Caring Enough to Hit “Send”

June 25, 2012
By
someecards

SomeEcards is a fun website that creates snarky, informal cards–their motto is, “when you care enough to hit ‘send’.” The cards on the site are almost always sarcastic and funny–for instance, there’s a birthday card that says “Happy 24 Hours of Constant Facebook Notifications Day.” SomeEcards also offers specialty cards for holidays, from Christmas to…

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Log On to the Dead Sea Scrolls

June 22, 2012
By
scrolls

Lately, there’s been a push to digitize everything–old family movies, record collections. Our lives are fleeting and fast. We want to save our cherished memories, and somehow make them last forever. So it shouldn’t be a great surprise that historians are also feeling the pinch. The Dead Sea Scrolls are an amazing collection of almost perfectly-preserved…

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The Dark Side of the Bible

June 22, 2012
By
simpsons bible

In one of the darkest moments in the war between Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders on the TV show The Simpsons, Homer is about to unleash a swarm of locusts on his adversary. “Wow,” crows his son Bart. “Where’d you get that idea?” Homer pulls out a small black-covered book. “The Bible,” he whispers. “It’s…

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Silver Jews Ride into the Sunset

June 21, 2012
By
silver

These days, writer and musician David Berman is getting more mileage out of his bizarre New Yorker-like cartoons than he is from Silver Jews, the band he used to lead. The Silver Jews–for which Berman was once singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist–were a veritable force in the alternative rock scene of the 1990s. Silver…

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The Secret Jewish Burial Society

June 20, 2012
By
secret

The hevra kadisha, or “holy fraternity,” is a group that ritually cleans a dead body before it’s buried. A hevra kadisha exists in virtually every Jewish community. Participating in one is rarely a high-profile job, and even in the most observant Jewish communities it can be difficult to find people to volunteer for this unnerving…

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Sexy Beijing

June 19, 2012
By
sexy beijing

Imagine a pool in a luxury spa in the center of China, with vaulted ceilings and exquisitely painted walls, filled with purified rainwater, and fit for an emperor to bathe in… Or, actually, an empress. Because this bath is a mikvah–a ritual bath designed for women who observe the Jewish laws of menstrual purity.…

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Health, Death, and Our Kids

June 18, 2012
By
health deat and our kids

“What’s the difference between a doctor and God?” a cabdriver asks author A.J. Jacobs, while driving to see Jacobs’ grandfather in the hospital. When Jacobs doesn’t know, the cabdriver supplies the punchline: “God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.” Jacobs’ new memoir Drop Dead Healthy is about his quest to perfect his body–or, at least, to lose some of his…

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Jews and Coffee

June 15, 2012
By
jews and coffee

The new book Jews Welcome Coffee is a history of the introduction of coffee into Europe–first brought into Germany by botanist Leonhard Rauwolf in 1573–and of the beverage’s strange and remarkable impact on the Jews living there. Coffee spread through Europe during the Enlightenment, at a time that Jews were being welcomed into many European societies. Coffee was first seen as…

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Flirting, Israeli Style

June 14, 2012
By
coupling

Like your craziest high-school friend, the TV show Coupling will try anything once. This British sitcom is actually a love story, a fictionalized version of the romance between writer Steven Moffat (currently the showrunner of Doctor Who and Sherlock) and his wife/producer Sue Vertue. It’s anything but romanticized–in the first episode, Sue and Steve’s first date…

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The Snake and the Mouse

June 13, 2012
By
the snake and the mouse

The Israeli children’s picture book K’she-hanachash V’ha-achbar Nifgeshu Larishonah (“When the Snake and the Mouse First Met”) is a fable worthy of Aesop. A baby snake is wandering through the forest when it comes upon a baby mouse. They spend the day together, learning about each other. Each returns home and tells his mother about what happened.…

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Every Story is a Nazi Story

June 12, 2012
By
Every Story is a Nazi Story

Jud Suss was a Nazi propaganda film. By many historians’ and film critics’ measures, it was the most successful film of its kind. It tells a story about Joseph Suss Oppenheimer, who was an 18th-century financial minister and court Jew of the Duke of Württemburg. In the film–directed by Veit Harlan but conceived…

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The Godfather in Yiddish

June 11, 2012
By
the godfather in yiddish

Some parodies exist solely because it’s funny to mash up two disparate genres. Take, for instance, YouTube videos such as Ten Things I Hate about Commandments (Bible stories + high-school movies), and the Fiddler on the Roof/You Got Served trailer (1800s Jewish ghetto/2000s African-American ghetto). In a new Youtube video, the first scene of The Godfather is dubbed into Yiddish. (Watch it here–and don’t…

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