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  • ‘Chanah’s Voice’
    Haviva Ner-David’s Jewish feminist journey continues
  • Jews in the Garment Center
    Local documentary maker looks at Jewish garmentos, anarchists, musicians, and other unusual Americans
  • A mission of solidarity
    The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey visits Israel
  • Showbiz meets shtetl
  • Paddling the Mediterranean
    Local man navigates many-legged kayak trip from Spain to Cyprus
  • A friend indeed
    Intergenerational program at JCC enriches seniors, children
  • Recycling his roots
    Musician Billy Jonas talks about music, the environment, and Jewish life
  • Off-Broadway offers theatrical Yiddishkeit
  • Unity from tragedy
    Local group goes to Israel to show support, share grief and love
  • Local writer tarnishes the golden child syndrome

 

An American tale

Closter’s mayor talks about her journey from Nuremberg to New Jersey

Anyone trying to predict the course of newborn Sofie Dittmann’s life in 1928 would have imagined a solid, possibly even stolid upper-middle-class life, most likely in her birth city — Nuremberg, Germany.

It would have seemed an odd leap to imagine Sophie Dittman Heymann as she is today — the Republican mayor of Closter, coming to the end of her term as she completes eight years in office.

Her story, as Ms. Heymann tells it, involves hats, salamis, of course ambition, and a surprising but logical take on Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It began with Sofie, as her name then was spelled, and her younger sister, Ilse, growing up in a comfortable German-Jewish home. Her father, Fritz Dittmann, a leather dealer, was a World War I veteran, and he had earned an Iron Cross fighting for Germany in that war. Her mother, Gerda, was the daughter of a banker. The family’s life in Germany ended abruptly in 1933, however, when one of her father’s employees — who “was a Nazi, but also very loyal to my father,” Ms. Heymann said — warned him that the Nazis would be coming for him the next day.

The family escaped that night — by taxi.

 

Got day school?

Federation launches marketing effort for nine area Jewish schools

“We can accomplish more together by pooling our resources for a common goal,” explained Rabbi Jonathan Knapp, head of school of the Yavneh Academy in Paramus.

“Through this project, we hope to raise awareness across the broader community about the benefits of a stellar dual curricular Jewish education,” he said.

“We’re trying to educate different audiences within our community about the value of a Jewish education and the importance of investing in these schools,” Ms. Scherzer said. “These are the schools that produce leaders.”

In addition to the advertising campaign, planned marketing efforts include a short video, a website, and parlor meetings to take the case for day schools directly to community leaders.

 

As easy as chewing gum

Sweet Bites launches program to prevent tooth decay

Convincing children to chew gum is easy. Distributing gum that prevents tooth decay to children in urban slums is a bit trickier.

Still, given the success they enjoyed during their pilot year in India, the creators of Sweet Bites stand a good chance of making widespread gum distribution a reality.

According to 22-year-olds Josh Tycko of Demarest and Eric Kauderer-Abrams of Englewood, who joined with several friends at the University of Pennsylvania this year to found the group, tooth decay has been a terrible burden on the lives of millions of slum dwellers.

Sweet Bites wants to popularize the use of 100 percent xylitol-sweetened gum to reverse the trend. The students point out that clinical trials in both the United States and India have proved the gum’s efficacy in re-mineralizing enamel and reducing tooth decay.

 

Mom grieves for 4-year old killed by Gaza mortar

JERUSALEM — Hundreds attended the funeral for Daniel Tregerman, the 4-year-old who was killed in a mortar attack outside his home near the Gaza border.

“We were the happiest family in the world, and I just cannot come to grips with it,” Daniel’s mother, Gila Tregerman, said between sobs at the funeral on Sunday morning at a cemetery in the Eshkol Region, near the family home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

“We wanted to protect you but even the Code Red siren failed to save you. You would always run first and call your little brother [to the shelter], and then in a second it ended.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also spoke at the funeral.

 

Cease-fire takes hold

Marks end to Israel’s longest, bloodiest war in Gaza

TEL AVIV — A rocket barrage fell on Israel, a boom sounded over Tel Aviv, and then it was over — at least for now.

After 50 days of missiles, airstrikes, ground operations, tunnel incursions, truce talks, cease-fire proposals, death, and destruction, Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended truce on Tuesday.

The cease-fire announced by Egypt stipulates that Israel and Egypt will open all border crossings to allow international humanitarian aid and construction materials to enter the Gaza Strip.

The agreement requires Israel and Hamas to cease hostilities, but according to reports it does not include commitments to allow an international airport and seaport in Gaza. After a month, should the quiet hold, Israel and Hamas will restart indirect negotiations in Cairo on easing Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip and disarming the enclave.

 

Israeli tech firm aims to detect Gaza tunnels

OR YEHUDA, Israel — Something that looks like a can of soda could be Israel’s high-tech answer to the network of tunnels that Hamas has created under the Gaza border.

A sensor known as a geophone can detect underground movement based on the sound generated by the movement, the Israeli defense firm manufacturing the device says. The firm, Elpam Electronics, says the geophone is capable of finding the location of a person crawling as far down as 32 feet.

Israel has grappled with the danger of the Gaza tunnels for years, but the threat has gained greater urgency in the wake of Protective Edge, the military operation launched last month. A ground invasion of Gaza that started five weeks ago had the stated aim of neutralizing the tunnels, 32 of which were subsequently destroyed, according to the Israeli military.

 

Yiddish tango links time, space and musical styles

LOS ANGELES — The music that packs the Skirball Cultural Center’s stately courtyard — Yiddish tango — is a musical hybrid twice over.

On the tango side, it is a blend of African-born rhythms and a potpourri of European music styles. On the Yiddish side, it combines mournful liturgical melodies with folk songs.

Tango, too, is famous for its sensual dance, while Yiddish music is rooted in the festive freylekhs of traditional wedding bands.

In combination, the two prove irresistible, as the concert crowd stands and sways to the tangled rhythms.

For Gustavo Bulgach, 47, band leader of Yiddish Tango Club — the star attraction at the Skirball on August 21 — the music is also a reminder of his childhood in Buenos Aires in the 1970s and ‘80s. Born to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants, Bulgach grew up in Argentina learning Jewish folk music at the feet of his grandfather, a passionate music lover, and in the synagogue his grandfather had founded.

 

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PODCASTS

25 February 2011
7 January 2011
20 February 2009
 

VIDEOPOSTS

Temple Beth El Re-Dedication
 
4th Annual Kosherfest Culinary Competition 2011
 
Kehillah Partnership Pilot Program
 

PHOTOGALLERY

Teens from Sha’ar Communities met with Jack Antonoff of the Band FUN, pictured back row, center, to talk about Jewish identity. Rabbi Adina Lewittes of Sha’ar facilitated the discussion as part of a series,  “Teens 2.0: Hitting the Refresh Button on Jewish Identity.” Courtesy Sha’ar

 
 
 
 
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