Sister and Stranger: “Ida,” A Jewish Nun in a Haunted Poland

Ida, a contemporary black-and-white movie now playing at the E St Cinema & Bethesda Row Cinema, begins as the title character (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to meet her only known relative. Ida doesn't want to meet Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), about whom she knows nothing except that Wanda refused to take her in when she was orphaned, so she was raised in a convent. She's about to take her own vows, though, and so she musters up all her obedience and submits to spending some indefinite time … [Read more...]

“The Passover Sandwich”: NPR

celebrates: Why is this Sandwich Monday different from all other Sandwich Mondays? In honor of Passover, I introduced my non-Jewish colleagues to the wonders of the Passover lunch. It's not the Seder meal, but what I might have brought to school for lunch back in the 1970s, when the affluent Jews of suburban New Jersey ate tasteless food to remind themselves that thousands of years ago, they didn't have nice professional jobs like being an lawyer, or maybe a CPA. That's a steady living. I … [Read more...]

“Passover Cocktails for Each of the Ten Plagues”

I am just a fountain of good taste: Plague 1: Blood Cocktail: Red Nile The original eye-opener. Great way to start the plagues, perfect for weekend brunch of fresh fruit, coffee, matzoh brie, and Sephardic dried-fruit-and-cumin haroseth. Ingredients: 2 oz potato vodka 4 oz tomato juice 1/2 oz lemon juice 1 oz Arak 1 tsp white horseradish 6 drops Texas Pete 3 drops Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Cocktail Bitters (no corn syrup) Dash salt Dash pepper Carrot stick for … [Read more...]

“God’s Away on Business” in Hebrew

I like this on its own merits, as well as for its high concept. Via TKB. … [Read more...]

Objects in the World Are Words Spoken By God

Poet Scott Cairns talks about something adjacent to an element of my own conversion--and, like me, he found this truth in Judaism as well as Christianity. The title of this post comes from Christianity in Jewish Terms, a fascinating little pomo book which helped me quite a bit in sorting through what I believed and how my Christian spirituality was shaped. ...Raised a Baptist, Cairns’ faith journey involved a deep study of Jewish texts and Christian theology as well as a period as a … [Read more...]

“Sorry for (Communist) Partying”: I review “After the Revolution”

at AmCon: The engine which runs “After the Revolution,” a play by Amy Herzog that will show at Theater J (the theater of Washington’s Jewish Community Center) through October 6, is a generations-old betrayal: A fledgling leftist activist from a family of Communist Jews learns that her much-honored grandfather spied for the Soviet Union during World War II and then perjured himself in front of HUAC denying it. The revelation shatters Emma Joseph’s trust in her family and in her own … [Read more...]

What I Learned from Being a Christmas-and-Easter Jew

'Tis the season. I went to my first Easter morning Mass ever this year, and holy cats, was it packed! Yikes. Just wall-to-wall Catholics in all phases of forward- and backsliding. It got me thinking about what I learned from being intermittently Jewish as a kid--taken to High Holy Days services a few times, once? twice? to Purim, sometimes to Passover seders. I honestly don't remember how often we did any of this. But somewhat to my surprise, I think most of the lessons I learned from this … [Read more...]


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