Issue 51

Friday, December 19, 2014

Israel News

Israeli-developed TalkITT gives new voice to people with speech impairments

A little boy with autism says “I love you” – and you understand it. Your grandfather is able to say “congratulations” when you graduate – despite the recent stroke he suffered that impaired his speech. That future is almost the present thanks to new Israeli-developed technology that can extract spoken words from the sounds of people with speech disabilities.

National News

Female rabbis at forefront of pioneering prayer communities

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – A decade ago in Los Angeles, two organizations opened their doors with a call to prayer –  or they would have if they had any doors to open.

International News

Sephardic vogue, Argentine immigrants fueling Jewish revival in Spain

ROTA, Spain (JTA) – While setting up a synagogue at the American naval base where she works, Ahuvah (Amanda) Gipson made something of a bitter-sweet discovery.

Features

Book review: Biographies – biblical and contemporary

The amount of material available to a biographer depends greatly on the subject being researched. Take, for example, someone writing about a biblical character. The lives of most are relayed in only a few chapters. However, in contemporary times, a great deal of documentation may be found – from personal archives to newspaper and magazine articles to government records. This idea explains the difficulties faced by authors of two recent biographies: While David Wolpe’s “David: The Divided Heart” depends on limited biblical and rabbinic writings, Allen Shawn’s “Leonard Bernstein: An American Musician” faces an almost overwhelming amount of material collected by Bernstein’s family.

“Homely” ancient rock adds evidence of King David’s existence

NEW YORK (JTA) – Dimly lit, the stone slab, or stele, doesn’t look particularly noteworthy, especially when compared to the more lavish sphinxes, jewelry and cauldrons one encounters en route to the room where it is installed.

Opinion

Ferguson and Eric Garner are symptoms of a deeper problem

(JTA) – I sat down last week to write about what happened in Ferguson. As I began to write, there was no doubt in my mind that there would be a “next time” as soon as we hit the next news cycle, if not sooner. Then I heard the news that the New York City police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner would not be charged. I was struck by the fact that I could write this article every day and just leave a blank spot to fill in a new name.

Remembering to play

This month the comic strip featured on my “Pearls Before Swine” calendar resonated with me beyond the quick laugh.

Holiday

“Top your own” party gives latkes a lift

NEW YORK (JTA) – There’s nothing quite like that first night of Chanukah: a platter full of hot, crispy latkes and the accompanying applesauce and sour cream. It’s classic, delicious and a beloved comfort food for so many American Jews.

Green Chanukah: oil-conservation miracle inspires environmentalism

The miracle of Chanukah is an epic story of conservation, as one day’s worth of oil lasts for eight days in the Jewish Temple. Now, in some circles, energy conservation and energy independence are increasing hallmarks of modern-day Chanukah.

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