The Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

November 27, 2012
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ugly-sweater

Everybody can spot the Dreaded Christmas Sweater from miles away.  Be it worn by Bill Cosby through the better part of the eighties, by Colin Firth in That Scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary circa 2001, by a total character at your annual holiday party, or by your hipster roommate as his version of business…

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Jews Explain the New Testament

November 26, 2012
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jewish-annotated-new-testam

What’s the best way for a Jew to read the New Testament? Though some maintain that Jews should stay away from the Christian holy book altogether, many believe that it’s an important read for anyone living in a predominantly Christian country. It also happens to be chock-full of Jewish references. (The…

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Tabletop Torah

November 23, 2012
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tabletop-torah1

God has more in common with a bottle of dish soap than you might think. Or at least Brooklyn-based puppeteer and educator Ora Fruchter wants you to think so. Through Creatures Teach Torah, Fruchter uses various puppetry methods to explore and teach biblical stories [video trailer here]. One of these methods is object…

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The Kimberley Plan

November 22, 2012
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Kimberley

In 1939, Isaac Nachman Steinberg—lawyer, ex-Bolshevik, former comrade of Vladimir Lenin—arrived in Perth, Western Australia. His objective: to establish a homeland and safe haven for thousands of Jewish refugees in The Kimberley, in Australia’s far north-west. Steinberg was the founder of the Freeland League and a proponent of territorialism, a political movement that sought…

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Star and Shamrock

November 21, 2012
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star-and-shamrock

Some combinations are obvious: peanut butter and jelly, rock and roll, Bert and Ernie. Others aren’t quite so apparent. Take, for instance, classic Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine and traditional Irish fare. Washington DC restaurateurs Jason Feld, Mark Menard and Mike Schuster thought up this unusual fusion and are bringing it to life at…

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Fagin the Jew

November 20, 2012
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fagin2

The antihero of Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist is the “villainous-looking and sinister” Jewish moneylender, Fagin. Fagin is referred to as “the Jew” 257 times throughout the first two-thirds of the novel, often in the context of him doing something nasty, salivating over his gold, or beating poor Oliver. While working on the final third of the novel,…

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Dream of Scipio

November 19, 2012
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scipio

When you think of Provence you probably think of the region’s famous French scenery and wine. But when novelist Iain Pears thinks of Provence he thinks of its deep—and often dark—history. His 2002 novel The Dream of Scipio weaves together three Provencal stories. One concerns a Gallic aristocrat obsessed with preserving Roman civilization in…

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A Cookbook Called Jerusalem

November 16, 2012
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jerusalem-cookbook-jewniver

Chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi were both born in Jerusalem in 1968. Both men had mothers who served lavish breakfasts with mystifying ease, and both inhaled falafel on their midday walks home from school, spoiling their appetites for “real” lunch.  In many ways they led parallel lives, with one crucial difference: Ottolenghi grew…

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Jews + Erotica = Jewrotica. What else?

November 15, 2012
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jewrotica

What constitutes “Jewish erotica,” exactly? Does it need to feature ritual items?  Must the deed take place during a bagel brunch? Does the work just need a Jewish author, or does the sex itself need to be positively spiritual? The recently launched Jewrotica.org posits its own answer to this question — by…

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Grandma Was Friends With a Nazi?

November 14, 2012
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the-flat1

Cleaning out a deceased family member’s apartment may turn up some unsettling finds. But when Israeli filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger started going through his late grandparents’ apartment following the death of his 98-year-old grandmother, Gerda Tuchler, neither he nor his family was prepared for what they discovered: boxes full of Nazi propaganda and a newspaper…

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A Kaddish For Bernie Madoff

November 13, 2012
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kaddish-for-bernie-madoff

With her band Girls in Trouble, fiddler and singer/songwriter Alicia Jo Rabins wrote haunting songs about Biblical women. In her new project Rabins tackles a figure of a different kind: Ponzi-scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff. A one-woman show about a man who ruined fortunes, bankrupted charitable organizations and whose actions seem to have…

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Hitler’s Homosexuals

November 12, 2012
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castro-theater

Have you ever wondered what made San Francisco a mecca for gay men and women? Would you have ever guessed it was Adolf Hitler? During World War II, the U.S. military instituted a draft, sending hundreds of thousands of young men into boot camp and, subsequently, battle, without performing extensive background…

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