too

Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared on newsworks.

In less than a week, my son, George, will turn 13, and like generations of Jewish boys before him, he will become a bar mitzvah. 

For George, who is non-verbal and on the more severe end of the autism spectrum, his bar mitzvah service will be carefully modified. We've taught him how to select his Torah verses from an app on his iPad that he uses to communicate. Rather than a speech about his Torah portion, he is painting a collage about it. He will deliver prayers from his front row seat, as standing before the congregation would cause him sensory overwhelm.

As we've prepared for his service, I've questioned my choices.

The author with her son, George. Courtesy of Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Is Equal Justice Just A Myth?

Sixteen-year-old Muhammed Abu Khdeir was snatched from an East Jerusalem street by three young Israeli men who beat him severely and then burned him alive. 

The murder was one of the sparks that led to the 20124 Gaza war.  Two of the young Jews, who were minors at the time of the attack, were convicted last year and are now up for sentencing.  Prosecutors are asking for two life sentences.  The third man, the purported leader of the assault, has pleaded innocent by reason of mental illness.

Beware Pols' Empty Promises

How gullible do Republicans, especially the Bush brothers, think we Jews are?  Very, judging by their empty promises to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

In this week's GOP presidential debate in North Charleston, S.C., Jeb Bush repeated his promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  A month earlier he told another South Carolina audience that on his first day in the Oval Office his second move would be to order the embassy moved as "a show of solidarity" with the Jewish state.  

Sharing A Dream Of Peace

Passion. Love. Pain. Yearning.  Palpable emotions common to the songs of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Andalusia during the Golden Age of Spain, a time when our communities shared philosophy, poetry and musical cadences and lived in peace with one another -- a time past and, last Sunday evening, a brief taste of the world to come. 

Courtesy Noche Flamenca

Israel Gets Passing Mention In GOP Debate

Israel was mentioned only three times, almost in passing, in Thursday night's sixth GOP presidential debate  -- there's one more, in Des Moines, before the February 1 Iowa Caucus. It was a matter of retracing old grounds with nothing new to add.

Cruz And 'New York Values'

What did Ted Cruz really mean when he said Donald Trump represents "New York values?"

On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, where the evangelical vote is critical for Republicans and the Texas senator and New York real estate mogul are in a virtual dead heat, they've broken their bromance and begun trashing each other.

Trump has polished up his birther credentials and changed targets from Barack Obama to the Canadian-born Cruz. 

2015 National Jewish Book Awards Announced

Jewish Week theatre critic Ted Merwin was named winner of the 2015 Jewish Book Award in the category of  Education and Jewish Identity for  “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli,” a well–researched and lively work of cultural history.

Courtesy NYU Press

Shir Inclusion: No Madness Involved

Michael’s life took a turn for the better when he became a volunteer at Melbourne’s first ever Jewish Music Festival, Shir Madness. After a phone interview he was allocated to one of the most senior volunteer roles of venue manager. He attended the training and spent some time clarifying details of the task at the volunteer briefing. He did a really great job on that day. Unbeknown to us, Michael had spent many years at a special school and had never before in his life been given a position of responsibility.

Some of the Shir Madness Mensches. Courtesy of Melinda Jones

Jewish Museums Leave Nostalgia In The Dust

A lively, sometimes contentious symposium at the Center for Jewish History on Sunday emphatically showed that Jewish museums in Central and Eastern Europe have reached a state of fruition worthy of celebration and vigilance. The symposium celebrated a new double issue of East European Jewish Affairs. Its participants threw themselves into exploring the move of Jewish museums “away from nostalgia and toward … a new self-definition,” as Judith Siegel, director of academic and public programming at the CJH put it.

David Shneer, Olga Gershenson, Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, Anna Manchin and Ruth Ellen Gruber
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