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Ariel Gros-Werter
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Ariel Gros-Werter is a 20-something, Jewish, life-long Upper West Sider of Manhattan, NY. She has a multi-faceted Jewish background including attending a pluralistic Jewish Day School and the Jewish Theological Seminary's high school Hebrew school program, frequenting Hillel and Chabad at the University of Rochester and after graduating, and working for Conservative and Reform non-profits, as well as associating with both secular and orthodox Jews. She is also connected with her unique French Jewish heritage and has visited Jewish sights across the European Union.
As a young person with an unusual Jewish background and training in anthropology and analysis, she provides an uncommon insight into the phenomenon that is the young Jewish Upper West Side, as well as an atypical perspective at what it means to be Jewish.

Entries by Ariel Gros-Werter

Tragedy Brings Us Together

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 8:12 PM

When I worked in synagogues, I was amazed that regardless of pressing assignments, we dropped everything when a community member or congregant's relative died. All other responsibilities faded as we rushed to address the needs of the mourners. Messages were drafted and triple-checked for wording and name spellings before emailing...

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Celebrating 'GALentine's Day'

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2016 | 10:59 PM

Sunday was Valentine's Day; advertisements, casual conversations, and seeing hearts and roses everywhere make it impossible not to notice this holiday. No one is more aware of Valentine's Day than those of us who are presently single. Indeed, on Valentine's Day I avoid going to restaurants, walking through the mall,...

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Birthday Wishes in the Facebook Era

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2015 | 2:04 PM

I recently celebrated another birthday... thank you for your well-wishes. In the week since my birthday, I've received over a hundred "happy birthday" messages, many of them from people I haven't spoken to in years.

Isn't it funny how people seem to come out of the woodwork to wish you...

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U'Netaneh Tokef -- Will We Live?

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 1:57 PM

On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, respectively, we recite the "U'Netaneh Tokef" prayer, attributed to Rabbi Amnon of Mainz in the 11th century (though likely actually written centuries earlier), which extols a list of ways a person can die as punishment for...

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Tisha B'Av at the Kotel

(1) Comments | Posted July 17, 2013 | 5:13 PM


Yesterday, Jews around the world observed Tisha B'Av, a fast day commemorating half a dozen Jewish tragedies, the most significant being the destructions of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. As I am in Israel, I determined it would be most poignant to...

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Doing Good While Cleaning for Passover

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 2:42 PM

The Jewish holiday of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) occurs this year in late-March. During the eight days of the holiday, we remember the iblical Exodus from slavery in Egypt, have long, drawn-out storytelling dinners, and try not to count the hours until we can stop eating lots and lots of...

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Tisha B'Av: Making Mourning Traditions Meaningful

(1) Comments | Posted July 25, 2012 | 12:32 PM

On major fast days such as the Ninth of Av (Tisha B'Av) and Yom Kippur, many Jews observe certain practices prescribed for the days after the death of a close relative. These mourning traditions emphasize the state of being in the midst of a great loss. They include not wearing...

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Why on This Night Must We Ask the Same Four Questions?

(2) Comments | Posted April 5, 2012 | 3:14 PM

One of the cutest Jewish traditions is that during the Passover seder, the youngest child recites four reasons why "this night is different from all other nights," commonly known as the Four Questions. The purpose of this tradition is to prompt learning. It is derived from a sentence of the...

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Considering Collective Responsibility Through the Lens of Kristallnacht

(1) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 12:28 PM

Judaism has a multitude of remembrance days commemorating tragedies in our history. Most are centuries if not millennia old, but there are a few dates on the Jewish calendar that commemorate recent events. Kristallnacht, observed every Nov. 9, is one of these.

Kristallnacht, called the "Night of Broken Glass" because...

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9/11 From Class Four Blocks Away

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2011 | 5:57 PM

In 2001, high school started on September 5th. Our fifth day of school was a Tuesday; it started just like normal: I met my friends and traveled to school on the subway, just like we had done most of the previous year. During my free second period I went to...

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Central Park: Social Networking On Shabbat

(4) Comments | Posted September 6, 2011 | 11:51 AM

In honor of Labor Day, often accepted as the end of summer, it seems appropriate to reflect on a summer phenomenon of the Jewish Upper West Side in Manhattan.

The gathering of troves of young Jews at the Great Lawn of Central Park in Manhattan on Saturday afternoons is in...

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Hosted Shabbat Dinners: Mingling On A Friday Night

(4) Comments | Posted July 15, 2011 | 9:15 AM

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a hosted Shabbat dinner of 35 20-somethings, of which I, like most who were there, only knew a handful of other people. Despite it being a Shabbat dinner, there were only a few isolated pockets of religious activities during the four-hour evening....

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