iPreach

February 3, 2012
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ipulpit_withBible

Who says rabbis are stuck in the past? In these days of internet minyanim and email sermons, it seems religion has more or less adapted to the digital age. But can you imagine a combination pulpit and iPad? Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, one of the new bloggers on MyJewishLearning’s Rabbis Without Borders blog, just showed us the iPodium. Originally developed by a group…

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Beautiful Land, Beautiful People

February 2, 2012
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ChanaRothman

Chana Rothman, a folksinger and guitarist, has crafted herself in the tradition of Debbie Friedman, mixing traditional Jewish liturgy with original music and lyrics. Her new album, Beautiful Land, takes verses from Psalms and Proverbs and matches them up with positive lyrics about relationships, the environment, and finding meaning in everyday life–a little bit hippie, but…

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The Other Anne Franks

February 1, 2012
By
anne

Shalom Auslander’s new novel Hope: A Tragedy takes a calculated risk: It’s a neurotic, bizarre story that mines the Holocaust for humor. The plot involves a paranoid middle-aged Jew, obsessed with death and his own mortality, who discovers an old woman hiding out in the attic of his new house. The woman–a crabby, disagreeable writer–turns out to be Anne…

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Hogan’s Heroes

January 30, 2012
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HOG-showpage

If you described the 1960s TV show Hogan’s Heroes as a “sitcom about a German P.O.W. camp during  World War II,” you’d probably receive more than a few surprised looks–but that’s exactly what it is. The comedy, which recreates the look and feel of a prison camp for Allied troops during the Holocaust,…

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Revolutionary Youth

January 27, 2012
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youth-in-revolt-movie

Shmarya Levin was born in Russia in 1867. A politician and activist, he was elected to the first-ever Russian Parliament in 1906, as a representative of the Bund, a Jewish socialist political party. The Parliament was ultimately insignificant–it was both created and controlled by Czar Nicholas II–but Levin’s participation in it gave him the…

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Messed-Up Bible Stories

January 26, 2012
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4808_08

There’s no denying it. Some stories from the Torah are straight-up disturbing. Often, in Hebrew schools and synagogues, people push these stories into the background, focusing instead on more easily understandable (and less shiver-inducing) parts. However, a new animated web series, Unbelievably Messed-Up Bible Stories, brings the uneasiness and the creepiness to the forefront. “Cain and Abel” uses…

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The Last Battle

January 25, 2012
By
Lev-Beh-Ziz

The End of Days occupies a much more central place in Christian theology than in Jewish thought. Judaism, for the most part, is more concerned with the present day than the final days. Perhaps we don’t think too much about the End because some Jewish visions of the apocalypse are just so weird. According to the Talmud, the…

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Another Kind of ‘Green’ Judaism

January 24, 2012
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Cannabis-Chassidis---Front-Cover

“Is marijuana kosher?” The book Cannabis Chasidis: The Ancient and Emerging Torah of Drugs is an insightful, if puzzling, exploration of what Jewish sources think about drugs and chemical experimentation. The author, Yoseph Leib, hails from a traditional, observant Jewish background–but the wisdom given over in Cannabis Chasidis is anything but traditional. Leib combines his own thoughts with…

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Gays, Gypsies and Jews

January 23, 2012
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gay-gypsy-jew

A lot has been said about a new wave of anti-Semitism rocking the world–but there’s been significantly less rocking out against anti-Semitism. That’s why the bizarre song “Gay, Gypsy and Jew” by the Berlin-based reggae/ska band RotFront–and the even more bizarre video–is noteworthy, fascinating, and, well, rocking. The lyrics, sung in broken English, are…

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Faking Hebrew for Beginners

January 20, 2012
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big-pic

One of the best ways to develop an appreciation for the uniqueness of the Hebrew language is to play Hebrew Scrabble. Yes, Scrabble. You see, many Hebrew words are simple–variations on three-letter roots, with prefixes, suffixes, and vowels crammed into the middle. Modifying a word in Hebrew can be like adding an “s” to a word…

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Last of the Red-Hot Mamas

January 19, 2012
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Sophie+Tucker+sophie_tucker

Sophie Tucker (1884-1966) was a star of Yiddish vaudeville and American films. She was born as Sophie Kalish in Tolchin, Ukraine. Her family immigrated to the United States and opened a diner where Sophie sang for tips. She married early, and soon divorced–whereupon Sophie headed for New York City, changing her name, and deciding on the advice of a friend to…

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Third Time’s the Charm

January 18, 2012
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There’s a man at a comedy club wearing a black suit, white shirt, and twirled sidelocks. He’s telling the audience about his last flight to Israel. “When I show up for the flight looking like this, and the security people see that my passport says ‘Chris Campbell,’ they don’t ask me if I packed…

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