Saturday, August 15, 2020


Good Fences Make Good Neighbors… Until That Fence Falls

Recently, in Teaneck, a newly constructed stone wall fell between two properties. The Steins had spent months working with an engineer, a landscaper, and getting permits from the Township, but the wall didn’t last very long due to a defect in some prior workmanship. It bulged and bucked, and was flush against the neighbor’s fence, without causing any


Igbo Jews Of Nigeria Study And Practice Judaism

Many Igbo, while practicing Christianity, nonetheless self-identify as Jews. This phenomenon dates back to the late 18th century, when the Igbo encountered Christianity, were introduced to the Bible, and observed similarities between their native customs and those of the ancient Hebrews.

In his popular 1789 autobiography, first published in London,


Arab Students in Israel are Turning to Yiddish

TEL AVIV--At first glance, Yiddish phrases such as “oy vey” may seem odd when uttered by Samah Jayosi, a Muslim Palestinian citizen of Israel. Yet the headscarf-wearing 24-year-old is one of several dozen Arab students at a major Israeli university learning about the Yiddish language and the culture of Eastern Europe’s Ashkenazi Jews - a rare quest even among


For the Sake of Zion, They Will Not Rest

Over 2700 hundred years ago, circa 740 BCE, it was written in The Book of Isaiah: “For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest. . .”(62:1). Whether that famous quote was a prophecy or a mandate we shall never know. But what we do know is that when it comes to Zion and Jerusalem there has hardly been “silence” and


What a Summer Camp Means

Summer camps (specifically sleep-away camps) are where many children and teenagers go for that uncomfortable stage when we don’t know really if we should call ourselves by the grade we just left or the one we’re going into. But, really, summer camps offer much more than the chance to have fun for four or eight weeks with hundreds of other kids. They teach us many


Children of the Underworld

Kohelet teaches us that there is “a time to remain silent and a time to speak.”  When Judy Brown was growing up in a Chassidic community in Boro Park, she was taught that certain words were tainted and forbidden to be read or even spoken.  Sexual abuse was not a real phrase; it simply didn’t exist.  There were no such children as abused children. To


To Market

It’s amusing to us how the meaning of words change over the years. As children we remember our parents going to “the market” to go shopping. It was not as though they were going to A & P (Nina’s mother called that the goyishe market) or to Waldbaum’s. They would say that they are going marketing. Today we identify by name where we are going


Camp Memories-1962

As soon as I zipped up the dress I felt better. True, it was harder to fasten than it had been at my cousin Phyllis’ wedding just one month before, but I had been drowning my misery in snacks ever since camp started. The only good thing about the 12-year-old staff kids that I was in charge of in Camp Nalila that summer was the never ending supply of goodies


Even If You Give Up All The Land, It Won’t Solve The Problems In The Mideast

Jerusalem—There is something dignified in the quiet, determined manner of Ayaan Hirsi Ali as she rises from the audience and walks towards the podium to deliver her lecture. Ali’s intricate history starts in Somalia, where she was born to a Muslim family. At the age of five she underwent female genital mutilation. By her teens she was a devout Muslim. In


Up, Up And Away At Home

Israel Hayom—The Israel Air Force’s newest group of pilots, Class 166, were all promoted to the rank of lieutenant before they received their coveted pilot’s wings.

“The rank you carry on your shoulders is a great privilege and also a great responsibility; it is a privilege to have been chosen from the best of the [nation’s] youth,


“Summer Loving”

We’ve been driving for more than three hours. I am frantic to locate a bathroom and then find a cup of coffee anywhere on this endlessly curving country road. All I see are cows. And don’t even get me started about the traffic. Would someone please explain where everyone is going on this rainy Sunday morning when they should be snugly tucked in


Tisha B’Av in the 21st Century

It is a testament to the amazing variability of Jewish synagogue life in America that the summertime fast of Tisha B’Av is for some a time of momentous communal mourning, and for others a normal and unremarkable day. In contrast to Yom Kippur, which sees widespread observance in one fashion or another across the denominational spectrum, Tisha B’Av and its ritual