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Samplings from the New York Jewish Film Festival

by Mitchell Abidor   THE ALWAYS INTERESTING New York Jewish Film Festival will be running from January 10 to January 23 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Information on screenings can be found at nyjff.org. What follows is just a sample of the riches on view. The Romanian director Radu Jude is one of the […]

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America’s First Shokhet (Ritual Slaughterer)

Solomon Etting was licensed on this date in 1782 to serve as America’s first kosher slaughterer. In 1797, Etting and Bernard Gratz petitioned the Maryland Assembly to revoke the law that required swearing a Christian oath in order to take office, and they continued petitioning the legislature every year for twenty-nine years. When Maryland’s so-called […]

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Reflections on Rehab

by Harold Ticktin HERE IN CLEVELAND we have the mightily named Montefiore complex, a charitable megalith combining all the various kinds of succor to  aging, mostly (but far from only) Jewish recoverees from falls, bladder infections, muscular failings and, of course, diabetes-related impairment. I write at the tail end of a four-week excursion after an […]

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Matse and Moolah

by George Salamon The bread of faith: That’s what matse used to be called, expressing the faith of the Hebrews in God as they rushed out of slavery in Egypt. The fate of the unleavened bread’s largest maker, Manischewitz, now rests in the hands of Sankaty Advisors, an arm of “private equity giant Bain Capital,” […]

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From Orthodoxy to Bacon in Five Uneasy Steps

by Judith Bernstein STEP ONE: INTERMARRY       My father Nahum and his ten siblings grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. His parents had emigrated from Russia in the late 19th century, and my father, the youngest, was born in 1908. His father Charles ran a restaurant in the neighborhood. When […]

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February 10: The Rabbi Who Kashered Coca Cola

Tobias Geffen, a Yiddish-speaking Orthodox rabbi in Atlanta, Georgia who in 1935 was given Coca Cola’s “secret formula” and guided the company in making small changes that enabled him to declare the soda kosher and fit for consumption on Passover, died just short of his 100th birthday on this date in 1970. Geffen hailed from […]

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