The Oldest Holocaust Survivor in the World

February 27, 2014
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The Oldest Holocaust Survivor in the World

What’s it like to be born twice and have your second life last twice as long as the first? Alice Sommer Herz, the subject of Malcolm Clarke’s Oscar-nominated short documentary The Lady in Number 6, knew something about that. Sommer Herz, a Jewish pianist and, until she passed away on Sunday…

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The Prime Time Jewvangelist on a Website Near You

February 26, 2014
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The Prime Time Jewvangelist on a Website Near You

Rabbi Leah Levy has a problem: no one is showing up for services at her temple. But why? Should she blame the cantor, a wannabe pop star who believes he has “good looks, perfect hair, and a Streisand-esque voice”? Could it be because of her twin brother, a nearby rival rabbi who’s…

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NYC’s Beloved Yiddishe Music Maven

February 25, 2014
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Chana Mlotek

You never know what treasures lurk within NYC buildings. For many years, just blocks from Manhattan’s Union Square, a woman named Chana Mlotek curated the Yiddish music collection at the vaunted YIVO archives. Born Eleanor Chana Gordon in South Brooklyn, Mlotek was a musician from a young age. And in addition to being…

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Kabbalah, Supernatural Bug Juice, and Other Camp Delights

February 24, 2014
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The Path of Names

Ah, Jewish summer camp memories: Bunk raids, incessant singing, daddy longlegs crawling everywhere, and of course mystical, supernatural adventures. Maybe not that last one, unless you’re the protagonist in Ari Goelman’s debut novel, The Path of Names. Dahlia, a sarcastic 13-year-old, is a newcomer to sleepaway camp but has already noticed some weird occurrences.…

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The Black, Gay, Jewish Shtetl Virtuoso

February 21, 2014
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russel

What do you get when a black, Jewish, gay Yiddish and classical singer gets together with a virtuosic klezmer ensemble that plays old country music from the Ottoman Empire? And then throws in some artsy Bay Area animation? You get Convergence, of course. (What would you call it?) Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell originally conceived of…

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Comic-Book Heroes Storm Jerusalem

February 20, 2014
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Superheroes storm Jerusalem

The paper-cut artist Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik—whose website, tellingly, is NiceJewishArtist.com—appropriates old comic books into some seriously Jewish art. In his new exhibit at UCLA’s Hillel, “Super Heroes, Holy Land,” Brynjegard-Bialik presents comic-book panels that have been chopped up and remodeled into Jewish holy sites. In one, speech bubbles and desert backgrounds are laid out to…

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Love Notes to Israeli Traffic Cops

February 19, 2014
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Dear Officer

Leave it to Israelis to fight back against the Man. In the ever-raging, worldwide war between drivers and ticketing police officers, Israelis are striking a new, utterly harmless and friendly blow: that of the love note. Dear Officer, a new blog by American journalist Daniel Estrin, chronicles the efforts of the illegally parked…

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The Bible’s Time-Traveling Camels

February 18, 2014
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The Bible's Time-Traveling Camels

Bad news for biblical literalists: Recent research conducted by two Tel Aviv University archaeologists shows that camels weren’t domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean until the 10th century B.C., centuries after they appear in the Hebrew Bible. The study, as reported in National Geographic by Jewniverse contributor Mairav Zonszein, explains that researchers were primarily concerned with the arrival of domesticated…

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A Holocaust Novel with Fangs

February 17, 2014
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color-of-light

It’s hard to pick up a novel these days without encountering vampires and zombies. Even the classics (see: Pride and Prejudice) are not immune from the craze. But there’s one mode of storytelling from which, until recently, imaginary monsters were conspicuously missing: the Holocaust novel. Not anymore. Add to your bookshelf’s “Undead” section The Color…

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The Jewish Woman Who Invented the Modern Bra

February 14, 2014
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The Jewish Woman Who Invented the Modern Bra

In the 1950s and 60s, Maidenform ran a series of ads with the slogan, “I dreamed.” In one, a woman “won the election in my Maidenform bra.” In another, a woman “opened the World Series in my Maidenform bra.” Who was responsible for the underwire behind these racy and progressive ads? A shrewd businesswoman and eventual…

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Krusty the Clown’s Rabbinic Lineage

February 13, 2014
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Lrusty the Clown's Rabbinic Lineage

Just as the Colorado town in South Park has its resident schlemiels, the Springfield of The Simpsons has its very own Jewish clown: Krusty, of course. Let’s reminisce. The third season’s beloved “Like Father, Like Clown” finds Krusty the Clown (formerly Herschel Krustofski, it turns out) despondent over his severed relationship with his father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofski (voiced…

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Yiddish is an Official Language of Sweden?

February 12, 2014
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Yiddish is an Official Language of Sweden?

You’ve heard the old Yiddish adage, “It’s not how many Jews live in a country, but how many years they’ve lived there.” If you haven’t, that’s probably because we made it up. Jews make up just .2% of the population of Sweden. And yet Yiddish is one of the country’s official minority…

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