November 15, 2010 |
More than 1,000 donors and others looked on as the new National Museum of American Jewish History officially became a reality in an opening ceremony along a sun-splashed Independence Mall on Sunday. The ceremony, which lasted little more than an hour, featured Vice President Biden and others, plus 50 shofar blowers, members of the Philadelphia Singers, and a rabbi who affixed a mezuzah - a handwritten prayer sheathed in a decorative casing - to the side of the museum's front doorway.
November 14, 2010 |
In the 1960s, a popular national ad campaign showed miscellaneous people - a wizened American Indian, a Chinese elder, Buster Keaton, an Irish cop, an angel-faced African American boy - biting into a luscious deli sandwich, with the caption: "You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's real Jewish rye. " The gist of that message - that the integration of Jews in America has helped shape the culture - is a founding principle of the new National Museum...
November 13, 2010 |
Only in America could the Jewish people make something of themselves, said Sheila Newman, of Montgomery County. And now, only in Philadelphia, is there a museum to share the Jewish people's experiences with the country. "It's the history of Jews coming from everywhere in the world and coming to America," Newman said of the National Museum of American Jewish History, which celebrates its grand opening this weekend. "If you are Jewish like we are, this gives you such a feeling of pride to see this.
October 7, 2010 |
1492. Has there been a more explosive time in Europe? It's the year when Christopher Columbus set sail. Yet it's also the year when the adventurer's royal sponsors let the Inquisition run amok in Spain. And the year when that nation, which for decades was the home of an extraordinary renaissance of Jewish and Arabic learning and art, expelled the Jews. (Not long after, the Muslims were expelled, too.) These events are woven into a beautiful tapestry in Pennsylvania author Mitchell James Kaplan's debut novel, By Fire, By Water , which has been chosen as the region's annual One Book, One Jewish Community selection.
September 26, 2010 |
One day in the mid-1970s, Sarah Safford, a young dancer from New York, was driving near Mahopac in Upstate New York when she stopped for a roadside picnic in an inviting field. In the middle of the field, she found, of all things, a trunk. And in the trunk were fabulous, fanciful vintage clothes clearly designed for the stage - a bit damp, but otherwise in fine shape. The trunk, it turned out, had belonged to Molly Picon, a star of such magnitude in the first half of the century (she debuted in Philadelphia at age 6)
July 22, 2010 |
Last month, New York media artist Ben Rubin got the go-ahead to produce an LED light sculpture to be placed atop the new National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall, set to open in November. Conceived by architect James Polshek as an 8-foot-high flame emerging from an opening in the building's glass envelope, the sculpture uses a series of lights that will gently flicker five stories above the southeast corner of Fifth and Market Streets. Polshek, 80, of Ennead Architects (until recently Polshek Partnership Architects)
April 29, 2010 |
Selma Demchick Ellis Fishman, 84, of Merion, a designer of custom invitations and a community activist, died of heart failure Monday, April 26, at her home. Mrs. Fishman graduated from Simon Gratz High School. After earning a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, she joined the Center City architectural firm of her father, Israel Demchick. In the late 1950s, while raising a family, she established Selma Ellis Originals to create party invitations.
March 25, 2010 |
Like many academics, Ligia Rav? turned to writing fiction after a career as a professor (teaching architecture at Penn and Tulane). Unlike many, however, she developed a new expertise along the way: Sephardic Jewish food. Rav? developed her culinary expertise while researching her debut novel, Hanah's Paradise, a family saga recently published by Philadelphia's New Door Books. The book centers on the Ravayah family and its mystical Galilean homestead, known as Hanah's Paradise.
September 10, 2009 |
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown Sept. 18, with a festive meal of traditional dishes. One almost universally followed tradition dictates serving a round (not braided and oblong) challah made with raisins, and dipping a slice of apple in honey to symbolize hope that the coming year will be sweet. But other traditional recipes and ingredients are largely dictated by the point of emigration for each family's ancestors. Just as Jewish history is a story of expulsion and migration, Jewish cuisine incorporates ingredients, spices, and cooking styles from lands where Jewish communities once flourished.
April 7, 2009
THROUGH the ritual of the Seder, Passover tells the story of the Pharaoh's oppression of the Jews in ancient Egypt and their eventual emancipation from slavery. It's a time of reflection, and after the recent war in Gaza, many Jews are asking: Who are the slaves and who is the Pharaoh? The war saw more than 1,417 Palestinians killed, more than 900 of them civilians, as opposed to 13 Israelis. The war was not only a devastating event for Palestinians but also the moral challenge of our time to the American Jewish community whose communal leadership supported the onslaught publicly and loudly.