Bayla Sheva Brenner

Bayla Sheva Brenner is senior staff writer of the Orthodox Union.

Survival in Shanghai

November 25, 2015, by

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I either avoid or obsess over this dark period of Jewish history. This week, I couldn’t avoid it. I was asked to cover the US premiere of a film called Survival in Shanghai, a Chinese-made documentary that tells the story of more than 25,000 European Jews who barely escaped

Meet Your Long-Lost Jewish Family—In India!

November 4, 2015, by

Known for its exhilarating tours across the Holy Land, OU Israel thought it was high time for an off the beaten track adventure overseas. They’ve set out to discover India—Jewish India. And unlike Columbus, they made sure to hire top-notch navigators. Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky and Dr. Ari Greenspan, a globe-trotting duo for over three

A Night of Jewish Unity And Record-Breaking Challah

October 27, 2015, by

On the night of October 21, Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall came face to face with a phenomenon it had never seen before: Yid-lock. 2,200 Jewish women from all walks of life streamed into the building for Project Inspire’s Great Big Challah Bake, causing a one-hour bottleneck in the lobby. “Our goal was to create an

Lone Soldier Parents: A Balance of Pride and Fear

August 14, 2014, by

While the current ceasefire brings the battle between Israel and Hamas to another tenuous halt, 6,000 miles away, American parents of IDF “lone soldiers” continue to hold their breath. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, of the approximately 5,000 lone soldiers serving in the IDF, close to half are American boys. 40 percent of these

Armed With Love – NCSY Summer 2014

August 6, 2014, by

Shoshana and Dr. Yitzchok Schechter heard about Hamas’s rampant rocket attacks while driving their daughter to the airport. Ayelet, 15, was flying to Israel for NCSY’s Michlelet program. Their son, Yoni, 17, had left the day before to learn in the NCSY Kollel. NCSY promised their children the “best summer ever.” The Schechters expected nothing

The Family I Never Knew: My Jewish Genealogy Journey

July 24, 2014, by

My mother, a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz, a Death March, the sole survivor of her immediate family, returned her precious neshama to Hashem on the morning of the 12th of Tammuz. Just shy of two weeks ago, in mortal time. Standing by her bedside, my husband and I shouted “Shema,” “Boruch Shem Kovod” three times,

The Dynamic Doctor Duo: A Couple with a Mission

April 25, 2014, by

Drs. Peter and Laurel Steinherz are not only married to each other—they’re married to a common calling. For over three decades they’ve worked in tandem, helping cancer patients survive in the face of seemingly impossible odds. They met at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He loaned her his textbooks and his dissecting kit—they married soon

Seeing Miracles Every Day: Meet the Landys — Then and Now

March 3, 2014, by

The Landys may very well be the most conspicuous family in Rochester, New York. Anita Landy drives around town in a big white bus, custom made to carry her lively crew of five, in addition to three wheelchairs, a ventilator and a service dog named Magic. Nurses traipse in and out of their home 24/7,

The Super Mashgiach: Rabbi Chaim Goldzweig

February 11, 2014, by

  Before PCs, iPads and iPods, there was Rabbi Chaim Goldzweig. An Orthodox Union rabbinic field representative who recently marked his fiftieth anniversary with the OU, Rabbi Goldzweig is known in food manufacturing plants across the globe as the OU’s walking, talking kosher database. In 1960, when Rabbi Goldzweig first joined the OU’s kosher division,

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