Kafka’s The Metamorphosis: The iPad App

January 1, 2013
By
ipad-app

In 1915, Franz Kafka published what would be his most famous work: a curious novella called The Metamorphosis, about a traveling salesman who wakes up one morning to discover he’s a huge, hideous bug. Nearly 100 years later, a fledgling New York publishing company called Rocket Chair Media is launching an utterly 21st-century take on…

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Happy…Sylvester?

December 31, 2012
By
new-years-eve

Have you ever heard an Israeli refer to their “Sylvester” plans and wonder what they’re talking about? And once you figured out that they were referring to New Year’s Eve, did you wonder why Israelis would name the holiday after the Roman saint who passed notoriously anti-Semitic legislation? The Roman saint…

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The Zoo Rabbi

December 28, 2012
By
elephant-ride

An Orthodox rabbi who writes about werewolves and unicorns and believes in evolution?  Meet Rabbi Natan Slifkin– also known as “The Zoo Rabbi” – who teaches about what Jewish scripture says about natural history and beastly lore. And despite his opponents’ claims that his belief in evolution is heretical, he staunchly believes it’s not.…

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The Shondes: The Coney Island of rock bands?

December 27, 2012
By
shondes

Coney Island — home of legendary knishes, Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs, and that historic roller coaster — is rich with Jewish spirit. A similar thing could be said of the Brooklyn band The Shondes, who so identify with the oceanfront Brooklyn district that they recorded a paean to it for their album, “Searchlights.” (Check…

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The 2013 Nice Jewish Guys Calendar is Here!

December 26, 2012
By
nice-jewish-guys-calendar

When Adam Cohen set out to create the first Nice Jewish Guys Calendar, he wanted to fill the pages with offbeat men instead of your typical hotties. Sure, 12 months of half-naked firemen and six-packs is nothing to shake a fist at—but a nebbishy boy with an earnest smile and a penchant…

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Sephardic Music Festival, Vol. 2

December 25, 2012
By
sephardic-music

The second Sephardic Music Festival album just dropped, and the only bad news is that you can no longer use Hanukkah as an excuse to buy it (though a little birdie just told us about another winter holiday that may be happening today). This compilation is just as eclectic as last year’s Vol. 1, with…

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Telegraph Avenue

December 24, 2012
By
telegraph-ave

Critics have been speculating for years about who will pen the next Great American Jewish Novel. All signs pointed to Michael Chabon when his 2007 novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union conceived of an alternate history in which a Jewish homeland was established in Alaska instead of Israel. But Chabon’s latest release is sending…

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Israeli Protest Music

December 21, 2012
By
shak-li

Given how infamous Israelis are for their political passions and fiery tempers, and how many political songs have emerged from the country (ranging from “Utsu Etsu” from the right and “Blow Wind Blow” from the left), it may be surprising that the first dedicated album of protest songs is coming out…

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German Ritual Baths

December 20, 2012
By
cologne-mikvah3

Walk through most German cities today and you don’t have to look too hard to find commemorations of pre-Holocaust Jewish life – they’re in the sidewalks, on plaques, and in memorials here and there. And yet it can still be hard to imagine an observant Jewish community in Germany before the war…

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The $30 Hit

December 19, 2012
By
bei-mir-bistu-shein-yiddish-poster

Jewish maternal disappointment may never have been quite so dramatic – nor quite so public – as that of Anna Secunda, mother of composer Shalom Secunda, circa 1937. According to one article, she fasted and prayed for her son who had sold the rights to his song, “Bei Mir Bist Du…

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The Late-Blooming Sage

December 18, 2012
By
late-blooming-sage2

Though genius is often equated with precocity, a quick search of  “famous late bloomers” turns up David Sedaris, Julia Child, Alfred Hitchcock, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, to name a very few. Though he didn’t make the Google cut, Rabbi Akiva was a late-bloomer par excellence. A Talmudic scholar in the late-first/early-second century, Rabbi…

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The Plot Against America

December 17, 2012
By
plot-against-america

Political zealots had a field day during the recent presidential election. Right-wingers painted Obama as a Kenyan communist. Leftists painted Romney as a plutocrat who would steal bread from babies. A new low? Not really. Fear-mongering has a long, nasty history in American politics, and Philip Roth’s 2004 The Plot Against America has…

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