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Up Front: Redemption in Denver
April 14, 2008

It started with a late-night call from DeeDee Benel, my son’s faculty adviser at Manhattan’s Ramaz High School, a private Orthodox Jewish prep school on the Upper East Side. “Everything is OK with Daniel,” she reassured my wife and then began telling her about the birth of her grandson in Denver… Read more...

Good Taste: "V" Vegetarian Sandwich Bar
March 5, 2007

"V” Vegetarian Sandwich Bar 1259 Park Avenue (between 97th and 98th), New York, NY 10029 Tel: (212) 360-7185 Open daily 7am (8am Sundays) - 10pm, Fridays till 2pm, closed Shabbat Kosher/Cholov Yisroel Depending on your perspective, Manhattan’s new “V” Vegetarian Sandwich Bar is either between the… Read more...

Good Taste: Darna Restaurant
December 11, 2006

Darna Restaurant 600 Columbus Ave. (corner 89th Street) New York Tel.: (212) 721-9123; Open: Sun.-Thurs.: lunch, 11:30 am-4 pm, dinner, 4 pm-11 pm, Fri.: 11:30 until one hour before Shabbat; dinner with reservations, Sat.: after Shabbat until midnight. Passing by Darna on a… Read more...

Good Taste: Milk Street Cafe
October 30, 2006

Milk Street Cafe 50 Milk Street, Boston (Also at Norman B. Leventhal Park, at Post Office Square) 617-542-FOOD (3663) Kosher Open: 7am-3pm Walk through Boston’s financial district on a hot Indian-summer day and you will be delighted to discover Leventhal Park at… Read more...

Good Taste: Edge of the Woods Natural Market
July 10, 2006

379 Whalley Avenue New Haven, Connecticut Tel.: (203) 787-1055 Open: Mon.-Fri. 8:30am-7:30pm, Sat. 8:30am-6:30pm, Sun. 9am-6pm At first sight “edge,” as the locals call it, is your typical health food store: Fresh flowers for sale greet you at the door, beyond which are the… Read more...

Good Taste: Taam Tov
June 12, 2006

Taam Tov 41 West 47th Street, New York Tel. (212) 768-8001 or 768-2827 Open: Mon. - Fri. 10am - 6pm, kosher Wade through the sea of mainly Orthodox diamond dealers mingling and conducting business along 47th Street and you will come across a man with a sandwich board, standing in front of an office… Read more...

Good Taste: Shangri-La Vegetarian Restaurant
May 15, 2006

2026 Irving Street, San Francisco, Tel: (415) 731-2548, Open: Mon-Sun 11:30am-9pm, Kosher. After a long day of cable car rides, walks along Fisherman’s Wharf and a hike up Lombard Street, we were delighted to discover another Chinatown, San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood. The Shangri-La Vegetarian… Read more...

Good Taste: Jelly Belly Visitor Center and Factory Tour
April 3, 2006

Jelly Belly Visitor Center and Factory Tour One Jelly Belly Lane Fairfield, California Tel.: 800-JB-BEANS Tour info: 800-953-5592 Free drop-in tours daily 9am-4pm (A train and video tour are also offered at a second plant, in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin; tel.: 866-TOUR-JBC), Kosher… Read more...

Good Taste: La Creperie
February 20, 2006

2608 Broadway between 98th and 99th Streets, NY Tel.: (212) 865- 7334; Open: Sun-Thurs: 11am-11pm Fri: 11am-2pm Sat: one hour after Shabbat-1 a.m. It is not at all surprising to find a kosher dairy restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. But when it opened… Read more...

Good Taste: Mendy's
November 28, 2005

Mendy’s Grand Central Station (Lower Level Dining Concourse), NY Mendy’s Dairy and Appetizers: 7am-5:45pm, Sunday 7:30am- 3pm Mendy’s Kosher Deli: 10:30am- 8:45pm, Sundays till 6pm Closed on Shabbat Tel: (212) 856-9399 Drop by Grand Central Station’s… Read more...

Good Times: The Matzo Files
October 17, 2005

Streit’s Matzos Factory Store, 150 Rivington Street, New York, Tel: (212) 677-0876,, Hours: Tues-Thurs 3pm-6pm, Sun 12 noon - 5pm, appointments possible. Though Passover’s more than half a year away, there’s a lot of action at Steit’s Matzos on Manhattan’s Lower East Side… Read more...

Up Front: Swift Remedy
September 5, 2005

At 6am on a recent Sunday morning, a group of us grabbed mountain bikes, helmets and water bottles and set out from Palmer, Massachusetts for Quabbin Reservoir, 10 miles northwest of us. We rode past the local airport, through the town of Belchertown, alongside Doug’s Taxidermy and Archery shop and… Read more...

Good Taste: Café 921 at the Pikes
May 16, 2005

921 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore, Maryland Tel: (410) 580-1400; Open: Sun.-Thurs.: 11am - 9pm, Fri.: 11am- 1:30pm in winter; 11am-2:30pm in summer; Saturday: 1 hour after Shabbat; kosher Baltimore natives fondly remember 921 Reisterstown Road as home of the… Read more...

I& The Ears of March
April 4, 2005

This Jewish year, with its two Adars, affords aficionados of hamentaschen (Haman’s pocket, in Yiddish; in Hebrew, the goodies are called oznei Haman, or Haman’s ears) an extra month to contemplate and seek out the perfect three-cornered pastry. Before we get to the main course, you may wonder why… Read more...

I& The First GW
March 7, 2005

In honor of George Washington’s birthday on February 22, I ran an Internet search on the relationship between the first president and the Jews, and found some interesting results. For a good overview of Washington’s life, including the apocryphal “I cannot tell a lie” cherry tree story, it is… Read more...

I& Share That Tree
February 7, 2005

When I was a kid, Tu Bishvat meant putting money in the Jewish National Fund pushke, singing “Hashkediah Porahat” (The Almond Tree Is Blooming) and eating almonds from Israel, or trying to avoid breaking teeth on dried carobs. The Internet has widened the options for observing the New Year of the… Read more...

Arts: Everybody's Favorite Orientalist
January 24, 2005

In spite of the romanticized nature of his images, or perhaps because of it, it is David Roberts’s 19th-century prints that many still think of when they think of the Holy Land Jewish tradition holds that Moses was denied entry to the Land of Israel for striking the rock. Although the fairness of… Read more...

Good Taste: Pereg Gourmet
January 23, 2005

69-66 Main Street, Flushing, New York Tel: (718) 261-6767 Open: Sun.-Wed.: 9am-7pm; Thurs.: 9am-9pm; Fri.: 9am-2pm. All products are kosher. The Pereg Gourmet Spice Store is a stone’s throw from Shea Stadium and the U.S. Tennis Center in Queens, New York. Located in a strip mall in a predominantly… Read more...

Good Taste: Moshe's Café International Glatt Kosher Cuisine
January 10, 2005

153 East 53rd Street, corner of Lexington Avenue, at the sunken plaza of Citigroup Center, Manhattan. “Which building do you work in?” asks Avraham Matayav, the friendly, soft-spoken immigrant from Tajikistan and proprietor of Moshe’s Café International Glatt Kosher Cuisine. The eatery, Avraham… Read more...

I& Annual Anguish
January 10, 2005

Why do Israelis call the night of December 31, which most of us call New Year’s Eve, Sylvester? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. Rabbi Jeremy Rosen didn’t either. Rosen confesses his ignorance at “Having been brought up in… Read more...

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...

I& Putting Israel on the Map
December 30, 2002

It took two great Zionist thinkers, pioneering farmers, brave soldiers and wads of cash to put the modern State of Israel on the map. But a few pranksters were able to take it off. I’m referring to a recent e-mail from a friend, warning me and about 100 other close friends not to buy Fuji film… Read more...

December 30, 2002

Sarajevo: Dating from 14th-century Catalonia, the Sarajevo Haggadah made its way via Italy to Bosnia, where it was acquired but kept hidden for safety by the national museum in 1894. It was secreted away from the Nazis by a Muslim professor, and survived the Bosnian war of 1992-95. Now, through the… Read more...

Good Times: Alibaba of the West Side
September 9, 2002

515 Amsterdam between 84th and 85th Streets (kosher) Tel.: (212) 787-6008, Yemenit Israeli Moshe Harizy came to New York 19 years ago, opened a stationery store, and started an Upper West Side Yemenite-style minyan, where he graciously served three free meals every Shabbat… Read more...

Business: If Marvin Won't Come to the Mall...
June 17, 2002

’Buy Israeli’ fairs, for shoppers who won’t make the trip to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv this year, are sweeping America New York — Merchants from Jerusalem’s Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall had their busiest day in more than a year one Sunday in early May, when 10,000 enthusiastic customers snapped up… Read more...

Up Front: Out for a Ride
May 20, 2002

Entering a New York City taxi cab, more information than one might want awaits the astute fare. With one breath, you can tell if the driver smokes; with one ear, you can tell if he’s a traffic-and- weather junkie, a Christian radio devotee or a jazz maven. The first thing I look for is the name of… Read more...

Business: One Man's Meat...
December 31, 2001

Muslims account for about a fifth of the kosher food sales in the United States. But while Jewish dietary laws are similar to Islamic halal - there are some obstacles to full-scale cooperation. Sometime in 1997, the Muslim and Jewish chaplains Mt. Holyoke College had to deal with an emergency. The… Read more...

Book Review: Strange Bedfellows
September 10, 2001

Teacha! Stories from a Yeshiva By Gery Albarelli Glad Day Books 104pp.; $10.95, Strange Bedfellows: An Italian-Catholic teacher finds his way into the hearts of his Satmar Hasid students. I think it was Woody Allen who once turned Shaw’s quote on its head when he observed, “Those who can’t teach… Read more...

Up Front: The President's Prayer
July 2, 2001

The stone-faced members of the U.S. Secret Service and of the Israeli Shin Bet’s VIP protection unit all boasted the wire dangling from one ear, close-cropped haircuts, dark suits and ties. But you could tell them apart, during the Shabbat service at Park East Synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper East… Read more...

Book Review: How to Be A Jewish Parent
November 20, 2000

Putting a mezuzah on the doll’s house is just one of many ways to turn your home into ‘Jewish space’ Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, or even by its title, but that didn’t stop fellow riders on several Manhattan buses and subways from offering their comments about Anita Diamant’s new… Read more...

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