Author: Shira Schmidt

Ivanka Trump Got Me Thinking about Shabbat

Several statements by Ivanka Trump stimulated me to rethink my own Shabbat observance. The 35-year-old daughter of US president elect Donald Trump converted to Judaism seven years ago. She said that she and her...

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Rav Aharon Lichtenstein & the Haredim

“I am very partial to Rav Lichtenstein’s approach,” said the Lelov hassid to me at the funeral of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein z”l a month ago. “Rav Lichtenstein deals with abstractions, in addition to focusing...

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Who is normal?

How do you say “motherhood and apple pie” in Hebrew? This was an exercise we were given in a translation class. The best idiomatic rendering among the responses was — “Tzionut” in quotation marks...

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Shark Feeding Frenzy

When my husband was a flight surgeon on the US Air Force base in Guam, he witnessed a feeding frenzy by sharks. Daily, a huge garbage truck would gingerly back up to the edge...

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Only in Israel

We have something in Israel that I think exists no where else in the world. It is Hebrew Book Week. Instituted in 1926 in Tel Aviv, today it has grown to dozens of open-air...

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Vehi SheAmda, How do you pronounce it?

How do you sing the paragraph in the Hagaddah Vehi SheAmda? Is it Vehi SheAmda LavoSeinu (Ashkenazic) or LavoTeinu (Sefardic) pronunciation ? In Israel a duet, that has BOTH pronunciations simultaneously has become very...

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Shop ’till You Drop

How would you explain the Shabbat laws in Israel to a group of visiting mid-career journalists, Jewish and non-Jewish Americans? Led by University of Southern California Professor Diane Winston, nine mid-career journalists will be...

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