Does This Hat Make Me Look like Hitler?

June 19, 2013
By
chaplin1

Recently, when images of this kettle that looks like Hitler went viral, it created such a tempest in a, well, teapot that JCPenney pulled the item from its shelves, and announced that the resemblance was unintentional. If they’d wanted to make a kettle that looked like something, @JCPenney tweeted, they would have gone…

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From “Ghostbusters” to His Mother’s Brisket

June 18, 2013
By
moranis

He was the possessed keymaster neighbor, the beer-swiller, the kid-shrinker, the coach of Little Giants. He was Barney Rubble in a terrible Flintstones flick. He even donned a dark helmet in outer space. He’s Rick Moranis, and he’s back—sort of. After releasing his first music album, The Agoraphobic Cowboy, in 2005, Moranis returns with My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love…

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Kafka’s Hasidic Sidekick

June 17, 2013
By
jiri-langer

In 1894, boys like Jiří Langer were a dime a dozen: Born into an assimilated Jewish family in Prague, there was nothing notable about him until, at 19, he bought “a railway ticket to a little place in eastern Galicia,” where he met the Hasidic rebbe of the town of Belz. He returned to…

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Mickey Katz, Borscht Jester

June 14, 2013
By
borscht-jester1

In the 1960s, my father kept a handful of well-worn LPs in the rack under the hi-fi: some Broadway soundtracks, some Sinatra, Mitch Miller, Tchaikovsky and, of course, Mickey Katz. It was mandatory in every Jewish home. What did Mickey Katz give the world? For starters, his son, Joel Grey – the Oscar-winning emcee of Cabaret. For another,…

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Poking Around the Toymaker’s Home

June 13, 2013
By
baseman

Ever wanted to peek into the home life of a professional toymaker and artist? At a new exhibit at Los Angeles’s Skirball Cultural Center, now you can. “The Door is Always Open” recreates the childhood home of artist Gary Baseman and all its accoutrements. Though his name may not be familiar to you, you’ve probably…

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Painting On The Green Line

June 12, 2013
By
green-line

You can’t smell it, touch it, or see it, but Israel’s Green Line does exist, and for a few hours last week, the post-independence boundary between Israel and the West Bank was colored a rich, verdant green. On Wednesday, June 5th, the 46th anniversary of the Six-Day War, an Israeli activist group called…

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The Jewish Drummer Behind “The Boss”

June 11, 2013
By
max-w

What is it about drummers in the are-they-or-aren’t-they Jewish game? Ringo Starr? Got the nose, but no. The Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts? Some say yes, some say no. Max Weinberg? Oh yes. You probably know Weinberg as Conan O’Brien’s former bandleader, or perhaps as the quiet drummer with the big beat behind Bruce Springsteen in the E…

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Digitizing the Ghetto

June 10, 2013
By
revilnaB

For one year, between the time they were rounded up and their final transport to concentration camps, all the Jews in the city of Vilna lived in a ghetto—a tiny, squalid neighborhood blocked off from the rest of the city. But contrary to what we tend to think about ghetto life,…

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Gatsby’s Jewish Gangster

June 7, 2013
By
arnol--rothstein

Who ran New York’s underbelly in the 1920s? Nope, not Michael Corleone, but a Jewish gangster and racketeer named Arnold Rothstein. Rothstein, who inspired The Great Gatsby‘s uncomfortably stereotypical Jewish bootlegger, Meyer Wolfsheim, was renowned for some unseemly feats: rigging the results of the 1919 World Series and orchestrating a network of fraud that contributed…

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Fiddler on the Roof, Soviet Émigré-Style

June 6, 2013
By
cosmos

Nadia Kalman’s The Cosmopolitans gives us a Tevye for the 21st century. The novel features a family of Soviet Jewish émigrés: Osip Molochnik (whose last name literally means “dairyman” in Russian), his wife Stalina (after the eponymous dictator), and, in true Fiddler form, 3 daughters on the brink of marriage. Milla, the eldest, chooses a…

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Hello, Gorgeous: Half a Century of Barbra

June 5, 2013
By
barbra

In a career that started when Kennedy was president, Barbra Streisand has managed to create 3 larger-than-life personas. First, she was the Serious Singer, the one who could hold her own in a duet with the legendary Judy Garland and later sold 145 million records. Next, she was the Screwball Comedienne…

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Lower Manhattan Supernatural

June 4, 2013
By
golem

Every culture has its superstitions and its supermen: the German imp, the South African giant Abiyoyo, the golem of Jewish lore, and the jinni of Arabic mythology. What if, during one of America’s great waves of immigration, 2 of these mythic creatures collided? That’s what happens in The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker‘s compulsively readable debut novel.…

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