Volume # 0

Fall 2010(5771)

In this issue

Simanim–Sign Me Up for a Sweet, Healthy New Year!

Rosh Hashanah is usually associated with apples and honey, symbolizing sweetness for the coming New Year. In our family, honey cake, apple cake or strudel and a carrot tzimmes sweetened with honey are always on the menu. The following are recipes that include some of the special symbolic foods—the simanim—eaten on Rosh Hashanah: fish, pomegranates, […]

A Jewish Response to Human Catastrophe

A Jewish Response to Human Catastrophe

Rabbi Harvey Belovski’s article following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti teaches us how to properly respond to calamities of such proportion. It is near impossible to find adequate words to describe the scale of human suffering that followed in the wake of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th, 2010. With over 200,000 […]


Facts and Figures about the New Year

Facts and Figures about the New Year AT A GLANCE • 5771 has 385 days, including 55 Shabbatot, the longest possible year in the Jewish calendar. Calendar • 5771 is a 13-month year, known as a Jewish “leap year” (shanah me’uberet), in which the month of Adar is doubled (intercalated). • The Jewish calendar works […]

Jewish World

The Revival of Jewish Life in Poland

Warsaw Photo: Ahron D. Weiner/ The big news in Krakow’s Jewish community last year didn’t make the news. A young Jewish couple got married. The bride and groom, typical of Polish Jews in their twenties, had been raised without a Jewish education; they eventually discovered their Jewish identities, learned about Judaism and decided they wanted […]

Business and Economics

NCSY President Visits the White House

    Miriam inside the gates of the White House. Courtesy of Miriam Shapiro The invitation finally came, but unfortunately it was on Shabbat. I’ve never had such anxiety about opening a letter before, but then again, I have never before received an invitation from the White House. It was very strange to think that […]


How the Torah Helped Shape the Modern World

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, kindly agreed to be interviewed for this special section of Jewish Action exploring our responsibility to the broader community. The Chief Rabbi has spent his life in the public arena, influencing society at large and providing a living example of the Torah’s universal […]


FRANK BUCHWEITZ: The Planner Par Excellence

Frank Buchweitz’s office at the Orthodox Union headquarters in downtown Manhattan is small, his desk crowded but not disorderly. A dry-erase board on the wall across from him has every square inch scrawled over in purple marker: Call Rabbi G. Confirm appointment with Rabbi S. Follow up on printing of brochure. “Welcome to my world,” […]


Dr. Laz

              Photos courtesy of David Lazerson It was David in the lion’s den. Fresh out of graduate school and a few years out of yeshivah, ba’al teshuvah David Lazerson stood before his junior high classroom in Buffalo’s inner city for the first time. The students in Dr. Martin Luther […]


Rick Hodes

Dr. Rick Hodes, an Orthodox Jew who lives in Addis Abeba, examines a young Ethiopian boy. Courtesy of JDC From outside, the medical clinic of the Mother Teresa mission in Addis Abeba looks like a rundown warehouse, a block-long concrete building with crumbling walls. Inside, it looks like an emergency Red Cross shelter set up […]


Remembering Lady J

It is unusual to have so much laughter at a shivah, but there was plenty of laughter, mixed with tears, as the six children of Rebbetzin Lady Amelie Jakobovits sat shivah in London, following her petirah at the beginning of May. The rebbetzin’s home was packed with people who came to visit the mourners, each […]



Translated and Adapted from the Hebrew by Yocheved Lavon Ruins of the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem, 1967. Photo: Moshe Milner/Israel Government Press Office Built in 1864 on the ruins of a shul destroyed in 1720, only to be destroyed again during Israel’s War of Independence, the Hurva Synagogue is a symbol […]



Illustration: Nachman Hellman/ I was a yeshivah student. My chavruta Elchanan and I would study together all week, and on Fridays we would roam the streets of Meah Shearim in Jerusalem to rummage through bookstores. We would examine the new books and pick over the old ones. Once I saw a pile on the sidewalk—old […]


Rosh Hashanah Thoughts: Absent Neighborhoods, Absent Tears

In my childhood, a half-century ago in Buffalo’s North Park neighborhood that served as a passage point between the East Side of Eastern European immigrants (mostly Orthodox) and the Amherst- Williamsville suburbs of the upwardly mobile (mostly Reform and Conservative children of the émigré generation), the Jews who chose to join a synagogue had a […]

On and Off the Beaten Track in . . . Sataf

On and Off the Beaten Track in . . . Sataf

Overlooking the terraces at Sataf Photos: Growing up in New York in the 1950s, my connection with the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael) was a little blueand- white tin box with a Star of David in which we placed small change from time to time to help plant trees in Israel. Few people […]

What’s the Truth about . . . the Parah Adumah?
Jewish Law

What’s the Truth about . . . the Parah Adumah?

MISCONCEPTION: The person who sprinkles the ashes of a parah adumah (“red heifer”) on a tamei (ritually impure) person becomes tamei himself. FACT: Most of the people involved in preparing the ashes become tamei, but the one who sprinkles the water with the ashes does not. FACT: Among the various types of tumah (ritual impurities) […]


Daniel Renna

If you happen to be flying over the city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you may be surprised to spot a lone kippa among the kufis. It’s sure to be Daniel Renna’s. As the representative of the US Department of State for International Affairs, Renna’s gotten used to being a stranger […]


Haviva Kohl

When Haviva Kohl gets into a cab, she informs the driver where she wants to go, and proceeds to ask him where he’s from. Chances are she’s been there, speaks his language and knows his culture intimately. By the time she pays the fare, Kohl has made a new friend and agreed to deliver gifts […]

Dip the Apple in the…Splenda?
Rosh Hashanah

Dip the Apple in the…Splenda?

Q: I know you’re supposed to eat sweet foods this time of year, but I don’t want all the calories! Is it safe to use artificial sweeteners—and more importantly, will they help me lose weight? A: At 4 calories per gram—or 16 calories per teaspoon—it might seem as if sugar won’t add too many calories to […]