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Chava Willig Levy

The Ark and the Arc

October 30, 2019, by

On October 29, 1972, I attended a dazzling afternoon concert at Carnegie Hall. As I headed for home on the 59th Street Bridge, traffic came to a standstill. I suspected a car accident was to blame. But the conspicuous absence of angry car horns — not to mention the reverent expressions on my fellow commuters’

The Kindle and the Jewish Question

June 24, 2009, by

Pepsi. Cheerios. Verizon. Apple. Google. Mustang. Tropicana. Have you ever wondered how brand names come to be? I imagine that hours, days, weeks or even months are dedicated to choosing a winning one. Is the decision made by a committee? Perhaps, but at its root, that decision stems from a stroke of inspiration, even a

The Butterfly Effect

November 13, 2008, by

Reflections on Motherhood and Parshas Vayera “A butterfly in Brazil alights upon a flower. The flit of the butterfly’s wing sends out a small current of air. Flowing northward, the current gains energy until, reaching Texas, it sets off a tornado.” Last year, I had the pleasure of reading these evocative words, written by my

I’m All Ears

August 30, 2006, by

Ever since I was a little girl, oh, six or seven years old, I knew immediately if people were talking about me behind my back. Back then, only recently released from various polio-related hospitalizations, I prided myself on my ability to detect the slightest hint of a whisper within an 80-foot radius of my immobile

Letters to the Front (Page)

July 19, 2006, by

My love affair with letters (reading them, that is) began in 1965 with the epistolary novel Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster, a charming 1912 saga about an orphan and her one-way correspondence with an anonymous benefactor. It intensified ten years later when I read 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, a slim volume chronicling a


May 25, 2006, by

Quiet please, there’s a lady on stage. She may not be the latest rage, But she’s singing. She means it. And she deserves a little silence. – Lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager Last February was production season in my community, perhaps in yours too. I, for one, was excited and proud: excited to participate in

All About Aunt Nettie

May 10, 2006, by

It’s a rainy Saturday night. Aunts and uncles are pouring into my parents’ living room, arriving from the five boroughs of New York City for another monthly gathering. Already in pajamas and observing the commotion from a crack in my bedroom door, I see Uncle Leonard and Uncle Herbie in animated conversation. Suddenly, the front

Shabbos Waits for No One

February 23, 2006, by

My father passed away on the 29th of Sivan, June 18, 2004. “How did he die?” many visitors asked during the week of shiva. I answered, “I’ll tell you how my father died. But first, I’ll tell you how he lived.” When I think back to the Friday afternoons of my childhood, many of my

Have your soup now. Cry later.

February 2, 2006, by

We called her Imma, Hebrew for Mommy. And ever since we were children, we all knew a wonderful story about her. It happened in Poland on a Friday night back in 1929, when Imma was six years old. The adored youngest of ten children, she sat at the dinner table, probably singing the wonderful Sabbath