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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fewer marriages and fewer children means fewer Jews doing Jewish

On Jan. 16, 1949, Toby Fassman married Max Cohen (Steven M. Cohen’s parents, now both of blessed memory). At 24, Toby was among the last of her circle of friends in Brooklyn to marry, and several jokingly remarked that Max had rescued her from lifelong singlehood. Today, if a 24-year-old Jewish woman were heading for the huppah, most would presume...

To Bris or not to Bris

What is a brit milah, and what are the reasons for it? A brit milah, also known as a bris, is the Jewish ceremony in which a baby boy is circumcised. Circumcision dates back to the Book of Genesis, when God commands Abraham to circumcise himself and his offspring as a sign of the covenant between Jews and God. Throughout...
As a small boy, my father, Yehuda Koppel, used to tell a story of how he took my brother and I to the Opening Ceremonies of the Maccabiah Games in Israel. We watched and proudly cheered loudly for the Israeli team as they entered in their blue-and-white uniforms — and then suddenly we were confused as the USA squad entered...

The jews’ hospital

New York’s 45-bed Jews’ Hospital opened for patients on this date in 1855. It would change its name to the Mount Sinai Hospital after the Civil War. Founded by Sampson Simson, a philanthropist, on land that he owned on 28th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues in Manhattan, the hospital found its resources especially taxed by the war-wounded of...
video
Like many people, watching TV and film is one of the ways I can relax. While I am the first person to advocate for books, I also don’t think we need to feel guilty about watching TV, especially when such good, diverse and inclusive shows are on now. This is why I made a short list of the movies and TV...
Fifteen years ago, my dad died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 58. First there was shock, then disbelief—and once there was acceptance, of course the sadness and grief kicked in. Sleeping was replaced by thinking and crying. The next day, I did a lot of calling, everyone in my mom’s phone book, which was brutal. Later...
Fewer American Jews are marrying these days, and among those who do, barely 40 percent do so with Jewish spouses, a study published on Thursday shows. The study, published by the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Institute, found that only 50 percent of American Jews aged 25-54 (not including the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi Jews) are currently married. Among those, close to...
Two main social structures competed in ancient Israel.  The people were united under the monarchy, which organized the state for administrative and taxation purposes. At the same time, the Israelites held fast to their tribal associations.  Such tribal loyalties often came into conflict with the interests of the state. The early years of the monarchy (11th century BCE), for example,...
WILMETTE, IL — More than three quarters of a century ago, Nazis robbed a 12-year-old Harold Katz from a chance to have a normal bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age ceremony. This Memorial Day, Katz filled in that missing memory with his long-delayed celebration at Chabad of Wilmette, marking his bar mitzvah at age 89. Almost his entire his family...

Syrian Jewish cuisine: a food in exile

We often draw empathy, not from our imagination, but from seeing our past staring back at us. As the global Jewish community grapples with how best to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis, we remember our own doomed history in the area. Jewish life in 20th and 21st-century Syria was marked by persecution, totalitarianism and abuse, the Jewish people...

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