Atone! With The Yom Kippur eScapegoat.

September 10, 2013
By
atone

With the High Holidays upon us, the good folks who brought us quirky digital takes on the weekly Torah portion and that Leviticus-inspired iPhone game are back with something new: a website that lets you create a virtual scapegoat. That is, an eScapegoat. Say what? Intrigued by the ancient Yom Kippur ritual in which the High Priest chose a goat…

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The True Story of the “Annie Hall” Roller Coaster House

September 9, 2013
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roller-coaster

Remember Alvy Singer? The neurotic, paranoid stand-up comic played by the neurotic, paranoid Woody Allen in Annie Hall? In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Alvy traces his adult neuroses to his having been raised in the house beneath the Thunderbolt in Coney Island. The constant shaking and rattling of the roller coaster easily…

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Happy Rosh Hashanah–See You Monday

September 4, 2013
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Happy Rosh Hashanah–See You Monday

Rosh Hashanah 2013 begins tonight at sunset and ends on the evening of September 6th. The Jewniverse will be dipping apples in honey, listening to some shofar blowing, accounting for the past year, and throwing our sins to the fishes. See you back here on Monday!  

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IKEA Gedolah!

September 4, 2013
By
ikesa

Ah, the annual shofar blasts. That primal, biblical keening that cuts through time and space, linking us all back to revelation, to Sinai, to the voice of God speaking to Moses, to the Israelites being called to attention, to the gates of Heaven and repentance and the gleaming possibility of…

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The Shofar’s Explosive Brethren

September 4, 2013
By
shofar

With the season of shofar-blowing upon us, it’s once again time to press our lips to the curling ram’s horn and attempt to not make an incredibly embarrassing sound in front of the entire congregation. You might not know it, but Jews aren’t the only ones who’ve done weird things with animal horns: There…

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West Side Story, The Catholic-Jewish Version

September 3, 2013
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west-side-story

Imagine gritty NYC streets in the 1950s. An Irish Catholic boy falls for a Jewish girl, a Holocaust survivor and recent immigrant. Their families violently pursue each other, and it all ends in tragedy. If it sounds familiar that’s because it was the original pitch for West Side Story, the hit…

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Stravinsky the Anti-Semite

September 2, 2013
By
stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is an odd piece that’s also oddly well-known, in part because it was featured in Disney’s Fantasia. But less well-known about the ballet and orchestral piece Rite of Spring is that its composer was an admitted anti-Semite—though how concerned we should be is still a matter of debate. In 1989, in the…

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The Jew Who Gave Roosevelt a Bad Rap

August 30, 2013
By
fdr

Close your eyes and picture the one person who did the most to save Jews from the Holocaust. Did you picture Oskar Schindler? Irena Sendler? Raoul Wallenberg? How about…Franklin Delano Roosevelt? If a Zionist activist named Peter Bergson had his way, you might have. So say some historians, anyway. Born Hillel Kook in Lithuania…

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Our Four Genetic Moms

August 29, 2013
By
dna

On Friday nights Jews traditionally bless their daughters to emulate Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. But the women these girls actually take after are 4 other women entirely. In a genetic study conducted in 2002, scientists found that 40% of all living Ashkenazi Jews—some 3.5 million—trace their DNA back to 4 “founding mothers” who lived in Central and Eastern…

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A Graphic Novel with Jerusalem as its Hero

August 28, 2013
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jerusalem-graphic-novel

Boaz Yakin’s latest graphic novel, Jerusalem, based on his family history, begins and ends with a boy running: first to arrive at school on time, and later, to escape the grisly scene of his cousin’s death. Between 1940 and 1948, Jerusalem changes dramatically around young Motti Halaby and his family. As…

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The Israeli-American Music Mogul

August 27, 2013
By
diwon2

Remember the Israeli keffiyeh controversy? Semitic Swag, the LA “lifestyle brand” behind it, is headed by Erez Safar, a DJ/producer who is perhaps better known for his non-sartorial endeavors. And he’s just made another musical splash. Safar, who performs under the moniker Diwon, has just dropped his first solo album. Called “New Game,” the…

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Wear Tzitzit, Skip Sex

August 26, 2013
By
tzitzit2

If you’ve never thought of prayer fringes serving a practical purpose, one particularly lewd Talmudic episode may change your mind. In this story, a tzitzit-donning man undertakes a faraway and expensive journey to procure the services of a well-known courtesan. But upon reaching her boudoir he is prevented from carrying out his desires…

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