Why do we eat dairy dishes on Shavuot?

Speciaal voor De Vrijdagavond schrijft de Amerikaanse geleerde Shulamit Reinharz over de belangrijkste tradities van het Wekenfeest (ofwel Sjavoe’ot / Shavuot) met één prangende vraag: waarom eten we deze dagen al die melkkost? Tonight is the start of the two-day holiday of Shavuot, a very important moment in the Jewish calendar, seven weeks after Pesach. On Pesach, the early part of the seder includes singing or reciting the Ma Nishtana? Why is this night different from … [Lees verder]


Putting a Piece of Blemished Food on our Shabbat and Holiday Table

After a recent Torah-study class where we learned Parashat Bo (Exodus: 12), I stepped into an inviting grocery store suffused with the mixed aromas of coffee, fruit, cheeses, exotic spices and more. Everything looked beautiful. But then I noticed a man in an employee’s uniform take ten large pears, put them in a plastic bag, walk to a trash bin and start to throw them away. What a horrible job, I thought, to throw away … [Lees verder]

Kunst en Cultuur

Summer in Massachusetts, Jews Everywhere

Summer in Massachusetts is glorious. Not only is the weather usually great, but there is so much to see and do – in and outside Boston. Every summer I try to take a road-trip, either by myself or with a friend. This year I traveled for 3 days with Viva who lives in Australia. I called our time together, a “Thelma and Louise” trip, although, of course, the beginning, middle and end were different that … [Lees verder]


Ruth Wisse’s rejecting of feminism

Harvard professor Ruth Wisse is greatly admired for her Yiddish scholarship. She is also very well known for her passionate support of Israel and for disparaging feminism.  Jonathan Gill’s lively review of Wisse’s memoir suggests one source of Wisse’s ultra-conservative views with regard to feminism. He suggests that children in Holocaust survivor families become illiberal. Having just completed writing a book about the Holocaust, I beg to differ. Because the number of families of survivors is/was vast, … [Lees verder]