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.
January 11, 2009 |
The scholars approached their topic with considerable nervousness, and that was before the Wall Street meltdown, before Bernard L. Madoff. Would a series of lectures at a premier business school on the history of Jews making money feed negative stereotypes? In the end, the Wharton School and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies decided to go ahead and tackle a topic that has gotten short shrift from academics until recently. The goal, said the center's director, David Ruderman, is to understand Jewish economic history "more profoundly, which is what a university does.
April 27, 2008 |
One afternoon last week, Jonathan C. Friedman was standing in Room 308 of the West Chester University library and showing some of its holdings, such as 70-year-old Jewish newspapers from Leipzig and socialist newspapers from Strassburg. Only on microfilm are there copies of their vilest counterpart - the Voelkische Beobachter, the Nazi newspaper. "This whole room is an incredible resource," Friedman said, waving an arm around what is the WCU Holocaust and Genocide Education Center.
January 9, 2008 |
Comedian Carl Reiner is a famously funny man. But on the phone from his home in Los Angeles, chatting about The Jewish Americans, the fascinating three-part documentary that debuts tonight (at 9, WHYY TV-12), he is a seriously funny man, blending humor and insight about 350 years of Jewish history in the United States. "There are some revelations in there. Judah Benjamin, a slave owner and Southern Jew fighting for the Confederacy?" said Reiner, his voice rising with a touch of puzzlement that leaves unsaid, "Who knew?"