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Tablet Magazine 

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Editor Misreads Press Release, Thinks He Won MacArthur Genius Grant

September 18, 2014, 9:14 pm
Editor Misreads Press Release, Thinks He Won MacArthur Genius Grant

NEW HAVEN, CONN. – Westville neighborhood resident Mark Oppenheimer was up early on Wednesday, ready for his favorite annual ritual: checking the news to see if this was the year he’d win a MacArthur “genius grant. Read More »

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Earlier this summer, my brother-and-sister-in-law made aliyah. To say the timing was poor would be a dramatic understatement. Objectively, the timing was terrible. Read More »

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I make homemade gefilte fish twice a year: Passover and Rosh Hashanah. Before Passover, at what we call a “gefilte-in,” friends assemble in my kitchen with their own pots, fish, carrots, eggs, and matzoh meal to make old-fashioned gefilte fish patties. Read More »

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Self-hating, short Jewish men, take heart: A new company called Shoes by Jews aims to give short men a 3-inch boost using built-in lifts. Videos on the company’s website feature vignettes by short men: After buying the shoes, one customer can finally pick up women at bars; another customer aces a presentation at work simply because he is taller. Read More »

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In so many ways, it seems that the Holocaust is much closer to us, in memory and consciousness, now, so many decades later, than it was then when our parents carried its fresh scars and their children, who came of age in the 1960s, were all about changing the world, heedless of their anxious memories and associations. Read More »

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Last week, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz walked off the stage at a dinner supporting Middle Eastern Christians, after the pro-Israel portion of his remarks drew heckling from some in the audience. “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews,” he declared, “then I will not stand with you. Read More »

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Shahar Shamir as a child loved eating halva, the dense sesame confection he found at markets in his native Israel. But as an adult living in New York City, he began to crave a less sweet version of his beloved treat. A fair amount of kitchen tinkering birthed Brooklyn Sesame a deconstructed halva spread made from rich tahini stirred with honey. Read More »

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The leader of Italy’s Jewish community announced a new measure to deal with a recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents: a hotline. Read More »

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As you prepare for Yom Kippur this year, you don’t have to look much farther than your iPhone for an opportunity to atone for your sins. The eScapegoat app, created by Jewish media production company Studio G-dcast in 2013, allows users to unload their sins onto a virtual, animated goat. Read More »

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The New York Times recently published a long investigative report by Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams, and Nicholas Confessore on how foreign countries buy political influence through Washington think tanks. Read More »

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The title of this talk is “The End of American Jewish Literature, Again.” It alludes to an oft-cited and, for some, provocative essay written by the late American Jewish scholar and critic Irving Howe. The essay was in fact his introduction to an anthology he edited, Jewish-American Stories , published in 1977. Read More »

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American Jewish fiction, in its classic phase, was a literature of immigration. Early examples of the genre deal with the immigrant generation itself—as in The Rise of David Levinsky , by Abraham Cahan, generally considered the first major American Read More »

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A British security guard is the subject of a police investigation thanks to his attempt to bar two 11-year-old Jewish boys from shopping at Sports Direct, a U.K. sporting goods retailer. Read More »

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In Timeless: Love, Morgenthau and Me, journalist Lucinda Franks tells the story of her unlikely yet intensely durable marriage to longtime Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau—a man 27 years her senior. Read More »

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September is perhaps the most underrated month of the entire year. It can be easy to forget that most of September courses through summer—and by “summer,” I refer not to the sweaty, cloying humidity that gives the season a bad name but, rather, to the pleasant sunshine and balmy breezes. Read More »

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The New York Times Style section caught up with Barbra Streisand at Donna Karan’s East Hampton, N.Y. home, where the gazillion-times platinum artist was promoting her new album of duets, Partners , as well as making some not-so-subtle landscaping changes to her friend’s summer home (“You have to be bold with it,” she says of some juniper). Read More »

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My essay “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth” touched a nerve far beyond my expectations—I didn’t think that in our times a 4,000-word essay would be shared 750 times on Facebook, let alone 75,000. A second essay will appear here soon. The article drew a series of interesting responses. Read More »

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New York magazine’s The Cut set out to uncover the identities of the pint-size preteens who captured the attention of the crowd outside the Marc Jacobs show Friday during Fashion Week while being filmed by a videographer. It turns out the gaggle of tweens were from Westchester, and were filming a video for pal Chloe Cornell’s bat mitzvah. Read More »

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In the latest behind-bars battle over kashrut, a death row prisoner in Connecticut is suing the state over what he says is their failure to provide kosher food for him, which he has been requesting since May 2013. Read More »

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Enough already with the Yiddish death knell. Yiddish isn’t dead. It’s not even dying, according to Jennifer Young, director of education at YIVO. Read More »

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As soon as the shooting in Gaza stopped on Aug. 26, Hamas leaders came out of hiding to declare that they had won a great victory in their 50-day war with Israel—the 2014 Gaza war, which had been preceded by the Gaza wars of 2008 and 2012, which they had also declared to be great victories. Read More »

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Literary critic Adam Kirsch is reading a page of Talmud a day, along with Jews around the world. Is death a punishment? It’s hard to avoid thinking of it that way; yet the universality of death suggests that it is not tailored to the individual, as a just punishment would have to be. Read More »

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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Yale University Press and their Jewish Lives series. In writing the text for I Hate Music in 1943, Bernstein had not only imagined a child’s impressions of concerts. He had also expressed some of his own impatience with the way classical music was presented and perceived. Read More »

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Although it’s become clear that 21st century anti-Semitism in Europe is not as unusual a phenomenon as we may have hoped, something strange, if not extraordinary happened in Germany this week: a former Nazi guard at Auschwitz was charged with accessory to 300,000 murders during his time at the concentration camp. Read More »

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On Sunday’s episode of Boardwalk Empire , we heard Steve Buscemi’s character Nucky Thompson imply that a “little kike” was behind his assassination attempt. He is, of course, referring to the 5’0″ gangland kingpin Meyer Lansky, played by British actor Anatol Yusef. Maier Suchowljansky, born in 1902, came to The United States in 1911. Read More »

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On Thursday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf pronounced three Israeli air strikes in and around U.N. facilities in Gaza during this summer’s conflict with Hamas to have been unjustified—and therefore war crimes. Read More »

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The National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame inducted its newest class of honorees Sunday, CBS reports . Adam Greenberg, the former Chicago Cub who was struck in the head by a baseball during his very first at-bat in 2005, and who suffered sustained vision problems and vertigo, was among the honorees. Read More »

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A week after the Brussels Jewish Museum massacre, French journalist Nicolas Hénin recognized alleged shooter Mehdi Nemmouche as his jailer in Syria, where he and three other French reporters were held hostage by ISIS between June 2013 and April 2014. Read More »

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Last February, Newsweek announced the end of its yearly listing of “America’s top rabbis.” First compiled in 2007, the list offered a helpful snapshot of the country’s Jewish leadership each year but also drew criticism for its inevitable omissions and tendency to confuse media attention for spiritual impact when selecting its subjects. Read More »

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This is a sponsored podcast on behalf of Yale University Press and their Jewish Lives series. Continue reading “Composer Allen Shawn Discusses the Life and Legend of Leonard Bernstein” at… Read More »

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On the whole, Israelis aren’t that into Jewish music. Apart from the language—and even that isn’t always the case—Israeli pop/rock doesn’t concern itself much with questions of Jewishness. Read More »

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Cracks in what is normally represented as a tight alliance between Jews and Christians in Washington D.C. over Middle East issues were highlighted by Senator Ted Cruz’s dramatic and courageous performance Wednesday night as keynote speaker at the gala dinner for the In Defense of Christians conference . Read More »

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The question of who did or did not order the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers this summer has become one of the more contentious issues of the recent round of violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Read More »

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Back in April, the New York Times published an op-ed alleging alleging Israel was on the road to becoming an Orthodox Jewish theocracy. Read More »

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Last week, activists at CUNY’s Doctoral Students’ Council, a group representing more than 4,700 graduate students at the university, embarked on an effort to pass a resolution supporting the boycott of Israeli academic institutions and calling for divestment from Israeli companies. Read More »

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According to a French watchdog organization, anti-Semitic incidents so far this year have just about doubled since last year. The group, known as SPCJ, announced an astonishing increase in the amount of acts committed in France in the first seven months of 2014 as compared with the same time span in 2013, JTA reports . Read More »

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The Knesset, its break postponed due to the war in Gaza, is wrapping up its summer session with a bang: Late last month, a small group of legislators began promoting a bill that would designate Hebrew as the Jewish state’s sole official language. Read More »

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He is a typical Modern Orthodox teenager from Boston. He comes from a religious family, attends Maimonides High School during the year, and spends summers at a Modern Orthodox camp. Read More »

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The guests on The Oprah Show gave given us plenty of cringe-inducing moments that will go down in pop culture history (remember when Tom Cruise jumped on the couch?). The show’s audience members have been, in contrast, pretty tame, with the notable exception of a Jewish attorney named Alan Gurvey. Read More »

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The Crown Heights of my ’90s childhood imagining bears as little resemblance to the neighborhood today as it did to the early-20th-century Jewish enclave that was already in the process of uprooting for the suburbs when the Rebbe assumed leadership here in 1951. Read More »

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The folks at the Los Angeles Jewish Home have put together an adorable, Internet-ready video of some of their residents explaining the various meanings of Yiddish words. They go through the usual suspects— schvitz , schmuck , tuchus —as well as some less often heard terms like geshmak . Read More »

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I spent my first day as an Oral History intern at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum throwing up between meetings. I was jetlagged and sick from the summer humidity, a sickness that would stay with me until the weather changed in October. Read More »

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Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash were deeply religious people whose personal and professional lives were imbued with a sense of spiritual struggle and religious engagement. Read More »

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After a prolonged illness, Aline Elisabeth Yvonne de Gunzbourg, known as Lady Berlin, died last week in London at the age of 99. The youngest daughter of an aristocratic French-Jewish family of Russian descent and a remarkable woman in her own right, she was married in turn to three eminent men. Read More »

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In response to the chilling rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece—the far-right group currently holds 19 of 300 seats in Parliament—lawmakers are cracking down on hate speech, a move the Jews of Greece say is long overdue. Read More »

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According to a new study, all Ashkenazi Jews are basically cousins. More specifically, Ashkenazi Jews are at least 30th cousins. Read More »

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Jeff Goldblum may have only gotten engaged to 31-year-old actress and aerialist Emilie Livingston this summer, but the 61-year-old actor is already thinking about babies. Read More »

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The Israeli government still thinks my wife is boring. My children, too, as well as my job, my house, and my car. Read More »

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Reports that Adolf Hitler’s childhood home in the Austrian town of Braunau am Inn, where the future Nazi leader lived for several years, may be turned into a Holocaust museum triggered memories of my own two visits to the town: once as a student when Read More »

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Two weeks ago Matti Friedman published an article in Tablet explaining how—and why—international media gets Israel so wrong. Read More »

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Susan Schmidt grew up eating tamales, tostadas, and freshly made salsa with her family in Mexico City. And when she and her mother went out, they frequented the taco stands that dot the city. Read More »

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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Yale University Press and their Jewish Lives series. A king’s loves are ever sullied by statecraft. Read More »

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Eleanor Bergstein is the creative force behind the hit 1987 film Dirty Dancing , and the memorabilia-covered walls of her Manhattan living room won’t let you forget it—a poster in English here, one in German there. With the U.S. premiere of a Dirty Dancing stage adaptation in Washington, D.C. last week, there are sure to be more posters to come. Read More »

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As Boardwalk Empire’s fifth and final season aired Sunday night, fans learned that it would take place in 1931—seven years after the events of the fourth season. Read More »

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Four months after opening a sit-down café around the corner from their Lower East Side appetizing shop, the Russ & Daughters team is heading uptown—for the first time in the family-owned business’ 100 years. Russ & Daughters will open a new restaurant in The Jewish Museum on 92nd St. and Fifth Ave. But unlike the appetizing shop or Orchard St. Read More »

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Novelists Joshua Ferris, an American, and Howard Jacobson, a Brit, are a step closer to Man Booker glory this morning. Along with four other writers, Ferris and Jacobson went from long list to short list candidates for this year’s Man Booker Prize, an honor which bestows great prestige and a handsome sum of roughly $80,000. Read More »

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The story of Jack the Ripper is a dark, tragic one. Believed to be responsible for least five East London murders in 1888, the deranged serial killer targeted prostitutes, whose throats he slashed and whose organs he often removed. Police never arrested him, and his identity has long been subject of speculation and theories. Read More »

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Last year, when she was in 4th grade, Maxie got into a little tiff with a classmate. After this kid kept taking her best friend’s LEGO pieces, Maxine muttered to her LEGO-bereft friend, “We should sue his parents for dropping such a turd-bomb.” The LEGO-snatcher lost it. Read More »

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Literary critic Adam Kirsch is reading a page of Talmud a day, along with Jews around the world. Over the last two weeks , Daf Yomi readers have been exploring the third and final chapter of Tractate Moed Katan, in which the rabbis lay out the rules governing Jewish mourning practices. Read More »

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On a recent summer morning in the Bronx, an infant, swaddled in woven white cotton, was about to receive her Hebrew name: Emunah. Read More »

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