“We got a bit excited because we realized that people have collected
lots of dybbuk
stories, but our fragment
describes a real event, where you see how they come together and pray in order to exorcise the ghost from a widow,” [more inside]
A women's prayer group was expelled from the area of Jerusalem's Western Wall on Wednesday for wearing tallitot and reading from the Torah
, in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that restricts these activities to men in the area directly in front of the wall. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the majority of non-Orthodox rabbinical students are female
, with the Reform movement being the most female-dominated, leaving some communities struggling to revitalize men's participation in the religion.
The Survey of American Jewish Language and Identity
reports on the results of an online survey of 25,179 American Jews and 4,874 American Gentiles. Non-Jews say "klutz" but not "schmutz." The more Orthodox you are, the more likely you are to say "Good Shabbos" instead of "Shabbat Shalom." And so much more you'll plotz.
"At Jewish Delis
Are as Lean
as Good Corned Beef" [more inside]
Mountain air, clear as wine
And the scent of pines
Brought by the twilight breeze
With the sound of bells
Shortly before the Six Day War of 1967 an amateur singer performed
[YT] an elegy for the then-divided city of Jerusalem "locked in a dream ... with a wall in its heart". [more inside]
Obsessed with Jews
is a hilariously delightful documentary short about Jewish memorabilia collector, Neil Keller
. Keller speaks effusively about Jews in basketball
, great story. Ossie Schechtman scored the first basket
in NBA history.") and Jews in hockey
("The first Jew in hockey was Samuel Rothschild
."), although contrary to the Chanukah Song
, Keller provides a letter where Rod Carew explains he's not Jewish
. The documentary is by Jeff Krulik
, that mensch
responsible for Heavy Metal Parking Lot
. For more Jeff Krulik documentary shorts and a great article on Krulik's days in cable access TV, check the multimedia article here
. (Click through the pages. It's worth it!)
of David Kaufmann
, Jewish scholar extraordinaire. Wonderful illuminations
, inventive typography
and even a little bit of naughtiness
Chanukkah is the story of a group of warriors (the Maccabees, later the Hasmoneans
, led by Mattathias) who rose up against the Greeks (the Seleucids
), united the Jews, reclaimed the Temple (Beit HaMikdash
), and then lit one day's supply of oil which miraculously lasted for eight days, started a brand new holiday called Chanukkah, and brought Jewish sovereignty and peace to the land of Israel. Except that almost every part of that story is either wrong or completely misleading. [more inside]
Do you, or an older relative of yours, recognize any of these children?
More than 70 children separated from their families during WWII, now all elderly men and women, are using the Internet to try to find some answers about their pasts, their families, and sometimes even their own names. They are soliciting help and suggestions in the comments sections on each story. [more inside]
In Mamas Kitchen
was born in the experience of living in New York where a bodega
exists within blocks of a Jewish deli
which is around the corner from an Italian salumeria
which shares space with Chinatown
which abuts Soho's gourmet stores
. While this speaks of the legendary variety available in New York, it also tells of similarity, for in every bodega, every salumeria is someone shopping for the food that sustains physical life with a recipe
that nourishes our hearts.
Menorahs glowed in almost every living room window during Hanukkah. Hasidic Jews streamed down the streets on Friday night and Saturday morning, walking to and from synagogue services. "There was total freedom," marvels Magda Brown, 81, who survived Auschwitz. But inside their homes, at night, the survivors—and their families—were roiled by their pasts. The rest of Skokie did not know the troubles that stirred behind the immaculate facades of the close-packed houses. [more inside]
Almost no traditional Christmas carols were written by Jews (though there have been rumors
). But sometimes it seems like almost all the best 20th century Christmas songs were. Many people are dimly aware
of this, but few know its full extent. I have compiled a list, with representative performances. [more inside]
UrbEx: Bayside Acacia Cemetery, Queens.
Most of this Jewish cemetery, which in the first half of the twentieth century housed many beautiful monuments
[pdf] and large family mausoleums, is now in a frankly archaeological state
of disrepair, as its congregation cannot afford
to provide complete maintenance. [more inside]
Sadie tells Maurice, "You’re a schmuck! You always were a schmuck and you always will be a schmuck! You look, act and dress like a schmuck! You’ll be a schmuck until the day you die! And if they ran a world-wide competition for schmucks, you would be the world’s second biggest schmuck!" "Why only second place?" Maurice asks. "Because you’re a schmuck!" Sadie screams.
Some Jewish humor
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people,
of which many apparently converted to Judaism
. Some believe they are the ancestors of many East European Jews. The Khazars were the subject of Arthur Koestler
's controversial 1972 book
, The Thirteenth Tribe
, as well as anti-Semitic lore
. Now a Russian archaeologist
says he found a gold-mine of evidence about this once-great nation
. No Jewish artifacts yet, however.
(Happy birthday, Neil)
Did you enjoy VH1's rockin' Passover special, "Matzo and Metal
?" How about "Matzo and Metal II: Back to the Desert
?" Then you're going to love "RUSH HASHANAH
As the Rolling Stone article points out, the title is not just an excrutiating pun, or an excuse for a 24 hour Rush marathon. Challah Fame
member Geddy Lee is also a child of Holocaust Survivors.
Virtual Vaudeville [shockwave]
Watch a 3D simulation of legendary comedian Frank Bush in a vaudeville performance from a variety of perspectives. Switch between any of eight perspectives at any time and read the extensive hypermedia notes to gain a richer understanding of the performance in its historical context.
A linguist and a sociologist at Hebrew Union College have teamed up to track the inroads made into American English
by words and idioms from traditionally Jewish languages, including Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), and Hebrew. They've created an online survey
and are looking for people from all religious and ethnic backgrounds to answer a few questions about their word choices, phrasing, and pronunciation. They're also trying to determine whether certain linguistic quirks usually attributed to Yiddish's influence are actually carried over from Jewish ancestors' speech patterns and accents, or whether they're merely an artifact from growing up in or near New York City. [via
: In the 1920s and early 1930s, German Jewish architects created some of the greatest modern buildings in Germany, mainly in the capital Berlin. A law issued by the newly elected German National Socialist Government in 1933 banned all of them from practicing architecture in Germany. In the years after 1933, many of them managed to emigrate, while many others were deported or killed under Hitler’s regime. Pentagram Papers 37: Forgotten Architects
is a survey of 43 of these architects
and their groundbreaking work. [more inside]
heads up Bahrain's Human Rights Watch
and now she's been appointed Bahrain's (and anywhere else in the Arab world) first Jewish ambassador.
theories offer possible explanations
If you get desperate, make your own
(Gratuitous youtube matzo themed video
"Today there is no eggroll..."
As posted at jewschool
, your best source for hip heeb hype,
Asian restaurants across [Israel]detante went on a one-day spring roll strike on Tuesday in protest over government plans to rid kitchens of foreign chefs, and said sushi and noodles would be the next items off the menu. [more inside]
Inspired by this article
, I thought Christmas would be the perfect (huh?)
day to introduce the late poet
, spiritual leader, thinker, and civil rights activist
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
The Heeb 100 Heeb Magazine
, you know that sometimes controversial
magazine out of Jew York
has recently released their list of the "100 people you need to know about
" who also happen to be Jewish. Also, be sure to check out their reposting of an interview with art world honcho and big time heeb Zach Feuer
Upon the Nazi invasion of Poland, pediatrician Eugeniusz Łazowski and his friend Stanisław Matulewicz fabricated a fake typhus epidemic
to save Polish Jews from the Nazis
. Knowing that typhus-infected Jews would be summarily executed, non-Jews were injected with the harmless Proteus OX19
, which would generate false positives for typhus. [more inside]
The SY Empire:
A rare and fascinating look inside the secretive Syrian Jewish
community of Brooklyn, which has drawn a bright line against assimilation called the Edict that casts out for life any "SY" who marries a gentile, even if they convert. (Crazy Eddie
-- who knew?
Seinfeld's mom -- who knew?
Isaac Misrahi -- who knew?
"J-Dubs" -- who knew?)
An Unholy Act
. This is the story of when two Jews disagree. Nothing new there. But a violent confrontation at UCLA brings to light the emerging divide among American Jews in regards to the most contentious issue of modern Jewish identity: Israel.
It's exactly what it sounds like.
My Jewish Birthday is better than yours.
On my birthday, the Hasidic movement was founded
, the first Chabad rabbi
was brought into the world, and the Baal Shem Tov
was born. So, how cool is your Jewish birthday?
"Cohen on the Telephone" (real audio
) is "
not politically correct by modern standards, due to its Yiddish stereotyping, but certainly popular in its time and rumored to be the first comedy record to sell a million copies. This bit primarily made fun of the crude telephone system in use during 1913, when Joe Hayman recorded it in London in July of that year for Regal/Zonophone (it was issued on Columbia here in the States the following year). Several other labels hastily released versions by other artists
, and a series of sequels followed right up into the mid-20's."
Such as "Cohen Exceeds the Speed Limit
", "Cohen at the Pay-station
", "Cohen Phones His Tailor
", "Cohen Telephones the Health Department
" and "Cohen's Recruiting Speech
" (all mp3s from The Virtual Gramaphone
). There was even a movie
“If you are denying yourself pleasure then you have to take responsibility for where you are right now. When you get to a place where you are happy
then love comes into your life. When you begin to love yourself then people recognize that and you can start receiving it. Self-pity will get you nowhere. Our society is sexist, racist, ageist, but I am a biological creature with all these amazing gifts of orgasm and I cannot wait for the world out there to change
for me to be happy. I have all the happiness I need inside myself and I’m keeping it. I have denied it and avoided it for myself for too long. I have waited around for other things to be arranged before I gave myself happiness and I’m not going to do that anymore. It wasn’t until I stopped wallowing in all that self-pity and took matters into my own hands
that things started to change for me. . . . Don’t wait around for another person to give that to you, give it to yourself. . . . We have been taught to not like ourselves and it takes a lot to unteach that to ourselves.
There is a lot of conditioning and everyone has their own kind of conditioning that they have to unlearn. . . . All I can tell people about myself is that I give it to myself just as I can. My area just happens to be sex, while others have art, painting or public health or whatever. I’m just as true to myself as I can be.”
and the Silk Road
. [more inside]
Jewsfilter: Rabbinic Council of America bans smoking for all Orthodox Jews
"Jewish law is fully able to incorporate new realities, recognize new and reliable scientific findings, and embrace the need to change heretofore acceptable behavior."
Read the full technical legal opinion here
Now if only the Orthodox Union would stand up for the LBGT community
in same the way that it has for Darfur
, stem cell research
, heck, even global warming
For Orthodox Jewish mothers with small children, the Shabbat
can be challenging
. The answer, for many communities, is the establishment of an eruv
(discussed previously here
, in passing). This San Francisco Chronicle article
details the history behind Berkeley, California's unique instance
. This isn't the first time an eruv
has been attempted in the Bay Area: the failed effort to create one in Palo Alto was covered by the Chronicle
, as well as the Jewish News Weekly
. Berkeley isn't the only United States city with an eruv
—the Boston eruv
maintains a large list of domestic and international eruvim
—nor is it the city with the most unusual eruv
, or even the largest
. Inevitably, perhaps, there's a blog
entirely dedicated to the subject of eruvim
, and vigorous commentary
on the subject from several others
The War For Hasidic Williamsburg:
Immediately after the recent death of the Satmar Grand Rebbe
his two sons went to war over over which one will be the new leader of what is perhaps the largest Hasidic sect in the United States
. This sect is extremely anti-modernist, even compared to other Hasidic groups, and it also strongly anti-Zionist. A former leader of the Satmars once blamed the Holocaust on the Zionist campaign for a Jewish homeland. But this internal battle is not the only threat to the community. The gentrification of Brooklyn (warning: pdf link)
has both driven up the price of land, making it extremely difficult for the large families of the Satmar to obtain additional housing, and made it far more difficult for the youth to escape the corrupting moral values of the outside culture.
London's mayor suspended
for four weeks for comparing a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard.
The real Jewish Underground
— During the Nazi occupation of World War II, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian Jews
or transported to Nazi concentration camps. In 1942 and 1943, thirty-eight men, women, and children
aged 4 to 74 years survived by living underground
in two caves for nearly two years (their 344 day stay in Priest's Grotto
beat Michel Siffre
's 1972 NASA research study.) Emerging at night to cut firewood and steal food, these unwilling troglodytes
returned to the cave before dawn to avoid capture. Spelunker Chris Nicola
first discovered their survival story (PDF, pp. 6-12)
"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków
was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box)
responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto)
. On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av
, the "saddest day in Jewish history
" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans)
. Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom
", edited by one of the most prominent
, Raul Hilberg
. More inside.
Nazi's relative turns Israel lover.
Matias Goering is a direct descendant of Hitler's right-hand man. He also keeps Shabbat, wears a kippa, and identifies with the Greater Israel vision of West Bank settlers. (via jewlicious)