First Person

Crosses and Kaddish: How a Jewish Convert Mourns a Catholic Grandmother

Athena DeRasmo

Kaddish  I was not baptized or raised Catholic; but my precious grandmother Marie surely was – old school Portuguese, Roman Catholic. However, when I was growing up, I did not see much evidence of her practicing her religion.… Continue reading

Toledo: The Tale of Two Synagogues

By Kay Lorraine

After the expulsion of the Jews at the end of the 15th century, eight of Toledo’s ten synagogues and its five Talmudic schools were destroyed. The two remaining synagogues in Toledo are no longer used for… Continue reading

The Last Jews in Grenada

by Kay Lorraine

In August and September of this year, my husband and I rented a car and traveled throughout Spain, soaking up the culture (and some fine food). I knew, of course, about the Spanish Inquisition but I was… Continue reading

Quotes from Sof

Sof Maʻarav evokes strong emotion from its membership. Here are some quotes that show how our members feel.

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Gayle Goodman

Sof Ma’arav is like being part of a dance where we all come together, like a beautiful symphony where the… Continue reading

To Seek Life: Upon My Mother’s Yahrzeit, I Remember

By Sandra Z. Armstrong

Sandra Z. Armstrong Portrait

I was born Sandra Zimmerman, with a ventricular septal defect (VSD) – a hole in my heart. For some born with a VSD, the hole closes naturally. Mine did not. In 1922, Dora Moness Shapiro established… Continue reading

Holy Cow! – Parsha Chukat

By Naomi Olstein

Red Cow

While parsha Chukat deals with many topics, it begins with parah adumah, the red heifer. It is the most enigmatic mitzvah in all of Torah. More than a mitzvah, it is chukat haTorah – Law of the… Continue reading

Mazal Tov! – Amira’s Wedding

By Marlene Booth

Amira Booth Soifer Wedding ChuppahLet me set the stage. Our daughter Amira wanted to get married at Raananah, a very small Jewish  bungalow colony, originally Labor-Zionist, in New York state, in which Avi’s family spent time every summer since the… Continue reading

Peter Fritz: Challah Man

By Arnie Warshawsky

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, I learned a tiny bit about the challenges and satisfaction of baking challah. With seven other hardy souls, I attended the second showing of “Peter Fritz: Challah Man.” We were graciously hosted… Continue reading

Marv Black: A Profile

By Fran Margulies

Behind the gentle Marv Black we meet on Shabbat mornings hides a former fierce warrior. I visited Marv recently, and he proudly pulled from under his bed a formidable collection of “edged weapons,” as he called them.… Continue reading

An Ocean of Knowledge

By Sandra M. Z. Armstrong

The ocean was calm today. Waves gently rolled back to meet those coming forward. How much are our lives like this? We often look backwards into our past for the strength to move forward again.… Continue reading