The 6000-Year-Old Edible Discovery Tucked Into Masada

July 20, 2016
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When your country is located in the bosom of the Fertile Crescent–like, say, Israel–it’s sort of a given that you tend to be the first to a great discovery. Take barley, which you may remember from such hits as bread, cereal, and beer. Barley, it turns out, became the grain…

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When Egyptian Movies Ruled Israeli Airwaves

July 20, 2016
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When Egyptian Movies Ruled Israeli Airwaves

In the three decades between Israel’s founding and the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, the relationship between the two neighbors was tense. And yet, Israelis eagerly turned on their TVs every Friday afternoon and welcomed in Shabbat with the Egyptian movies watched across the Arab world. Why were they screened?…

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These Young Holocaust Survivors Turned a Nazi’s House Into a Kibbutz

July 18, 2016
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These Survivors Turned a Nazi's House Into a Kibbutz After Liberation

In September of 1945, on the heels of liberation, a group of survivors came together to form a kibbutz in a rather unlikely location: on the estate of Julius Streicher, publisher of the notorious Nazi paper Der Stürmer. To wit: while Streicher was being convicted and sentenced to death for…

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This Cult Classic Indie Rock Album is a Surprising Tribute to Anne Frank

July 18, 2016
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This Cult Classic Indie Rock Album is a Surprising Tribute to Anne Frank

  Neutral Milk Hotel is the kind of band that one either fanatically loves or has never heard of. Their 1998 folk rock magnum opus “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” is a cult classic and continual object of fascination — and not just among bearded flannel-wearing types. Despite the…

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Jamaica: Island of Sun, Surf, and Forgotten Jewish Pirates

July 14, 2016
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Jamaica: Island of Sun, Surf, and Forgotten Jewish Pirates

Jamaican Jews number less than 200 these days, but that wasn’t always the case. The first Jews arrived in Jamaica following the Spanish Inquisition in 1494. Nearly 500 years later, in 2007, a nonprofit called Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions (CVE) started transcribing epitaphs and recording cultural trends in grave sites and…

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A New Book Remembers The Italian Orchestra Conductor Who Fought Nazism

July 13, 2016
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In 1936, famed conductor Arturo Toscanini was distressed by the rise of Nazism and fascism. Though not Jewish himself, he wanted to help Jews avoid persecution. That year he met with the Polish-Jewish violin prodigy Bronislaw Huberman, who had just founded the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, and he asked Toscanini to…

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The Jewish Woman Who Changed Fashion Photography Forever

July 12, 2016
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In an age of airbrushed thighs, selfies, and the fight against female objectification, there is one photographer whose work still feels desperately needed. Lillian Bassman was born in 1917 to Jewish émigrés who’d traveled from the Ukraine to Brooklyn. Bassman started out in editing and fashion photography as a protégé…

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“Jerry the Jew,” Infamous Cop-Killer and Jailhouse Lawyer

July 12, 2016
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RIP Jerry the Jew, Infamous Jailhouse Lawyer

With controversies around policing and law enforcement roiling the nation, we’ve got a notorious 20th-century story on the mind: that of America’s longest-running jailhouse lawyer, anti-hero Jerome Rosenberg, known to his fellow prisoners as “Jerry the Jew.” A kid with a long rap sheet at 24, Rosenberg was sentenced to…

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Here’s Why Orson Welles Almost Made a Film of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” — But Didn’t

July 10, 2016
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Why Orson Welles Almost Made a Film of Elie Wiesel's "Night," But Didn't

Owing perhaps to his prodigious literary output, the late, beloved Elie Wiesel was unforgiving of bad, or inadequate, Holocaust art, which may explain his refusal to work with one of the greatest actors and filmmakers of the 20th century: Orson Welles. In a 2006 profile, Wiesel revealed that the man…

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The Beautiful Jewish Merman Named Tikva

July 8, 2016
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The Great Jewish Merman Named Tikva

There’s Darryl Hannah as Madison, and there’s Ariel’s fight for landlocked love. We’re practically bombarded with buxom images of the quintessential mermaid–just look at your Starbucks cup. But what about their mermen counterparts? “Although I’ve never experienced sexism in the mercommunity because we do not judge—we are more like family—there…

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Nazi Leaders’ Underwear and Socks Just Sold to the Highest Bidder

July 6, 2016
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Nazi Leader's Silk Underwear Just Sold to the Highest Bidder

Is it your lifelong dream to own a pair of underwear worn by Nazi leader, Luftwaffe commander, and Reichstag President Hermann Goering? If so, we have bad news: you just missed the auction. Sadly for you, the underwear—along with a pair of Hitler’s socks, dresses owned by longtime companion Eva…

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Gore and Beauty in the Religious Crisis of a Jerusalem Yeshiva Boy

July 5, 2016
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Trigger warning: there is a lot of gore and beauty in this film. In an early scene of the Israeli feature film Tikkun, our protagonist Haim-Aaron slices his hand and faints from hunger. His friend, a fellow Jerusalem yeshiva student, tries to get him to drink some water but he…

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