Love It. Fear It. Smear It.
Is 'Halachic' Going Mainstream?
Sitting Shiva for Spot?
A 'Crazy' Look at Paris Strip Palace
Boycotting Israel and My Olive Tapenade
From Esperanza to Shprintze
Israeli Gas Masks Help Get You High(er)
Was Adolf Hitler Leader or Follower?
Why My Daughter Isn't Bilingual — Yet
Preaching Lost Art of Fermentation
'Homegrown' Story of West Coast Jews
Remembering Mike Wallace
Sisters in Skivvies on the Lower East Side
An Anthem for LGBT Youth
Jewish Gangsters at the Mob Museum
Mayim's Most Important Role
‘Cabaret’ Comes to Tel Aviv
A Transsexual at Yeshiva University
'Strange' Evolution of Legendary Song
Kehinde Wiley Paints Israelis in Color
Nudge, Nudge. Wink, Wink.
Sweating in the Cleveland Schvitz
Berlin Film Festival Gets Serious, Mostly
Addicted to Aggadah
Why Do Men Write All the Baby Manuals?
Jewish Oscar Winners, From Allen to Zinner
Cleveland Rocks — Not Really
Raised Christian, But Jewish by Birth
Be My Israeli Valentine
The Jew and Hitler's Bug
Academy Awards Slideshow
Oscar Wins for ‘The Artist’; ‘Footnote’ Shut Out
The Jewess of 'Downton Abbey'?
The Allure of the Burka
Who Will Light Up Jewish Kids Lit?
Leonard Cohen's Old Whine in a New Bottle
Stephen Colbert vs. Maurice Sendak
X-Rated Dispute in Knesset
A Fraught Journey To Judaism
Bringing Real Bagels to the Motor City
Saying Mazel Tov in Mandarin
Strange Origins of David Cronenberg's 'A Dangerous Method'
How Jews Stayed in Good Spirits During Prohibition
The Word 'Jew' Has Fallen Out of Favor
Last Song of Hitler's Favorite Crooner
Making Foodie Resolutions for New Year
For the Glove of the Game
Adrienne Cooper Embodied Progressive Spirit
TV Ripped My Son From Reality
How Authentic Is ‘Porgy and Bess’?
Sandra Bernhard Shows Her Softer Side
Gimme Some New Time Religion
Tintin and the Anti-Semites
Gimme Some Old Time Gossip
Jewish Cookies Santa Would Love
The Hanukkah Bush and Christmas Dreidel
Despite Howard Jacobson’s slightly miserable interpretation of Hanukkah in the New York Times, the Jewish festival of lights has inspired YouTube moviemakers in recent years to make or post some fun videos.
Hanukkah wouldn’t be Hanukkah (or Chanukah, or Khanike) without Adam Sandler’s song, either the original, the Neil Diamond cover or the follow-up. Sandler embraced the anti-assimilationist message of the original story in which Greeks and Hellenistic Jews were indiscriminately attacked by a bunch of religious zealots. By looking to the ethnicity of some famous stars, Sandler just pointed out the Jewish jelly that filled those famous American doughnuts.
This year the video offerings seem to veer away from doughnuts, bypass the latkes and head straight to the dairy territory of Shavuot — cheese.
From the Snuggies advert, to Matisyahu’s adventure on ice and the Storahtelling story this year’s offerings are testament to the triumph of the humorless Hasmoneans. Granted Storahtelling is aimed at children but I only watched to the end for research; Matisyahu I watched to see if it was in fact Ali G in a beard; and Snuggies passed the clickaway test only because of a macabre fascination with the flammability of Snuggies (do the blanket-clad singers all die in flames from the hanukkiah candles or not? Click here to find out).
In fact the only compelling video I’ve seen this year is the Maccabeats “Candlelight.” Despite being a capella (not obviously a help, witness this Hanukkah song), derivative and featuring a group of Yeshiva University students who are not destined to grace the walls of teenage girls across the country, “Candlelight” is a lot of fun to watch. Plus it shows a dramatic restaging of the defeat of the Greeks about which Howard Jacobson was unconvinced. Unless the next candles bring us better offerings, for seven more days we remain Maccabeaten.
Watch “Candlelight” below.
It seems to have become a monthly ritual: A trove of never-before-seen Nazi memorabilia goes up for auction somewhere in suburban Britain. This time, it’s a collection of “previously unpublished photographs of Adolf Hitler” taken by his personal photographer before the start of World War II, according to the Scotsman newspaper.
The snaps are set to go under the gavel January 18 at JP Humbert, an auction house in Towcester, Northamptonshire, UK. The company’s web site euphemistically refers to the lot as “Specialist – Militaria”. “We’ve got somewhere around 800 negatives and maybe 600 stills, some from these negatives and other stills that don’t have a negative that they were developed from,” auctioneer Jonathan Humbert told the Scotsman. Heinrich Hoffmann, der Fuhrer’s photographer, is believed to have passed on the collection himself to an unnamed “elderly gentleman who I understand used to live in Germany,” Humbert said.
The dreidel will rock! Students at Yeshiva University crowded a gymnasium last night to break the world record for the largest number of people spinning dreidels at one time. An astounding 618 to be exact, easily top-pling the previous record of 541 set by Temple Emanuel at Cherry Hill, N.J., in 2005. The event was not leftist but 618 revolutionists were present and accounted for.
Tension was high as the microphone announced the countdown. Then, the whole dizzying feat lasted only 10 to 20 seconds, after which whoops of cheering filled the auditorium to its rafters. The crowd roared again when “Dreidel Palooza” co-organizer Jason Katz announced that they had the world record at 582 spinners. As if on cue, the song “We are the Champions” boomed over the speaker system. (Saying that one sheet had not been counted, Katz later announced that they in fact had 618 participants. As co-organizer Fiona Guedalia deftly spun it: “We beat our own record.”)
Menorahs are usually displayed on window sills or tabletops during Hanukkah. But Adam Podlesh, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ punter since 2007, keeps his in his locker year-round for everyone to admire. The 5-foot-11-inch, 27-year-old New York native came to the NFL with a checklist of accolades: He was first punter taken in the 2007 draft and highest drafted punter in Jaguars history. But his career hasn’t been smooth sailing — a knee injury sidelined him for the final five games of the 2008 season. Yet this Jewish athlete proved resilient. Podlesh spoke to the Forward about religion, sports and that ever-present hannukia.
A Jewish version of “Dance Dance Revolution” is coming to a shul near you. Just in time for Hanukkah, “Step It Up” is a new game designed for Orthodox Jews who’d prefer to get down to techno versions of Hebrew and Yiddish tunes than to Lady Gaga’s racy lyrics.
The game’s inventor, Faigy Grossman, 25, told The New York Post, “The game meets our standards for modesty. Many [Orthodox Jews] just won’t listen to non-Jewish music. They’re also offended by graphics showing women dancing in the background.” Enter “Step It Up” (see video below), which features images of (fully-clothed) popular Jewish music stars like Lipa Schmeltzer, whose techo-infused songs are biblically inspired. The game’s website boats “Turn your computer or laptop into a dance machine!” and promotes the game as an ideal fitness regime.
It turns out that the Thanksgiving tradition reached the Israel Defense Forces.
An organization that cares for so-called lone soldiers — i.e. soldiers who made aliyah without their parents — prepared Thanksgiving dinner for 200 people in Tel Aviv.
And it wasn’t only U.S. expats who were invited, but also soldiers from 13 other countries. They all received special leave from duty to attend. And they all got to watch the Patriots-Lions football game projected on a large screen.
Kate Middleton, fiancée of Prince William, is old news. The British public is fixated on another celebrity Kate — a 24-year-old Jewish woman named Katie Waissel.
Rarely in the history of television talent shows has so much attention been focused on a single contestant.
Waissel is a singer on the television show “ X-Factor,” the British equivalent of “American Idol.” She grew up in Jewish youth movements, and as you’ll see from this interview with the Jewish Chronicle, as recently as January had the more heimishe last name Vogel. She seems like the nice Jewish-girl-next-door type.
The Robotics Laboratory at Ben Gurion University of the Negev has dreamed up eight Hanukkah robots. They include the Lat-K, which harnesses solar energy to cook latkes; Menoroctopod, an eight-armed robot, and Mecha-B which defends the People of Israel. See all eight robots in this fun video.
A 62-foot menorah graces a mountaintop. Israeli flags flutter from taxi stands. The local synagogue shines after a government-sponsored renovation.
The images don’t immediately bring Indonesia to mind. But a tiny northern outpost in the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population “has become the unlikely setting for increasingly public displays of pro-Jewish sentiments,” reports The New York Times,, as a small number of Indonesians embrace the faith of their Dutch Jewish ancestors.
Solicitations from Jewish non-profit organizations may peak during the High Holy Days, but mailboxes at American homes are now filling up with mail from every manner of charitable organization. Those groups are trying to tap into the “season of giving” spirit and nudge people to send in their tax-deductible donations before the end of the calendar year.
New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristol is warning, however, against giving money to “charlatans and extremists.”
Whoa! Mayim Bialik (of “Blossom” fame) is making a comeback. The Jewish actress and mother of two, who took some time off from Hollywood to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience, has joined the cast of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.” Throughout season four, Bialik will continue to play the nerdy Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon’s love interest (a role she debuted in last season’s finale). Bialik’s contract is for this season only and maintains that she doesn’t have to be in every episode, but viewers can still enjoy her reprising a less-than-cool role.
In a news year that’s brought us a fundamentalist, Koran-burning Christian preacher, pan-religious outcry against a proposed mosque near Ground Zero and threats of an exclusive Israeli conversion bill, leave it to the New York Times to celebrate the holiday season with a story about ecumenicalism.
Deputy Metropolitan Editor Peter Applebome traveled to Pleasantville, N.Y. — roughly 28 miles north of Manhattan in Westchester County — to report on an interfaith Thanksgiving service that concluded Sunday with a joint rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”
Crossposted from Haaretz
While students in Great Britain set fire to London to protest tuition hikes, in Israel a different kind of student protest is surfacing. No, it’s not against the scandalous “avrekhim law,” which differentiates between students in post high school educational institutions and yeshiva students. The cause that has inspired some students to demonstrate is their disgust with the undignified behavior of passengers on Israeli public transportation.
Under the auspices of a project known as “Mishtarbus” (a Hebrew acronym for “bus manners police” ), students from the College of Administration decided once and for all to establish some order in the public transportation system. The group is seeking to eliminate such nuisances as loud ringtones, chattering across seats and ignoring senior citizens who are forced to stand. Five communications students taking a course on social networking are the driving force behind this project: Sandra Veller from Ra’anana, Tal Gvili from Kiryat Ono, Ran Amichai from Holon, Barak Ben Shimon from Mevasseret Zion and Lihi Ben David from Tel Aviv.
Read more at Haaretz.com.
Here in North America, sports franchises use the most obvious cover art for their game day programs. New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter fist-pumping after a playoff victory. Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson doused in champagne.
Surely things are the same over in the UK, but last week Scottish soccer club Airdire United attempted something a little more historical with its program in honor of Remembrance Day. The commemoration backfired. Airdire officials thought last Saturday’s program portrayed jubilant Australian troops returning by train from a World War Two battlefield. Instead, the photo features German soldiers – ahem, Nazis.
Holocaust survivor Martin Greenfield, 82, once sewed to save his life. Now he sews to suit the stars, literally. Mayor Bloomberg, the cast of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and famous fashion designers like Rag & Bone are among the many posh clients who call upon Greenfield for his superior tailoring talents. Bloomberg, who credits Greenfield with making all his suits, recently told The New York Times, “He does simply outstanding work.”
Greenfield first learned the value of appearances while trying to stay alive in Auschwitz. He and his family were deported to the concentration camp from their home in Pavlova (in what was then Czechoslovakia) when he was 14 years old. While working in the camp’s alteration shop washing clothes, he accidentally tore an SS officer’s shirt. Greenfield received a beating for the offense and also the damaged shirt, after the officer threw it at him. Greenfield mended the rip and began wearing the shirt himself, in place of the prisoners’ uniform, and soon noticed that both the guards and prisoners began to treat him with respect. Jay Greenfield, 52, Greenfield’s oldest son and the executive vice president of the family’s company, Martin Greenfield Clothiers, told the Times that his father believes that shirt was the reason he survived.
In what’s become a beloved Christmas tradition, listeners are getting treated to a new song sharing the spirit of the season… by a Jewish pop star.
Paul Simon’s the latest Semite to jump on the Yuletide bandwagon with “Getting Ready for Christmas Day,” a thumping, blues-tinged tune “with no mention of Jesus, Mary, Joseph or any of the rest of the gospel crew,” according to the UK Telegraph, whose site is streaming the song “exclusively.”
Behind every great man stands a great woman — or so the saying goes. And behind every not-so-great man?
Well, two former employees of convicted Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff, Annette Bongiorno and Joann “Jodi” Crupi, were arrested in their homes early Thursday, and charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, falsifying records and tax evasion.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement, “A house of cards is almost never built by one lone architect.” And as the cards continue to fall, the Madoff family could be the next to topple, writes Allan Dodds Frank of The Daily Beast:
Whether the new indictments will bring prosecutors closer to making a case against Madoff’s two sons, his niece or his brother Peter is an open question. Sources tell The Daily Beast that prosecutors are concentrating on the tax fraud aspects of the family accounts, which even include representations in Madoff family foundation accounts of extensive stock holdings and trading that may not have ever happened.
It is said that Israel is a land flowing with milk and honey. Well I can tell you it isn’t. And that’s not simply my opinion, it’s a factual observation — Israel’s dairy production has been down as a result of a scorching hot summer, and the supermarket shelves here are all the lighter because of it.
In order to keep the nation enjoying milk in their breakfast cereals and cappuccinos, Israeli dairy farms held off from their normal butter production. Of course, they could have cut non-essential items, like chocolate milk (ironically, profit margins on those luxury items are far higher than on butter).
But I digress. So now, here we are, almost butter-less. In fact, things have gotten so desperate in my sandwich-loving household that when my wife and I went out for coffee today, she insisted that we ordered some bread… just so we could take home the minuscule carton of butter the waiter brings with it.
Will a Jewish thread run through the wedding of Prince William and fiancée Kate Middleton, who announced their engagement this week?
One of Britain’s biggest bookmakers thinks so, according to the UK Jewish Chronicle. Paddy Power, which operates betting parlors, telephone gambling, and online gaming in the UK and Ireland, has tipped London-based designer Elizabeth Emanuel as the most likely candidate to create the future Queen’s bridal outfit.
Crossposted from Haaretz
American actor Leonardo DiCaprio is looking to build a house in Israel, the Israel Hayom daily newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Citing associates of DiCaprio, the report said that the actor — the boyfriend of Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli — wants to buy a plot of land on which to build a house that will serve as his base during visits to Israel.
DiCaprio is said to be considering lands in the southern part of the country. Lacking a suitable option there, he will look at lands in the north. He is said not to be considering building a home in the central part of the country, where Refaeli’s family lives.
Read more at Haaretz.com.
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