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Stumbling into Syrian cuisine while searching for a Soviet-Russian seder tradition

April 7, 2017
Soviet-Russian seder traditions - Syrian Roasted Lamb Shanks recipe

It starts, as these things so often do, with food. My (non-Jewish) partner and I, recently reunited after a short separation, in the sad bachelor apartment where he had temporarily landed. Where familiar, lonely kitchen things still glared at me woefully, bereft of their mates that had landed up in my kitchen. Where we bumped into each…

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Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive

November 11, 2013
Kristallnacht on Twitter post - interior of burnt synagogue in Berlin

This weekend was the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Night of the Broken Glass, when thousands of Jewish homes and businesses were ransacked and destroyed across Germany. Ninety-one Jews died that night. That was the night of November 9/10, 1938. (Awkward anniversary tie-in – on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.) Media…

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An A-Z of Russian hospitality to Jews for Shimon Peres: The outtakes

December 5, 2012
Moscow Jewish Museum of Tolerance logo - Peres at Jewish Museum in Moscow

You might have heard something about Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Jewish museum in Moscow? It’s just opened and Peres was among the important so-and-so’s in attendance. At some point in the proceedings, overcome with emotions dredged up from childhood, he opened his mouth and and the following came out: “My mother sang to me in…

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Baby dictator photos art project explores nature of evil and motherhood

June 9, 2010
Baby dictator photos - baby dressed up as Stalin

  I have conflicted feelings about mommyblogging. It’s an activity which, like much of online living, presupposes some kind of inherent relevance to your personal life. But what about the child as art canvas? I’m not talking Sally Mann or Tierney Gearon style photographs of their children in day-to-day life. I’m talking about costuming and…

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Holocaust meets social media

April 30, 2010
Anne Frank on Facebook: Collage of Holocaust Facebook profiles

I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did—Anne Frank is now on Facebook. And I’m sure she’d be thrilled to know that a boy named Ricky hates the Nazis because they deprived the world of her long legs. I suppose we can chalk one up on the win column that, thanks to the…

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Roman Vishniac’s photography: The impoverished life that wasn’t quite

April 5, 2010
Roman Vishniac Exhibit at Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam; photo by the Persian-Dutch Network

A few years ago, I was at a lecture on Jewish immigration where someone asked why Soviet/Russian Jewish immigrants were so smug about their academic credentials. The response? Academics was just about the only thing they had to feel good about, since, as a group, Russian-Jews were not well accepted by the established Jewish community.…

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