Jewish by Identity Theft

April 18, 2012
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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…

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Was Shakespeare a Woman?

April 17, 2012
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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…

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Garbage Pail Kids

April 16, 2012
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garbage pail kids

Every artist has a day job, at least at first. In the mid-80s, Art Spiegelman was editing Raw, his underground comics magazine, and writing and drawing issues of a comic book that would later become Maus. In the meantime, his salary came from being an illustrator and designer for Topps, a baseball-card company. As Spiegelman…

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Calendar Girls

April 12, 2012
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calendar girls

How many biblical women can you think of? Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and…? The truth is, many women are mentioned in the Bible. Most aren’t power players with stories of their own like Moses or King David. Many aren’t even named. But Rabbi Jill Hammer and Shir Yaakov Feit, in the new book The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women,…

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Santos of the Jews

April 11, 2012
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santos of the jews

Here’s a series of photographs about Jews in distant places, captured by someone who knows what it’s like to live far from one’s homeland. Born in the Phillipines, Emmanuel Santos moved to Melbourne, Australia, nearly two decades ago. He settled in St. Kilda, a district largely made up of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, most…

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The Blessing on Trees

April 10, 2012
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the blessing on trees

Jews are a little obsessed with blessings. We’ve already told you about some weird ones, such as the blessing to say upon seeing strange-looking animals, and also some new and surprising blessings, like the blessing for donating blood. One particular blessing–cited in the Talmud (Berakhot 43b)–is the blessing recited over flowering fruit trees. It’s meant to be recited once…

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A Boy-Band Full of Rabbis

April 9, 2012
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a boy band full of rabbis

Is Judaism ready for a boy-band invasion? The five young men in the R&B group Shtar (literally, “document”) all went to rabbinical school together in Israel. Between classes and study groups, they shared an affinity for pop and R&B melodies–a common affliction for teens and college students, but considerably rarer within the walls…

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The Weirdest Passover Ever

April 6, 2012
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the weirdest passover ever I

Here are a few of our favorite Passover-related oddities. I Can’t Believe It’s Kosher for Passover Passover can be a culinary nightmare. This year, the Nosher blog asked chefs from all over–from vegans to the chef of the Prime Grill (as well as a pastry chef!)–to share their favorite Passover…

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Mushroom Synagogues

April 5, 2012
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mushroom

Fake rabbis? For-profit synagogues? Big-box High Holiday services? So-called “mushroom synagogues” became fashionable in the United States in the late 1920s. They were often for-profit enterprises that popped up during the Rosh Hashanah season. Managed by private entrepreneurs, they undercut existing synagogue prices for High Holiday tickets. Often, they were led by a person who had some sort of knowledgeable…

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Samson, Meet Delilah

April 4, 2012
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samson meets delilah

A new online comic takes its inspiration from a biblical adventure. Sam is a neighborhood guy hanging out at the bake shop, about to snatch the last cupcake. He’s challenged by a beautiful girl, Lilah, who’s also after that last cupcake. “Don’t you know it’s bad luck to take the last one?” she teases. When the…

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The Poetry of Leaving Egypt

April 3, 2012
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maggid

At the center of Passover is the seder. And at the center of the seder is a story: Maggid, just one of 14 steps to the seder, but the one that takes up the majority of the seder’s time. It’s either the most boring part, or the most exciting, depending on the teller…and depending on the story. …

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The Gospel of Jewish Services

April 2, 2012
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the gospel of jewish services

Many synagogues are asking the question: How do we get new members through the door? One New York City congregation is offering an interesting, new incentive to come. Romemu, a community that “seeks to integrate mind, body, and spirit,” has put together a new CD of five performances by their 15-member house band. The…

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