What Noteworthy Jewish Athletes Were Born in August? Originally Published August 7-8, 2020.

While researching Lillian Copeland for last week’s entry, your correspondent learned that Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller both had birthdays in August:  Glickman’s August 14, 1917, and Stoller’s August 8, 1915.  We noted that Ms. Copeland boycotted the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, based on Chancellor Adolph Hitler’s banning Jewish athletes from Germany’s teams.  Stoller and Read More…

What Did Lillian Copeland Do on August 2, 1932? Originally Published July 31 – August 1, 2020.

On August 2, 1932, Lillian Copeland, at the age of 27, set new Olympic and global records in discus.  She threw the discus 133’ 1.625”, winning a gold medal. This was not her first record-breaking achievement; she had already gained acclaim as one of the earliest and best female track and field athletes. According to Read More…

Is a Rabbi a Judge? Originally Published July 24-25, 2020.

Part of the purview of a rabbi may be acting as a judge, to answer your question. Back in the day, Moses (Exodus 18:13, Parashat Yitro) sat in judgment, and folks waited in line for him to apply his wisdom to their cases.  Seeing the lines, his father-in-law Jethro advised him to delegate his work.  Read More…

What Is “Halevai”? What Is “Davka”? What Is “Zhe”? Originally Published July 17-18, 2020.

Your correspondent’s great aunts were known to lob a “halevai” or three at the younger generation during family get-togethers, always with a sidelong glance.  Halevai (הַלְוַאי), an interjection sort of meaning “if only it should happen” or “I wish,” came to us along with related words “lu” (“if”), “lulei” (“if not for”), and “uli” (“perhaps”).  Read More…

Who Was Camille Pissarro? Originally Published July 10-11, 2020.

In 1995, an American art collecting couple, Bruce and Robbi Toll, bought the 1887 painting Picking Peas, by Camille Pissarro, for $800,000.  They lent it to the Marmottan museum in Paris, where it came to light that it had been confiscated from its Jewish owner, Simon Bauer, in 1943 by the Germans occupying France.  Bauer’s Read More…

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…