Hasidic Yoga

January 3, 2013
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hasidic-yoga

The end of a sun-scorched street in the Israeli Haredi enclave of Ramat Beit Shemesh is probably not where you’d expect to find a yoga studio. But proprietors Rachel and Avraham Kolberg learned the practice in India before adopting the ultra-orthodox lifestyle of their fellow Breslever Hasids, and now they run a low-profile, gender-segregated…

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The Jerusalem Robbers’ Gallery

January 2, 2013
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jerusalem-gallery

Like many formerly gritty downtown districts around the world, Jerusalem’s is undergoing gentrification. Elegant buildings full of distinctive Ottoman-era or British Mandate-period architectural features are being torn down or gut-renovated, much to the dismay of history buffs and romantics alike. Enter the Robbers’ Gallery, a guerilla preservation effort that’s become a home for…

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Kafka’s The Metamorphosis: The iPad App

January 1, 2013
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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