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Jerusalem Report

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I& Light Fantastic
December 13, 2004

I have always been intrigued by the idea of pirsumei nisa, or “publicizing the miracle,” on Hanukkah. During my college year of study in Israel, I loved walking through the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, where every window ledge was occupied by a flickering Hanukkah menorah, usually oil-burning, at… Read more...

I& A Happy Anniversary
November 15, 2004

The number 350 is all the rage among North American Jews these days, as the community observes it 350th anniversary. The first U.S. Jews, as most of us know, were New Yorkers, who arrived in what was then New Amsterdam from Recife, Brazil, in 1654. The main clearinghouse for anniversary events… Read more...

I& Colombus Daze
October 18, 2004

In my Baltimore grade school, we learned the mnemonic “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” In Hebrew school, we learned that was the year the Jews were expelled from Spain. Nobody then, however, told us about an ongoing discussion over the years on the connection… Read more...

I& Greek Gifts
August 23, 2004

Members of the Israeli Olympic team and their fans who make the trip to Athens can use the Internet to find a synagogue if they deem it necessary to pray before events and give thanks for the outcome, or to locate some traditional Greek kosher cuisine in Athens. Probably the best place to start is… Read more...

Good Times: Manhattan's Gramercy Park Hotel
July 12, 2004

Outside of Israel, it is nearly impossible to be 100 percent Sabbath-observant in a hotel anywhere. You make a reservation and arrive late Friday afternoon, luggage and Shabbat food in hand, only to find out that you are on the 19th floor, or that the door to your room only operates with an… Read more...

I& The Fast Track
July 12, 2004

Asking most Jews about fast days will produce mentions of Yom Kippur, and perhaps Tisha Be’av as well. Not so many know about 17 Tammuz (July 6 this year), which traditionally marks the anniversary of many Jewish calamities. An easy-to-find register of those historical horrors, at… Read more...

I& You've Got Mail
May 17, 2004

Once upon a time, “You’ve got mail” meant that the postman actually delivered a letter to your home mailbox. I remember the excitement when someone actually sent a letter from a foreign country! Once, my bubbeh gave me an envelope from a distant cousin in Argentina, and a postcard from an aunt from… Read more...

Good Taste: Pongal
April 19, 2004

Pongal 110 Lexington Ave., Manhattan, (212) 696-9458 Madras Mahal 104 Lexington Ave., Tel. (212) 684-4010 Udipi Palace, 103 Lexington Ave. Tel. (212) 889-3477. Walking down Lexington Ave. between 28th and 27th streets in New York, one might reasonably ask, “How is this kosher vegetarian Southern… Read more...

I& Annetics
April 19, 2004

Anne Frank would have been 75 this year, had she survived. When I put her name into a search at I got exactly 4,930,000 hits. Mining this abundance of material on her and her diary is an appropriate way, for Internet freaks and others, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day which… Read more...

I& Cool Name, Baby!
March 22, 2004

ACCORDING TO A MIDRASH, THE JEWS WERE redeemed from bondage in Egypt because they retained their Hebrew names. These days, Jewish kids outside Israel aren’t given Hebrew names in addition to their Bradleys or Brittneys as a matter of course, as they were once - unless, of course, they’re called… Read more...

Up Front: Game Boys
January 12, 2004

Ask an American Jew in his 40s or older to name his most memorable Jewish experience, and there’s a good chance he’ll say Sandy Koufax sitting out the first game of the 1965 World Series on Yom Kippur. Ask the same man how many Jews have ever played Major League baseball and he’ll have a hard time… Read more...

I& Big Macs
December 29, 2003

Maccabiah sports competitions were a highlight for many of us in our Jewish summer camp days. Some of those camp athletes went on to compete against others in the Maccabiah Games, and most Israelis root for Maccabi Tel Aviv, one of Europe’s top basketball teams. The association of the Maccabee… Read more...

I& Jew-jitsu, Anyone?
December 1, 2003

In these troubles times, with anti-semitism and worse apparently on the rise everywhere, it’s not a bad idea to learn some kind of self-defense. The fact that lots of other people are doing so is demonstrated by one simple statistic: The martial arts industry reportedly generates annual revenues of… Read more...

I& Cybermystics
October 20, 2003

Madonna is not the fist singer to write a children’s book but she’s probably the first to name a character “Bina” - “understanding” in Hebrew. In “The English Roses,” the four other main characters are jealous of the blonde-haired Bina’s seemingly perfect life. And Madonna’s likely also the first… Read more...

Jewish World: 'Like Playing a Brick Wall'
October 20, 2003

Relentless Israeli tennis player Anna Pistolesi, nee Smashnova, is racking up the wins, mostly Howard Blas New Haven Just before the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows in late August, Anna Pistolesi faced the world’s No. 14 player, Vera Zvonereva of Russia, in the second round of the Pilot Pen… Read more...

Up Front: Mystery Hasids
June 30, 2003

It’s the Wednesday afternoon before the Shabbat of my student’s bar mitzvah. Jake has been working hard for the past hour and a half, quietly reading his sermon and loudly belting out songs as Cantor Lisa Hest accompanies him on the guitar. Jake is a young man with a range of special needs, and… Read more...

I& Grannys Cheesecake
June 2, 2003

The only time my Bubbeh ever took a break from preparing heavy fleishig (meat) holiday food was on Shavuot. Admittedly, some Jews (mainly Sephardim) do eat meat that day, as they would on any other holiday, since dairy is not considered very festive. Others, to satisfy all opinions, eat a dairy… Read more...

Up Front: Another Look
April 21, 2003

Our small group of campers from the Tikvah ("Hope”) Program of Camp Ramah in New England had planned a 12-day trip up and down Israel and the imminent war with Iraq wasn’t going to stop us. I thought it ironic that the lead story in the Hebrew papers distributed on our flight to Israel in February… Read more...

I& Classless Society
April 21, 2003

When it comes to our children’s education, most of us accept the sad fact that what we get is what we get. But once in a while, we have an opportunity to step back and assess what our children actually know. As was the case when many kids stayed home during the Scud missile threat in Israel, or… Read more...

I& Kosher Chinese
February 10, 2003

When I was growing up, the only connection Jews had with China was through food; a Chinese restaurant was the perfect place for Jews to go on Christmas Day and just after Pesah, when the holiday dishes still hadn’t been put away. Today Jews can learn about China - - and even plan a trip there --… Read more...

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