Jesus in Yiddish

November 9, 2012
By
last-supper

In the late 19th and early 20th century Protestant Christians made a concerted effort to convert American Jews. Key to this mission was translating the New Testament into Yiddish, the community’s lingua franca. But for Henry Einspruch, the author of the first complete Yiddish translation, the motivation was as much literary as religious. Einspruch,…

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Hurricane Sandy: Here’s How You Can Help

November 8, 2012
By
kid-volunteering-hurricane

Want to contribute to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, but don’t know how? Here are five ways to get involved— and you don’t even have to be on the East Coast: 1. Get out your checkbook: The State of New Jersey has set up a Hurricane Relief Fund and is asking for…

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Lilith, Temptress of the Ancients

November 7, 2012
By
521px-Lady-Lilith

You’ve probably heard of Lilith: namesake of the women’s music festival and of the Jewish feminist magazine, but did you know that the feminist heroine was plucked straight from the ancient world? And that the Lilith of the ancients made an unlikely candidate for such a figurehead? The earliest Jewish references to Lilith portray her…

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The Rebbe’s Christian Son

November 6, 2012
By
untold-tales-hasidim

Members of the Chabad-Lubavitch sect of Hasidism love nothing more than telling stories about their rebbes. One episode, however, that doesn’t get much mention concerns Rabbi Moshe, son of Chabad’s founding rebbe, Shneur Zalman of Liadi. As David Assaf reports in his book Untold Tales of the Hasidim: Crisis and Discontent in the…

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One Book, Two Holocaust Novels

November 5, 2012
By
canvas

The next great Jewish novel is coming from the heart of Germany. The Canvas, by Berlin-born Benjamin Stein, is a mystery novel with an innovative form: It’s actually two books in one. Start from one side, read your way through, then flip the book over and find a distinct story that’s connected…

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How the Church Turned Jews into Moneylenders

November 2, 2012
By
money-lender

Ever wonder how Jews became synonymous with usury? Is it just because they were always “good with money?” Or was it, as Roman Catholic doctrine held, the devil that made them do it? Actually, it was the Church itself. By the time Shakespeare introduced Shylock to the theatergoing world in The Merchant…

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Degenerate Art

November 1, 2012
By
degenrate-art

Under the Third Reich, as the situation for Jews in Germany worsened, the fate of German art and artists was also in danger. Hitler, widely considered a failed artist himself, railed against art and artists he disliked, and he purged German museums of art deemed inconsistent with his philistine and puritanical aesthetic values.…

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Shanghai Ghetto

October 31, 2012
By
shanghai-ghetto

In 1938, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, European Jews started looking for any and every escape path. When word got out that Shanghai, which was then under Japanese control, did not require a visa or passport for entry, thousands of Eastern and Western European Jews started flocking to the city’s Hongkew…

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Jews in Iran

October 30, 2012
By
light-and-shadows

According to the Bible, Queen Esther saved the Jews of Persia from being wiped out by the evil Haman. But what happened to the Persian Jewish community after that? “Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews,” a new exhibit at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, tells the rich history of one of the world’s oldest Jewish…

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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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