The 613 By Archie Rand Blue Rider Press, 622 pages


It took Archie Rand almost five years to produce the paintings featured in “The 613,” an illustrated interpretation of the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, from the Torah. Each panel measures 20 inches by 16 inches and takes up about 1,700 square feet of wall space when exhibited together, which has happened only once, for four… Read More

Mohammed Most Popular Israeli Name


JERUSALEM — Mohammed was the most popular name in Israel in 2014. Some 2,650 Mohammeds were born in Israel in 2014, the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics said in a report released last week. The second most popular name for a boy was Noam, with 1,600 baby boys, though, according to the report, some 400… Read More

Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World By Seth M. Siegel Thomas Dunne Books, 352 pages


Speaking from Austin, Texas, in between his 55th and 56th speaking engagements, author Seth M. Siegel laments how the Barnes & Noble retailer places his book in the wildlife section. There isn’t a single animal mentioned anywhere in the volume. “They have me in the wildlife section because they don’t have a context,” Siegel says…. Read More

Israel to Establish College in Arab Town


JERUSALEM — Israel’s Council of Higher Education will vote on a call for proposals to establish a college for Arab-Israelis in an Arab town, the nation’s education minister said. “For the first time in the history of the State of Israel, we will establish a general academic college in an Arab town,” Naftali Bennett, who… Read More


Morris Pancoe, with shovel, joins six other men at an unidentified groundbreaking ceremony, circa 1960. Can you identify anyone in this photo? Contact Joanna Church, 410-732-6400, ext. 226 or and find out who has been identified in past photos, visit

My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things By Joseph Skibell Algonquin Trade Paperback, 224 pages


Perhaps Joseph Skibell’s unusual approach to life’s occurrences is related to his family’s unusual pronunciation of the truncated version of its European name. Americanized — sort of — Skibelski became, “against all orthographic convention,” SKY-bell, which, the author says, almost everyone mispronounces. The author also has experiences and views not always conventional, as shown in… Read More

2,000 Jewish Dancers Meet in Brazil


RIO DE JANEIRO —Some 2,000 Jewish dancers from five countries attended Festival Carmel in Brazil, one of the largest annual Israeli folk dance events held outside Israel. Dancers of varying ages from Argentina, Brazil, Israel, the United States and Uruguay performed in shows and attended workshops, dance sessions, learning sessions and other activities held last… Read More