The Funniest Broad in Flatbush

May 7, 2013
By
chaya-suri1

A young orthodox woman smiles demurely and speaks to the camera. “Hi everybody. My name is Chaya-Suri. And I wanted to tell you a story of hashgokhe protis [divine providence]. About the importance of tsnius [modesty].” At first it’s hard to get the point of the video. But as she continues, you realize there’s a…

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How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire

May 6, 2013
By
vodka-empire

Until finding his grandmother Maroussia Zorokovich’s diaries, Daniel Edelstyn didn’t know much about his family history. But as soon as he delved into the handwritten pages, he grew intrigued by Maroussia’s descriptions of the family’s sugar factory and set out on a journey to the remote Ukrainian village of her birth. What…

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Einstein’s “Jewish Science”

May 3, 2013
By
einstein

Is there such thing as a Jewish science? Philipp Lenard, one of Hitler’s most esteemed scientists, thought so. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist called German scientists disciplined and “truth-seeking,” whereas Jewish and other “mixed-race” scientists were prone to wild theorizing. Those scientists included Albert Einstein, whose special theory of relativity Lenard dismissed…

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Drugs and Strippers Under God

May 2, 2013
By
polish-bar

Polish Bar, a recent movie starring Judd Hirsch, Meat Loaf, and Richard Belzer (the Law and Order guy) is packed with the drama of what the filmmakers call Chicago’s “ludicrous underbelly”: money, drugs, sex, religion, bar fights, thievery, family schisms. It’s emotionally disturbing—and hard to look away. Reuben, played by Vincent Piazza, is a troubled yet…

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“Hang That Jew Or We’ll Hang You!”

May 1, 2013
By
leo-frank

One of the most horrific episodes of anti-Semitism in American history – the lynching of Leo Frank – began 100 years ago last week. On April 27, 1913, a night watchman found the bloody body of 13-year-old Mary Phagan in a factory basement in Atlanta. Police arrested the superintendent, a New York Jew named Leo Frank.…

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A Bus Accident in Israel, and Afterward

April 30, 2013
By
half-life

“After living with a disability for 22-plus years and trying in vain to write about it for almost as many, I’ve finally gotten my thoughts down on paper.” So Joshua Prager introduces his new memoir Half-Life, which details the aftermath of a devastating bus accident that occurred on his visit to Israel at…

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Ancient History: A Jew Among Romans

April 29, 2013
By
josephus

On the long list of all-time greatest Jewish calamities, the destruction of the Second Temple is surely among the Top 10. We remember it every year on Tisha B’Av, and at every wedding when the groom smashes a glass. But how do we even know about this 2,000-year-old catastrophe? Mainly from the writings of…

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Child Survivors Return Home

April 26, 2013
By
never-forget2

What happens when a documentarian turns the camera on himself? “For almost 50 years I’ve been filming other people’s lives,” says Holocaust survivor and filmmaker Marian Marzynski at the start of his new documentary Never Forget to Lie, “but my childhood seems to be my psyche’s unfinished business.” Marzynski and others he interviews…

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Isra-Alien: Acoustic Rock for Dueling Mothers-in-Law

April 25, 2013
By
somewhere-is-here

It’s not so unusual these days for 2 guys with acoustic guitars to play venues around New York City. But it’s pretty rare for those 2 guys to have met during their Israeli army service, and to include traditional Jewish simcha dances on their albums. Enter Isra-Alien, a duo whose music stubbornly…

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How Do You Say “Cooking Show” in Yiddish?

April 24, 2013
By
yiddish-cookingshow1

Julia Child had her glass of wine, Emeril famously “kicks it up a notch,” and viewers across Britain wish Jamie Oliver actually was a naked chef. Every great cooking show has a hook, and Est Gezunterheyt! (“Eat in Good Health!”) is no exception. The brainchild of Rukhl Schaechter and Eve Jochnowitz, and produced by…

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A Charleston Poet in a Calico Gown

April 23, 2013
By
penina-moise

Happy 216th birthday to Penina Moise (1797-1880): poet, Southerner, and Sunday school superintendent. Moise’s life could have been a Victorian melodrama: One of 9 children born to French immigrants in Charleston, South Carolina, a fatherless Penina left school at age 12 to care for her asthmatic brother and her sick mother. Despite…

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Looking for Lox in Loch-Land

April 22, 2013
By
scotland

Inside every Jew lies the soul of a Scotsman. So says Vicki Boykis in her short, funny travelogue e-book There’s Something About Scotland. They’re a lot alike, Boykis writes: two bargain-hungry nationalities with endearing attachments to gut-wrenching ethnic foods. (Scots, meet gefilte fish; Jews, meet haggis.) But more than that, Boykis writes, “Just…

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