Wednesday, December 1st 2021   |

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Stephen Sondheim, Jewish theater legend who reshaped the American musical, is dead at 91


(JTA) — Stephen Sondheim, the Jewish lyricist and composer who redefined the American musical through a monumental canon of influential and innovative theatrical works, has died at 91. He died suddenly Friday after enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with friends at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, The New York Times reported.

Sondheim’s stunning debut came writing the lyrics to Leonard Bernstein’s score for “West Side Story” in 1957,...

As more Israelis choose pure olive oil to light the Chanukah menorah, counterfeiters see an opportunity


JERUSALEM (JTA) — In a supermarket here, Ohad David makes a beeline for the most expensive olive oil in the store. 

He takes three bottles of the award-winning Midnight Coratina brand, which goes for about $3 per ounce. It has “medium potency, green fruitiness and a green-leaf, grassy bouquet,” according to its description on the website of Ptora, the boutique olive oil factory that makes it.

But David,...

A Thanksgiving history primer

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

While most of us will celebrate this Thanksgiving Day with our respective family and friends enjoying festive repasts, watching football games, and sharing good times, there will also be much to consider about this uniquely American holiday. There are many myths that are associated with this holiday that have been steeped in our earliest schooling.

The story tells of the upright, proud Pilgrims...

How a determined Jewish community helped bring home Danny Fenster, the journalist imprisoned in Myanmar


HUNTINGTON WOODS, Michigan (JTA) — For nearly six months, anyone driving through this well-manicured and heavily Jewish residential Detroit suburb was guaranteed to spot the yard signs. They were red, white and blue, with a large black-and-white illustration of a bearded young man sporting a beanie and a faint smile.

“FREE FENSTER,” the signs proclaimed in large text. There were other slogans, as well: “Protect The Press.”...

National survey on youth and religion raises concern about Gen-Z Jews — and questions about how to understand them


(JTA) — A massive survey conducted over the past year found that even as young Americans are rejecting traditional organized religion, they are still embracing faith and spirituality, broadly defined.

The pollsters behind the Springtide Research Institute, a new nonprofit dedicated to research about the “inner and outer lives” of young people, say their poll, of more than 10,000 Americans between 13 and 25, is...

At the Charlottesville trial, defendants got the judge to say ‘gas the kikes.’ Here’s how, and why it matters.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (JTA) — Days before a neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of protesters here at the site of the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, he texted his mother.

Samantha Bloom was worried that her son would run into trouble in Charlottesville, where he was headed in his gray 2010 Dodge Charger to join a rally billed as a response to the proposed removal of...

Meet the Jewish founder of the world’s only bobblehead museum, and his Chanukah bobbles


(JTA) — A crochet museum in Joshua Tree, California features countless crochet animals that appear in airport ads worldwide. The National Mustard Museum in Wisconsin was founded by a Jewish condiment aficionado.

In February 2019, another niche museum opened around 90 miles east of the mustard mecca: the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Milwaukee.

Co-founded by Phil Sklar, a Jewish Illinois native, and...

Former LA. journalist Danny Fenster remembered for his award-winning work

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

Danny Fenster, a Jewish Detroit-born journalist who won a top Louisiana award for a series of stories he wrote in New Iberia about the marginalized and threatened African-American community there, was formally sentenced today to an 11-year prison term by military authorities in Mynamar.

Fenster, who had been detained in prison by authorities since May 24, was boarding a flight at Yangon (formerly...

The real Jewish story behind the Will Ferrell-Paul Rudd series ‘The Shrink Next Door’


(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — One of the first images of “The Shrink Next Door,” the limited series premiering Friday on Apple TV+, is of a smiling man wearing a huge kippah, chatting at a party in the Hamptons. 

The party, viewers will later find out, is being held at the summer home of Marty Markowitz, a garment district merchant whose life becomes increasingly dominated...

On Kristallnacht anniversary, Austrian government unveils memorial wall with 64,440 names


(JTA) — The Austrian government inaugurated a $7 million Holocaust memorial monument on the anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms.

The “Shoah Wall of Names” that city and central government officials unveiled Tuesday in Vienna lists 64,440 Holocaust victims on 160 granite slabs, and is the result of years of lobbying by commemoration activists for a major monument that reflects both the scope of the Holocaust and...