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Single, Pregnant, and Rabbi

July 9, 2014
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Single, Pregnant, and Rabbi

Julie Greenberg was a single lesbian in Reconstructionist rabbinical school in the eighties, and she was ready to start a family. Eventually, Rabbi Greenberg found a sperm donor, and got pregnant. She ended up having three children via sperm donors, and adopted two more, all while living in a small three-bedroom apartment, and working…

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Kosher Locusts For Pakistan

July 8, 2014
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Kosher Locusts For Pakistan

It might be old hat that locusts—those hair-raising Passover pests—are kosher. But would you ever think they were a solution for malnutrition? Jewish Pakistani Fishel Benkhald has a simple—and surprisingly crunchy—solution for how to deal with his country’s growing health issues. Benkhald has determined that locusts could provide a cheap source of protein for…

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The Holocaust Play Too Scandalous for the American Stage

July 7, 2014
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The Holocaust Play Too Scandalous for the American Stage

When you think of secret diaries from World War II, your first thought is probably Anne Frank. But there’s a much stranger and darker text that most people don’t know about—the diary of Willy Mahler, a Czech journalist who died in Theresienstadt. Mahler had a relatively privileged life in the camp—at one point…

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Seeking Independence from an Oyster-Filled Marriage?

July 4, 2014
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Seeking Independence From an Oyster-Filled Marriage?

So was a Mr. Max Moss of Binghamton, NY when he sought an annulment from his wife on the grounds that she was not sufficiently Orthodox. His claim? She “tried to force him to eat ham, oysters, and other unkosher food.” The brief appeared in the Jewish Transcript—a precursor to the JTA—in 1924. The…

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How to Score a Yiddish Date in 1940s NYC

July 3, 2014
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How to Score a Yiddish Date in 1940s NYC

Long before JDate parodies, Yiddish cinema was poking fun of Jewish assimilation, values both “traditional” and “American,” and the desire to settle down, or, at least, get a date. Amerikaner Shadkhn (American Matchmaker), made in the Bronx in 1940, depicts the saga of Nat Silver, a wealthy businessman who has been engaged seven…

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The Jew Behind the Monokini

July 2, 2014
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The Jew Behind the Monokini

It can’t be said that the Nazis launched many fashion careers, but when, after the Anschluss, Hitler banned nudity in buff-loving Austria, a young Rudi Gernreich may have taken note. Gernreich, who would become famous as the inventor of the monokini—not the one-piece with cutouts we know today, but a topless suit held up by a halter…

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The Most Innovative Judaica We’ve Ever Seen

July 1, 2014
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The Most Innovative Judaica We've Ever Seen

A tie made out of an old tallit. An oil chanukiyah made out of repurposed light bulbs. A yad for reading the Torah made to look like a pixelated mouse icon for a Windows computer. These are all brainchildren of Israeli artist and designer Ken Goldman. Goldman, a modern Orthodox…

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Good News: All-of-a-Kind Family is Back!

June 30, 2014
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Good News: All-of-a-Kind Family is Back!

All-of-a-Kind Family, the mid-century classic Sydney Taylor children’s series of Lower East Side literature, is back! And not in an “Oh how awful, they tarted up 80′s kid favorite Strawberry Shortcake” kind of way. Lizzie Skurnick has gone from reminiscing fondly about the books for Jezebel to re-releasing the novels—about…

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The Swedish Nazi Film You’ll Want to See

June 27, 2014
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The Swedish Nazi Film You'll Want to See

In The Last Sentence, by Swedish director Jan Troell, journalist and former theologian Torgny Segerstedt asks a variation on the old question “If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If a writer protests and no one hears him, what is…

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First He Rescued Jews, Then He Lost His $4 Million Violin

June 26, 2014
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The Righteous Gentile With The $4 Million Violin

Founder of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, rescuer of over 1,000 Jews from Nazi persecution, world-renowned virtuoso violinist. This is a guy we can get behind. Born in Poland in 1882, Bronisław Huberman had an ear for the harrowing trends of Nazi ascension. After writing an open letter in 1933 calling upon German intellectuals to denounce…

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What’s In God’s Tefillin?

June 25, 2014
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What’s In God’s Tefillin?

Tefillin, or phylacteries, are the black leather straps and boxes that are worn on the head and on the arm during weekday morning prayers. Madonna puts them on with her teeth. Barbie has a pair. Once on a plane they were mistaken for a bomb. But tefillin have an even greater claim to fame: even God…

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Crocheting Holocaust Rape Into Disturbing Art

June 24, 2014
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Crocheting Holocaust Rape Into Art

Israeli artist Gil Yefman doesn’t hesitate to shock. His most recent show, “Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn (To Me You Are Beautiful),” focused on the Holocaust, and on the juxtaposition of everyday objects and beautiful scenery with the horrors of violence—particularly sexual violence. A crocheted “Sex Slave Doll,” whose gaze rests on a monitor…

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