The 1990s’ Baby-Sitters Club Books for Orthodox Girls

May 26, 2016
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The 1990s' Baby-Sitters Club Books for Orthodox Girls

In the 1980s and 1990s, The Baby-Sitters Club ruled. The series, created by Ann M. Martin, followed a group of middle school girls as they babysat and navigated life as pre-teens, managing toddler tantrums, middle school romance, divorce, and their own family dynamics. BSC books were so popular that in…

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Sexual Abuse, Incest, and Imagination in This Dark Israeli Film

May 25, 2016
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PRINCESS_3

“Our imaginations can sometimes change our reality,” writes Israeli writer/director Tali Shalom Ezer about her award-winning film Princess. But only sometimes. Ezer’s main character, 12-year-old Adar (played hauntingly by Shira Haas) is surrounded by dangerous adults. In the opening moments of the film, Adar is in bed with her mother…

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Meet the Two Jewish Criminals Who Were Australia’s First Dentists

May 24, 2016
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Australia's First Two Dentists Were Two Jewish Criminals

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, the British government deported over 150,000 convicts to penal colonies in Australia. Among them were two Jews named Joseph Hyams and Simon Lear, also known as Australia’s first dentists. Hyams, who was born in London and sent to Sydney after being convicted for something in…

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The Jewish Chicken Farmers of New Jersey

May 23, 2016
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The Jewish Chicken Farmers of New Jersey

Think “New Jersey Jews.” What do you see? Kids swimming at Jewish day camps, suburban synagogues surrounded by parking lots, Yiddish-speaking peasants raising chickens–Oh wait, not that last one? Think back to 1882, when 43 families fled pogroms in Russia and settled in southern New Jersey, to begin a new…

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The Israelis Behind Coldplay’s Stunning New Video

May 20, 2016
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The video for Coldplay’s “Up&Up” has already garnered 12 million YouTube views this week, and that number just keeps going up and up. And for good reason: it’s simply breathtaking. Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia co-directed the video for the British rock band. The two 30-year-old Israelis describe the video…

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There Could Have Been a Jewish President Named Yetta

May 19, 2016
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There Could Have Been a Jewish President Named Yetta

Hillary Clinton has done her fair share of acknowledging the 200+ women who’ve run for president before her. So why hasn’t she mentioned Yetta? Yetta Bronstein ran for office in both 1964 and 1968 on the Best Party ticket. She was an outspoken Jewish housewife from the Bronx, and ran…

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The Yiddish Theater Star Who Disappeared Into an Anti-Stalinist Superhero

May 18, 2016
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the yid

Paul Goldberg’s provocatively-titled novel The Yid (Picador) starts out with a middle-of-the-night visit from the Stalinist-era Soviet police to the Moscow home of Solomon Levinson, an elderly has-been actor of the Yiddish theater. Their job: to make him disappear. But things don’t go as planned, and in an elaborately choreographed…

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This 1936 Illustrated German Children’s Book Makes Anti-Semitism Look So Cute

May 17, 2016
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Trust No Fox

How did Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic ideas transform from the ravings of an outsider to official policy? A new exhibit, “Anti-Semitism 1919-1939,” at the New-York Historical Society asks this question, and a 1936 children’s book supposedly about a fox ventures an answer. Trust No Fox was one of three children’s books published…

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A Mother-Daughter Lower East Side Yiddish Pregnancy Tale

May 16, 2016
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A Mother-Daughter Lower East Side Yiddish Pregnancy Tale

Throughout Jennifer S. Brown’s debut novel Modern Girls, it’s easy to think you’ve been here before, in a 1930s Lower East Side that’s recognizable from such chroniclers as Henry Roth and Irving Howe. But her predecessors might have only hinted at the events that are the core of Brown’s story,…

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A Tel Aviv Artist Explores Her Tehran Roots

May 13, 2016
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Tel Aviv-based visual artist Elham Rokni was born in Tehran and has lived in Israel since she was 9. Her work reflects on displacement and memory, and in media ranging from drawings to video, she examines a homeland lately known to her mainly through TV news and the Internet. In…

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Just in Time For International Hummus Day, Survey Finds Israelis are Really, Really Into Hummus

May 12, 2016
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Forget religion: The biggest point of contention among Israelis is where to get the best hummus. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the primo hummus spot. Starting at breakfast, lines form down the block at Abu Hasan in Jaffa. Visitors to Jerusalem are obligated to patronize Abu Shukri or…

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Why This Israeli Independence Day We’ve Got British Novelist George Eliot On The Mind

May 11, 2016
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Why This Israeli Independence Day We're Thinking of British Novelist George Eliot

This Israeli Independence Day, we’re thinking not of Theodor Herzl but of a less traditionally heralded Zionist: the unconventional British novelist George Eliot, whose controversial proto-Zionist novel Daniel Deronda (1876) argued that Jews needed their own homeland to renew their culture. The novel’s plot features a cultivated gentleman who, after…

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