Chinese Self-Help Books Teach You to Be Like the Jews

August 4, 2014
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Chinese Self-Help Books Teach You to Be Like the Jews

Head to the self-help or business section at a bookstore in China and you’re likely to see books with titles like Learn To Make Money With the Jews, and Jewish People and Business: The Bible of How to Live Their Lives. These cringy titles might suggest something weird, or even anti-Semitic, but they’re actually part…

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The Jews Who Carved the Carousel Horses

August 1, 2014
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The Jews Who Carved the Carousel Horses

There’s nothing like mounting a horse, tossing your head back, and riding off in the California surf. Unless, of course, your horse is handcrafted by Torah ark woodcarvers, and mounted to a pole in the heart of New York City. That’s right, the carousel horse you loved to ride as a child…

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The Prostitution Ring That Lured Women From Their Shtetls

July 31, 2014
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The Prostitution Ring That Lured Women From the Shtetls

The subject of prostitution is rarely associated with the word “Yiddish.” But from the 1860’s until the cusp of WWII, a powerful sex-trafficking ring operated between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and the streets of South America. The “Zwi Migdal” ring used well-dressed men to publicize openings for domestic service…

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Rudolf Kasztner: Hero or Nazi Collaborator?

July 30, 2014
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A New Film Asks: Was Rudolf Kasztner a Hero or Nazi Collaborator?

The Talmud says that “he who saves one life, it is as if he saved the entire world.” So a person who saved 1,684 lives during the Holocaust would surely be considered a hero. But Rezsö (Rudolf Israel) Kasztner, a lawyer, journalist, and head of the Zionist Aid and Rescue Committee…

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Elie Wiesel’s Mysterious Mentor

July 29, 2014
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Elie Wiesel's Mysterious Mentor

They say he dressed in rags. That he appeared with no warning, and disappeared just as quickly. That he was fluent in many languages, and equally so in the texts of multiple religions. That his mastery of science, math, and philosophy was unparalleled. That he taught Torah to the great…

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Southern Africa’s Lost Tribe of Israel

July 28, 2014
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africa2jv

Africa is positively peppered with peoples of Jewish descent at every corner. You probably know that Jews hail from Morocco and Ethiopia, and perhaps also from Ghana and Kenya. But did you know that the south is Lemba territory? The Lemba ethnic group have lived in what is now South Africa and Zimbabwe for about 2,500 years, ever since…

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The Man Who Taught Arabic in Yiddish

July 25, 2014
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The Man Who Taught Arabic in Yiddish

Have you been wanting to learn Palestinian Arabic? Bistu a yidish redner? (Are you a Yiddish speaker?) Then, Getzl Zelikovitz was your man. Born in Lithuania in 1863, Zelikovitz was somewhat of a linguistic prodigy who was said to have memorized 500 words of Talmud by the time he was 10 years old.…

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The Jewish Country Music King

July 24, 2014
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The Jewish Country Music Star

He’s 6’7″, wears a long grey ponytail down his back, and was named Texas Musician of the Year in 2004. His name is Ray Benson, and in addition to being the founder of the country swing band, 9-time Grammy winners, Asleep at the Wheel, he’s also one of the only Jewish performers in…

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Did You Know That “Kugel” is South African for JAP?

July 23, 2014
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Did You Know That "Kugel" is South African for JAP?

Behold the kugel: a calorie-packed classic Ashkenazi comfort food typically made from egg noodles or potato and baked till the top crisps golden brown. It may just be your bubbe’s signature dish. Perhaps you avoid it like the plague. But at a South African tish, the word “kugel” has a very different meaning.…

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Seinfeld Emoji Help You Write Texts About Nothing

July 22, 2014
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Seinfeld Emoji Help You Write Texts About Nothing

Seinfeld was the most popular show on television in the late 1990s, and it was also arguably the most Jewish show on the air at the time. Though Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer rarely discussed Judaism outright (excusing the famous “Anti-Dentite” episode) they lived in a world (the Upper West Side) heavily marinated in…

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Torah On The Moon

July 21, 2014
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Torah On The Moon

Christian Bibles are available in hotel rooms, or by missionaries going door to door. But if you want a copy of the Torah while you’re traveling you have to bring one with you or find a local synagogue. Soon, though, there’ll be one place you’ll always be able to find a copy…

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Was The Composer Richard Strauss a Nazi?

July 18, 2014
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Was The Composer Richard Strauss a Nazi?

So yes, he may have been the greatest composer of the 20th century. He may have been a Nazi, too. Though he never joined the party or used the Nazi greeting, Strauss cooperated with the regime with the hope that Hitler—who admired his work ever since seeing Salome—would promote his cherished German…

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