Reviews

Finding the groove at Jacob’s Ladder

May 14, 2018

A pre-show “review” from last week’s Jacob’s Ladder indie, folk, country, blues and bluegrass festival at the Sea of Galilee.

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The TV club

March 20, 2018

A TV club is like a book club only less solitary. Our club is a mini-family for our group of immigrants. What should we watch next?

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What kind of God do you want to believe in?

June 20, 2017

The paradox of modern Jewish life is that, while many believe in a “transcendent” conception of God they long for an “immanent” kind of relationship.

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The women of Jacob’s Ladder: indie artists rock the Sea of Galilee

June 4, 2017

The 41st annual Jacob’s Ladder music festival was characterized by two surprises: the event’s first-ever thunderstorm and a standout preponderance of indie folk acts fronted by women.

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Finding your place: New Haggadah makes Passover personal

April 16, 2017

I’m a Haggadah hoarder. Over the years, our family has collected dozens of different Haggadot for the Passover holiday. They range from the highly traditional to the decidedly modern. We have classic Haggadot with commentaries from the Me’am Lo’ez (originally written in Ladino by Rabbi Yaakov Culi in 1730), Rabbi Marcus Lehman of Mainz (late […]

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Indie rock discoveries at the fringes of Jacob’s Ladder

May 30, 2016

I’m probably the worst person to review the annual Jacob’s Ladder folk music festival that took place last weekend on the grounds of Kibbutz Nof Ginosar on the Sea of Galilee. I’m generally not a big fan of folk unless it’s either prefixed with “indie” or has “rock” appended afterward. As a result, I spend […]

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Secular in City

March 16, 2016

Yaniv doesn’t like Jerusalem. “It’s nothing personal,” he said nonchalantly between demonstrative slurps of my wife Jody’s famous chicken soup, as he joined us at the Shabbat table a few weeks back “I just don’t feel welcome here – in the city that, is,” he added, looking sheepishly at Jody. “It’s just so…you know…religious.” There’s […]

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The Little Bakery that Could

February 25, 2016

When the German Colony branch of Jerusalem’s Pe’er Bakery closed down last year after 43 years of operation, fans of its signature sweet whole wheat challah let out a collective kvetch: where would we go for challah now on Fridays? But Pe’er’s challah is back in the neighborhood, albeit at another establishment – the Coney […]

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Lessons from The Leftovers: finding meaning in an ISIS-filled world

January 1, 2016

Two weeks ago, the HBO TV series The Leftovers completed its stunning second season. With its incessantly bleak tone, and ratings that were not much better, critics and fans called it “the best show on television you’re probably not watching.” But you ought to. Go out and binge watch all 20 episodes right now. Because […]

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Silence, Mindfulness and Recovering from Election Obsession

April 20, 2015

After months of election obsession, rapaciously reading everything I could, poring over polls and talking with anyone and everyone I could for the better part of the winter, I did the only thing left to do. I shut up. Literally. Just a few days after the votes were tallied, my wife and drove up to […]

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