A 1938 Family Film Uncovers a Lost World

December 3, 2014
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A 1938 Family Film Uncovers a Lost World

It’s rare that vacation photos elicit more than a yawn, and it’s certainly unusual to find anything as riveting as the 16mm reel Glenn Kurtz uncovered while sifting through a cardboard box at his parents’ house in Florida. His grandfather’s home-movie footage included three minutes of Kodachrome color film shot…

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How Does Abraham Always Get Away With It?

December 2, 2014
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How Does Abraham Always Get Away With It?

The binding of Isaac is classic Old Testament. You know the story: God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah. Abraham agrees, but just before the knife falls God intervenes, saying, “Now I know that thou art a God-fearing man.” Child endangerment, anyone? Attempted murder? These were the verdicts up…

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A Hilarious New Film About Israel’s Women Soldiers

December 1, 2014
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zero-motivation

Bleakly funny, poignant, and timely, Zero Motivation is Israel’s answer to beloved war send-ups like M*A*S*H and Stripes. Though where those productions deflect reality in favor of slapstick, Zero Motivation address the grittiness head-on, but never in sacrifice of good humor. Director/Writer Talya Lavie’s first feature length film, Zero Motivation has been an…

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When Colonists Thought the Indians Were Lost Jews

November 27, 2014
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shutterstock_116030626

Looking at Jews and Native Americans side by side, you might think there’s no way to mix up the two cultures. Yarmulkes and eagle-feather headdresses look quite different, after all. But some early colonial Americans thought, upon discovering the earlier inhabitants of the Americas, that they were the Chosen People–perhaps one (or more) of…

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The 1975 Celebrity Kosher Cookbook That Only a Turkey Could Hate

November 26, 2014
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The 1975 Jewish Celebrity Cookbook That Only a Turkey Could Hate

We love it when celebrities share their favorite recipes with us. But we have to say, modern celeb/chefs like Jessica Seinfeld and even our beloved Mayim can’t hold a candle to the 1975 book Celebrity Kosher Cookbook. Originally a benefit for L.A.’s Synagogue for the Performing Arts, the recipes are…

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The Surprisingly Jewish History of Club Med

November 25, 2014
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The Surprisingly Jewish History of Club Med

People ask a lot of their vacations these days, from weight loss to spiritual fulfillment. For two groups of entrepreneurial Jews in the post-war era, vacation seemed an opportunity to give people an outlet for newfound prosperity and a respite from war-weariness—with just a gleam of socialist idealism. The Borscht…

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The Controversial Israeli Poet Who Was Almost Overlooked

November 24, 2014
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avot-yeshurun

“…by the power of my yearnings/ I am in the family./ And if I will not yearn,/ I am not in the family.” So wrote Avot Yeshurun (1904-1992), an Israeli poet who knew something about the fragility of familial ties, whether by blood, nationality, language, or religion. Born Yehiel Perlmutter…

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Gehazi The Unfairly Punished

November 21, 2014
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Gehazi The Unfairly Punished

Part 4 of 4 in this week’s “How a Jew Gets Screwed for Eternity” series. Poor Gehazi. Sure, he wasn’t a nice guy. Callous, avaricious, a bit of a jerk. But was he evil enough to have to forfeit his share in the World to Come? Servant to esteemed prophet Elisha—the…

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Doeg the Edomite (and Priest Slayer)

November 20, 2014
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Doeg the Edomite (and Priest Slayer)

Part 3 of 4 in this week’s “How a Jew Gets Screwed for Eternity” series.  Doeg wasn’t simply King Saul’s chief herdsman. The notorious Edomite has been regarded by rabbis as one of the greatest scholars of his time. So convincingly intelligent, in fact, that he made all of his interlocutors…

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Ahitophel, King David’s Divine Betrayer

November 19, 2014
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Ahitophel, King David’s Divine Betrayer

Part 2 of 4 in this week’s “How a Jew Gets Screwed for Eternity” series.  Counselor and confidant to King David, Ahitophel was a wise man. He used his supernatural access to divine wisdom to counsel David, and David, reverent of holy men, hung on every word. Corrupted by his own hunger…

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Evil Balaam and His Talking Donkey

November 18, 2014
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Evil Balaam and His Talking Donkey

Part 1 of 4 in this week’s “How a Jew Gets Screwed for Eternity” series.  It’s the end of Numbers and the Israelites are wrapping up 40 years of serious wandering, during which they’ve taken down a king or two. Meanwhile, as they travel east of the Jordan River, King…

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How a Jew Gets Screwed for Eternity

November 17, 2014
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How a Jew Gets Screwed for Eternity

If you’re a Jew, here’s what happens when you die: If you’re good, you get your share in Olam Ha’ba, the World to Come. If you’re not, you get Gehenna. Purgatory-like and fiery, Gehenna is purportedly where, for one year tops, sinners go to agonize over the past. Once atoned,…

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