The New York Times published Irin’s article on the revitalization of the Rio de Janeironeighborhood of Lapa. (Note: This article was in the works and completed several months before Irin began work as a media reporter at WWD).

The Lost Jews
Odmar Braga knows who he is.”I’m the generation of the desert,” he says. “I’m not in Egypt, but I’m not in the Promised Land.” He has more than the biblical exodus in mind. Braga, 53, claims he is descended from Dutch Sephardic Jews who sailed to religious freedom in northeastern Brazil around 400 years ago. He is a Marrano, a Jew whose family converted to Christianity to escape persecution but then continued to secretly practice Judaism. And for Marranos like Braga, or bnei anousim, there have been many Egypts.

Israelis Park the Moving Truck and Head to the Mall
There’s a new rest stop on the classic Israeli road from the military to backpacking around the world: the tchotchke-laden kiosks that dot the arteries of most shopping malls. Thousands of young Israelis have been trading their M16s for aromatherapy pillows, nail buffers and foot cream. Shot in the knee two years ago during a paratrooper training session, Liran, 22, can’t lift boxes, so working as a mover, as Israeli expats have for decades, was not an option. Therefore, when it came time to earn some money to fund his post-military travels, he went to the mall.

A Flying leap for the young and young at heart
Rio is uniquely positioned for hang gliding, offering an accessible takeoff point in the city, a diverse vista of mountains, forest, city, and ocean, and a big strip of beach for landing. A host of pilots share the route, each offering more or less the same services: transport from your accommodation, a brief instruction period, and a roughly half-hour flight in tandem with the professional, most for about $110. Admission to the park itself is about $5. Rather than being an impulsive lark, going hang gliding can be a lengthy process, mostly because of the vagaries of wind and water. During the normally sunny summer month of January, a lingering storm front grounded me and my friend on four consecutive days. We stayed in touch with our pilot by cellphone in hopes of finding an hour of sunshine and favorable wind.