Yom Kippur was always my favorite holiday. Even in nursery school, when all the other kids liked Purim because of the costumes, Hanukkah because of the latkes, and Passover because of the long vacation, I was hooked on Yom Kippur. If holidays were like kids, I once thought when I was still a boy, then […]
For centuries matzo was a handmade specialty, carefully rolled into a thin, cratered moon shape and pricked with a fork. Today, many Orthodox communities still make this version — called shmurah — which is supervised by a rabbi from start to finish. But industrialization in the mid–nineteenth century forever changed the matzo industry. Historians trace the first […]
Surprisingly, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and a staunch secularist, opposed pork consumption. He viewed eating pork as a recent Jewish diasporic cultural development that Israelis needed to shed in order to forge a united Israeli identity. In 1962 the Knesset officially outlawed the breeding and selling of pigs, except for in Arab-Christian areas, […]
Passover is nigh and the Notorious R.B.G. has spoken. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has released a supplementary Seder reading highlighting the role of women in the Exodus narrative. Ginsburg—who is the first Jewish woman ever appointed to the Court—decided to contribute a feminist perspective after being asked by a Jewish nonprofit to write on social […]
“The first shock was the sheer discovery of a book about my mother and my family, which had information about me and my identity that had been kept hidden from me,” Teege says. “I knew almost nothing about the life of my biological mother, nor did my adoptive family. I hoped to find answers to questions that had disturbed me and to the depression I had suffered from. The second shock was the information about my grandfather’s deeds.”
Jewish mothers sacrificed for their children, but they expected something in return. One of their requests was that their sons sei Yidden (be Jews) and maintain a connection with the Jewish community. At least during their mothers’ lifetime, a goodly number of these tough Jewish mobsters obeyed. Detroit mobster Harry Kasser told me in a 1986 conversation that he attended synagogue on the High Holidays solely to please his mother.