The Sports Night Seder

September 14, 2012
By
Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin has, arguably, defined the cadence and tone of television and film more than any other screenwriter working today. From The West Wing to 2010’s Oscar-magnet The Social Network, Sorkin writes stories that are smart, funny, and often, unapologetically Jewish– perhaps none more so than in the second season of Sports Night. Officially titled…

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Does Jewish = Neurotic?

September 13, 2012
By
Brilliant-novel

“My wife is right: I’m not as Jewish as I advertise,” writes Yuvi Zalkow, the author and subject of the new book  A Brilliant Novel in the Works. It’s a strange statement coming from someone who, in the first pages of the book, spends an inordinate amount of time trying to convince…

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Hasid or Hipster

September 12, 2012
By
hasid-or-hipster

Hasidic men and women are usually pretty easy to spot—they are known for wearing a particular uniform: black suit with a white shirt, big black hat, beards and long sidecurls for men, and covered hair, long skirts, and long sleeved shirts for women. But these days, some of those same styles are popular among a very different crowd:…

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Mushkie Goes to Kathmandu

September 11, 2012
By
mushkie

A pretty, bewigged girl in a long-sleeve button-down shirt could hardly look more out of place wandering amid a group of chanting Buddhist monks or through the hustle and bustle of a Far East Marketplace. But you’ll find this and more on the new Israeli sitcom Kathmandu, which depicts the everyday life of a fictional Chabad…

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Rashi’s Mermaids

September 10, 2012
By
shutterstock_3646031

“There are marine animals,” writes Rashi, an 11th century Bible commentator, “half of whose bodies are of human form, and half in the form of a fish.” So begins the curious debate over whether medieval Torah scholars—including Rashi–believed in the existence of mermaids. According to Rabbi Natan Slifkin’s book, Sacred Monsters, Rashi’s belief in…

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Open with a Joke

September 7, 2012
By
open-joke

It’s a common rule of public speaking: Tell a joke, and you loosen up the crowd. This idea isn’t a recent one–it can actually be found in the Talmud. “Before he began his lesson to the scholars,” says the Babylonian Talmud (Shabbat 30b), “Rabba used to say a joking word, and the scholars were…

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Escape into Paradise

September 6, 2012
By
sosua-jewniverse

Here’s the story of some Jews who escaped the dangers of the Holocaust–and headed straight to the tropics. In 1938, leaders of 32 countries convened in the French vacation town of Evian, where they intended to decide what to do with the legions of Jews fleeing Germany. Of the 32 countries…

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Sex Changes, the Orthodox Way

September 5, 2012
By
joy-ladin-jewniverse

In a process that began in 2007, Joy Ladin stopped using her birth name, Jay, and started transitioning from male to female. Ladin’s story, which includes her sex reassignment surgery, shares common threads with the experiences of other transsexuals. But her experience is magnified and exacerbated by her day job–teaching…

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Google’s Talmudic Calculator

September 4, 2012
By
shutterstock_76389862

Jewish law is full of measurements. How big must a sukkah be? How much water must be in a mikveh? How much grain do you have to bring to the Temple? These were pressing concerns when the Talmud was written, but the rabbis didn’t have the metric system to standardize their rulings. Instead, they used measurements based on…

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Jewniverse’s Name was Changed at Ellis Island to June Verse

September 3, 2012
By
calof-208x300

Check out some of our favorite stories of Jewish immigration. Home On the Range—A mail order bride from Russia comes to live on the American frontier. Ragtime—the novel features a surprising and sad story of Jewish immigration. Last of the Red Hot Mamas—vaudeville star, straight from Ukraine. Sniper, Survivor, Sex…

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Barukh Ata Jewniverse

August 31, 2012
By
weekday-prayer

Check out these great examples of the wild world of Jewish prayers and blessings. Did you know that Judaism has blessings for everything, from a rainbow to a trip to the bathroom? Everybody Poops—And there a blessing for it, too. Shema for Deaf People—How can you hear O Israel if…

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All About Anne

August 30, 2012
By
disney-anne-frank-196x300

 If you read The Diary of Anne Frank in high school you might think you know her whole story, but check out these Jewniverses that explore Anne Frank’s life in new and unusual ways. Disney’s Anne Frank—What if Anne’s diary was made into a schmaltzy animated film? The Other Anne…

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