Everything Is Okay, Except when It Isn’t: A Fresh Approach to Jewish Education

Review: Not at Risk by Menachem Gottesman Ph.D. with Leah Leslie Gottesman, M.A. I cried while reading Not at Risk: Education as a Work of Heart, the story of the alternative Jerusalem high school Meled. Meled, which stands for Merkaz Lemida Dati (center for religious learning) was founded by the … [Read more...]

A Daughter’s Tribute to Shimon ben Shraga

I recently finished The Watchmaker's Daughter, a sensitive  and touching memoir by Sonia Taitz. Taitz grew up as the child of Holocaust survivors in Washington Heights, New York City, where my husband and I also lived for a time. It turns out that we attended the same synagogue as her … [Read more...]

Book Giveaway: Retirement GPS

My brother-in-law, Aaron Katsman, published a book called Retirement GPS: How to Navigate a Secure Financial Future with Global Investing. He is offering a giveaway to a lucky reader. I asked him why the book would be relevant to Israeli readers. He replied that the suggestions in Retirement GPS … [Read more...]

Ten Books I Loved in 2012

Inspired by Nina Badzin, I'm sharing the books I most enjoyed in 2012. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick. Demick tells the story of 6 North Korean refugees who escaped to South Korea. One woman, a doctor who completely accepted the government's propaganda, changed … [Read more...]

Interview with Yael Levy, Author of Brooklyn Love

My friend Yael Levy just published a novel called Brooklyn Love, based on the "shidduch scene" in Brooklyn. According to the Kirkus review: "The novel begins at a chatty smorgasbord before a prearranged Orthodox wedding; Levy makes the occasion as effective as an Edith Wharton ballroom scene, using … [Read more...]

Review: No Biking in the House without a Helmet

While their friends were counting down the days until their empty nest, Melissa Fay Greene and her husband Don Samuel realized they didn't feel "done" with having children.  They talked about another, but at 42 Melissa reluctantly decided that she was too old. After a surprise pregnancy and … [Read more...]

Tony Horwitz on Spanish Conquistadors and September 12, 2001

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a while, waiting for its moment. I've been reading Tony Horwitz's A Voyage Long and Strange, about the early settlement of North America. He got the idea for the book during a visit to Plymouth Rock. Horwitz realized that while he knew plenty … [Read more...]

Scandal of the Schoolbooks

It started with a boycott of cottage cheese. Next were protests against high apartment prices and rentals. Then there was daycare, baby items (!) and now electricity. Israelis are protesting high prices everywhere. I'm not sure there is an easy way to solve most of these problems. Health care is … [Read more...]

Yom Hashoah–Holocaust Memorial Day and “Sepharad”

A year or two ago I attended the funeral of a neighbor's father. One of the eulogies described how the kindness, knowledge and experience of the deceased were a model that is gradually being lost as the generation raised in pre-World War II Europe dies out. At the time I thought of my father, now … [Read more...]

Review: English Hebrew by Subject

English Hebrew by Subject by Hanna G. Perez is the newest tool for immigrants, tourists, students, or anyone who struggles with switching between English and Hebrew. It's a dictionary, but instead of listing words alphabetically it groups them by context. English Hebrew by Subject starts off, … [Read more...]