Comic-Book Heroes Storm Jerusalem

February 20, 2014
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Superheroes storm Jerusalem

The paper-cut artist Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik—whose website, tellingly, is NiceJewishArtist.com—appropriates old comic books into some seriously Jewish art. In his new exhibit at UCLA’s Hillel, “Super Heroes, Holy Land,” Brynjegard-Bialik presents comic-book panels that have been chopped up and remodeled into Jewish holy sites. In one, speech bubbles and desert backgrounds are laid out to…

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Love Notes to Israeli Traffic Cops

February 19, 2014
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Dear Officer

Leave it to Israelis to fight back against the Man. In the ever-raging, worldwide war between drivers and ticketing police officers, Israelis are striking a new, utterly harmless and friendly blow: that of the love note. Dear Officer, a new blog by American journalist Daniel Estrin, chronicles the efforts of the illegally parked…

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The Bible’s Time-Traveling Camels

February 18, 2014
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The Bible's Time-Traveling Camels

Bad news for biblical literalists: Recent research conducted by two Tel Aviv University archaeologists shows that camels weren’t domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean until the 10th century B.C., centuries after they appear in the Hebrew Bible. The study, as reported in National Geographic by Jewniverse contributor Mairav Zonszein, explains that researchers were primarily concerned with the arrival of domesticated…

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A Holocaust Novel with Fangs

February 17, 2014
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color-of-light

It’s hard to pick up a novel these days without encountering vampires and zombies. Even the classics (see: Pride and Prejudice) are not immune from the craze. But there’s one mode of storytelling from which, until recently, imaginary monsters were conspicuously missing: the Holocaust novel. Not anymore. Add to your bookshelf’s “Undead” section The Color…

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The Jewish Woman Who Invented the Modern Bra

February 14, 2014
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The Jewish Woman Who Invented the Modern Bra

In the 1950s and 60s, Maidenform ran a series of ads with the slogan, “I dreamed.” In one, a woman “won the election in my Maidenform bra.” In another, a woman “opened the World Series in my Maidenform bra.” Who was responsible for the underwire behind these racy and progressive ads? A shrewd businesswoman and eventual…

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Krusty the Clown’s Rabbinic Lineage

February 13, 2014
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Lrusty the Clown's Rabbinic Lineage

Just as the Colorado town in South Park has its resident schlemiels, the Springfield of The Simpsons has its very own Jewish clown: Krusty, of course. Let’s reminisce. The third season’s beloved “Like Father, Like Clown” finds Krusty the Clown (formerly Herschel Krustofski, it turns out) despondent over his severed relationship with his father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofski (voiced…

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Yiddish is an Official Language of Sweden?

February 12, 2014
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Yiddish is an Official Language of Sweden?

You’ve heard the old Yiddish adage, “It’s not how many Jews live in a country, but how many years they’ve lived there.” If you haven’t, that’s probably because we made it up. Jews make up just .2% of the population of Sweden. And yet Yiddish is one of the country’s official minority…

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The Cantor’s Son Behind “The Threepenny Opera”

February 11, 2014
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kurt

An early-20th-century cantor’s son, steeped in the traditions of the old world, aspires for pop music stardom—and gets it. No, we’re not talking about Al Jolson. We’re talking about Kurt Weill. Weill (b. 1900) became famous for songs like “Mack the Knife” and “Speak Low,” but he took a more circuitous route than Jolson toward popular…

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The Jewish Fashion Photographer of Nazi Germany

February 10, 2014
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Yva

There was a time when Else Neuländer-Simon, known as Yva, was the premier fashion and portrait photographer of her day. Born in Germany to a Jewish middle-class family, Yva opened her own photography studio when she was just 25 years old, and quickly became a sought-after talent. Her photos were published extensively in…

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Pete Seeger: Not a Jew?

February 7, 2014
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Pete Seeger

When Pete Seeger became bar mitzvah, he sang “Hineh Ma Tov” from the synagogue bimah. Or was it “Tzena Tzena“? No wait, it was that song from Ecclesiastes. What’s that? Seeger wasn’t Jewish? Then why did he sing so many Jewish songs? Often called the father of American folk music, Seeger was a…

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The New Film by The Man Who Brought You “Shoah”

February 6, 2014
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Last of the Unjust

In the 1970s, when Claude Lanzmann was collecting material for his masterpiece, Shoah, he conducted a set of interviews that didn’t quite fit with the rest—with ex-Judenrat elder Benjamin Murmelstein. Forty years later, Lanzmann, now a hale 87, brings Murmelstein’s testimony to light, along with questions about Jewish memory and morality, in…

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The Black and Jewish “Blind Boy” of Blues

February 5, 2014
By
Jerron Paxton

Ten years ago a Jewish reggae musician named Matisyahu took the world by storm. His music was catchy and heartfelt, and it helped that his look was a novelty: a white Hasidic man in a genre of music mostly associated with black people. Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton is next in line to Matisyahu’s throne. He’s a…

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