Author: David Olivestone

My Ideal Shul

There was no one close by whose talking could disturb me, no aisles for anyone to stroll along, in fact no one near enough to distract me at all.

Milk for Pesach

My father was able to get matzot and some Pesachdik ingredients for my mother to cook with, but was faced with the challenge of how to obtain fresh milk.

The Mystery of the Half a Matzah

You see, when he did bedikat chametz (the search for leaven), my father, like everyone else, took a candle to light the way, a feather to collect the crumbs and a bag to hold the pieces of chametz that he found. But, unlike everyone else, he always put half...

A Most Obscure Best-Selling Author: Dr. Philip Birnbaum

What is perhaps even more remarkable is that a 19-year-old Polish immigrant attained such a high level of fluency in a language which was not his mother tongue, and produced felicitous, articulate, eloquent and sometimes even poetic translations of complex texts.

“Please Blow the Shofar Quietly”

Several members of his family were there when I got to his house. “Please blow the shofar quietly,” they cautioned me, as soon as I stepped in. “He hasn’t been very responsive in the last few days, and you mustn’t startle him.”

The Custodian

In his four decades at Sotheby’s, the renowned auction house, David Redden presided over many memorable sales.1 Among the most notable, he lists the estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels, a lunar lander, and a copy of the Magna Carta. But the one that touched...

On Guard in Jerusalem

If, like me, you are a man of a certain age who never served in Vietnam or the Israeli army, you have probably also never seen a gun fired in anger. This was certainly the case for the ten or so of us—all greying American and British olim—who came...

A Gallery of Shana Tovas

  During the 1800s, the sending of greeting cards for all sorts of occasions, mostly in the form of postcards, became hugely popular in Europe, including among Jews. Toward the end of the century, the waves of Jewish immigrants to North America brought with them this practice and began...