Mazel Tov, K-Pop!

October 29, 2012
By
zea

Just a few months ago, Korean pop star Psy’s smash hit “Gangnam Style” launched K- pop into the global limelight. But years before “Gangnam Style,” K-pop was already rearing its head in the Jewish world thanks to the boy band ZE:A’s  single “Mazel tov!”. The rhythms of ZE:A’s song  are  irresistible, and may…

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Out of Orbit

October 26, 2012
By
Thoughtless-Sounds-Album-Cover-only-300x295

“How do you hold onto life/when it won’t seem to hold onto you?” sings multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter Max Jared on his debut album Thoughtless Sounds. This question is from the ballad “Asaf Ramon,” a tender, sweet song about the eldest son of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon. Ilan Ramon was killed in the 2003 Columbia explosion, and his…

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Up the Down Staircase

October 25, 2012
By
bel-kaufman

In 1923, a 12-year-old Russian girl named Belle Kaufman immigrated with her parents to America and, not knowing a word of English, was enrolled in the first grade. She caught up quickly, and decided that she wanted to become a teacher, too. But Kaufman came from a family of writers—her grandfather was Sholem…

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An Icy Jerusalem

October 24, 2012
By
city-of-ice2

Cold weather is unusual in Jerusalem—but in March of last year a snowstorm briefly coated the city in white. It was Jerusalem’s first snow in 4 years, and Israelis from all over the country crowded the roads to the city so they could frolic in the winter weather. Later that month…

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The Jewish Chinese Revolutionary

October 23, 2012
By
the-revolutionary

Did you know that during the Chinese Cultural Revolution a Jewish man headed the Chinese Broadcast Administration? The new documentary The Revolutionary (trailer here) explores the fascinating life of Sidney Rittenberg, who went from Southern Jewish gentleman to Cultural Revolutionary to prisoner, and back again. Rittenberg grew up in a prominent South Carolina Jewish family,…

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Meet the Middlesteins

October 22, 2012
By
middlesteins

In Jami Attenberg’s new novel The Middlesteins, the relationships between members of one suburban Chicago family are riddled with emotional landmines that all seem to link back to one woman: matriarch Edie Middlestein, sixty-something and morbidly obese. The novel centers around the family’s relationships with Edie, her food addiction, and the spiraling health…

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Jewish Spies and Arab Wives

October 19, 2012
By
jewish-spies-arab-wives2

In movies and TV, intelligence operations are often portrayed as glamorously dangerous human chess matches with a series of sexual entanglements and ingenious double crosses. The operatives are master manipulators, forming intimate relationships they must cast off at mission’s end. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to discover just how closely these…

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How to Turn a Rotten Childhood into Immortal Beauty

October 18, 2012
By
tolstoy-sendak

The artist and children’s book writer Maurice Sendak lived a full and fruitful life. Before his death in May 2012, his book was adapted into a feature film, and he was honored by everyone from the band Arcade Fire to satirist Steven Colbert. But Sendak wasn’t always convinced of his own genius. In 1961,…

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20- and 30-Something Jews: What Makes Them Tick?

October 17, 2012
By
living-jewishly

In the new anthology Living Jewishly: A Snapshot of a Generation, 43 young writers weigh in on what Jewishness means to them. Edited by Stefanie Pervos Bregman, the anthology begins with the text of Andrew Lustig’s viral video spoken-word sensation, “I Am Jewish,” then goes on to tackle a range of topics, from…

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Gog and Magog: Biblical Supervillians

October 16, 2012
By
Magog

Every superhero needs a supervillain to measure up against: Superman has Lex Luthor; Professor X has Magneto; Batman has the Joker, and more recently the mysterious strong-man Bane. In the book of Ezekiel, the hero/villain dynamic is embodied by the eponymous prophet and his (and Israel’s) nemeses of biblical proportions: Gog and Magog…

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Is a hairstyle grounds for divorce?

October 15, 2012
By
hairstyle2-jewniverse

Deuteronomy 24:1 says that if a wife “fails to please [a husband] because he finds something obnoxious about her… he writes her a bill of divorcement, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house.” Jewish law has extrapolated the rules for getting a divorce from this part of the Torah,…

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Breast Milk: Just Like Honey From a Bee?

October 12, 2012
By
breastmilk-pareve

“Lactation Station,” a 2006 performance piece [see video here] by Toronto-based artist Jess Dobkin set out to challenge a deep cultural taboo. Dobkin invited audiences to taste samples of pasteurized human breast milk donated by a group of new mothers, and then facilitated a conversation between them. Six years later, Dobkin’s piece continues to stimulate…

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