Browsing Archive

November, 2011


Shlemiels and Shlemazels

By On November 30, 2011

“A shlemiel,” explains Matthew Menachem Feuer at the beginning of the new documentary Shlemiel, “is a dreamer. And his dreams don’t match up with reality.” Feuer, a recent devotee of Orthodox Judaism, is the subject of the film.… Read More


Was Moses Black?

By On November 29, 2011

The story of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery is one of our culture’s most enduring legends. From the Bible (the book) to The Ten Commandments (the movie), it has been adapted countless times. The novel Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)… Read More


The Future of Jewish Music Is Not Adam Sandler

By On November 28, 2011

Is Mac Miller the future of secular Jewish culture? The Pittsburgh-born 19-year-old rapper is regarded in the music world as something of a prodigy. Born to a Jewish mother and a Christian father, he was raised Jewish… Read More


Maus in the Closet

By On November 25, 2011

Art Spiegelman is haunted by his history. Not only his father’s history as a Holocaust survivor–which was depicted in the graphic novel Maus (1986), regarded as one of the great works of Holocaust literature–but also his… Read More


The Jewish Indian Chief

By On November 24, 2011

In 1888, the Acoma Pueblo Indians–a Native American tribe living in New Mexico–appointed Solomon Bibo as chief of their tribe. The Acomas even asked the United States to recognize Bibo as their leader. Most remarkable of… Read More


A Pair of Rabbis & a Pair of Nuns

By On November 23, 2011

Jewish jokes aren’t like regular jokes. Granted, there’s the standard Q-and-A-style “Why did the rabbi cross the road?” setup. But often, Jewish jokes take the form of stories, with a slow buildup, wacky characters, and… Read More


Literary Gymnastics

By On November 22, 2011

Etgar Keret is one of the most versatile writers in Israel today. His short stories–which include such memorable characters as an accident-prone insurance salesman, a manic-depressive clown, and a suicide bomber who’s having second thoughts–are often… Read More


Lost in Tel Aviv

By On November 18, 2011

Eric Orner is a comic book artist who is disconnected from his Jewish identity…except that he recently moved to Israel. In the autobiographical comic story “Weekends Abroad”– which was just reprinted in The Best American Comics… Read More


How to Command Demons

By On November 17, 2011

The Testament of Solomon is considered part of the pseudepigrapha–it is an ancient text written around the time parts of the Hebrew Bible were written, but it was not included in the Jewish biblical canon. Its… Read More


Bagel Fever

By On November 16, 2011

The bagel has long been a basic codifier of Askenazic Jewish identity. The hip-hop parody group 2 Live Jews, in their anthem of Jewish identification “Shake Your Tuchus,” said, “If you don’t know what a bagel… Read More


A Secret History of Yiddish

By On November 15, 2011

If languages had personalities, then Yiddish would probably be gruff and sardonic, with several unexpected surprises up its sleeve–much like the admired comic book writer Harvey Pekar who died last year. One of Pekar’s last projects… Read More


Debbie Friedman in Uganda

By On November 14, 2011

Until her untimely death last year, Debbie Friedman was one of the most vital voices in Jewish music. She set Jewish liturgy to original music that was catchy, heartfelt, accessible, and easy to sing along… Read More

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