"I'm not sure whether it mattered. One young man very kindly said to me, 'You don’t understand, women are holier than men.'
I said, 'That’s rubbish and it doesn't excuse the insult,' and then I added that I spent 13 years in yeshiva and there's nothing he could tell me that I haven't already heard. Then the original man, the one who refused to sit next to me, muttered to another man as he was walking away, 'She doesn't understand.' I said, 'I understand everything, and don't talk to me as if I'm not here.' He ignored me, and all the other men turned their backs and did not respond or even look at me." [Similar version
is a 12th century Jewish hymn traditionally sung at the end of Sabbath services in both Ashkenazic
congregations. Maybe you’ve heard Uzi Hitman’s disco version
, which electrified the 1970’s. But what may be most inspiring about the prayer is that it can fit to pretty much any melody
. Here it is to Pharrell’s Happy
. Here it is to Gilbert and Sullivan's Modern Major General
. Here’s the Cups
song. Even Amazing Grace
. [more inside]
In honour of Labour day, enjoy a documentary
on Jewish anarchism at the turn of the 20th century, and the story of The Free Voice of Labour
, their Yiddish newspaper that ran from 1890-1977. [more inside]
In Memphis in the early 1950s, young Elvis Presley would sometimes help out the upstairs neighbors, Rabbi Fruchter and his family, by acting as a "Shabbos goy," -- that is, by doing tasks that Jews may not do on the Sabbath. (The rabbi's son Harold, then a toddler, recalls the arrangement in an audio interview.
) Yet Elvis knew he had some Jewish forebears. Tablet Magazine notes that his "great great maternal grandmother was Jewish
and had a daughter who had a daughter who had a daughter that was Elvis’s mother." Though he embraced Christianity, he often used to wear
a Chai necklace
(sometimes paired with a cross), saying "I don't want to miss out on going to heaven on a technicality." In that spirit, a Hasidic Elvis impersonator named Dan Hartal
, aka "Schmelvis,"
recently recited Kaddish at Graceland and traveled to Israel to plant a tree in Elvis's memory.
For forty years around the turn of the 20th century, ostrich plumes were the height of fashion, and a major industry: at its peak, ostrich feathers were, ounce-for-ounce, nearly as valuable as diamonds
, so much so that £20,000 of feathers went down with the Titanic. The market for feathers was, in large part, run by Jews
: Sephardi Jews exported feathers, Jews in London and New York traded them, and Eastern European Jews left Russia and Lithuania in the thousands to farm feathers, flocking to Oudtshoorn
"The Jerusalem of Africa." In 1914, the boom ended, leaving many destitute and leading to anti-semitic backlashes. A brief but entertaining history of the feather trade can be read in this PDF excerpt
. Some of the beautiful "Feather Palaces"
of Oudtshoorn still survive, as does a small Jewish community
and some vintage fashion
Quite unlike many similar Wikipedia entries
, the Russian Jokes
, Russian Political Jokes
and Jewish humor
articles are treasure troves of actual jokes and anekdoty
A Japanese Holocaust rescuer
, it is estimated that Chiune Sugihara
, a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania in WWII, facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family's lives. The profoundly moving story is now on YouTube: 1
. [more inside]
In this virtual exhibition you can find out more about the people, buildings and plays that made Yiddish theatre in London so special, as well as explore the unique collection of Yiddish theatre photographs, documents and objects held at the Jewish Museum London.
Maud Newton, who grew up as a Charismatic Christian in a heavily Jewish community, asks: What could be wrong with Bible-believing evangelicals giving their son a bar mitzvah?
[slnyt, mostly] [more inside]
There are only five functioning Jewish synagogues with sand floors in the world, and four of them are in the Caribbean. How has the tradition been maintained for hundreds of years? [more inside]
Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89
: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
Hanukkah draws nigh and that means latkes
. [The oil in which the potato pancake is cooked symbolizes the miraculously long-burning fuel that lit the Second Temple.] Bubala Please
shows you how to keep it real. [more inside]
Deli Man Trailer
on Vimeo. In 1931, there were 1,550 kosher delis in NYC. Today: 150 Jewish delis in all of North America [more inside]
Gender outlaw Kate Bornstein has written
about her years in the Church of Scientology.
Formerly Hasidic black rapper Y-Love has come out of the closet
and is now probably the only person who could beat Sammy Davis Jr.'s famous quip
may date back
2700 years. Today, there is but one: Zablon Simintov
. [more inside]
Almost immediately upon my arrival in my first teaching job, I became the go-to guy for the Holocaust. Of course, this was partly due to my dissertation, but in larger part, I suspect, because of my Jewishness. This was fine with me for a number of reasons. First, as a junior faculty member, this identification, though merely professional, could only help in my quest for tenure. An expert on the Holocaust carried infinitely greater weight, I thought, than an expert on ministerial instability during the French Third Republic.
: My life as an accidental Holocaust expert—and why I decided to quit
Chaim Levin appeared in a video
as part of the It Gets Better
). A staff reporter for the Jewish Press criticised Chaim (referred to as "Dovid") in an op-ed
; Chaim's response
led to threats against the paper, which has now supported Chaim and declared that it "won't be silenced
". [more inside]
The Sabich is a
popular Israeli pita sandwich based on the traditional Babylonian
Shabbat morning meal. It it is usually seasoned with Amba
, the mango pickle condiment of Indian Origin which the Baghdadi Jewish community
of India brought to Baghdad (along with Sambusak
, a variant of the Simosa). [more inside]
Forget Adam Sandler
. Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of Jewish take-offs of popular songs. The Fountainheads have produced Purim
and Pesach (Passover)
covers. The Maccabeats had a good amount of exposure with their Hanukkah
and put out a Purim
Of course, not
all of these songs are covers.
Nice Jewish Girl
is an unmarried orthodox Jew. She started a blog six years ago
. She wrote about being Shomer Negiah
(not allowing herself physical contact with men other than relatives or a husband) and being a woman in her mid-thirties that has never kissed a man. Over the run of the blog, she decided to stop being Shomer Negiah
while still looking for an Orthodox husband, kissed a man
, and then broke up with him. For the last three years, she has been silent. Recently, she has returned to discuss the effect of Jewish law on her view of sex
“I wake up every day and I stretch out my arms and if I don’t feel any wood on either side, then I know I can get up.”
The remarkable story of Maurice Franklin, Wood Turner
Henry Roth had one of the most anomalous careers in modern letters: a brilliant novel at age twenty-eight, the incomparable Call It Sleep, lost for thirty years but never quite forgotten, then a torrent of words let loose in his seventies and eighties. ... Roth continued to resist any single explanation for his catastrophic writer's block, but it became evident that it was the incest, and the self-loathing that accompanied it, that threw the biggest roadblock across his path. [more inside]
passed away today. She was the most well known and influential composer of Jewish music and litergy in the United States. The Jerusalem Post says
that "Friedman’s music is performed in synagogues around the world more than that of any other modern composer."
Her most well known song is a setting of Mi Shebeirach
, a prayer for healing.
is a Wolf3D
mod about real WWII revolt against the Nazis
in the famous Auschwitz extermination camp." [more inside]
The real reason Jews don’t have more Hanukkah music is that historically, American Jewish singer-songwriters were too busy making Christmas music. ‘White Christmas,’ ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ ‘Silver Bells,’ and ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)’ were all written by Jews. Both Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have their own Christmas albums. The No. 1 best-selling Christmas album of all time is from Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, the Jewish smooth-jazz legend Kenny G. American Jews have always produced a lot of holiday music, just not Hanukkah music.
American Hasidic Jewish Reggae musician Matisyahu
(not the other Matisyahu
) offers an opinion
on why there isn't more Hanukkah music and releases his own Hanukkah song called Miracle
On the flip-side, Mormon senator Orrin Hatch wrote and recorded his own Hanukkah song
last year called Eight Days of Hanukkah
A story of moose snouts, tenement animal husbandry and Crisco - the Lower East Side.
RAZ: Now, you describe the markets in this part of the Lower East Side, around the Bowery that Mr. Glockner's wife would often go to to find fresh produce, I was amazed to read about what you could get in New York City in the 1860s. I mean, there were a lot of choices.
Ms. ZIEGELMAN: You could buy bear. You could buy moose. And not only moose, you could buy moose snout. This was considered a particular delicacy.
RAZ: By whom?
Ms. ZIEGELMAN: That I don't know. [more inside]
Good to the Last Seder:
"The Jews are known as the people of the Book, and that book, which has sustained them is... the Maxwell House Haggadah
." The brainchild of the Joseph Jacobs Advertising
firm, Maxwell House Coffee has provided copies of the haggadah for Jewish-American coffee purchasers celebrating the Passover Seder since 1934, a fact that led one rabbi to claim that the coffee company "did more to codify Jewish liturgy than any force in history."
Although the Maxwell House Haggadah has received criticism from both secular
Jews, the haggadah is still so ubiquitous that it has even surfaced at the official Obama seder
at the White House
Is Facebook chametz?
An interview with two rabbis about their Facebook group
, encouraging Jews to consider giving up Facebook for Passover next week
. While the word "chametz"
strictly refers only to leavened bread, which is prohibited during Passover, the group is inspired by a Chassidic interpretation that connects the leavening of bread to an "over-inflated sense of self."
What's a Coastie?
Two University of Wisconsin undergrads record and post to YouTube an ode to "Coasties,"
out-of-state students who live in expensive off-campus apartments, wear Spandex tights with Uggs, spend their parents' money on designer handbags and Starbucks, and -- oh yeah, like 15% of their classmates but only 1 in 200 Wisconsin natives, are Jews
. Controversy ensues