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Josh Lipowsky
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Celebrate Israel!

LocalPublished: 07 June 2013

It was hot — Israel kind of hot.

As I stood along New York’s Fifth Avenue for the annual Celebrate Israel parade I began having flashbacks to standing in Tel Aviv for a parade a few years ago. Fortunately, this time I had a bigger hat and a bottle of water.

Nor did the heat deter the hundreds of thousands who came to the Upper East Side on Sunday to watch the parade, organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

Jugglers, unicyclists, marching bands, and camels, led by marchers from the Zone, a Jewish summer camp in upstate New York, entertained spectators while some 35,000 people marched up Fifth Avenue to celebrate the Jewish state. According to organizers, more than 200 organizations marched in the parade.


Fight for falafel

LocalPublished: 07 June 2013

While parade-goers migrated to Central Park for a concert sponsored by the National Council of Young Israel, I headed to Midtown toward Pitopia on Broadway for the restaurant’s falafel eating contest.

Just the week before, I had tied for second place at the Teaneck Memorial Day Street Fair pickle eating contest — which I won in 2011 — and I’m a regular in Ma’adan’s annual latke eating contest. Falafel seemed like the next challenge. I had hoped to place at least third and take home a Pitopia gift card, but alas, the Falafel Force was not with me.


Teaneck tree’s time is up

LocalPublished: 24 May 2013

Teaneck’s giant red oak survived the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and even the contentious bankruptcy hearings of the Union for Traditional Judaism, which gave rise to a town-wide battle for the tree’s future.

But the yellow ribbon around this ole oak tree now is cautionary tape. Bergen County surveyed the tree’s inner strength this month — and concluded that its time had passed.

The tree, estimated to be between 250 and 300 years old, sits at the intersection of Palisade Avenue and Cedar Lane, on the property of the modern Orthodox synagogue Netivot Shalom, but Teaneck’s Puffin Foundation paid a preservation easement in 2011 that turned responsibility for the tree — the fourth largest red oak in New Jersey — over to the county.


Two Jews, 200 opinions

Some substance, much theater at Jerusalem Post conference

LocalPublished: 03 May 2013

Iran dominated the conversation at Sunday’s second annual Jerusalem Post conference, but as Ehud Olmert and Alan Dershowitz scolded the audience as “part of the problem” and clashed with co-panelists, the substance took a backseat to the onstage drama.

As a journalist who has covered U.S.-Israel relations for several years and as a graduate student in global affairs, the conference, held at New York’s Marriott Marquis hotel, represented an opportunity for me to advance my knowledge in my career and studies. I expected to hear many differing opinions, especially in a ballroom full of Jews, but I did not expect either the audience’s antagonism toward the speakers or the speakers’ toward the audience.



Solomon Schechter’s Jack Antonoff is a Grammy Award winner!

Cover Story Published: 22 February 2013

Bergen County was kvelling during last week’s 55th annual Grammy Awards when the group Fun., featuring Bergen County native Jack Antonoff, took home awards for song of the year and best new artist. (Yes, the period at the end is part of the group’s name.)

Last year’s release of Some Nights, the group’s second album, featuring the chart-topping song We Are Young, propelled Fun. to the forefront of the music industry. Even with all the accolades, it’s still all sinking in for Fun.

“I don’t think there’s any way you can prepare yourself,” Antonoff told the Jewish Standard during a phone interview last week.


It actually tastes good!

The Kosher Food and Wine Experience offered many treats at Chelsea Piers

LocalPublished: 08 February 2013

You might think that Mordy Herzog, executive vice president of Royal Wine Corp. in Bayonne, has a favorite wine. He doesn’t, and he doesn’t think you should either.

“It’s not about what is the most exciting wine, it’s about what you like,” he said. “And the fun and challenge that I put out to my customers is find what you like, find what you enjoy. Don’t find what people say is the best. Find the wine that suits you.”

Herzog’s challenge was resolutely accepted on Monday night at Royal Wine Corp.’s Kosher Food and Wine Experience at New York’s Chelsea Piers. The event drew 2,000 kosher industry insiders, members of the press, and people looking for a night out on the town. For Bayonne-based Royal Wines, the annual event is more than just a showcase of 200 wines it distributes — it’s an opportunity to expand the public’s knowledge.

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Eight crazy latkes

LocalPublished: 21 December 2012

TEANECK – A little rain couldn’t keep these gastronomic gladiators from festively feasting during Ma’adan’s annual Chanukah caloric challenge.

A light drizzle forced the eighth annual latke-eating contest inside Ma’adan’s Cedar Lane store on Sunday, instead of its usual spot on the pedestrian plaza, but new and returning contestants still turned out for the annual test of epicurean fortitude.

Seventeen-year-old Yitzi Taber of Bergenfield claimed the title in the 13-17 age division, finishing off four latkes. There were no entries in the under-13 category this year.

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Fish, fowl, and good red meat

Our intrepid reporter visits the Kosherfest Expo in the Meadowlands

LocalPublished: 23 November 2012

Shalom Ber Cadaner spent the past year trying to get carp to taste like salami.

The result was a line of pareve “meats” all made out of carp, which he unveiled for the first time last week during the annual Kosherfest Expo at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, where thousands of food retailers, restaurateurs, and food journalists were looking to keep abreast of the latest trends in kosher food.

Crystal Springs, which is distributing Cadaner’s faux meats, was one of the more than 600 companies displaying its latest kosher options at the show. Kosherfest drew big names like Manischewitz and Aaron’s, as well as smaller companies looking for distributors and to introduce their products.

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My dinner with Ahmadinejad — a case of indigestion

WorldPublished: 04 October 2012

We could have been in Tehran.

Men in dark suits and earpieces stood outside the doors of the hotel, keeping watch for protesters and anybody else who didn’t belong. Inside, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepared to meet a group of university students.

Except this was New York City, and I was one of those students.

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School is back in session

Cover Story Published: 31 August 2012

The man sitting on the commuter train focusing intently on his iPhone might be playing Angry Birds. Or he might be studying Talmud, Skyping with a chevruta partner in Israel, or even teaching Hebrew school.

“Mobile technologies could help people practice Judaism,” Barry Schwartz said. Schwartz is CEO of Rusty Brick, a West Nyack, N.Y.-based software company that has created more than 30 Jewish mobile apps. “It is the future. Wherever you go — the airport, shul — people are looking stuff up and praying.”

Welcome to Judaism’s digital age.

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