The Magical Ba’al Shem of London

November 13, 2013
By
baal-shem

Rabbi, kabbalist, alchemist, sorcerer. The CV of Rabbi Dr. Hayyim Samuel Jacob Falk, otherwise known as the Ba’al Shem of London, boasts no shortage of extraordinary feats. Born in 1708 somewhere in Europe (sources point to either Bavaria or present-day Ukraine), the Ba’al Shem of London was known to keep a magic trick or two up his…

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A 1980s Gay Boy and his Jewish Bubbes

November 12, 2013
By
gutterboys

In Alvin Orloff’s novel Gutterboys—written in 2004, but set in the punk fever of the early 1980s—Jeremy Rabinowitz is a shy 19-year-old Jewish kid desperate to fit in with the gay Manhattan avant-garde….or to just find a boyfriend who’ll love him forever. Unfortunately, the best he can manage is to sneak into dance…

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The Other Kabbalah-Loving L.A. Musician

November 11, 2013
By
mikey-pauker

LA-based singer-songwriter Mikey Pauker’s inspirations come from across the map. From contemporary pop music to Jewish liturgy, hasidut, kabbalah, and his own Jewish experiences, Pauker skillfully combines upbeat folk songs with classical Jewish texts. Check out, for instance, “Hinei Mah Tov,” but beware: the infectious “Eeoohh!” hook will be stuck in your head for the rest…

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The Mousy Museum Lady Who Documented Nazi Crimes

November 8, 2013
By
Rape-of-Europa

Earlier this week, Bavarian authorities confirmed that in 2012 a German art dealer’s son was found with 1400 art works confiscated during World War II. The pieces, including some by Chagall and Matisse, are valued at over $1 billion. Wondering how so much artwork could be lost for so long? The 2006 documentary The Rape of…

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Kosher Pajamas and Cosmetic Surgery in Ritzy Tel Aviv

November 7, 2013
By
textile

What do cosmetic shoulder blade surgery, flak jackets made of spider silk, high-end shopping sprees as a stage of grief, and The Twilight Zone‘s Rod Serling have in common? Nothing, perhaps, but their convergence in Textile, a newly translated novel by celebrated Israeli writer Orly Castel-Bloom. Published in Hebrew in 2006, Textile features the quintessentially 21st-century coping…

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When Sages Go To The Bathroom

November 6, 2013
By
bathroom

Jewish tradition has never been known for shying away from embarrassing topics. In fact, religious Jews recite a blessing thanking God for creating humans with orifices and cavities. A sacred life, after all, requires healthy internal plumbing. But that’s only the beginning of Jewish bathroom talk. The sages also examined which foods were…

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The Downton Abbey-Era Jewish Suffragettes

November 4, 2013
By
suffragette

The Jewish World called them “blackguards in bonnets.” In October 1913, 3 women were thrown out of London’s New West End Synagogue during Yom Kippur services after loudly declaring: “May God forgive Herbert Samuel and Sir Rufus Isaacs for denying freedom to women; may God forgive them for consenting to the torture of women.” Members of the Jewish League…

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Win a Free Menurkey! Our Thanksgivukkah Giveaway is ON.

November 1, 2013
By
Plaster-smallest

Jewniverse and The Nosher have teamed up to present the most exciting autumn raffle of 2013: The Ultimate Thanksgivukkah Menurkey Giveaway! Enter to win the grand prize item that’s got the internet in a tizzy: the Menurkey ($58), the inimitable menorah shaped like a turkey. How better to celebrate the never-to-be-repeated…

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An Italian Mob Boss at the Lakewood Yeshiva

November 1, 2013
By
bannanas

As the story goes, during the height of World War II, Rav Aharon Kotler, founder of the Lakewood Yeshiva, learned that several young Polish rabbinical students were detained in Italy. Fearful of these bochers’ fate in a Nazi-occupied country, the rabbi met with an unlikely ally thought to have influence in Italy:…

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The 3 Most Important Jewish Words

October 31, 2013
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evil-eye

If you’ve never heard the Yiddish/Hebrew phrase, “kein ayin hara,” get ready to meet your new favorite saying.  Literally, these words translate as “no evil eye.” Together, they function as a Jewish “knock on wood.” The origin of the phrase is the superstition that talking about one’s good fortune attracts the attention of…

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Young Yiddish Love Among the Nazis

October 30, 2013
By
the-pin

The second Yiddish language film to be produced in North America in 70 years, and Canada’s first, The Pin is a bleak, moving film about love and remembrance. Set in 1941 Lithuania, The Pin tells the story of a burial guard named Jacob, who is one day faced with the corpse of a woman he’d loved. Through sensuous, dreamlike flashbacks,…

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Polish Catholic Brothers and a Village’s Unsavory Past

October 29, 2013
By
aftermath1

The past might never be dead, but just how deeply can it be buried? That’s the question brothers Franek and Jozek grapple with as they uncover the secrets of their rural Polish village 60 years after World War II, in Władysław Pasikowski‘s controversial film Pokłosie (Aftermath). Franek returns to Poland from Chicago when…

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