Birdies, Orphans and Fools

May 2, 2012
By
url-3

Today, Ephraim Sidon is the chief rabbi of Prague, Czech Republic. In the 1960s, however–known by his birth name, Karel Sidon–he was a playwright and screenwriter, part of Prague’s vibrant avant-garde arts scene. In the 1950s and ’60s, Prague experienced something of a renaissance. Sidon’s contemporaries included Vaclav Havel (who, 30 years later, would be the country’s first post-Communist president),…

Read more »

A Nazi, Assassinated

May 1, 2012
By
hhhh

Is there such thing as being too obsessed with World War II? Reinhard Heydrich, the “Butcher of Prague,” was one of the most fearsome men in the Nazi party–he organized Kristallnacht and chaired the conference that planned the Final Solution. One May morning in 1942, he was killed by two men in…

Read more »

Shadowboxing Hitler

April 30, 2012
By
shadowboxing hitler

Kseniya Simonova is an artist from the Ukraine who specializes in fingerpainting (yes, she’s an adult). On the television show Ukraine’s Got Talent, Simonova “performed” a live painting by spreading sand across a glass table, illuminated from beneath by a light. The resulting images are projected on a movie screen. Creating one portrait out of sand,…

Read more »

Is Ladino Endangered?

April 27, 2012
By
is ladino endangered

Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish, is a combination of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Spanish. When the estimated 300,000 Spanish Jews were exiled from Spain in 1492, they carried this language with them. Today Ladino is spoken on a daily basis by fewer than 100,000 people, earning it a spot on UNESCO’s list of endangered languages. But according…

Read more »

Real Jewish Ninjas

April 26, 2012
By
real jewish ninjas

Yehoshua Sofer is the “Aluf Abir” (Aluf means “champion”) or headmaster of the Abir Warrior Arts school of self-defense in Jerusalem. According to him, Jews have practiced martial arts since biblical times. As Sofer tells it, Abraham‘s father, Terah, was a warlord who worked for the Babylonian king Nimrod–and Abraham designed his own system of self-defense which he taught…

Read more »

Sinbad in the Talmud

April 25, 2012
By
sinbad of the talmud

The Talmudic sage Rabbah bar bar Hana got around. Unlike most scholars of his time–who stuck to either a yeshiva in Jerusalem or in Babylonia–bar bar Hana traveled back and forth between both places. But, in the Talmud, he’s known more for his fantastic adventures, which led him across the Egyptian desert and to the…

Read more »

Conversion from A to Z

April 24, 2012
By
becoming jewish

Converts to Judaism don’t always get the sweetest deal. In fact, according to the Talmud (Yevamot 47a), a potential convert is supposed to be repeatedly dissuaded from converting–just to make sure they’re really serious about the leap. And there’s certainly a lot that converts to Judaism need to learn. The new book Becoming…

Read more »

A Jewish Homeland in Germany

April 23, 2012
By
a jewish homeland in germany

Lately, it seems like everybody’s a fan of the idea of a Jewish state…and nobody’s a fan of the State of Israel. First, Michael Chabon‘s novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, a sort of post-Zionist fantasy, moved the Jewish “safe country” from the Middle East to Alaska. Then the recent documentary Freeland (watch it here, free) researched the early-1900s quest…

Read more »

The Subway Violinist

April 20, 2012
By
Quint31

The violinist Philipe Quint was a child genius. At the age of 9, he was a featured performer with the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra. Later, he became a refusenik, and was finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union in 1991. He came with his parents to America, where he enrolled in the prestigious Juilliard School…

Read more »

The Holocaust, with Punchlines

April 19, 2012
By
the holocaust with punchlines

Edge City is a daily comic strip published in many national newspapers. It’s about a family, the Ardins, who happen to be Jewish. Jewish subjects don’t feature in the Ardins’ life every day, but their religion does come up sporadically. (The strip’s creators, Terry and Patty LaBan, are both Jewish–and a married couple–and…

Read more »

Jewish by Identity Theft

April 18, 2012
By
jewish identity theft

When people talk about mixed marriages, they don’t usually mean this. In Twelfth and Race, a new novel by Eric Goodman, Richard Gordon, a middle-class Jewish guy, moves to a small Kansas town and has his identity stolen–credit cards, social security card, everything. Years later, on the border between two urban neighborhoods (hence the…

Read more »

Was Shakespeare a Woman?

April 17, 2012
By
was shakespeare a woman

Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare’s plays? According to many modern scholars, the answer is no–at least, not completely. In 1600s England, it was common to share or borrow pieces of plays for one’s “original” compositions. In recent years, one of the main suspected writers of much of Shakespeare’s oeuvre is Emilia Lanier (1569-1645). Lanier’s claim to…

Read more »

Jewniverse Email Newsletter