Jewish Wild West Women

June 6, 2012
By
jewish wild west women

Rebecca Cohen Mayer was born to German-Jewish immigrants in 1837 and raised in Mexico and Texas. When she was 15 years old, she married a man twice her age and set off on the Santa Fe Trail. In a company of over 50 explorers, she was the only woman. The new book With a Doll in…

Read more »

Matisyahu, the Exorcist

June 5, 2012
By
matisyahu the exorcist

Horror movies are all about planting unexpected things in unexpected places to scare the hell out of you. The trailer for the new horror film The Possession, in theatres August 31 (watch the trailer) does just that. There’s Hebrew writing on a mysterious old box that, while nobody’s looking, sets free a demon. The demon is…

Read more »

Midnight Train to Zion

June 4, 2012
By
midnight train to zion

Shlomo Carlebach revolutionized Jewish music by adapting it to the idiom of his time–’60s folk music–and writing new tunes to traditional liturgy that were not only likeable, but listenable. Now, jazz musician Jon Madof has upped the ante. He created Zion80, a 15-piece band (including a horn section and four percussionists), and interpreted some…

Read more »

An American Childhood in Egypt

June 1, 2012
By
an american childhoof in egypt

Sipping from the Nile, a new memoir, tells the story of Jean Naggar, who is now a New York literary agent. A fourth-generation Egyptian, both Naggar’s parents came from prominent Sephardic Jewish families. Life in Egypt was good, she writes, and her family never planned on leaving. But in 1956, the Suez Crisis occurred. President Nasser…

Read more »

The Excommunicated City

May 31, 2012
By
the excommunicated city

The city of York, England, is a vacation spot where Londoners like to spend long weekends, enjoying a vibrant café culture and a growing nightlife. But there is said to be a Jewish spiritual curse, or herem, placed on the city–and some Jews are careful to avoid ever eating or spending the night in York. In…

Read more »

The Precious Age of 13

May 30, 2012
By
the precious age of 13

The singer James Levy’s deep rumbling voice and thoughtful lyrics strongly remind us of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. He and his band, The Blood Red Rose, recently released their first album, Pray to Be Free. It includes the song “Precious Age of 13,” an ode to, of all things, Levy’s bar mitzvah. The song starts…

Read more »

A Tale of Two Crown Heightses

May 29, 2012
By
a tale of two crown heightses

The neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is home to a large population of Hasidic Jews, and a large population of Caribbean immigrants. For the most part, the two groups have kept to themselves–with a few notable exceptions, like the 1991 Crown Heights Riots. Recently four Caribbean high-school girls in Crown Heights, three from Jamaica and…

Read more »

The Fifteen Commandments

May 25, 2012
By

“All pay heed!” cries Mel Brooks, playing Moses in History of the World, Part I–”The Lord has given unto you these Fifteen Commandments!” He promptly drops one tablet, which shatters. Without missing a beat, Moses continues: “Uh, these Ten Commandments!” It’s a classic movie moment, albeit one with little support from the Bible (or from the Talmud and Midrash,…

Read more »

Crop Circles

May 24, 2012
By
crop-circle

The six-pointed star has appeared in Jewish iconography for a thousand years. But there’s a chance that the Magen David is meaningful to another, far different culture–an alien culture. When Google started mapping out aerial views of Earth, its geomappers discovered some unexpected sights–for example, clean, crisp views of crop circles. Crop circles are a phenomenon in which…

Read more »

A Golem Goes to Hebrew School

May 23, 2012
By
a golem goes to hebrew school

Literary grandmaster Cynthia Ozick is a critic, an innovator, and a clever storyteller who dips into every part of Jewish culture, from the true story of a Jewish painter with a Nazi benefactor to a female rabbi who creates a golem. Her novel The Cannibal Galaxy is out of print and generally under-appreciated. However, it might be among her most notable contributions…

Read more »

Killing Jesus with Rhyme

May 22, 2012
By
killing jesus with rhyme

In a rap battle, participants lyrically insult each other as crowds cheer and beg for more.  One such battle, in 2010, featured QP, a California-based rapper, against Brooklyn’s Soul Khan (real name: Noah Abraham Weston), a Jewish guy–and one of the few white people visible in the 400-person audience. Their match begins with a typical…

Read more »

Best Bathroom Reading

May 18, 2012
By
best bathroom reading

According to Jewish law, it’s inadvisable to read holy materials, or even mention God’s name, in a bathroom. On the other hand, there’s a classic rabbinical admonition never to waste a second. According to one apocryphal story, the famed 18th-century Rabbi Elijah of Vilna reconciled these competing values by writing his book of mathematical philosophy, Ail Meshulash,…

Read more »

Jewniverse Email Newsletter