The First—and Only—Jewish Miss America

March 18, 2013
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miss-america

In September of 1945, just after the end of World War II, a young woman from the Bronx named Bess Myerson became the first—and, still, only—Jewish woman to win the title of Miss America. But winning the crown was just the beginning of the battle. Myerson was urged by the pageant director…

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When Descendants of Slaves Own Slaves

March 15, 2013
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whipping-man1

Matthew Lopez found the inspiration for his award-winning play, The Whipping Man, in the footnote of a history book; apparently, Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House one day before the start of Passover. “It gave me goosebumps,” Lopez recalled, “to realize that the ancient tradition of commemorating the Exodus from Egypt was…

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Looking for Zion in All the Wrong Places

March 14, 2013
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searching-for-zion

Emily Raboteau’s insightful new memoir, Searching for Zion, begins with a memory of her father, a black Princeton professor, describing blacks’ and Jews’ similarities to her childhood best friend, Tamar: “When we sang freedom songs about the ancient Israelites,” he told the Jewish girl, “we linked ourselves to you. Our people have much…

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Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Spock Explain the Hasids

March 13, 2013
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a-life-apart

Who wouldn’t want a behind-the-scenes guided tour through Hasidic America? Someone to explain the history of the community and to answer your questions about everything from modesty to matchmakers, from faith to fear? Now imagine your guides to this spiritual subculture were Sarah Jessica Parker and Leonard Nimoy—that’s right: Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Spock. For…

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Gourmet Gefilte Giveaway!

March 12, 2013
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Gefilteria1

Gefilte fish: grey, tasteless, blobby, stuck in the shtetl-y past. Or is it? Elizabeth Alpern, Jackie Lilinshtein and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, the three 20-something Brooklyn friends who co-founded The Gefilteria, are rapidly changing the food’s old-world associations. According to their manifesto, The Gefilteria hopes to reclaim time-honored foods with care not only for how they…

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Manipur to TLV: Lost Tribe Landing

March 11, 2013
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bnei-menashe1

Last month, Mirna Singsit became the 2,000th member of India’s Bnei Menashe community to immigrate to Israel. As the video below shows, the wave of immigration with which she arrived was pretty momentous. To understand why, you have to back up to 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians exiled the 10 tribes of the Kingdom of Israel.…

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First Jewess in Space

March 8, 2013
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judith-resnick

Stereotypes of Jewish women abound—overbearing Jewish mothers, JAPs, wizened bubbes from the old country—but nothing pokes holes in these stereotypes like Judith Resnik: engineer, astronaut, and first Jewish woman in space. Resnik, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, was working on her PhD in engineering when she was recruited by Star Trek star Nichelle…

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The Maccabeats Jam With Obama

March 7, 2013
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obama-jams-with-maccabeats

In 2010 the Maccabeats became famous for their Hanukkah song “Candlelight,” which was a cover of Mike Tompkins’ “Dynamite,” which was itself a cover of Taio Cruz’s“Dynamite.” After their delightful music video became a YouTube sensation, the Yeshiva University student vocal group went on tour, released albums, and were featured on TV shows like “The Today Show.” This year…

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Data: A Love Story

March 6, 2013
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data-a-love-story

Amy Webb, in-demand internet consultant and math whiz had experienced one too many disastrous JDates. After one particularly awful one—on which the guy started taking phone calls from his wife—Webb went home, settled down with a bottle of wine, and began creating order out of online dating chaos. First she created a…

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Efrat Gosh: The Israeli Edith Piaf

March 5, 2013
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efrat

Eliciting comparisons to Edith Piaf is no small feat for a performer. And yet Israeli chanteuse Efrat Gosh is doing it time and time again. Maybe it’s the playful flirtatiousness of her performance that earns her the compliment, or the shamelessly romantic air that permeates her every refrain and high note. And her distinctively…

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Build-a-Bear/Haggadah!

March 4, 2013
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build-a-haggadah

Every Haggadah has a different way of telling the story of the Exodus. Some focus on social justice issues. Some are feminist, or geared toward LGBT families, or academic, or artistic. There are Haggadot just for children, Haggadot for people who want a quick seder, and Haggadot for people who love comic books. There are so…

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American (Jewish) Idol

March 1, 2013
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jewishstar-judges

Do you ever catch yourself watching American Idol and wishing they would sing more psalms? Or wondering why you never hear “Adon Olam” on The Voice? Turns out, you’re not alone. Four years ago, out of this void, a singing competition called A Jewish Star was born. (You didn’t think they’d really call it “Jewish Idol,” did…

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