Browsing Archive

May, 2012


The Excommunicated City

By On May 31, 2012

The city of York, England, is a vacation spot where Londoners like to spend long weekends, enjoying a vibrant café culture and a growing nightlife. But there is said to be a Jewish spiritual curse, or herem,… Read More


The Precious Age of 13

By On May 30, 2012

The singer James Levy’s deep rumbling voice and thoughtful lyrics strongly remind us of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. He and his band, The Blood Red Rose, recently released their first album, Pray to Be Free.… Read More


A Tale of Two Crown Heightses

By On May 29, 2012

The neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is home to a large population of Hasidic Jews, and a large population of Caribbean immigrants. For the most part, the two groups have kept to themselves–with a… Read More


The Fifteen Commandments

By On May 25, 2012

“All pay heed!” cries Mel Brooks, playing Moses in History of the World, Part I–“The Lord has given unto you these Fifteen Commandments!” He promptly drops one tablet, which shatters. Without missing a beat, Moses… Read More


Jewish Crop Circles

By On May 24, 2012

The six-pointed star has appeared in Jewish iconography for a thousand years. But there’s a chance that the Magen David is meaningful to another, far different culture–an alien culture. When Google started mapping out aerial views of Earth,… Read More


A Golem Goes to Hebrew School

By On May 23, 2012

Literary grandmaster Cynthia Ozick is a critic, an innovator, and a clever storyteller who dips into every part of Jewish culture, from the true story of a Jewish painter with a Nazi benefactor to a female rabbi who creates a golem.… Read More


Killing Jesus with Rhyme

By On May 22, 2012

In a rap battle, participants lyrically insult each other as crowds cheer and beg for more.  One such battle, in 2010, featured QP, a California-based rapper, against Brooklyn’s Soul Khan (real name: Noah Abraham Weston), a… Read More


Best Bathroom Reading

By On May 18, 2012

According to Jewish law, it’s inadvisable to read holy materials, or even mention God’s name, in a bathroom. On the other hand, there’s a classic rabbinical admonition never to waste a second. According to one apocryphal… Read More


When the Nazis Ran Interpol

By On May 17, 2012

The International Criminal Police Organization, or INTERPOL, helps police departments around the world communicate with each other. It was established in 1923 at a meeting of the International Police Congress. And, during World War… Read More


Alexander the Jew

By On May 16, 2012

Many Jewish names are passed from generation to generation. There are Eastern European names like Mendel or Yenta, Israeli names like Erez or Tal, and then there are the classical names of Jewish heroes–like Solomon, Daniel, or Alexander. Yes,… Read More


The Most Popular Palestinian Writer in Israel

By On May 15, 2012

Sayed Kashua has made a career out of being an anomaly: A Hebrew-speaking Muslim Israeli Arab. As a writer, he pens a weekly column for Haaretz, a major Israeli newspaper, and he writes the hilarious… Read More


Rakhmones afn Tayvl

By On May 14, 2012

“Ich bin un Mentsch mit chutzpah und gelt,” sings Daniel Kahn in a raspy, Tom Waits-like Yiddish in the song “Rakhmones afn Tayvl.” He might be the first to sing this sentence in that particular language. Translate… Read More