“Up Close”: Rabbi Ayelet Cohen and Me on The Jewish Channel

interviewalicious!and podcast version etc here … [Read more...]

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Voices from the Fire: Medieval Jewish Martyr Laments

Part of my Lenten reading was Susan L. Einbinder's Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France. It's a very readable adapted thesis which makes a few arguments--for example, that Jewish martyr laments shifted over time from proclaiming God's covenant with the community, to depicting individual transformation of the martyrs; that the laments shift from emphasizing demographic diversity to exalting scholars as a sort of martyr elite; and that the laments show the degree to … [Read more...]

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“The Dead Hand of the Past”: I Review “Bad Jews”

at Studio Theatre: Jaroslav Pelikan declared, “Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” But it can be hard to tell which one you’re actually doing.“Bad Jews,” at the Studio Theatre through December 28, takes place over a few hours in one tiny (but pricey) New York apartment. Cousins Daphna, Jonah, and Liam are reunited on the night after their grandfather’s funeral. (So big, even Abe Foxman was there!) Liam has also brought an outsider: the … [Read more...]

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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...]

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“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...]

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“Passover Cocktails for Each of the Ten Plagues”

I am just a fountain of good taste: Plague 1: Blood Cocktail: Red NileThe 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...]

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“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...]

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