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When Ask MetaFilter isn't enough

Got a spiritual question? Ask an Islamic scholar. Or ask a Trappist monk. Or ask a Catholic priest. Or a Lutheran pastor. Jewish? Ask a Rabbi. Jewish and like firearms? Ask a rabbi with a gun.
posted by escabeche on Mar 14, 2007 - 25 comments

Early Zionist propaganda posters

Beautiful early Zionist propaganda posters, courtesy of the Swann Galleries. The first 73 items in this large batch of vintage posters up for auction are related to Israel, Jews or anti-Semitism. [via Paperholic]
posted by mediareport on Feb 6, 2007 - 6 comments

Masada: The Musical

Masada: The Musical.
posted by tranquileye on Dec 13, 2006 - 9 comments

They Saved Hitler's Self-Hating Jewish Sea Monkeys

Hitler and the Sea Monkeys. When Harold von Braunhut "discovered" a new species of brine shrimp, artemia nyos, he made millions marketing them as Sea Monkeys. Using profits from that and his other inventions (such as X-Ray Specs), von Braunhut funded anti-Semitic groups, including the Aryan Nations, despite being Jewish himself.
posted by jonp72 on Sep 25, 2006 - 55 comments

... And a bathing suit because you never know.

"Excuse me," Schwartzman said to the Home Depot man, "can you tell me where to find tar?" "Tar?" asked the Home Depot man. "What're you using tar for?" "I'm building an ark," said Schwartzman. If there was anything that two years of completing God's preposterous homework assignments had taught Schwartzman it was that there was absolutely nothing you could tell Home Depot Man you were building that would surprise him, that would get any reaction from him at all, for that matter, aside from the usual skepticism about your choice of building materials.
Shalom Auslander recasts Jewish history in short story form. Start with the aforementioned "Prophet's Dilemma," and work your way backwards to "Plagued." [more inside]
posted by anjamu on Jul 24, 2006 - 19 comments

G-d hates (smoking of) fags

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. [pdf] 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...
posted by ericbop on Jul 7, 2006 - 44 comments

In Praise Of Loopholes, Part II

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.
posted by scrump on Jul 7, 2006 - 60 comments

The Astrological Origins of the Old and New Testaments

"The Naked Truth" This Google Video is a documentary (pack a lunch, it's nearly two hours long) that systematically eviscerates the purported origins of the Old and New Testaments. Turns out, it's really all about astrology. Who knew? The evidence is tremendously compelling, well documented, and sure to raise the ire of people whose minds are made up on the subject.
posted by wordswinker on Jul 4, 2006 - 45 comments

a religion magazine for people both hostile and drawn to talk of God

"Killing the Buddha is about finding a way to be religious when we're all so self-conscious and self-absorbed. Knowing more than ever about ourselves and the way the world works, we gain nothing through nostalgia for a time when belief was simple, and even less from insisting that now is such a time. Killing the Buddha will ask, How can we be religious without leaving part of ourselves at the church or temple door? How can we love God when we know it doesn't matter if we do? Call it God for the godless. Call it the search for a God we can believe in: A God that will not be an embarrassment in twelve-thousand years. A God we can talk about without qualifications." I particularly enjoyed The Temptation of Belief, by a Buddhist exploring evangelical Christianity, and My Holy Ghost People, by an unbelieving daughter in a praying-in-tongues family.
posted by heatherann on Apr 24, 2006 - 21 comments

Full Fathom Nine

Mahler performances were rare in Vienna in those days because Mahler's city had already been contaminated by the acolytes of Adolf Hitler. By their reckoning, Mahler's music was loathsome — a product of "Jewish decadence." To put Mahler's music on the program was therefore a political act. It was to protest and deny the hateful faith that blazed across the border from Germany. That much I understood quite clearly, even as a boy.
The New Yorker's Alex Ross reprints Hans Fantel's New York Times 1989 essay on Bruno Walter's 1938 performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony -- the last performance of the Vienna Philharmonic before Hitler invaded Austria.
posted by matteo on Apr 10, 2006 - 7 comments

“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” -- an online exhibit

“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” -- an online exhibit
posted by matteo on Mar 7, 2006 - 10 comments

The Mercy Seat. Mapping out a Multifaceted Iconography.

The Mercy Seat. Described in the book of Exodus, the throne of mercy has quite a variety of meanings. Some contemporary Christians are interested in "reconstructing" an image based on Egyptian and Phoenician culture. In Judaism, the kisei rachamim is part of the narrative of Yom Kippur, as God moves from the seat of justice to the seat of compassion. In medieval Europe, and especially in Germany, the Gnadenstuhl was a perfect representation of the trinity, combining the cruxification, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit (usually a bird), into one image of mournful compassion. Nick Cave used the idea of the mercy seat as the frame for a song about murder, sin, capital punishment, and atonement/redemption, which was later covered by Johnny Cash (mp3 clip). The chair of mercy is even visually alluded to Jodorowsky's Montana Sacra, aka Holy Mountain. (Which have been inspired in part by the Ascended Masters of Mount Shasta, but that's technically another story - the bizarro California cultists story.)
posted by jann on Mar 3, 2006 - 25 comments

From the Diary of Adam Czerniakow on the Eve of the Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto, 1942

"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 Holocaust scholars, Raul Hilberg. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 17, 2006 - 23 comments

Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth Shalom Synagogue

Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth Shalom Synagogue - Cool photo essay about a beautiful building
posted by Afroblanco on Jan 28, 2006 - 20 comments

Herr Goering: Self-Hating Nazi?

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)
posted by matteo on Jan 24, 2006 - 26 comments

...to help the Jewish people go home...

Philo-Semitism: Just another form of Anti-Semitism? Interesting Wash Post article on Evangelicals turning away from supersessionism -- the centuries-old belief that with the coming of Jesus, God ended his covenant with the Jews and transferred it to the Christian church, and the concerns it is raising. ..."That hope is felt and expressed by Christians as a kind, benevolent hope," ... "But believing that someday Jews will stop being Jews and become Christians is still a form of hoping that someday there will be no more Jews." ... Is it that philosemitism is just as dehumanizing as antisemitism and, because it masquerades as its opposite, more insidious, or just the most recent manifestation of the longstanding appropriation of us Jews as symbols, whether it helps or hurts us?
posted by amberglow on Jan 8, 2006 - 138 comments

Go shorty. It's your bat mitzvah.

Concert of the century: 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith and others rock a bat mitzvah.
posted by ab'd al'Hazred on Nov 29, 2005 - 35 comments

"In the span of history, this is a not an altogether unfamiliar situation for us."

Quitting France: French Jews are leaving the country in ever-growing numbers, fleeing a wave of anti-Semitism. They are moving to Israel, the United States, and increasingly, Montreal -- where the mostly English-speaking Jewish community is preparing for its greatest demographic change in decades. An interesting if slightly anecdotal look at the situation for Jewish people in France from Canada's National Post.

Part 1 - Barricaded in Paris, Part 2 - Taking leave of 'the fear', Part 3 tomorrow deals with the impact of the influx of French Jews in Montreal.
posted by loquax on Nov 21, 2005 - 67 comments

No, you're wrong! No, YOU'RE wrong!!

If You're a Christian, Muslim or Jew - You are Wrong - A rant over at the Huffington Post.
And let's be clear about this, it IS a rant, and a beaut at that. But it's a sentiment that's run through the head of everyone who isn't a member of the three mentioned groups. No one in the mainstream media says things like this, I wonder why?
The post is made. Let the emphatic agreements, and the vicious denials... begin!
posted by JHarris on Oct 23, 2005 - 259 comments


Who are the Sephardim? provides a short history of Sephardic Jews. The Ladino language website has a more complete introduction to Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language. Included are a brief descriptive grammar, stanzas from Joseph the Wise, a long Ladino poem, and a translation of The Story of Gerineldo, a folktale. There are very good primary sources at the Medieval Sourcebook, and a Yahoo Ladino discussion group. This essay about the interactions between Moorish and Jewish cultures and their collective effect on European culture seems quite good (and is in Spanish). See also this Spanish-language article about exploring Ladino. There are more good Spanish-language resources on Sephardic history here.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 26, 2005 - 16 comments

The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music

The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music
posted by matteo on Sep 12, 2005 - 12 comments

Kabbalah Energy Drink

Kabbalah Energy Drink is a combination of Kabbalah Water and and energy drink. The makers are "courting the Red Bull market" according to Darin Ezra, head of the LA Kabbalah center.
posted by Suparnova on Aug 24, 2005 - 35 comments


Gematria! Mentioned in this post in the context of a "good or evil" algorithm, gematria (גימטריה) is actually Jewish numerology, assigning values to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and establishing mystical correspondences. It's basic to kabbalistic works like the Zohar, and you can get detailed analysis here. But we both know what you really want to do is plug words into a text box and get the result instantly, right? Here you go. And to start you off, METAFILTER = 299 [מטאילטר] according to the traditional system; according to The Gematria of Nothing, it's 31. Take your pick.
posted by languagehat on Aug 1, 2005 - 13 comments

A modern disputation?

Judaism on trial. After thousands of prominent Russians, including a chess champion and 20 members of parliament, demanded that Russia ban Judaism and Jewish organizations, the state prosecutor is investigating the Shulhan Arukh, a 16th century book of Jewish law (and early example of hypertext), for causing incitement and expressing anti-Russian views. Judaism used to be placed on trial regularly during the Middle Ages, and, except for a famous episode in 1264, it always ended badly for the Jews. So what is going on in Russia?
posted by blahblahblah on Jun 27, 2005 - 37 comments

Just a Ruse?

Are evolution's advocates giving fire to creationists? So says Michael Ruse, "philosopher of biology (especially Darwinism)", who claims that outspoken evolutionists (e.g. Richard Dawkins) should do more to make evolution compatible with religion, rather than touting it as a worldview of its own.

Tell that to Nosson Slifkin (NYTimes, login required), an Orthodox rabbi whose books were banned by a number of eminent rabbis for "seek[ing] to reconcile, rather than to contrast, sacred texts with modern knowledge of the natural world."

That said, will those like Slifkin and Rev. Dr. Arthur Peacocke be able to make a difference, or will they be ignored and scorned?
posted by greatgefilte on May 3, 2005 - 82 comments

The return of the Bnei menashe

The return of the Bnei menashe : Israel's Chief Rabbi has decided to recognize the members of India's Bnei Menashe community as descendants of the ancient Israelites. Previous discussion.
posted by dhruva on Apr 8, 2005 - 5 comments

And then what do you have? Bupkes!

THE PRINCIPLES OF JEWISH BUDDHISM -- 12. To Find the Buddha, look within. Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.
And there's even a term now: Jubu
posted by amberglow on Mar 5, 2005 - 14 comments

battle for the swastika: different faiths have different meanings

The European Union abandoned a plan to ban Nazi symbols throughout it's member nations. The ban was strongly supported by German Ministers of Parliament after British Prince Harry wore Nazi insignia to a costume party. Among those opposed to the ban was the Hindu Forum of Britain (press release) who launched a campaign to reclaim the Swastika. The symbol its self was in Frequent popular use before WWII. Anti-Communists in former Soviet Block countries sought to expand the ban to communist emblems. Searching for different points of views on this came up with an earlier story of interfaith conflict over meaning, and a parallel to the European debate going on in New Zealand.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Feb 24, 2005 - 39 comments

The Tribe

Genes and Jews. And you thought Spock came up with that part of the shtick. It turns out that despite the racial and ethnic diversity of the Tribe, there are genetic markers that identify Cohanim, or the priestly descendants of Aaron (know any Cohens?). These markers help identify jewish identity in the most distant reaches of the diaspora. The fascinating intersection of anthropology, genetics, and religion. (btw first fpp)
posted by Kifer85 on Feb 14, 2005 - 26 comments

Annual airing of grievances

The War on Christmas. "What we are witnessing here are hate crimes against Christianity." Angered by perceived attacks on the Christ part of Christmas, Christians are taking a page from GWB and staging pre-emptive cultural strikes around the country. Or are they? Is this effort a bigger attack against Judaism and the rest of the nonbelievers/scapegoats, an honest attempt by Christians to "save" the holiday, or a media-manufactured controversy? (Air out your holiday spirit, but save your own personal grievances for December 23.)
posted by mrgrimm on Dec 16, 2004 - 212 comments

hammer, sure, but against whom?

Who are today's Maccabees? Fundamentalists fighting a secular culture? Or as our president states in his Hanukkah message, our brave soldiers in Iraq? Or is it the Iraqis themselves, rebelling against an invading and occupying force? Or is it the white supremacists? The enduring power of a symbol of resistance and its many and incompatible uses--all in time for Hanukkah.
posted by amberglow on Dec 12, 2004 - 26 comments

Jews Against Israel

Jews against Israel.
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Dec 8, 2004 - 109 comments

funky hebraica that sells

NYC's oldest matzo factory is getting hip......to this fashion trend. Oy vay!
posted by subpixel on Nov 19, 2004 - 20 comments

Something not about the election.

The Geek Guide to Kosher Machines : How the industry makes appliances Shabbat safe.
posted by Karmakaze on Nov 3, 2004 - 16 comments

The Final Solution

Would You, as a Human Being, be Willing to Shake Hands with a Jew?
posted by Mick on Sep 28, 2004 - 113 comments


Redemption and the Power of Man. In Christianity, redemption is essentially an act of divine grace, the salvation of a sinful humanity that is incapable of saving itself. In Judaism redemption depends entirely on man, who is responsible for his own fate. To what extent did Judaism influence the development of progressive, pluralistic democracy?
posted by semmi on Sep 22, 2004 - 30 comments

I'd never sell an idolatrous wig, madam...

"A hair-raising fear of idols" - Orthodox hair crisis ".....The storm began four weeks ago, when someone told the rabbis that most natural wigs imported from Europe are actually made of Indian hair. Two years ago, rumors had begun circulating that this hair was bought from Indian priests who gathered it up after the women cut it during a Hindu religious ceremony. This would be a serious problem, since Jewish law forbids the use of objects employed in idol worship (which in Judaism means all polytheistic religions). Apparently many wig-sellers concealed the fact that their wigs, though made in Europe, used Indian hair" (Ha'aretz, Friday, May 14 2004)
posted by troutfishing on May 16, 2004 - 50 comments

That's so feuj, Cartman.

A good, balanced article on antisemitism in France by Fernanda Eberstadt
posted by Tlogmer on Mar 1, 2004 - 16 comments

Introducing you to the Holocaust Industry

I'd like to introduce you to Norman Finkelstein. A Jew whose parents were survivors of the Warsaw ghetto and various concentration camps, he is one of a handful of modern Jewish scholars who wants to "maintain the integrity of the history of the Nazi holocaust". I was introduced to him when I read his book The Holocaust Industry, which reminds us that "its central dogmas sustain significant political and class interests. Indeed, The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon." Indeed.
posted by taumeson on Feb 16, 2004 - 30 comments

How could you do that!?!?!?

Dr. Laura Schlessinger renounces Orthodox Judaism: Although Schlessinger said she still "considers" herself Jewish, "My identifying with this entity and my fulfilling the rituals, etc., of the entity — that has ended." I'd link to the show in question but it appears to be available by subscription only.
posted by PinkStainlessTail on Aug 14, 2003 - 26 comments

Shpilkes in the Genecktageesoink

Bar Mitzvah Disco • When We Were Shtetl Fabulous
"If you are Jewish, there would have been a golden year when it seemed like you attended a bar mitzvah disco almost weekly. Each one was like a pee-wee Studio 54, a potent cocktail of ritual, acne, insecurity, and hormones run amok." Help the folks at Bar Mitzvah Disco gather photos, stories and details from Bar/Bat Mitzvahs from the 70s and 80s to publish in their forthcoming book on the subject.
posted by dhoyt on Jul 31, 2003 - 23 comments


The Hasidic Rebel. A blogger from inside the Hasidic community provides some insight into a lifestyle few are familiar with.
posted by srboisvert on Jul 17, 2003 - 11 comments

Open Source Religion?

Open Source Judaism? This is the baby of Douglas Rushkoff, who recently wrote a book about the subject and whose opinions about icons and branding remind me of someone else. He's even started an open source haggadah.
posted by sodalinda on May 1, 2003 - 6 comments

Once We Were Slaves

Avadim Chayeinu: A BDSM Haggadah In some way or another, all who celebrate Passover, end up writing their own Haggadahs. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of different ones to choose from. Tradition says: never forget that YOU were freed from the land of Egypt. The desire to tell one's own tale of liberation and free one's own voice has led to holocaust haggadahs, gay and lesbian hagaddahs, zionist hagaddahs, feminist haggadahs, secular humanist haggadahs and now, a haggadah for those to whom the term "slave" has an altogether different meaning. (via boingboing.)
posted by jann on Apr 15, 2003 - 6 comments

Xmas as a Jewish holiday

Have you ever wondered what Xmas would be like if it were a Jewish Holiday? Precisely defined rules for preparing for the holiday, procuring and decorating the tree, cooking the festive meal, giving gifts, and all other seasonal celebrations. With footnotes! Songs! More footnotes! Riddles! Even more footnotes! [via Making Light] (This is a Geocities site, so don't all rush there at once and overload it, OK?)
posted by maudlin on Dec 10, 2002 - 35 comments

Jewish Proselytism and Modern Rabbis

Nu, These New Rabbis, What Chutzpah, Huh? Judaism has decried proselytism, at least since Rome officially adopted Christianity, but a new wave of showbizzy American rabbis seem to be wowing their audiences. Their logic, apparently, is that there's nothing wrong with preaching to the converted. The refusal to engage in propaganda [scroll down to "Jewish Propagandism"] and conversion campaigns (since, unlike the other two great monotheisms, there is no need to be a Jew to have a place in the world to come) is often seen as one of the most attractive features of Judaism [see Part III], although many think its implied exclusivity and indifference to the world at large (and its religions) may actually foster antisemitism. Are things about to change? Should they? Whatever your view, have a happy Hannukah!
posted by MiguelCardoso on Nov 30, 2002 - 15 comments

Apocalypse Cow!

Apocalypse Cow! In the most bizarre collaboration between the American Christian Right and ultraorthodox Jewish Zionists in Israel, Pentecostal minister and Georgia cattle farmer Clyde Lott has collaborated with the Temple Mount Institute of Jerusalem to breed a red heifer suitable for purifying the foundation of a rebuilt version of Solomon's Temple, which ultraorthodox Jews hope will lead to the coming of the Messiah. The problem is that the proposed site for the rebuilt temple is on the same site as the al-Aqsa mosque, the holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. Some Zionist extremists in Israel have attempted to "solve" this problem by plotting to blow up the mosque, which doesn't exactly promote peace in the Middle East. And to think all of this could have been started by a cow that looks like it should have belonged in "the Horse of a Different Color" sequence in the Wizard of Oz!
posted by jonp72 on Oct 30, 2002 - 45 comments

Todd Levin: "The United States of America According to my Racist Aunt"

Todd Levin: "The United States of America According to my Racist Aunt" There's one in almost every family, and Todd does a hilarious map of the wisdom his racist aunt has shared over the years.
posted by leslie on Oct 28, 2002 - 71 comments

The Guardian isn't so good

The Guardian isn't so good at letting you link to their articles anymore. But if you use this link then click on "printable version" you might get to the site I want you to link to. My title being: If you're Jewish and American its hard to know whose side your on these days.
posted by donfactor on Oct 28, 2002 - 20 comments

"I asked who was playing. A Moroccan group, said the cabbie. He told me its name. Did I want to know what it was singing? Certainly. It was a plea to Israel from the Arab people. The chorus was, 'We have the same father. Why do you treat us this way?' Who might the father be? I asked. 'Ibrahim,' he said. 'The song is called Ismail and Isaac,' after his sons."
posted by artifex on Sep 24, 2002 - 8 comments

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