Blogs

GOP Warned Split On Immigration Costly

Ronald Reagan once explained a dispute within his party as "Sometimes our right hand doesn't know what our far right hand is doing."

That helps explain how today's Republicans are dealing with immigration reform.

A comprehensive bipartisan bill passed the Senate last year and there was a feeling of momentum since the GOP's post-2012 "autopsy" of its defeat concluded it needed immigration reform to attract Hispanic voters, who had given Barack Obama 72 percent of their votes.

Lifetime To Pitch A 'Red Tent'

"The Red Tent" is becoming a miniseries. And it's about time.

Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent" is soon to be a miniseries.  Courtesy Picador

Farklempt At The White House

Yiddish was in the air last week in the nation’s capital as the Yiddish Book Center received the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service in a White House ceremony. “Nachas” and “kvelling” were the words that most immediately came to mind for Aaron Lansky, the founder and president of the Center, one of ten U.S. institutions to win the honor.

Peter Manseau, Aaron Lansky and Michelle Obama at the White House. Courtesy Institute of Museum and Library Services

'Little Stories' In Yiddish

One important feature in the historical works of “ma’asalech” (little stories), written in Yiddish for children, is a practice of “Juda-izing” popular stories. Instead of translating children’s stories into Yiddish, translators would often adapt stories to reflect Jewish society and values. For example, in 1913, a Yiddish version of a Hans Christian Anderson story was “translated” into Yiddish and titled “Big Fievel and Little Fievel.” In this remade version, the main characters were Jewish boys.

El Lissitzky. Illustration for "The Hen Who Wanted a Comb", 1919.  WiKiPaintings

Courage, Responsibility and Memory: Making Nature Accessible

Editor's Note: In honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut, which fell last week, we are sharing this blog about LOTEM, an innovative program in Israel that organizes outings for people with special needs on nature reserves through the country.

If I had any doubt about the importance of my work as a soldier guide with LOTEM- Making Nature Accessible, yesterday it totally vanished.

It all began when I got on the bus as I do every day when I am guiding, though what awaited me was a surprise. When my face was revealed to the students they began to call out, "You were with us last year," and "I know you" and "Do you remember that we were in the Judean Desert?" The students indeed were not mistaken! One year ago I guided the same group from Shafririm A. School for teenagers with intellectual challenges in the Judean Desert on a two-day hike.

Kicking the Peace Can Down The Road

If the next President is a student of history and not a masochist, he or she is highly unlikely to dabble in Middle East peacemaking unless both sides come to the White House with a convincing case that they are ready to get serious. And even then caution would be well advised.

President 45 will have the benefit of knowing that all attempts by previous presidents have left an unpleasant residue and often proved a political liability. 

Remembering Jabotinsky On Yom Ha’Atzmaut

I am alive because of Vladimir Jabotinsky. True, I was born nearly two decades after the Revisionist Zionist leader's death, but that is a mere technicality, a wrinkle in time. 

Courtesy of Yale University Press

Unorthodox Orthodoxy

For the committed or observant Jewish artist, creating art that is meaningful, that stays within the bounds of the second commandment prohibition against graven images and yet avoids kitsch or dogmatism is a daunting challenge. Meeting this challenge head-on with serious humor is “Off Label: Ceremonial Objects Imagined,” an exhibit on view at the JCC in Manhattan that respectfully turns ritual and tradition on its head.

“Tower of Books.” Courtesy of Ken Goldman

GISHA Conference: Inclusion In The 21st Century

On Sunday May 4 and Monday May 5, over 120 Jewish educators in day and supplementary schools came together with special educators and professionals working in inclusion issues in Newtown, MA for Hebrew College’s sixth annual GISHA conference. (Gisha means "good ideas" in Hebrew.)

GISHA Conference, Courtesy of Hebrew College

Never Say Always: Is Inclusion Always In Children’s Best Interest?

Editor's Note: Last month, The New Normal featured Inclusion advocate Shelley Cohen's perspective on a new Jewish day school for children with learning disabilities opening in Manhattan next fall. Now, Dr. Yoni Schwab (Assistant Head of School) responds with his perspective on the Shefa School.

This fall, the Shefa School will open in the new Lincoln Square Synagogue building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. As a new, stand-alone, pluralistic Jewish day school for children with language-based learning disabilities in kindergarten through eighth grade, it will provide expert, immersive instruction to help students overcome dyslexia and other learning challenges that interfere with reading and writing. We have seen significant demand for such a school, with children quickly enrolling from throughout the New York area and from across the spectrum of Jewish practice and engagement.

Yoni Schwab
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