A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

June 29, 2012
By
leonardcohen460

Leonard Cohen is a modern-day renaissance man–musician, poet, philosopher, mystic. He’s both a practicing Buddhist and an observant Jew. And, as we have previously noted on Jewniverse (read it here), some of his songs are so intricately based on Bible texts, that he’s practically authored his own midrash. He’s also been incredibly influential to countless musicians, from small-town singer-songwriters to A-list…

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The Inspiration of Desperation

June 29, 2012
By
holy-temple

There’s a way to be inspired by everything–even mourning. The three weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av, a period known in Judaism (cleverly) as the “Three Weeks,” is a traditionally somber period.  According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), these weeks were the lead up to the destruction of the first and second ancient Temples in Jerusalem. It…

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

June 28, 2012
By
me

In the new novel Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, Greg Gaines is a lucky high schooler. He gets to hang out with popular girls at school, and then retreat to the safety of his home, where he and his best friend Earl descend into geekiness and film their own movies.…

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Jumping for Joy

June 27, 2012
By
na nach

In Israel, the NaNach movement, a subset of Bratslav Hasidism, has attracted thousands of followers. The movement was founded in 1962 by Yisroel Dov Odesser, a Bratslav rabbi. Odesser claimed to have discovered a “letter from Heaven” that was sent by Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, who’d died more than a century earlier. In the letter, Nachman said that anyone who…

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Jerusalem, in IMAX

June 26, 2012
By
jerusalem-coast

You’ve never seen Israel like this. In the new IMAX film Jerusalem, lush forests and emerald coastlines go up against miraculously jagged mountains and deserts all filmed in a soaring panorama. It’s packed with the kind of visuals you can’t help but describe with superlatives. Sure, it doesn’t limit itself to just the city of Jerusalem–but with a…

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A Mix-and-Match Haggadah

June 25, 2012
By
11HAGGADAH1_SPAN-articleLarge

Were all Egyptians pro-slavery? Children’s author Lemony Snicket suggests that even if most Egyptians started out in favor of subjugating the Israelites, they probably wavered after the Ten Plagues started. After burning hail, wild beasts, and lice, he says, “even Pharaoh’s son was probably an abolitionist–a word here which means ‘in favor of ending…

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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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