Menu JTA Search

Jewish holidays

  • With M-16s on Their Shoulders, Soldiers Mark Chanukah in Iraq

    In some ways, this year’s Chanukah in Baghdad seemed just like Chanukah any other year. Everyone gathered around the menorah outside. I spoke about the meaning of the holiday for us, in Baghdad today. A few people laughed as I pointed out some of the parallels between the Maccabees of old fighting for their just… More ▸

  • Hitchens doesn’t light the menorah

    We know that Christopher Hitchens doesn’t like God or Mother Teresa. So I guess it should come as no surprise that he’s down on Chanukah, too: The Hasmonean regime that resulted from the Maccabean revolt soon became exorbitantly corrupt, vicious, and divided, and encouraged the Roman annexation of Judea. Had it not been for this… More ▸

  • Fast Feet: Crocs Rule on Yom Kippur, but Some Fret They’re Too Comfortable

    Like many High Holidays worshipers, Andrew Steinerman had traditionally dealt with the Yom Kippur prohibition on wearing leather footwear by turning to Converse’s classic Chuck Taylor high-top canvas basketball shoe. Not anymore. This year the prominent Wall Street analyst sported a pair of black Crocs to his Modern Orthodox shul on the holiest day of… More ▸

  • 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 ▸