The Quirky Film That’s Saving an Italian Synagogue

April 30, 2014
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italian-synagogue

A new indie Italian comedy will change the way you look at Jewish cemeteries forever—not to mention that boot-shaped country by the sea. Based on a true family story, Felice Nel Box by first-time director Ghila Valabrega begins with Stefano, a Jewish photographer on a journey, stumbling across a dilapidated Jewish cemetery in the northern Italian town of Sabbioneta.…

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Scrolling Through a Mysterious Polish Shtetl

April 29, 2014
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radzyn-3_225-long_jewniverse

Looking to get away but don’t want to deal with the logistics of flights, or well, traveling? Luckily for you, you can now transport yourself to an old, mysterious shtetl named Radzyn hidden deep in the forests of Poland, via a brand-new serialized, gorgeously illustrated e-story. This “epic folktale” about a Hasidic shtetl of…

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When Dr. Mengele Moved to Argentina

April 28, 2014
By
the-german-doctor

When Adolf Eichmann was captured by the Mossad in Argentina, it made headlines all over the world. Eichmann was the biggest name to be captured, but Josef Mengele, Auschwitz’s infamous Dr. Death, was hiding in Argentina at the time, too, and a new movie imagines his life in hiding, where he continued his sadistic experiments on children. The…

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On Loving and Hating the Pope

April 25, 2014
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jp

John Paul II: interfaith advocate, sometime-supporter of Israel, and, soon, saint. Born Karol Wojtyła in Wadowice, Poland, in 1920, John Paul II was the first pope to officially visit a synagogue. He is also credited with establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and the Holy See, and offering a landmark condemnation…

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A Love for Flavor, Straight from the IDF

April 24, 2014
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spices

During his stint in the Israeli Defense Forces  Lior Lev Sercarz was once responsible for frying 200 pieces of schnitzel on a propane stove while Lebanese rockets flew overhead. Perhaps because he got his start cooking while under fire, Sercarz developed a fascination with spices. Not the powders you buy in the grocery store:…

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Jew and WASP, in 20th-Century Manhattan

April 23, 2014
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dual-inheritance

Joanna Hershon’s fervently readable new novel, A Dual Inheritance, follows friends of different ethnicities and classes as they swerve through the awkwardness of adolescence into the complexity of middle age. Like Rich Boy, The Interestings, and A Fortunate Age, Inheritance drops Jewish strivers and alienated WASPs into the boiling pot that is 20th-century Manhattan, stirs and…

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Martha Stewart and the Case of the WASPy Matzah

April 18, 2014
By
martha

Poor Martha Stewart. A few years ago she wasn’t invited to a Passover seder. Never one to miss an opportunity to participate in a lavish meal, Stewart—though not a Jew herself—wanted to keep the tradition alive. So she took the next logical step and invited comedian Joan Rivers onto her show to make chocolate-covered…

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Beatboxing for Passover

April 17, 2014
By
backstage-pass

For a people so committed to explaining ourselves, it’s not terribly surprising that at some point, we’d find a way to fit beatboxing into the story of Passover if it could help us enliven the narrative. Backstage Pass(over), a new, free album produced by 3200 Stories, is just that: The story of four musicians—one…

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Suicide Prevention at the Seder Table

April 14, 2014
By
elijah2

On the night of the seder, Elijah the Prophet plays Santa Claus (well, those aren’t the exact words) hopping from one seder to the next, visiting every matzah-crumby table and sipping wine left out for him. But Elijah isn’t all jolly: in the Bible he goes through a really tough time. Tormented and threatened by Jezebel, he…

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Painting Your Fingernails With Plagues

April 11, 2014
By
midrash-mani

When recounting the story of the ten plagues at the seder table, you may have found that dipping a pinkie finger in wine is just not realistic enough. Wine is kind of reminiscent of blood, but hardly of locusts, or cattle disease, or death of the first born. Or darkness (that is, until…

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Passover with Metallica

April 10, 2014
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metallica

That kid in your math class with greasy hair and the black muscle shirt might not have known it, but Metallica’s 1984 hit “Creeping Death” is inspired by the second half of the Cecile B. DeMille classic The Ten Commandments. Thanks to this video, they’re finally able to exist in harmony. Well,…

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How Big Is Your Afikoman?

April 9, 2014
By
seder-placemat

How many Saltines can you eat in a minute? How about an even harder challenge: How much matzah can you eat when it comes time to eat the afikoman? And how much maror can you eat before you need to gulp down an additional glass of wine? These might seem like silly questions, but for some…

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