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Rabbi Deborah Bravo on the surge in anti-Semitism and life as a female rabbi

How rabbi defies hate

Rabbi Deborah Bravo about anti-Semitism’s upsurge:

“It’s in non-Jewish plus Jewish areas. Long Island, my home, we’re a majority but — where there’s less of us — underlying hatred and racism is now prevalent.”

What impelled a woman to become a rabbi?

“I grew up in a liberal home, went to a Jewish summer camp, my parents were observant and my interest began in high school. Role models planted the seed. By college I knew it’s what I wanted. Women now have equal acceptance. Four years undergraduate school, then five years after college to receive my ordination.

“Rabbinical schools are everywhere — Cincinnati, LA, Boston, Chicago. New York has a campus in the Village. The first woman rabbi was ordained here in 1972.

“I wear no specific dress except for the head-covering yarmulke, which shows respect for God. A prayer shawl whenever I’m leading services to create a sacred space within the already sacred space. Hanukkah, Yom Kippur, High Holy Days I wear white to symbolize the time’s holiness.

“I live like anyone else. I care for my children. I’m a wife, daughter, sister. It’s TV and movies that my husband — who’s a musician — and I like. I play cards, games, and I’m a friend. And I go swimming. Tank tops or shorts. But I work many hours. We’re always on call.”

Bravo credits her upbringing as what led to her becoming a female rabbi.
Bravo credits her upbringing as what led to her becoming a female rabbi.
The Jewish Project

Slick messaging of much import

Stanley Tucci. Italian. For CNN’s cooking show “Searching for Italy” he came to Puglia’s 300-year-old olive groves. Says its owner Petroni: “This pro didn’t even know correct way to taste olive oil. He knew niente.”

So what’s so correct for olive oil? “Burn it, drench it, deep fry in it. Americans have a very low Olive Oil IQ. They use it all wrong — especially the extra virgin variety.” (Americans are maybe not used to extra virgins!?)

Stanley Tucci visited an olive grove in Puglia for his CNN show "Searching for Italy."
Stanley Tucci visited an olive grove in Puglia for his CNN show “Searching for Italy.”
Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images

Since the FDA officially recognized this product to be helpful in certain medical conditions, the Petronis are coming here for p.r. And with Tucci.

Okay. Grazie. 


Deck the halls with glasses of wine. ’Tis the season.

Gaga’s goo-goo for shiraz. Kylie Jenner does pinot grigio. Snoop Dogg inhales rosé. Drew Barrymore grows, stows and knows her own. Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas have their own wineries. Others will inhale anything even if you pour prune juice.

For whites, light-bodied riesling. For a medium buzz, sauvignon blanc. Reds — merlot. To go with bagels and cream cheese, try ­Manischewitz. And if you’re really on the el cheapo, a Chianti from the supermarket.

If invited by someone with a paid-up mortgage, throw in the “favorite” you always drink and make sure it begins with the word château. Château what, this I don’t know. I’m testing some $10 zinfandel thing from Portugal. 

So this wino’s special Christmas dinner: A 15-pound roast, add 1 quart scotch, heat it, pour a bottle of gin over it, add a shot of Burgundy, then in the oven for one hour. His friend: “That makes a good roast?” Chef: “No, but who cares. It’s a great gravy.”

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

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