Why Didn’t Britain’s Jewish Kids Get Rickets?

July 27, 2015
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Why Didn’t British Jews get Rickets?

Rickets, a vitamin D deficiency disease that causes children’s bones to soften, was so common in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that doctors were at a loss for explaining its prevalence. Children with the characteristic bowed legs and stunted growth were raised in wealthy and poor…

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The Surprisingly Edible Way India’s Jews Mark Tisha B’Av

July 23, 2015
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The Surprisingly Edible Way India’s Jews Mark Tisha B’Av

What did the saddest day of the year look like in India? For the Bene Israel community, as for Jews around the world, Tisha B’Av marks the end of three weeks of avoiding pleasures like meat, music, and dancing. But this cluster of Indian Jews also broke the twenty-four hour…

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Thank This Jew For Inventing Drip Irrigation

July 22, 2015
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The Jew Who Invented Drip Irrigation

On these hottest days of summer – especially when parts of our country are rationing water – we should thank late Israeli engineer Simcha Blass for helping farmers figure out how to best harness the water they do have. Blass revolutionized drip irrigation in the early 1930’s, pretty haphazardly. As…

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Yolande, The Egyptian Woman Who Spied For Israel

July 21, 2015
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The Egyptian Woman Who Spied For Israel

Gone are the days, it seems, when one could get recruited for espionage at a cocktail party. (Or maybe we’re just going to the wrong parties.) But that’s what happened to Yolande Harmer, an Egyptian Jewish spy for the Haganah, the precursor to the Israeli Defense Forces, whose intelligence became…

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Partying After Ramadan, on the Mediterranean

July 20, 2015
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Partying After Ramadan, on the Mediterranean

Looking for a summer trip that’s a little more mind-opening than beach volleyball? Why not sign up for an After-Ramadan Tour offered by Juba’s Guesthouse, in the Israeli Arab beach town of Jisr az-Zarqa? Last Friday marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. For the past decade…

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The Penniless Immigrant Behind a Hot Dog Empire

July 17, 2015
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The Penniless Immigrant Behind a Hot Dog Empire

Coney Island is famous for its seashores, sideshows, and salty breezes. But, of course, it’s also famous for its hot dogs—Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, that is. You may know it as the site of the similarly famous gut-clogging hot-dog eating contest. Just in time for the iconic Brooklyn hot-doggery’s centennial…

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Judy Gold: Her Comedy is Dirtier than Yours!

July 16, 2015
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Judy Gold's Comedy is Dirtier than Yours!

She already won two Emmy® awards. She’s a world-renowned comedian, performer, writer, and mom, offering up her uncensored opinions on motherhood, Judaism, and gender equality. She used to co-host The View, just finished an off-Broadway run as Eleanor Roosevelt, and The New York Times called her one-woman show “fiercely funny,…

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Now Odysseus Speaks Judeo-Spanish!

July 15, 2015
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Now Odysseus Speaks Judeo-Spanish!

What language did Odysseus speak when he arrived home after his long journey? In Moshe Ha’elyon’s world–and new book–it’s Ladino. The 87-year old survivor of Auschwitz spent four years bringing Homer’s epic into the language of his youth, Ladino — and in the process, wedging a new foothold for the…

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Jews, Brits, and Other Filthy Races

July 14, 2015
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Jews, Brits, and Turkey's Other Filthy Races

In the early fall of 1871, a deadly cholera epidemic struck the town of Arnavutköy, a suburb of Istanbul along the shores of the Bosphorus. Still, the English physician and Constantinople Board of Health member Dr. Edward Dickson wasn’t worried. “Considering that this large village is inhabited almost exclusively by…

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The Sordid Nazi History Behind This Famous Klimt Painting

July 14, 2015
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Painted by Klimt, Stolen by the Nazis, and Finally Recovered

Maria Altmann’s story has all the hallmarks of a great thriller: stolen famous art, tight-fisted government officials, Nazis. It’s no wonder, then, that the late Altmann (née Bloch-Bauer) has been the subject of three documentaries, a memoir, and, most recently, a feature film starring Helen Mirren by veteran British director…

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Israel’s Favorite Writer Looks Inward

July 10, 2015
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etgar-keret

Etgar Keret—Israel’s favorite magic realist—is back, and this time with a memoir: The Seven Good Years, his first foray into nonfiction. The memoir spans the seven years between the birth of Keret’s son and the death of his father. What falls in between are meditations on air-travel, taxi-rides, the amorality…

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That Nasty Ol’ Rumor About Jews Eating Jesus

July 9, 2015
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That Nasty Ol' Rumor About Jews Eating Jesus

From the bowels of the Middle Ages comes yet another terrible mythology: that of the Jews’ desecration of the host—the Eucharistic representation of the body of Christ in bread form. After Pope Innocent III recognized transubstantiation in 1215, the Jews found themselves in a familiar role: that of scapegoat. Accusations…

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