Black Lives Matter in Israel, Too. Originally Published July 2, 3, 4, 2020.

A little over a year ago (May 2019) we wrote a column about Kush, a region in Africa mentioned numerous times in Tanakh.  The link to that prior article is http://bethshalompgh.org/where-is-kush-which-is-mentioned-in-todays-haftarah-originally-published-may-10-11-2019/ We promised a follow-up article about those who are generally called “Ethiopian Jews” but who do not necessarily come from Ethiopia either directly or Read More…

Who? Originally Published June 26-27, 2020.

Who Were the Nephilim? And Were They Bullies? Originally Published June 19-20, 2020.

This week in Parashat Shelah Lekha, at Bemidbar (Numbers) 13:33, we find the Nephilim.  We have talked about them before, when we looked into the Book of Enoch, in which its author describes angels falling from grace (the “Watchers”) taking wives of humans and breeding evil giants – whom he termed “Nephilim” who would consume Read More…

Were Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Friends? Originally Published June 12-13, 2020.

The answer according to all sources consulted is a resounding “yes,” they were both friends and colleagues.  They met in January 1963, at the Chicago conference on “Religion and Race” organized by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and became immediate friends.  Dr. King’s speech included “The churches and synagogues have an opportunity and Read More…

What Should I Know About Prejudice? Originally Published June 5-6, 2020.

Recently the Anti-Defamation League created a new section on their website, titled “Antisemitism Uncovered:  A Guide to Old Myths in a New Era.”  It resides at https://antisemitism.adl.org/. The ADL means this as a resource for both historic reference and current expressions.  And as Mrs. Grammer the history teacher used to tell us, we cannot understand Read More…

Who Was Yip Harburg? Originally Published May 29-30, 2020.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month!  Edgar Y. “Yip” Harburg (he liked to say his middle name was “Yipsel,” but folks were dubious) was born Isidore Hochberg on April 8, 1896, to Lewis Hochberg and Mary Ricing, from Russia, on New York’s Lower East Side.  We lost him to a car accident on March 5, Read More…

Who Was Belle Miriam (Silverman) Greenough? Originally Published May 22-23, 2020.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month!  Belle Miriam Silverman was born on May 25, 1929, in Brooklyn, NY, to insurance broker Morris Silverman and musician Sonia (Shirley Bahn) Silverman.  She would become a powerful presence in many ways.  We lost her on July 2, 2007, to lung cancer.  Belle began performing at age three, was Read More…

Who Was Bessie Abramowitz Hillman? Originally Published May 15-16, 2020.

Born Bas Sheva Abramowitz on May 15, 1889, in Grodno Guberniia, Belarus, Bessie Hillman would become a leader of American labor.  Ms. Abramowitz set out for America in 1905 with an older cousin, reportedly to avoid the matchmakers.  She was given the name Bessie at Ellis Island, and she headed to Chicago, where she had Read More…

Who Was Mike Wallace? Originally Published May 8-9, 2020.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month!  Mike (Myron Leon) Wallace was born on May 9, 1918, in Brookline, Mass., to Frank & Zina (Wallik) Wallace.  He would become one of the most trusted sources of news in the United States.  We lost him on April 7, 2012. Mr. Wallace’s parents had immigrated from Russia, and Read More…

Who Was Lorenz Hart? Originally Published May 1-2, 2020.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month!  On May 2, 1895, Lorenz Milton Hart was born in Manhattan to Max Meyer Hart and Frieda Hart (whose great-uncle was German poet Heinrich Heine).  We lost Mr. Hart to pneumonia at age 48, on November 22, 1943.  Between those dates, Mr. Hart made quite a splash as a Read More…