Yiddish Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon…in Yiddish?

By On January 23, 2014

You may associate the Book of Mormon with show-stopping musical numbers and lots of Tony awards, but before it was a hit musical the Book of Mormon was…a book. In fact, it was the foundation… Read More

Shmuley Boteach

Michael Jackson’s Sex Rebbe

By On January 22, 2014

You might think of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach as the kosher sex guru, but, in fact, he used to wear a much more bizarre (and controversial) hat: that of unofficial spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson. Introduced… Read More


The Anti-Semitic Origins of “Hip Hip Hooray”?

By On January 21, 2014

Three cheers for the bat mitzvah girl! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip… wait, stop. This is all wrong. Turns out our good old American cheer derives from an old anti-Semitic rallying cry,… Read More

Freedom Seder

The Passover Seder Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.

By On January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated just eight days before Passover in 1968. Among those grieving his loss were Jews who had joined his nonviolent protest movement, and were dedicated to the causes of civil rights… Read More

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Bergen-Belsen

By On January 17, 2014

In the mid-1940s, newsreel footage of the Allied liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, and Buchenwald horrified viewers across the world. The images of human devastation at Nazi concentration camps crystallized reigning negative opinions of Germany.… Read More

Benny Goodman

The Jazz Concert That Changed Black and Jewish History

By On January 16, 2014

When Benny Goodman, the Jewish clarinetist and so-called “King of Swing” took center stage at Carnegie Hall on this day in 1938, the audience was in for more than just a rollicking time.… Read More

Levy's Rye Bread

The “Mad Woman” Who Sold Jewish Rye to Goyim

By On January 14, 2014

  In the long history of Jewish culinary triumphs, there has never been a finer invention than pastrami on rye. And there has never been a rye bread more indelibly linked to Jews than Levy’s.… Read More

Tsvey Vetln

A Yiddish Poet’s Musical Second Wind

By On January 13, 2014

When composer Benjy Fox-Rosen was a kid, his grandmother sang him the songs of her favorite Yiddish poet, Mordechai Gebirtig (1877-1942). “Wait a little longer, dear,” goes one of the Krakow songwriter’s most famous songs, “Reyzele.” But she… Read More


When Sholem Aleichem Met Mark Twain

By On January 10, 2014

The Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916) was an author and humorist whose 40-plus volumes famously combine high intellect with a raucousness and a Jewish redneck sensibility. His style was uncannily reminiscent of another writer of his… Read More

Tzenah Urenah

The 17th-Century Torah for Girls

By On January 9, 2014

If there had been book blurbs in the 17th century, one for the Tsenah Urenah might have read: “What a time-saver. I keep it in the kitchen, next to the schmaltz.” Written by… Read More

Kaifeng Jews

The Lost Jewish Tribe of China

By On January 8, 2014

On the southern bank of the Yellow River lies Kaifeng, the former capital of the Northern Song Dynasty and an important pit stop along the Silk Road. From the 10th to 12th centuries, innumerable merchants… Read More

Little Failure

Gary Shteyngart Writes a Memoir

By On January 7, 2014

The first half of Gary Shteyngart‘s new memoir, Little Failure, reads like a first-person Colbert Report segment on Russian Jewish refuseniks. The celebrated Russian émigré novelist wastes almost no page space on developing such trifles as plot… Read More

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