Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Robert Gluck


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  • Hadassah continues leading-edge research in breast cancer detection

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Nov 11, 2016

    One of the leaders in the fight against breast cancer is Dr. Tamar Peretz Yablonski, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, whose tenacity and determination to find a cure inspires her and countless others. "My parents always taught me to fight, to look on the bright side," Yablonski, director of Hadassah Medical Center's Sharett Institute of Oncology in Israel, told JNS.org. As Hadassah continues its important research work in finding a cure, the organization celebrates 20 years since its...

  • We're all from the same planet

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Sep 30, 2016

    Can a children's book about the Jewish High Holidays help advance world peace? A new edition of an award-winning children's book author thinks so-and National Geographic agrees. "Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur"-first published in 2007 and reissued this year with a new cover-is one of the volumes included in National Geographic's series, "Holidays Around the World," which introduces children to the ways in which religious and cultural holidays are celebrated in various countries. Other ho...

  • Israel's first NASCAR driver revved up to win

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Sep 9, 2016

    As a young boy growing up in Ashdod, Israel, Alon Day got his first go-kart at age 9. By 15, he was racing them. Less than a decade later, Day has become the first Israeli professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. He made history by competing in NASCAR's Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 13. "Driving a race car is not like any other sport," Day toldJNS.org. "You are actually almost flying on the ground which is great. And the adrenaline is something I...

  • For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hadassah fights BRCA with decorated bras

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Oct 30, 2015

    BRCA. It's the gene mutation that gives Ashkenazi Jews a higher risk of breast cancer than the general population. But the women's Zionist organization Hadassah is using three of BRCA's letters-b, r, a-as a platform to help American women lead healthier lives and become more educated about breast cancer. Through Hadassah's The Uplift Project, participants-among them breast cancer survivors and celebrities-decorate bras to draw attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is marked annually...

  • Nearly lost Yiddish language increasingly popular among Jewish college students

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Aug 14, 2015

    For those who try to get in better touch with their Ashkenazi Jewish heritage by studying Yiddish at the college level, there are challenges-but those can be outweighed by the nakhes (pride or pleasure) of rediscovering the nearly lost language. "The most exciting thing about learning Yiddish is that it opens the door to the fascinating world of Yiddish culture that has flourished for over a thousand years and awaits explorers, researchers, translators and educators," Agi Legutko-director of...

  • Jerry Lewis, legendary Jewish comic and humanitarian, stays relevant at 89

    Robert Gluck, JNS|Jul 10, 2015

    Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB's president and CEO, said the organization was "honored to recognize not only [Lewis's] comedic innovation, but also his...

  • The other Spielberg tells story of American pilots who fought for Israel in 1948

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Apr 24, 2015

    Not as famous as director Steven Spielberg is his sister Nancy, the filmmaker. Lesser known than the Israelis who fought for their country's independence were the American pilots who secretly joined that fight. Ahead of Israel's 67th Independence Day, the new documentary "Above and Beyond" is fusing those two unsung elements. AIPAC is bringing this film to Orlando on May 11, 7 p.m. at the Orlando Science Center. In 1948, just three years after the liberation of Nazi death camps, a group of...

  • Authors examine education's impact on Jewish history

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Aug 8, 2014

    Why has education been so important to the Jewish people? Author Maristella Botticini says a unique religious norm enacted within Judaism two millennia ago made male literacy universal among Jews many centuries earlier than it was universal for the rest of the world’s population. “Wherever and whenever Jews lived among a population of mostly unschooled people, they had a comparative advantage,” Botticini tells JNS.org. “They could read and write contracts, business letters, and account books using a common [Hebrew] alphabet while learnin...

  • David Letterman's sidekick on his 'dream job,' Jewish upbringing

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Jul 4, 2014

    A Jewish upbringing taught Paul Shaffer, David Letterman's musical director and sidekick for 32 years, the value of giving back. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Shaffer served as musical director for "The Concert for New York City," and in 2012 he accompanied Adam Sandler in "12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief," a fundraiser for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. He was also the national spokesman for Epilepsy Canada. "My mother taught by example," Shaffer said in an interview with...

  • No couch potato: knish expert takes global journey for 'Jewish soul food' book

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Jun 13, 2014

    The history of the knish represents more than just the lineage of a fried, dumpling-like food. It demonstrates the often-central role of food in communities and cultural legacies. Laura Silver knows that all too well. She has consumed knishes on three different continents, and her exhaustive research on the iconic potato treat has resulted in her new book, "Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food," which was released in early May. When she started her knish book project, Silver had no plans...

  • Each May histories collide

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|May 16, 2014

    Dr. Gary P. Zola sees an inextricable connection between American Jewish history, American history, and global Jewish history. "The study of the Jewish experience in the context of the American nation sheds light on the story of the nation itself," Zola, executive director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, told JNS.org. "Jews played an inordinately large role in shaping the character of American culture and heritage. The opportunities Jews had to contribute to...

  • Remembering famed Jewish astronomer Carl Sagan

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Apr 25, 2014

    Carl Sagan fans old and new have been gazing at their televisions in awe as host Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson’s resurrection of the science epic “Cosmos” takes them on a journey from the Big Bang, to microscopic one-celled organisms, to the ascent of man, to beyond the stars and planets. The return of “Cosmos”—which launched in March and runs for 13 episodes on the Fox network, ending June 2—provides an opportune time to remember Sagan, the show’s Jewish creator. An American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, and author, Sagan was born to Refo...

  • 'American Hustle' conjures up story of Jewish con artist

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Mar 7, 2014

    When former New York Times reporter Leslie Maitland first heard that Amy Adams would be in "American Hustle," she smiled, thinking the actress would portray her. In director David O. Russell's film about the Abscam scandal, Adams stars alongside Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence. The movie received 10 Oscar, tied with "Gravity" for the most nominations this year. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Maitland was the reporter who broke the Abscam story. But Adams does not p...

  • Beatles' Jewish manager remembered 50 years after band's American debut

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Feb 28, 2014

    Amid the celebrations and hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in America and their appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," the man Paul McCartney called "the fifth Beatle" is not often mentioned. But experts say that without him, the Beatles as we know them would not have existed. That man is Brian Epstein, the band's Jewish manager, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 1967. Epstein's grandfather, Isaac Epstein, was from Lithuania and arrived in England in the...

  • Authors examine education's impact on Jewish history

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Jan 10, 2014

    Why has education been so important to the Jewish people? Author Maristella Botticini says a unique religious norm enacted within Judaism two millennia ago made male literacy universal among Jews many centuries earlier than it was universal for the rest of the world's population. "Wherever and whenever Jews lived among a population of mostly unschooled people, they had a comparative advantage," Botticini told JNS.org. "They could read and write contracts, business letters, and account books...

  • Billy Crystal's serious side

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Dec 6, 2013

    After suffering a tough personal loss early in life, there has always been a serious side to the comedy of famed Jewish entertainer Billy Crystal. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Crystal's father, prompting him to perform the autobiographical one-man show "700 Sundays" for another run on Broadway. The show, which first ran in 2004 and earned Crystal a Tony Award in 2005, runs through Jan. 5, 2014, at New York City's Imperial Theatre. In "700 Sundays," Crystal plays numerous...

  • Wilt Chamberlain's Jewish role models

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Oct 25, 2013

    With the 2013-14 National Basketball Association season set to begin Oct. 29, this month also marks the 14th anniversary of the death of Wilt Chamberlain, one of the greatest players ever. Beyond his eye-popping statistics, a closer look at the 7-foot-1 center’s life reveals the giant influence of Jewish role models. Robert Cherry, who played basketball at Chamberlain’s alma mater, Philadelphia’s Overbrook High School, explains that “lots of Jewish kids” went to the school. After Chamberlain att...

  • Did Sukkot help shape Thanksgiving?

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Sep 13, 2013

    According to one of the foremost experts on American Judaism, Dr. Jonathan Sarna, the biblical holiday did not exactly guide the Puritans’ thinking during colonial times, but they were generally influenced by the idea of thanking God for their bounty. “The Puritans did not believe in fixed holidays,” Sarna, the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and chief historian of the Philadelphia-based National Museum of American Jewish History, told...

  • Holocaust resistance of White Rose group remembered 70 years later

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Aug 23, 2013

    Among the various events in Holocaust history marking their 70th anniversary this year—including the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the Nazis’ failed assault on Stalingrad, and a Washington, DC march by 400 rabbis who urged President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to rescue Europe’s Jews—what stands out for author Jud Newborn is the White Rose episode. In February, July, and October 1943, the Nazis executed the six members of the White Rose non-Jewish resistance group, which distributed leaflets opposing Hitler. The founding historian of New York’s...

  • From Star Trek to Jewish-themed photography

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|Jul 19, 2013

    Leonard Nimoy says there is a “strong strain of Judaism” in everything he does—including his famous on-screen hand gestures. Best known for his character Mr. Spock in the “Star Trek” television show and movies, most recently in his cameo as Spock Prime in this year’s blockbuster “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Nimoy’s Vulcan hand gesture comes from an experience he had at synagogue when he was 8 years old. Nimoy’s father told him not to look as worshippers averted their eyes during blessings recited...

  • Gun control, mental health and the Holocaust

    Robert Gluck, JNS.org|May 3, 2013

    While the gun control debate intensifies in the U.S., a bipartisan group of lawmakers is pointing to improved treatment of mental health issues, rather than stricter gun laws, as the proper preventive measure for high-profile shootings such as those at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Understanding the past may yield the solution to this modern problem, as some experts and advocates say contemporary mistreatment of mental health issues...

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