OU Staff

Catacombs Make a Comeback as Jerusalem Seeks Room for the Dead

May 20, 2015, by

For Jews seeking eternal rest, the most coveted real estate on Earth lies in the soil of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, the city is rapidly running out of room to bury the dead. And so it has come to pass that an Israeli burial organization has teamed with a cutting-edge construction firm to bore deep under a

The Immeasurable Value of a Fake Diamond Ring

May 19, 2015, by

Inside a tiny box in a temperature-controlled, locked cabinet at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, there is a ring. It is not particularly beautiful, and in purely monetary terms, it is not particularly valuable. But behind this ring is a beautiful story of survival of Jews living under Nazi occupation—people for whom the ring’s

Orthodox Jewish Commencement Speaker Finds Shabbat Workaround

May 14, 2015, by

Senior Don Greenberg was looking forward to addressing his fellow students as a commencement speaker at Binghamton University’s engineering school when his girlfriend broke the bad news: May 16, graduation day, falls on a Saturday. “Great!” he remembers telling her, in the most sarcastic of tones. A triple major from Teaneck, N.J., with a 3.93

The Jewish Origins of Kentucky Bourbon

May 13, 2015, by

There’s a fine art to creating a liquor brand. It involves convincing people to buy booze with stories crafted around popular notions of heritage and legacy. Today’s drinkers are familiar with the classic formulas: Rum is named for pirates or tropical islands (think Mount Gay or Captain Morgan); scotch brands enshrine beautiful but unpronounceable places

New Jersey Jewish Family’s Struggle For Mobility Goes Viral

May 12, 2015, by

The Herzfeld family hasn’t gone anywhere together for a year and a half. These days, it’s just too much of a challenge to get all of their children in and out of the car and around in public. Over the past 10 years, all four of Esther and Arthur Herzfeld’s children have been diagnosed with

In Detroit, Jewish Cemetery Survives Within GM Auto Plant

May 12, 2015, by

Beth Olem Cemetery is like many aging, final resting places, with assorted tombstones in varying condition, sizes and styles, encircled by a brick wall and iron gate. Yet surrounding it on all sides is an unusual neighbor: a massive automotive plant. The serene, green oasis is enveloped by the steel and concrete structures and grounds

People Have Misconceptions About Miscarriage, And That Can Hurt

May 11, 2015, by

Most people think a miscarriage is rare, and many believe that if a woman loses a pregnancy that she brought it upon herself. Neither of those things is true, but the enduring beliefs cause great pain to women and their partners. In fact, almost half of people who have experienced a miscarriage or whose partner

After Successful Mission, IDF Field Hospital Closes in Nepal

May 11, 2015, by

A joint ceremony with their Nepali counterparts, the Israeli army officially closed its field hospital in Kathmandu on Sunday. As of the weekend, IDF medical personnel had treated 1,427 victims of the devastating earthquake that hit the mountainous Asian nation last month, including 90 life-saving surgeries, six cesarean sections and two natural births. “Let me

Five Facts about Lag Ba’Omer by the “Zoo Rabbi”

May 7, 2015, by

Rabbi Natan Slifkin, the Zoo Rabbi and blogger behind Rational Judaism, has a new book from OU Press available for pre-order, “The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom- Volume One: Chayot/Wild Animals.” It’s great. You should buy it and read it. For a taste of Rabbi Slifkin’s style, read his five-facts about Lag Ba’omer that he

An Anti-Semitic Politician in Hungary Discovers His Jewish Heritage

May 7, 2015, by

Far-right Hungarian politician Csanad Szegedi was a rising star in the Jobbik party. As a senior member in a political party mainly known for its anti-Semitism and racism, Szegedi also had the dubious honor of launching a paramilitary organization called the Hungarian Guard. And then, quite suddenly, his career came a screeching halt. He found

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