The Jewish Diva Who Played the Indian Princess

March 11, 2014
By
sophie-braslau

Gifted with one of those rare, true contralto voices—deep, rich, and haunting—Sophie Braslau was the beautiful daughter of a Russian émigré physician who was ranked with the most celebrated singers of her time. A musical prodigy, she made her professional singing debut at age 17 in 1909 and soon joined the Metropolitan Opera Company, where…

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What Ever Happened to Italy’s Jews?

March 10, 2014
By
trieste

We usually think of historical fiction as storytelling that attempts to simulate the events and atmosphere of the past—but what if historical fiction recreated not the past itself, but the historian’s process of trying to put the past back together? Trieste, a newly translated novel by Croatian writer Dasa Drndic does just…

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Shop Purim! Costumes & Kitsch.

March 7, 2014
By
crawfish

Happy Purim, Jewniverse! We’ve collected some of the best costumes, gifts and general Purim shtick that you could dream of to celebrate the holiday. We hope you enjoy these picks as much as we do. Purim is the Holiday of Reversals, so go ahead and treyf it up with this Crawfish Lobster Novelty Hat.…

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Nice Jewish Derby Girls, From Fatal Dreidel to Mayhem Bialik

March 6, 2014
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Nice Jewish Derby Girls, From Fatal Dreidel to Mayhem Bialik

Ever heard of Fatal Dreidel? She’s a nice Jewish roller derby girl from Oakland, CA. How bout Mega Menace, the Jersey girl lawyer? Or perhaps, Chicagoans, you’re familiar with Matza Ball Breaker? Some of what we love about these derby girls is the flash and sheer physicality of their sport. But the best thing about…

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What Does the Master of the Universe Pray For?

March 5, 2014
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What Does God Pray For?

Humans pray for all kinds of things: food, water, health, a good grade on a spelling test, no more meatloaf for dinner, a kiss from a handsome boy, acceptance into college, finding a partner, getting a good job, and so on. Judaism even has prayers for going to the bathroom, or smelling…

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The Sturgeon Queens of the Lower East Side

March 4, 2014
By
russ

Joel Russ started selling pickled herring from a pushcart on Hester Street in the 1910s, and later made history by naming his three daughters full partners in his burgeoning business. 100 years later, the “sturgeon queens” of Russ and Daughters, the family business, are the subject of a documentary by Julie Cohen, featuring celebrity homages to Scotch salmon,…

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The Yiddish Speakers Who Stayed Behind

March 3, 2014
By
shtetl

We generally think of Yiddish as the language that Jews spoke in the shtetls of Eastern Europe before WWII, and of its surviving speakers as having long-ago resettled across various continents. We don’t tend to think about the native Yiddish speakers who remained in the shtetls. Luckily, some researchers in Bloomington, Indiana…

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The Israeli Who Put Your Virus Under the Microscope

February 28, 2014
By
Yisrael Radai

Picture a scientist studying viruses. You probably envision someone in a white lab coat staring at vials, working with centrifuges, and peering into microscopes. But what if they are studying computer viruses? Who figures out how to combat those symptoms? One of the foremost researchers in the field of computer viruses was an Israeli professor named Yisrael…

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The Oldest Holocaust Survivor in the World

February 27, 2014
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The Oldest Holocaust Survivor in the World

What’s it like to be born twice and have your second life last twice as long as the first? Alice Sommer Herz, the subject of Malcolm Clarke’s Oscar-nominated short documentary The Lady in Number 6, knew something about that. Sommer Herz, a Jewish pianist and, until she passed away on Sunday…

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The Prime Time Jewvangelist on a Website Near You

February 26, 2014
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The Prime Time Jewvangelist on a Website Near You

Rabbi Leah Levy has a problem: no one is showing up for services at her temple. But why? Should she blame the cantor, a wannabe pop star who believes he has “good looks, perfect hair, and a Streisand-esque voice”? Could it be because of her twin brother, a nearby rival rabbi who’s…

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NYC’s Beloved Yiddishe Music Maven

February 25, 2014
By
Chana Mlotek

You never know what treasures lurk within NYC buildings. For many years, just blocks from Manhattan’s Union Square, a woman named Chana Mlotek curated the Yiddish music collection at the vaunted YIVO archives. Born Eleanor Chana Gordon in South Brooklyn, Mlotek was a musician from a young age. And in addition to being…

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Kabbalah, Supernatural Bug Juice, and Other Camp Delights

February 24, 2014
By
The Path of Names

Ah, Jewish summer camp memories: Bunk raids, incessant singing, daddy longlegs crawling everywhere, and of course mystical, supernatural adventures. Maybe not that last one, unless you’re the protagonist in Ari Goelman’s debut novel, The Path of Names. Dahlia, a sarcastic 13-year-old, is a newcomer to sleepaway camp but has already noticed some weird occurrences.…

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