When the High Priest Was Pelted With Citrons

October 14, 2014
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When the High Priest Was Pelted With Citrons

It’s autumn. Do you get upset when squirrels pelt you from above with acorns? Well, please count your blessings: at least they’re not etrogs, and at least you’re not a high priest with unpopular religious beliefs. In the ancient Temple during Sukkot, a water offering – known as Simchat Beit Hashoavah – was poured on…

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The Amazing New Molecule Shaped Like a Jewish Star

October 13, 2014
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The Amazing New Molecule Shaped Like a Jewish Star

Even Isaac Asimov couldn’t dream this up. A team of University of Manchester chemists led by Professor David Leigh have invented a molecular shape that looks exactly like the Magen David – the Star of David – which could, if harnessed correctly, yield the strongest and lightest armor ever made. But it wasn’t easy: the shape had to…

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The Lady Gaga of Hasidic Music

October 8, 2014
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The Lady Gaga of Hasidic Music

He’s been called the Jewish Elvis; he’s been called the Lady Gaga of Hasidic Music. He’s a rock star, he’s a YouTube sensation, and he’s a Hasidic Jew. He is Lipa Schmeltzer, and his wardrobe is way more interesting than yours. Lipa hails from the Skverer Hasidic community in New Square, New York—a closed community that is…

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The Surprising Hasidic Subtext of a Popular New Novel

October 7, 2014
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Why "Back to the Future" is About the World to Come

Ben Lerner is not primarily a novelist – he’s a poet. He’s also not a Hasid. But his new novel 10:04 opens with a quote: “Hasidim tell a story about the world to come that says everything there will be just as it is here…Everything will be as it is now, just a little different.” From…

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Finally! Seinfeld in Yiddish.

October 6, 2014
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Finally! Seinfeld in Yiddish.

The trademark bass-slapping is at first replaced with the opening bars of “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof, but otherwise it looks like any other Seinfeld re-run – until Jerry and Elaine open their mouths and are suddenly fluent Yiddish speakers. A Vimeo user who goes by the handle “A Mishel” has dubbed and…

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When the Hearthrob of the Yiddish Cinema Led Kol Nidre

October 3, 2014
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When the Hearthrob of the Yiddish Cinema Sang Kol Nidre

If Kol Nidre has never made you shiver with emotion, then you must see the 1940 acclaimed Yiddish film Overture to Glory. Made in New York, the film offers a glimpse at a world—and an art form—that peaked just before its own destruction. With music written by the great Yiddish theater conductor Alexander Olshanetsky and starring Moishe…

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The Refugees’ Japanese Savior

October 2, 2014
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The Refugees' Japanese Savior

With the Soviet Occupation of Lithuania in full swing and the encroachment of Nazism around the corner, Jewish Polish refugees and Lithuanians were desperate for a way out. Introducing Chiune Sugihara, Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Kaunas, Lithuania, and all around exceptional human being. After the Japanese government denied repeated requests…

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The Crazy New App For Using Your iPhone on Shabbos

October 1, 2014
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The Crazy New App for Using Your iPhone on Shabbos

  Shabbos and technology: two great tastes that taste great together? The makers of the new Shabbos App, available in February from the iTunes Store and Google Play, want to convince you that, though it may seem counterintuitive, their spirituality-practicality hack will allow you to keep the Sabbath better from the comfort of…

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Celebrating Hanukkah, USPS-Style

September 30, 2014
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The First Jewish Postage Stamp

You’ve recited selichot. You’ve blown the shofar. You’re doing your teshuvah. All that’s left is to get your final Jewish New Year card into the mail before you have to repent for missing the season. But which stamps should you use? The history of the United States postage stamp is surprisingly short, and the history of the…

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Fashion Tips From NYC’s Most Stylin’ Bubbes

September 29, 2014
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Fashion Tips From NYC's Most Stylin' Bubbes

Is your bubbe your style inspiration? If you just got a mental image of women in tracksuits, or frumpy dresses, you’re probably not alone. But Ari Seth Cohen sees things differently. Cohen, 32, who describes himself on his Twitter profile as a “lover of all things vintage and all around good guy,”…

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The Other Persian Jews

September 24, 2014
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The Other Persian Jews

Make plov, a delicious Bukharan dish, for Rosh Hashanah! If you’re not from the region and you’re not a Near East cultural scholar, chances are that when you think about Persian Jews, you either go all the way back to the Book of Esther, or you think about the Jews of Tehran…

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Two Young Jews and Their YidLife Crisis

September 23, 2014
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Two Young Montrealers and Their YidLife Crisis

YidLife Crisis, a new web series, begins with not-your-average MPAA warning: “The following contains references to adult situations and coarse language. In Yiddish.” Adult situations may include: eating treyf in the form of Montrealish poutine; eating said poutine on Yom Kippur. Created by Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion, the first five-minute episode of YidLife Crisis has all…

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