The Arty Semite

Author Blog: Festivus!

By Joshua Eli Plaut

Earlier this week, Joshua Eli Plaut wrote about Jewish Santas. His blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


Festivus, the secular December holiday credited to a screenwriter of the 1990s television sitcom “Seinfeld,” grew in popularity beyond its television roots as a secular societal celebration that allowed participants to express their feelings and frustrations with the holiday season. Festivus parties take place across the United States, serving as magnets for younger generations of Americans, among them many Jews. The celebrants of Festivus have stripped the holiday season of any religious meaning, instead relying upon irony and parody to carry the day.

Festivus Chai! And at Whole Food’s no less! While rambling around the aisles of the Whole Foods at Union Square in Greenwich Village, my wife, son and I encountered an entire wall of Festivus Chai! According to its online marketing materials, Festivus Chai is a limited‐edition seasonal holiday chai made with real cocoa, holiday spices, and organic ingredients.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Seinfeld, Festivus, Joshua Eli Plaut, Kosher Christmas, Books, Author Blog Series

Out and About: Garry Kasparov on Bobby Fischer; Where Have All the Holocaust Movies Gone?

By Ezra Glinter

Konrad Bercovici
  • Garry Kasparov tells us what it’s like to play chess in the shadow of Bobby Fischer.

  • In a 1923 article in The Nation, “Romanian-Jewish-American-Yiddish novelist, journalist, dandy, screwball folklorist of the Gypsies” Konrad Bercovici described “The Greatest Jewish City in the World.”

  • An Israeli forger almost managed to sell a fake Kandinsky for three million Euro.

  • You have until February 27 to catch Yeshiva University’s annual Seforim Sale.

  • Sexploitation filmmaker David F. Friedman and actor Len Lesser, who played Uncle Leo on “Seinfeld,” have died.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Zorba The Greek, Yehudah Halevi, Wassily Kandinsky, Uncle Leo, The Sway Machinery, Sexploitation, Seinfeld, Paul Kletzki, Out and About, Oscars, Mikis Theodorakis, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Len Lesser, Konrad Bercovici, Joe Banowetz, Jeremiah Lockwood, Jeffrey Kahane, Hillel Halkin, Grammys, Golden Globes, Garry Kasparov, Erwin Schulhoff, David F. Friedman, Daniel Hope, Bobby Fischer, Berlin International Film Festival

Out and About: Bob Dylan's Book Deal; Orthodox Dance in Israel

By Ezra Glinter

Getty Images

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Seinfeld Chronicles, The Human Resources Manager, Seinfeld, Out and About, Oscars, Milton Rogovin, Ka'et, Melissa Rivers, Iranium, Joan Rivers, Holy Rollers, Hasidic Rebel, Don Kirshner, Bob Dylan




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