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  • The Jewish people’s 911
    Local archivist collects a century of JDC photographs
  • When Jews were funny
  • The case of the family tree
    Local rabbi solves genealogical mystery
  • A man cut out to be an artist
    Oradell native making it big in Los Angeles
  • Tracing the 600-year odyssey of the Sarajevo Haggadah — in music
  • The little house in the big woods
    Artist’s family remembers growing up in Fort Lee
  • Debut CD showcases talents of newly ordained rabbi
    Educator takes on roles of songwriter, singer, and instrumentalist
  • Her own voice
    Neshama Carlebach talks about her father, her faith, her music, and kol isha
  • The essence is to wake us all up
    Ikar founder Rabbi Sharon Brous and local leaders talk about building a living Jewish community
  • One Book, many themes, and many readers
    ‘By Fire, By Water’ author will speak to One Community in Ridgewood


Doing well, doing good

Israeli band full of New Jersey locals hopes to tour U.S.

If a crowd-funding appeal is successful, the Israeli band G-Nome Project is coming to the United States.

This is not the scientific kind of genome project having to do with decoding DNA, but a musical project launched by four young expatriates — two of them from Teaneck.

It’s also a kind of chesed project. The band’s proposed 10-city “Giving Tour” aims to combine nightly gigs with days of good deeds such as visiting nursing homes and working in a soup kitchen.

This unusual twist was inspired by drummer Chemy Soibelman’s volunteering with Israeli children suffering from cancer.


Less is more

Moriah to institute new tuition affordability program

Good news for the middle class — and for Jewish day school affordability.

The Moriah School in Englewood, which runs from prekindergarten through eighth grade, has announced a new tuition affordability program, which will cut tuition for parents making as much as $360,000 a year.

Full tuition at the school ranges from $12,000 for kindergarten to $15,425 for middle school. (The prekindergarten program is not eligible for the tuition breaks.)

“We’ve been talking, as a board and as a community, about tuition affordability and the tuition crisis for years,” said Evan Sohn, the school’s president. “We decided this was the year we were going to address that issue.”


Scrolling through Jewish art

Local exhibit looks at text and images in old and new ways

The English letters that Harriet Fincke of Ridgewood learned when she was young are straightforward symbols that combine to form words, just as they are for everyone else.

But Hebrew letters — ah, they are something else again. “They always seemed kind of solid,” she said. “They seemed more like things,” objects in their own right, opaque. “It’s both the meaning and the look, and the relationship between them,” she said.

Those letters were a foundation part of her childhood — she went all the way through school at the Yeshiva of Flatbush. “I’d always had a kind of richly ambivalent relationship with my religious upbringing, and with the text,” she said.


Of terrorism and politics

A look back at the evolution of the PLO and Hamas

In light of the breakdown in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations last week, prospects for a peace settlement seem increasingly bleak.

Add to the equation that the Palestinians remain a house divided, with Gaza’s Hamas government estranged from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and the situation appears even grimmer. But it wasn’t that long ago that the Palestine Liberation Organization also was seen as a deadly terrorist group with which Israel refused to speak. As Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans try to figure out how to move forward in the crumbling peace process, it is worthwhile to take a step back and examine how the present situation came about.

The PLO emerges

“The main goal of the PLO over the years has been to insert itself whenever the Palestinian issue is discussed,” said Khaled Elgindy, who worked as an adviser to the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit in Ramallah from 2004 to 2009. “What they refused to accept was for others to deal with the Palestinian question without their involvement.”


Commemorating Yom HaShoah

This year, Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day — is Monday, April 28, and many people mark the Annual Gathering of Remembrance on Sunday, April 27. The days will be commemorated in many local synagogues, community centers, schools, and other institutions, starting this week and continuing into the following weeks.

This is the list of gatherings we have heard about, accurate as of press time. Check with your local institutions for more information.


Latest salvo in circumcision war

LOS ANGELES — In the circumcision wars, circumcision has been winning some big battles.

A new survey of medical data going back more than two decades has found that the health benefits of circumcision far outweigh the risks. The publication of the article on April 4 by the medical journal “Mayo Clinic Proceedings” is the latest development to tip the scales in favor of circumcision in the long-running scientific, cultural, and political struggles over the practice.

Some say this series of blows has damaged the efforts of American anti-circumcision activists.

“They’re in disarray” said Edgar Schoen, a clinical professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, of the procedure’s opponents. He is a longtime champion of the medical benefits of circumcision.


Fighting for Israel’s kids

Nirim brings survival treks to tough neighborhoods

Shlomi Avni thanks his parents for keeping him on the straight and narrow.

He grew up in Or Akiva, a small city halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv, just inland from Caesarea. His neighborhood was poor, with many of his peers tempted to drop out of school and turn to crime.

But his parents — his mother from Morocco, his father of Turkish descent — made sure he studied and took school seriously.

In high school in nearby Hadera, he was exposed to wider horizons and broader aspirations — in particular, the desire to be accepted into an elite combat unit in the army.

As someone who loved the sea, his choice was Flotilla 13 — the special forces unit of the Israeli navy — in other words, the Israeli version of the U.S. Navy SEALs.


Noshes: celebrity names in the news


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25 February 2011
7 January 2011
20 February 2009


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


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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