Author: Avi Shafran

Ripe Citrons and Ruby Slippers

On the first day of Sukkos, after tens of thousands of Jews had paid princely sums for flawless specimens of a particular citrus fruit, payments were made by others, too, for a very different...

Kotel Krusade

An op-ed of mine about the recent disruption at the Kotel engineered by non-Orthodox Jewish clergy and an Israeli feminist group appeared in Haaretz. It can be read at: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.750731?=&ts=_1478444374594

Vote-Buying, 2016

For all but the most starry-eyed devotees, or family members, of an aspirant to public service, voting essentially boils down to deciding which evil is lesser. Well, that’s a bit harsh. What I mean...

The Sukkah Still Stands

There is simply no describing the plaintive, moving melody to which Yiddish writer Avraham Reisen’s poem was set. As a song, it is familiar to many of us who know it thanks to immigrant...

Under the Weather

With hurricane season upon us, we might learn something from the models that meteorologists offer when a large sea-storm heads for land. Something about Shemini Atzeres. The maps created as a storm approaches often...

Greetings!

“How do you say ‘the horse died’ in Yiddish?” asked the African-American panhandler to whom I had given a quarter when he accosted me in lower Manhattan. It was many years ago, shortly after...

Commanded

Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, a number of media, including the Wall St. Journal and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, found a good “Jewish” story in the popularity and abundance of dogs in Tel...

A Mid-East Inconvenient Truth

Yes, yes, I get it. “Ethnic cleansing” conjures images of Nazi expulsions and murders of Jews, or the 1990s Bosnian war, when Serb and Croat forces intimidated, forcibly expelled or massacred one another to...

Tempest in a Tallis

The image was, to be sure, jarring: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump being draped in a tallis. By an African-American pastor. In a Detroit church. To resounding applause. Bishop Wayne Jackson of the Great...

Conservatism in Crisis

If the phrase “alt-right” puts you in mind of a computer keyboard, you are (blessedly) not following the presidential campaign. Even if you are aware of the phrase, though, you may not have a...

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