Jewish holidays

  • On Tisha B’av, Laments for an Israel Seemingly on Edge of Ruin

    Commemorating Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem is a bit of an exercise in paradoxes. On the one hand, the remains of the Holy Temple whose destruction we lament on this national day of fasting and mourning are just a stone’s throw away, on the same hallowed ground where generations of Jewish soldiers died fighting for their… More ▸

  • Cheese Wrapped in Tradition: Blintzes Are Worth It for Shavuot

    More than 50 years ago my grandmother took me to a friend’s apartment. “Bertha turns out blintzes by the dozen,” Granny explained. “Even if there’s no company expected, she makes them and stocks her freezer.” I stood on a stool and watched melting butter turn frothy before meeting a smooth batter. The combination filled Bertha’s… More ▸

  • Casualties from Recent Lebanon War Remembered on Israel’s Memorial Day

    The young men from reserve battalion 9211 greeted each other with quiet handshakes and embraces on Israel’s Memorial Day by the rose and flag-covered grave of their friend David Smidov. “It’s a difficult day,” Ori Bushari, 26, said on Monday. Bushari had been friends with Smidov since the day they were drafted together nearly eight… More ▸

  • Shavuot Lesson: Jews Must Champion Cause of Strangers in a Strange Land

    As Shavuot approaches, Congress again seems poised to take up the question of immigration reform. Frustrated by last year’s stalemate on the subject, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid earlier this month announced his intention to bypass the normal Judiciary Committee process and take an immigration bill that the Senate passed last year straight to the… More ▸

  • Russian-speaking Emissaries Bring Seders to an Isolated Community

    Approximately 5,250 miles from Zabars in New York City, 5,680 miles from Jerusalem — and, in April, still resting peacefully under several feet of fresh snow — Kamchatka may be the last place in the world you’d expect to find a Jew diligently grating maror for a seder. Nonetheless, it was in this regional capital… More ▸

  • Passover Offers Vital Lessons for U.S. Immigration Policies

    The recent immigration raids in New Bedford, Mass., where nearly 200 children were left stranded when their parents, who otherwise were lawful workers, were arrested and shipped off to detention centers in Texas and other distant states reinforce the essential failure of America’s immigration policies. With the introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives on… More ▸

  • No Fish Story: Buenos Aires Revels in Gefilte at Passover Fest

    Tourists shopping in Buenos Aires’ fashionable Palermo Hollywood area may have smelled something fishy recently. Amid the innovative objects, modern art galleries and elaborate gourmet dining spots at Costa Rica and Armenia Square on March 24-25 was the second Urban Passover-Gefilte Fish Festival, which featured a contest for the best gefilte fish. The winner was… More ▸

  • Take an Exodus from Heavy Fare, Try Fruits and Veggies at Seder

    Hard-boiled eggs, brisket, matzah balls laced with chicken fat and flourless cakes that require eight eggs. Not to forget the farfel casseroles laden with margarine and often containing harmful trans fats or the saturated fat of butter. Passover may be the quintessential spring holiday, but many of its foods are far from lite in calories,… More ▸

  • Multilingual Seder in Paris Helps Bridge the Gaps

    At the Kehilat Gesher seder here, guests are free to participate in almost any language they want. The French-American liberal synagogue, serving some 145 families in greater Paris at two locations, for the past three years has been conducting its festive Passover meal in more than 10 languages. Among the tongues spoken: English, French, Hebrew,… More ▸

  • Free Moscow Matzah Comes with Some Passover Learning

    Many of the elderly Jews filling the pews of the Choral Synagogue here on an unseasonably warm afternoon come for the same reason that would have drawn them during Soviet times: matzah. This year, however, 69-year-old Galina Gershuni is receiving something she unlikely would not have in those darker days: a history lesson with the… More ▸