For Jewish burial societies, Surfside building collapse presents a grim and complex task

(JTA) — Among Rabbi Mayer Berger’s first thoughts on seeing the 12 stories of the Champlain Tower South pancaked upon themselves: This is like Sept. 11. Then as now, destruction of unimaginable proportions claimed many lives without warning, in a manner that rendered traditional practices for burying the Jewish dead impossible to perform. Those practices […]

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Yoma 78

On Yoma 74, we noted that when the Torah says one should afflict oneself on Yom Kippur, the rabbis primarily understand that to mean fasting. But there is another custom of self-affliction: not wearing leather. Since those who practice this custom usually have to eschew their regular dress shoes, they wind up in some interesting […]

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Yoma 77

Some people I know really enjoy getting into the spirit of fast days like Yom Kippur, using it as an opportunity to express their more emotional sides that perhaps they keep more under wraps the rest of the year. Others, however, find such days to be burdensome or anxiety-inducing. In their determination of what counts […]

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In ‘Lansky,’ Harvey Keitel puts the legendary gangster’s Jewishness front and center

(JTA) — Perhaps no American Jewish actor has been so closely associated with crime films as Harvey Keitel. During a career now in its sixth decade, the 82-year-old Keitel has appeared in “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver,” “Wise Guys,” “Bugsy,” “The Two Jakes,” “Reservoir Dogs” and “The Irishman,” among numerous other films.  Now he’s adding to […]

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