Special Sections

At site of Nazi power, a chanukah menorah at Brandenberg Gate

A costumed Maccabee stands at a Chanukah menorah-lighting ceremony at Berlin's Brandenberg Gate, Dec. 1, 2010. (Toby Axelrod)

BERLIN (JTA) — Icicles formed on Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal’s beard as he helped set up the towering menorah in the center of Berlin. It wasn’t just any menorah among the thousands that the Chabad-Lubavitch movement erects every Chanukah in public locations around the world. Teichtal, the Chabad rabbi in the… Read more »

Cocktail party recipes, tzedakah box craft can help get Chanukah glowing

Maccabee Martini and Savory Sweet Potato Sufganiyot

There is something about small lights glowing in the vast darkness that renews our childlike wonder: sparklers, flashlights, birthday candles. And we all remember “Lite-Brite,” the little black box of our childhood with the multicolored plastic pegs that, once plugged in, illuminated our designs. For Jews, there are the… Read more »

Chanukah on Christmas Avenue: Raising a Jewish family in Winterhaven

Gila Silverman’s husband, David, created this 10-foot dreidel the third year that the family lived in Winterhaven.

I live in a neighborhood known for its Christmas displays. No one is more surprised about this than I am. And, to my even greater surprise, I have found living here to be a moving experience. The one thing I have known for certain my entire life is that… Read more »

Jewish health professionals: destigmatizing mental illness promotes healing

These slides provide a graphic representation of variation. Due to the history of marriage within the faith, individuals of Jewish descent have less variety in their genetic makeup, making it easier for researchers to locate disease-causing genes. More variety makes it more difficult to pick out the red candy. (Photos courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine Epidemiology-Genetics Program in Psychiatry)

Mental illness occurs in all cultures, including the Jewish community. “There isn’t any group that has a free pass or an additional risk,” says Eric Schindler, a clinical psychologist who is president and CEO of Tucson’s Child & Family Resources. Psychological disorders stem from environmental causes, genetic makeup and… Read more »

With good works, delicious food, local restaurateurs nurture community

Spectacular views of the Catalina Mountains, live nightly music and globe-spanning cuisines all contribute to Tucson’s trendy dining out scene. Many local restaurants are also extending their role in the community beyond the creation of sumptuous dishes. Fire + Spice: An Arizona Grill at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel and… Read more »

Tucson exercise physiologist advocates ‘return to senses’

Stephen Stone (Sheila Wilensky/AJP)

Tucsonan Stephen Stone, 70, conducted what may have been one of the first studies of obesity in American children, a precursor to First Lady Michelle Obama’s current childhood health mission. “Childhood Obesity: Identification, Management and Prevention,” his research project that began in 1985 at the University of Maryland, identified… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Ivan Gur-Arie

Ivan Gur-Arie

“Jewcentricity:  Why the Jews are Praised, Blamed, and Used to Explain Just About Everything” by Adam M. Garfinkle, a very readable book, encompasses historical, psychological, cultural and sociological themes. It has always intrigued me why Jews throughout history always got the limelight, for good or bad. This book certainly… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Phyllis Braun

Phyllis Braun

For me, it isn’t any one book, it is books in general — though I have fond memories of reading all of Louisa May Alcott’s works when I was a girl, despite what I see now as her somewhat overbearing preachiness. I can still remember being a pre-reader, at… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Mark Rubin

Mark Rubin

I’ve been reading for almost 50 years and will read almost anything. For pure pleasure, though, my favorites are “The Day the Goose Got Loose” by Reeve Lindbergh (Steven Kellogg, Illustrator), “The Digging-Est Dog” by Al Perkins (Eric Gurney, Illustrator) and “The Lorax” by Theodor Seuss Geisel, read aloud… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Sheila Wilensky

Sheila Wilensky

Once upon a time, I owned a children’s bookstore.  My two children grew up at Oz Books in Southwest Harbor, Maine, which I owned from 1982 to 1997. In a way, it seemed that we grew up together reading children’s books. In high school I read a lot of… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Rabbi Jason Holtz

Rabbi Jason Holtz

“As a Driven Leaf,” by Rabbi Milton Steinberg, is a 20th century book that’s a retelling of an ancient rabbinic story.  The protagonist, Elisha ben Avuyah, is a respected rabbinic scholar living in the ancient land of Israel.  Despite his traditional Jewish learning and stature in the community, he… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Steven Freedman

Steven Freedman

When I was a young boy, I would go camping with my parents, older brother and younger sister. My mother would read a book aloud as my father drove the station wagon with the camping gear neatly stowed on top. On one trip, mom read short stories by Sholom… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Rebecca Kunsberg

Rebecca Kunsberg

A friend loaned me “The History of Love,” by Nicole Krauss, and it sat on my night stand for two months. I was in grad school at the time, and didn’t have time to read a book for leisure. I finally had time between semesters, and to this day,… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Penelope Starr

Penelope Starr

“The Penelopeiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus” by Margaret Atwood is a book that confirmed what I already believed, an excellent way for a book to get your attention. Atwood was asked to reinterpret an ancient myth as part of the Canongate Myth Series. She takes the story… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford

Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford

I grew up in a Jewish family in Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border, in a predominantly Mexican-Catholic community.  Since the early ’60s, I have been on a rich journey of embracing interracial/interfaith friendships and marriage.   The wisdom and maturity I gained along the way have served as a… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Beth Alpert Nakhai

Beth Alpert Nakhai

“A Tale of Love and Darkness,” a memoir by Amos Oz (Harcourt, 2003; translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange) is among the most gorgeous books I have ever read. Oz is a master of words and in this book he crafts them to create the story of… Read more »

Books that made a difference –Tom Miller

Tom Miller

In recent years I have become obsessed with “Don Quixote de La Mancha.” The book, published in two parts some 400 years ago, follows the exploits of Alonso Quijano, who imagines himself a knight-errant dedicated to acts of chivalry and takes on the name Don Quixote as well as… Read more »

Books that made a difference — Arthur Yavelberg

Arthur Yavelberg

Chaim Potok’s “The Chosen” came to me at an important time. I already had a passion for baseball— how I wanted the ball hit to ME when it really counted. So when the Hasidic yeshiva student, Danny—at that time the menacing, Darth Vader-like Danny—recognized the spin in Reuven’s curve… Read more »

Books that made a difference – introduction

We call ourselves “People of the Book” because of the commandment that every Jew study Torah. Over generations, this moniker has also come to signify a more general esteem for books and learning.  The metaphor of the book so permeates our identity that during this High Holiday season, we… Read more »