By Joanne Sydney Lessner for Hadassah Magazine
The Gustav Sonata, winner of Hadassah Magazine’s Harold U. Ribalow Award as well as a National Jewish Book Award, is the first of Rose Tremain’s 14 novels to address a Jewish theme. Tremain, 74, who lives in Norfolk, England, often writes about social groups slightly out of the prevailing mainstream. Her Orange Prize-winner The Road Home concerns an Eastern European immigrant trying to make a life in England. The Gustav Sonata, set in Switzerland before, during and after World War II, traces the lifelong friendship between exuberant, ambitious (and Jewish) Anton and reserved, empathetic Gustav (who is not). While exploring the evolution of their relationship and the family circumstances that shape them, Tremain turns her delicately penetrating prose to themes of unspoken love, loyalty, music and the sacrifices made in pursuit of neutrality.
What was your inspiration for The Gustav Sonata?
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Israel is pioneering digital health developments for the world. Which ones will hit their stride in the coming months?
Medication personalization, personalized disease management and reducing chronic pain will be the three biggest breakthroughs in digital health this year, predicts Dr. Yossi Bahagon, a family physician, global digital health consultant and managing partner of OurCrowd Qure, Israel’s first exclusively focused digital health fund.
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily
Purim Begins the Evening of February 28, 2018
Purim is a Jewish Halloween, a Jewish Mardi Gras and a secular New Year rolled into one. And it is not just a holiday for children who know immediately that anything with a costume will be fun. All Jews are commanded to be silly and celebrate the ancient victory against their adversaries by giving gifts of food to friends and to the poor.
Purim comes in the late winter or early spring. Jews have celebrated by dressing up as both the heroes and villains of the Purim story, as they chase away their winter doldrums and acknowledge that Purim brings springtime.
Want more? Check out Jvillage Network's Purim Board on Pinterest.
Want even more information on Purim? Check out Jvillage Network's Purim Guide.
Learn the many chapters that make up the Tanach and find out where you can find more information about each.
Have you always wanted to read the Bible, but didn’t know how to get started?
In addition to the myriad editions of the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanach ) available in book form, the entire Bible can be read in Hebrew and English on Sefaria, an online resource that enables users to search by keyword and provides links to commentaries and other related materials. Below, we outline the contents of the Bible, with links to our articles about each section.
By ISRAEL21c Staff
New multinational research reveals that even small amounts of manmade aerosol particles can wreak havoc.
Even the tiniest of particles from human emissions can fuel powerful storms and influence weather and crops much more than previously thought, according to new research published January 26 in the journal Science.
The study focuses on the power of manmade aerosol emissions to grow rain clouds and intensify storms. These particles come from urban and industrial air pollution, wildfires and other sources.
Prof. Steven J. Weitzman for TheTorah.com
Is there a genetic marker for cohanim (priests)? Are Ashkenazi Jews descended from Khazars? Why is there such a close genetic connection between Samaritans and Jews, especially cohanim? A look at what genetic testing can tell us about Jews.
In premodern times, the question of where Jews come from had an obvious answer: The Bible tells the story of Israel’s origins beginning with the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, moving on to Moses and the exodus from Egypt, and continuing on the conquest of Canaan, the judges, the monarchy, the exile, and so on. Modern scholars have come to challenge that narrative, however, just as scientists began to challenge the creation story in Genesis, looking beyond the biblical account for an explanation for how the Jews came to be.
Exodus 21:1 - 24:18
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg for myjewishlearning.com
Ascending the Mountain
The work of covenant involves a lot less feeling and a lot more action.
All too often, we think about connection with the sacred — with the holy, with God — as being about warm, fuzzy feelings. Those profound moments in prayer and meditation when something feels like it’s opening up, even just a little. And yet. Parashat Mishpatim makes it clear that even the most powerful theophany isn’t, in the scheme of things, all that important.
The work of covenant, this portion shows us, is sometimes daily and plodding — involving a lot less feeling and a lot more action. It’s not a coincidence that Mishpatim also includes the commandments neither to mistreat the stranger nor oppress the widow or the orphan. It also demands that we not charge interest in moneylending, not follow the masses in doing evil, not spread false rumors, not subvert the rights of the needy and that we rest on Shabbat.
BY YOSEF NEMANPOUR for newvoices.org
There are a surprising number of labels that a Jewish person can use to describe their Jewish identity. It can range anywhere from the typical “Orthodox,” “Conservative,” and “Reform” denominations, to “Jewish Science” observances.
The practice of affixing labels to Jews has become so pervasive that the concept of separating those labels from Jewish identity seems impossible. In reality, however, the heavy emphasis on Jewish denominational factions is relatively new. Moreover, although Jewish denominational stereotyping might seem intuitive or automatic, it often involves a far greater cost than benefit, both to those labeled and to our communities at large.
Ep. 120: LGBTQ&A podcast host Jeffrey Masters and Anne Edelstein, author of Lifesaving for Beginners, plus Roy Moore’s ‘Jewish lawyer’
By Unorthodox for Tablet Magazine
This week on Unorthodox, Mark calls up Roy Moore’s ‘Jewish lawyer,’ and Stephanie sits down with Jeffrey Masters, host of the podcast LGBTQ&A, which documents stories of the LGBTQ community. We’re also joined by Anne Edelstein, author of the new memoir Lifesaving for Beginners.
BY ANDREW SHERWOOD for JewishNews
Playing for the same Premier League football team, representing Israel together, childhood friends, neighbours – even the same birthday – not much separates Tomer Hemed and Beram Kayal. In fact the only discernible difference is one’s a Jew and the other an Arab Muslim. Yet even that distinction only serves to bring them closer together.
By Miriam Anzovin for JewishBoston
My quest for fresh Jewish characters on television continues unabated.
When I first heard the buzz about “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon’s new show about a young Jewish housewife struggling to be a stand-up comic in New York during the 1950s, I was pretty amped. The show picked up several Golden Globes, and the hype increased. I’m just a Jewish girl, wandering through the television landscape in search of representation and validation. I was hopeful! Maybe we were finally getting a show that would introduce some dynamic new Jewish characters into the zeitgeist! Sigh. As if. I watched the series and lo! My hopes were dashed.
The Nosher for myjewishlearning.com
Get cozy with these delicious Jewish soups, carbs and sweets.
Yeah, yeah we know that hot chocolate is like the coziest thing to drink when it’s dreary and cold outside. But we prefer to snuggle up with babka, chicken soup and a whole bunch of other cozy Jewish dishes. Here are a few of our favorites to make your winter a little warmer.
Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls
Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Challah
Yemenite Vegetarian Soup
BY ELI FINK for JewishJournal.com
If you’ve seen the trailer or any advertisements for “Coco,” you already know that it’s Pixar’s most Mexican film yet. What you don’t see in the trailer is that Coco is also Pixar’s most Jewish film. You probably would not see that by watching the movie, either, but it’s all I saw.
“Coco” tells the story of Miguel Rivera, a Mexican boy who travels on Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) to the Land of the Dead, where he must reconnect with his deceased ancestors to return to the Land of the Living. “Coco” fits neatly in the pantheon of familiar Pixar stories and the film is bursting with wholesome values.
Erica S. Perl for Jewish Book Council
As good Jewish parents, my mom and dad introduced me and my brother to the finer things in life. Namely: potato knishes, bialys, kasha varnishkes...and comedy.
Today, thanks to the miracles of YouTube and other online video archives, it’s even easier to find a smorgasbord of Jewish comedy, which helped me a LOT while I was working on my new novel All Three Stooges. It's a middle grade novel (for ages ten and up) about Noah and Dash, two Jewish boys who are best friends and comedy junkies, and the family tragedy that threatens to end their laughter as well as their friendship. I watched as many comedy clips as I could, and put many of them in the book. This experience led me to create this slightly subjective and far-from-complete list.
For more great reads, check out Jvillage Network's Books for Adults Pinterest page.
Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to India, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and concluded nine trade deals between the two countries. The visit is just the latest manifestation of the growing alliance between Israel and India, a country that was long hostile to the Jewish state, and refused to have formal diplomatic ties until 1991. To Swapan Dasgupta, New Delhi’s reluctance to improve relations with Jerusalem came from its excessive fear of provoking Muslim rage:
For the longest possible time, Indian diplomacy has run scared of facing the truth over Israel because of the fear of a Muslim backlash at home and recriminations against migrant Indian workers in the Islamic nations of West Asia. Someone had to take the bull by the horn and end this nonsense. The Modi government took the step in 2014, culminating in the Netanyahu visit last week.
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily
Finding Your Officiant(s) and Choosing a Date
Timing and Location of a Jewish/Interfaith Wedding
If you’re thinking of having a rabbi or cantor officiate your wedding, keep in mind that most Jewish clergy observe a number of limitations and restrictions on both the location and timing of weddings they perform. The rules vary a bit from one movement of Judaism (denomination) to another, but here are some of the most common limitations.
Location, location, location!
In traditional Judaism there are hardly any restrictions on where a couple can get married. A synagogue, someone’s home, a park, a non-denominational chapel or a banquet hall are all in play, as well as just about anywhere else. Some rabbis aren’t comfortable officiating in churches or sanctuaries of other religions; others are more flexible. If your ceremony is co-officiated, make sure you clear your wedding site with both officiants prior to contracting for a venue. Different religious communities have different requirements.
BY RACHEL MINKOWSKY for Kveller
My family joined a synagogue a few months ago, and overall it’s been wonderful for us. But after our first family Shabbat service, I realized I had a lot to learn. And I wanted to learn. I wanted to be a good example for both my children, but especially my 7-year-old, who was thriving in Hebrew school.
Somewhere during a frantic, late-night Google search for Jewish classes and seminars, I stumbled upon a group called JInspire. They were linked with the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, a group that offers trips to Israel for Jewish mothers. The trip is a different concept than Birthright. Participants in JWRP trips are expected to regularly engage with the group that accepts them. There are challah bakes, workshops, even Mommy and Me events. It sounded amazing. My husband completely supported my desire to apply.
By Rebecca Stadlen Amir for Israel21c
Yam Pro Energy and India’s Shapoorji Pallonji Group will build a commercial-scale wave-power station in Ghana to serve 10,000 households.
Israel’s Yam Pro Energy signed a partnership with Indian business conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Group to begin production on the world’s first commercial-scale wave energy power station in Ghana.
The $180 million station, located along the coastline near the capital city of Accra, will be designed to generate up to 150 megawatts.
BY ROBERT M. SELTZER for myjewishlearning.com
Heschel aimed, through his writing and teaching, to shock modern people out of complacency and into a spiritual dimension
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), a descendant of two important Hasidic dynasties, was born in Warsaw. After receiving a thorough Jewish education in Poland, Heschel entered the University of Berlin, where in 1934 he received his doctorate for a study of the biblical prophets… . In 1937 Heschel became Martin Buber’s successor at the Judisches Lehrhaus in Frankfurt and head of adult Jewish education in Germany, but the following year, he and other Polish Jews were deported by the Nazis. [Martin Buber (1878-1965) was a German-Jewish social and religious philosopher. The Frankfurt Lehrhaus, an experimental center for adult Jewish education, aimed to teach marginal, acculturated Jews about Judaism.]
From Sachlav Israel on the House
NOTE: Birthright has two trips planned in 2018 - June 6th - June 18th from Los Angeles and July 2nd - 12th from New York. The Los Angeles one is during pride week in Tel Aviv so it will be an extra amazing experience.
Want to experience all that Israel has to offer, in a safe, comfortable, and empowering environment, with other LGBTQ identifying people? Join like-minded people this season for the complete Birthright Israel trip experience, along with additional Israeli LGBTQ oriented activities. Led by members of the LGBTQ community, the trip covers all the same sites and activities as our flagship “Israel Explore” itinerary, while introducing you to the Israeli LGBTQ community, and their experiences. It’s ultimate introduction to Israel, with maximum exposure to the best that Israel, and its human landscape, have to offer. You will taste the culture, embrace the adventure, discover more of your Jewish heritage, and meet with organizations at the forefront of the LGBTQ community in Israel.
Places very limited – sign up now to avoid disappointment!
Please Note: This trip is run for groups ages 20 to 26