Hava Nagila at the Olympics

October 11, 2012
By
aly-raisman-nypost

At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman brought “Hava Nagila” to a global audience when she performed her gold medal winning floor routine to the song. But Raisman was not the first to tumble to this classic tune in major competition. There have been at least four gymnasts, all non-Jews,…

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The Sage Who Was Also a Gladiator

October 10, 2012
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gladiator

Strong, sexy rabbis bathing and talking about beautiful women. Sounds like a pitch for a new HBO show, but actually, it’s a scene from the Talmud. Though you might have always pictured the rabbis of the Talmud as bearded old men, the texts tell another story. Rabbi Shimon Ben Lakish, often known…

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Dr. Seuss Goes to War

October 5, 2012
By
dr-seuss

Theodore Suess Geisel is best known for the 40-something children’s books he wrote and illustrated under his pen name, Dr. Seuss. But he had quite an interesting “adult” career, as well. From 1941-1943, Seuss was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM, and during his reign, he drew…

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The Jewish Don Quixote

October 4, 2012
By
don-quixote3

Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quixote is considered one of the greatest books of all time. So it’s no surprise that the epic is subject to plenty of parodies and spoofs, including a Jewish version, written by one of the founders of modern Yiddish and Hebrew literature, Shalom Yakov Abramowich, commonly known by the name of his…

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A Concentration-Camp Noir

October 3, 2012
By
block-11

The novel Block 11 starts out like a noir thriller. In Brooklyn, New York, in the present day, an elderly man and woman set their breakfast table. The table is immaculate, with ten place settings. They dine alone. Then we’re taken back in time to a concentration camp in the middle of the World War…

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Jews and Foie Gras

September 28, 2012
By
foie-gras

Foie gras is like fashion: one day it’s in, the next day it’s out. The state of California recently joined the list of places that have banned the production and sale of the gourmet favorite—which is made from the liver of a goose or duck that has been fattened up…

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The Reform Shuckle

September 27, 2012
By
reform-shuckle

Book reviews are found in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals. But what about prayer book reviews? Who can you go to for a good siddur review? Writer and editor David A.M. Wilensky answered that question with his blog, the Reform Shuckle. Here, Wilensky posted lengthy reviews of any siddur or Mahzor (High Holiday prayer…

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Purim and Yom Kippur

September 25, 2012
By
Purim

In the World to Come, says the Zohar, the Jewish people will only celebrate two holidays–Purim and Yom Kippur. In fact the Zohar, refers to Yom Kippur as Yom Ki-Purim; literally, “a day like Purim,” even though you might not think the days have much in common. The two days seem to be exact opposites. One is a…

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The Jewish Dictators Who Invented Punk Rock

September 24, 2012
By
the-dictators

1977 was the year punk rock — lead by its (mostly) Jewish standard bearers, the Ramones — exploded out of New York’s Lower East Side. But a full year before the Ramones urged us to “eat Kosher salami,” another group was bragging that they “knocked ‘em dead in Dallas…they didn’t know…

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The Kugel That Was Really a Rebbe

September 21, 2012
By
kugel-rebbe

Having problems in your marriage? Blame the potato kugel! It may seem farfetched, but in Michael Wex’s short story “The Kugel Story,” Mrs. Yoshke Furmanovsky cries bitter tears because her husband no longer desires her. Mr. Furmanovsky explains that once he’s eaten his wife’s delicious potato kugel on Friday night, he’s so…

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The Rabbi’s Court

September 20, 2012
By
Samuel-buchler

If you have a legal problem, you can bring it to the People’s Court. If you have a Jewish legal problem, you can bring it to the Beit Din, a Jewish court of arbitration that rules on everything from Jewish divorce, to dowries and business disputes. In 1933 Rabbi Samuel Buchler wrote a book about…

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Solar Energy and Biblical Law

September 19, 2012
By
solar-fields

According to the biblical law of pe’ah, when a farmer harvests his land he must leave the corners of his field for the poor (Leviticus 19). And what about solar fields? A solar field (pictured, right) transforms the sun’s rays into electricity–producing a renewable form of energy. In Israel, the Arava Power…

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