The Jewiest Porn You Ever Did See

December 31, 2013
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The Jewiest Porn You Ever Did See

G-rated Jew porn is a thing. Okay, maybe it’s PG. Regardless, the idea for a Jewish porn site that anyone from your bubbe to a bar mitzvah boy will enjoy—but not like that— came to 23-year-old actress, writer, and director Sarah Rosen. Rosen told The Huffington Post about her inspiration for Porn4Jews: “I first…

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Not New Year’s for Jews!

December 31, 2013
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newyears-eve

According to the Jewish calendar, nothing happens tonight at midnight. It is 5774 now, and it will be 5774 tomorrow. You probably think that’s because Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year. And it is—one of them. But did you know that according to Jewish law there are actually four new years? Every year? Rosh…

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How The Hobbit Learned Yiddish

December 30, 2013
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The Yiddish Hobbit

Your grandparents might have read Yiddish translations of Shakespeare or Jules Verne (which were always “fartaytsht un farbesert,” of course). But they couldn’t have read The Hobbit—until now. As we say farewell to 2013 we salute an author who made waves: Computer programmer-turned translator Barry Goldstein (aka Berish Goldsteyn), for taking on the fan-friendly…

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A Great Jewish Novel, Out of South Africa

December 27, 2013
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Lion Seeker

Jews spend a lot of time thinking about “what if?” What if you fall and break your neck, God forbid? What if God had brought us out of Egypt but never given us the temple, huh? What if every great American immigration novel was set in Africa instead? Johannesburg-born writer Kenneth Bonert’s…

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The Man Who Introduced Matzo Balls to Moo Goo Gai Pan

December 25, 2013
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Ed Schoenfeld

If you ate Chinese food last night you took place in a custom as entrenched as turkey and football, as latkes and sour cream, as…pastrami and egg rolls? “My personal joke is that I learned to speak Yiddish in the Chinese restaurant from my customers.” So says Ed Schoenfeld, a Brooklyn-born Jew and owner…

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How Christmas Eve Became a Jewish Holiday

December 24, 2013
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Nittel Nacht

You may associate Christmas with Chinese food and a trip to the cineplex, but there’s an older and stranger Jewish tradition for Christmas Eve: Nittel Nacht. Nittel Nacht, whose etymology is uncertain, was the night that Eastern European yeshiva students spent the night playing card games and chess instead of studying Torah, mostly at home,…

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Gaming the Nazis, and Chess

December 23, 2013
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ephraism-kishon

You don’t often hear of concentration-camp inmates using their chess skills to win favor with Nazi guards before managing to escape. Nor do you hear of Hungarians learning Hebrew as adults and then becoming celebrated satirists in their adopted tongue. Ephraim Kishon (1924 – 2005) was known for just those things. After moving to Israel in…

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Dating in Brooklyn While Russian

December 20, 2013
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Stealing Cherries

Today, Marina Rubin is a mainstay of the lower Manhattan poetry scene. But in 1989—when most of the stories in her new collection, Stealing Cherries, take place—she was a refusenik, a new immigrant from the Ukraine, a survivor of Soviet anti-Semitism, and a clueless preteen girl lost in the Brooklyn wilds. That’s where these stories begin.…

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A Muslim, a Jew, and a Jerusalem Kabbalist

December 19, 2013
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courtyard-kabbalist

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure—and sometimes, one man’s trash is another man’s history. In her second novel, In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, Ruchama King Feuerman explores the ways two men—one Jewish, one Arab—build an unlikely friendship despite Jerusalem’s cultural and political divisions. Isaac Markowitz, a Lower East Side haberdasher who makes aliyah to realize his…

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In Israel, A Social Network for the Dead

December 17, 2013
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Neshama

Ever wished you knew where your great-great-grandparents were buried? Ever wanted to visit the grave of a distant relative but don’t know where to find it? There’s a new social network designed to help you out. Shelly Furman Asa has created Neshama.info, a website where you can search for the location of graves…

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Help Us Find the Makers of “Snowvadia,” the Chief Sephardic Rabbi Snowman

December 16, 2013
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Help Us Find the Makers of “Snowvadia,” the Chief Sephardic Rabbi Snowman

Today we stumbled upon a hard-to-miss snapshot of “Snowvadia Yosef,” a well-crafted homage to Ovadia Yosef, the recently deceased former Sephardic rabbi of Israel and spiritual leader of the Shas party. Snowvadia, as he’s being called, has been making the social media rounds, but we’ve yet to find out exactly WHERE…

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Gogol-Mogol, The Shtetl Miracle Cocktail

December 16, 2013
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gogol

From the same folks who discovered chicken soup and munching garlic cloves as remedies for the common cold, came the “gogol-mogol” the once-revered, now maligned shtetl health cocktail. What, haven’t heard of it? Gogol-mogol, or “guggle-muggle” in Americanese, is an egg-based beverage rooted in the Russian Old Country. It’s typically made by beating…

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