Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Penny Schwartz

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 By Penny Schwartz    Features    August 7, 2020 

How did Europe's Jews cope with a 17th-century plague?

BOSTON (JTA) - More than 350 years ago, a plague took a deadly toll on Hamburg, Germany. As the High Holidays approached, fear and panic set in and many of the city's Jewish families fled. Among them...


This Jewish Boston bookseller wants to help you spruce up your Zoom background

BOSTON (JTA) - In early April, just a few weeks after non-essential businesses in Massachusetts were shut down due to COVID-19, the staff at the Brattle Book Shop noticed that some prominent...

 By Penny Schwartz    News    April 24, 2020

In the Boston area, 2 Jewish chefs team up to feed kids while schools are closed

SHARON, Mass. (JTA)-When Neil Morris heard the news that his hometown schools were closing for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, his first thought was about the kids who would lose... Full story


High-profile Israel boycott conference at UMass Amherst sparks concern-and a peace march

AMHERST, Mass. (JTA)-For the second time in six months, several high-profile proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel are sharing a stage at the University of... Full story


Here are 6 new children's books for the Jewish New Year

(JTA)-A Rosh Hashanah apple cake bake-off fit for reality television and another installment in the Scarlet and Sam series from the award-winning author Eric A. Kimmel are among the highlights in the... Full story

 By Penny Schwartz    News    July 26, 2019

Fliers in Massachusetts declare Holocaust 'fake news'

BOSTON (JTA)-Two anti-Semitic fliers that deny the Holocaust were posted at a Massachusetts synagogue, with reports of similar incidents at synagogues in two other states. Police are investigating... Full story

 By Penny Schwartz    News    July 12, 2019

Jewish activists bring downtown Boston to standstill over immigrant detention

BOSTON (JTA)-A group of some 1,000 Jewish activists and others brought rush hour traffic to a halt in downtown Boston to protest immigrant detention in the city and across the country. Tuesday's... Full story

 By Penny Schwartz    News    July 5, 2019

Rabbi suggests congregants bring guns to synagogue for protection

BOSTON (JTA)—A rabbi here has asked congregants to consider bringing guns to religious services as a form of protection in response to recent shootings at synagogues across the country. Rabbi Dan Rodkin of Shaloh House in Brighton, a Boston... Full story

 By Penny Schwartz    News    June 28, 2019

Boston museum pays $500K for rare Torah ornaments

BOSTON (JTA)-The Museum of Fine Arts bought two pairs of rare Torah finials, bidding $500,000 for the 17th-century German silver set. The set is considered among the earliest surviving examples of the ritual Torah ornaments. The final sale price... Full story


This chef turned his popular falafel truck into a booming Israeli restaurant

For nearly a decade, chef Avi Shemtov has been a pioneer on Boston’s food scene. In 2010, he rolled out The Chubby Chickpea, one of the first food trucks in the city, serving up Israeli-style street food from falafel and chicken shwarma to... Full story

 By Penny Schwartz    News    May 31, 2019

Fire at Chabad center investigated as possible hate crime

BOSTON (JTA)—A fire outside the suburban Boston home of a rabbi that serves as a Chabad center is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Police in Arlington, Massachusetts, have asked for the public’s help in identifying a person caught on... Full story


A 'Sesame Street' seder and 4 other new children's books for Passover

BOSTON (JTA)-Four questions. Four cups of wine. Four types of children. At Passover, the number four figures prominently in the rituals of the seder, the ceremonial holiday meal that can be... Full story


This Yiddish romance novel was a smash hit in 1877

BOSTON (JTA)—Hot off the Jewish press in Vilna in 1877, a dramatic Yiddish romance novel became a surprising success, selling out its first 10,000 copies in Jewish communities across Poland and Russia. It’s not hard to see why. Set in the... Full story


A collection of Yiddish songs was thought lost forever-now they've been nominated for a Grammy

BOSTON (JTA)-In the despair of the Soviet Union's fierce World War II battles against the Nazis, a 42-year-old Jewish man from Odessa wrote a song in Yiddish poking fun at Hitler's failures to seize... Full story


Jewish Patriots fans, from seventh-graders to senior citizens, celebrate yet another Super Bowl win

CANTON, Mass. (JTA)-At a kickoff party Sunday night at the Orchard Cove senior home in this suburb about 25 miles from Boston, boisterous cheers erupted from a small ballroom. Dozens of residents had... Full story


Alfred Bader, Milwaukee philanthropist and art collector, dies at 94

(JTA)-Alfred Bader, a refugee who escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna as a young teen in 1938, and later became a chemist, businessman, philanthropist for Jewish and other causes, and an influential art... Full story


What's new for kids to read at Chanukah? Try a fresh take on the trailblazing 'All-of-a-Kind Family.'

(JTA)-Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. The names of the five fictional sisters bring a smile to generations of Jewish Americans who grew up reading "All-of-a-Kind Family," the classic... Full story


Tufts students say 'Colonizing Palestine' class demonizes Israel

MEDFORD, Mass. (JTA)—Pro-Israel students at Tufts University say a new course on Palestine is one-sided and demonizes Israel, and violates the university’s own policies on taking political stances. The course, taught by Thomas Abowd, a faculty... Full story


A Jewish atonement ritual gets an eco-friendly makeover

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (JTA)-On the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Eliana Jacobowitz led her congregation on a walk to the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse on the Mystic River for tashlich, a... Full story


Unique museum tells story of Polish family murdered for hiding Jews during Holocaust

MARKOWA, Poland-Memorial plaques bearing the names of Poles killed for rescuing Jews line the pathway leading to a small, austere structure built into a hillside in this rural village in southeastern... Full story

 By Penny Schwartz    News    July 6, 2018

Century-old Boston synagogue receives $500,000

BOSTON (JTA)-A century-old synagogue in Boston that now serves as a Jewish cultural center will receive $500,000 from the city for historic preservation. On the recommendation of Mayor Martin Walsh,... Full story


Seven treasures from a centennial exhibit on Leonard Bernstein

(JTA)-From his birthplace in Boston to New York, Berlin, South Africa, China and Israel, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), the larger-than-life conductor, pianist, composer, educator and bon vivant, is... Full story


Passover children's books: choo-choos, baa-baas and back to Sinai

BOSTON (JTA)-When Deborah Bodin Cohen immersed herself in rabbinical school in the early 1990s, she expected to spend a year in Israel as part of her studies with Hebrew Union College-Jewish... Full story


Boston mourns Jewish girl and best friend run down by motorist

BOSTON (JTA)-A synagogue, a Jewish summer camp and the wider Boston community are mourning two teenage best friends who died Feb. 10 after being struck by a car. Talia Newfield, 16, who is Jewish,... Full story


A son of refuseniks chronicles the slow dissolve of Russia's Jews

(JTA)-When Maxim Shrayer traveled to Moscow for a five-day visit at the end of October 2016, his itinerary included a trip to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. Shrayer, who emigrated from... Full story


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