Archive for the ‘Jewish’ Category

My Obstetrician’s Rx: Liverwurst
October 8, 2009

THE FORWARD-October 06, 2009

A Mother-to-Be Ponders Giving Birth Abroad

By Deborah Kolben

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When I moved to Berlin last year, I settled into a Bohemian-chic neighborhood in what was formerly East Berlin. Despite Germany’s declining birth rate — the once decaying buildings here, where coal ovens and shared bathrooms have been replaced with stainless steel kitchens and cupboards filled with organic muesli — are packed with babies. It’s considered a German miracle. Coffee shops are more like nurseries. My block was home to three preschools, including one in my building. They say to be careful — there’s something in the water. And then, it happened to me.

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Why Orthodox Women Are Choosing Natural Birth
August 12, 2009

The Forward—August 12, 2009

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Looking for a doctor to deliver your baby when you’re 30 weeks pregnant isn’t exactly ideal. But when I moved back to Brooklyn earlier this month, after living in Europe for the past year, that’s exactly what I had to do.

In my perfect world I wanted to find a caring midwife who could deliver my baby in a non-hospital setting. After some extensive Google research, I found myself driving out one rainy morning to the Brooklyn Birthing Center, a small freestanding practice of midwives on an otherwise dim residential strip in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. (more…)

A Wife, Down and Out in Berlin
September 18, 2008

THE FORWARD — September 18, 2008

This Must Be the Place
By Anna Winger
Riverhead Books, 303 pages, $24.95.

Days after moving to Berlin from Brooklyn this summer, I fell into a deep funk. It was the kind of can’t-get-out-of-bed depression where at 5 p.m. you realize that you haven’t left the apartment all day — except once, and that was to get a donner kebab, the pervasive Turkish street food and Berlin’s answer to the New York slice. I knew that outside, out in Berlin, there were galleries to see and cafés to idyll in, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave. It all just seemed so gray, vast and empty. I was realizing that Berlin, with all its heavy history, could do this to a person.

It probably wasn’t the best idea, then, to start reading Anna Winger’s debut novel, “This Must Be the Place.” When the book opens, Winger’s protagonist, Hope, a third grade schoolteacher from New York, has also just arrived in Berlin, and fares even worse than I have. Drawn to Europe by a husband who spends his weeks in Poland — leaving in his stead a stack of books for his non-Jewish wife, with titles that invariably contain the words “Holocaust” or “antisemitism” — Hope hides out. (more…)

The Matzo Show on Rivington Street
January 6, 2008

THE NEW YORK TIMES — January 6, 2008

Richard Perry/The New York Times

Through the window of Streit’s matzo factory, some watch and others ask for free samples.

ALL day long, people ask Leonides Negron if he is Jewish.

Mr. Negron, a 46-year-old Puerto Rican, works at the venerable Streit’s matzo factory on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side, handling the stacks of steaming flat breads as they emerge from the 900-degree, 72-foot-long oven. While bearded rabbis upstairs bless the dough, Mr. Negron stands near the first-floor window, listening to merengue on the radio and moving matzo from a conveyor belt onto wire cooling racks.

The bakery has operated in the same four red brick tenements since 1925, and because its oven is on the first floor, passers-by often gaze through the barred windows to watch the action inside. Some ask what is being made; others request a taste. A man who strolls by every morning asks for a piece of matzo for his dog.

Mr. Negron is happy to chat.

“I tell them it’s Jewish bread,” he said of the matzo in the familiar red and blue box. “But to Spanish people, we just tell them it’s crackers.” (more…)