Browsing Archive

December, 2011


Jewish Gangsters

By On December 30, 2011

In the 1999 book Tough Jews, former Rolling Stone editor Rich Cohen profiled Jewish gangsters, from Murder, Inc. to a hit man who wouldn’t kill on the Sabbath. The new website–a self-proclaimed “Internet index of tough Jews”–is built from similar stock… Read More


Praying in the Fields

By On December 29, 2011

In the sixteenth century, kabbalists living in Safed developed an elaborate ritual for welcoming the Sabbath. Dressed in white garments, they would leave the city limits and go into the fields, singing psalms and the mystical song “Lekhah Dodi.” Today we… Read More


T.S. Eliot Vs. the Jews

By On December 28, 2011

Last month, the writer Emanuel Litvinoff died at the age of 96. Litvinoff wrote poetry, a memoir, and several novels. But history might remember him most for one poem, “To T.S. Eliot,” a lambasting and inspired statement… Read More


Curious George and the Nazis

By On December 27, 2011

When the Nazi party was gaining popularity in Germany, Hans Augusto Rey, a Jewish salesman, knew it was a good time to get out. He moved to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. There, he met and married… Read More


Holocaust Freaks

By On December 26, 2011

Young Holocaust survivors are the unexpected subject of the science fiction novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Jacob Portman, a maladjusted sixteen-year-old living in Florida, knew that his grandfather, Abe, was a Holocaust survivor. The old… Read More


Christmas Chess

By On December 23, 2011

There’s a lot that’s Jewish about Christmas. It’s the birthday of a Jew (Jesus)–okay, it’s probably not his real birthday, but it’s the day that most people celebrate it. And, in the contemporary Western world,… Read More


Six Little Words

By On December 22, 2011

Can you tell your life story in six words? In our new world of 140-character breaking news and micro-sized Facebook updates, we’ve trained ourselves to think in brief bursts. But we haven’t necessarily dumbed ourselves… Read More


A Holiday from the Black Plague

By On December 21, 2011

In The Decameron, a group of 10 young people–three women and seven men–leave the city of Florence, where the black plague is running rampant, to vacation at a country villa. The introduction to this… Read More


Hanukkah Music

By On December 20, 2011

Lighting the family menorah can be a two-second affair. How much time does it take to strike a match and light a fire, anyway? But you can also make it last longer. Singing is one time-honored thing… Read More


Hanukkah Presents

By On December 19, 2011

Before the 19th century, there wasn’t a Jewish tradition to give Hanukkah presents. Then again, points out Brandeis University professor Jonathan Sarna, before the 19th century, there also wasn’t much of a Christian tradition to give gifts… Read More


Pop Sabbaticals

By On December 16, 2011

Maor Levi is a DJ and producer based in Ashkelon, Israel. Under his various pseudonyms (including 123XYZ, M.A.O.R., and Pillow One), Levi has released nearly 20 singles since the age of 12. He’s been working on his… Read More


Jesus and Irving Mandelbaum

By On December 14, 2011

Leonard is 15 years old, the child of Jewish atheist intellectuals in Berkeley. He’s deeply entrenched in the 1970s, surrounded by burnt-out hippies and disco music. Then he meets Rick, a charismatic hippie in his twenties–who also happens… Read More