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Rosh Hashanah meets Daft Punk

Happy new year!

Long-lost diary of Nazi racial theorist and Hitler confidant recovered


Photo: ICE HSI. Click to enlarge.

In Washington today, US officials and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum representatives announced the seizure of a long-lost diary maintained by a close confidant of Adolf Hitler.

The recovery of this historical document was the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The author of the so-called "Rosenberg Diary" was Alfred Rosenberg, a leading member of the Third Reich and of the Nazi Party during World War II.

Rosenberg was one of the intellectual authors behind key Nazi beliefs, including persecution of Jewish people, expansionist “lebensraum” (living space) ideology, the "master race" theory, and the rejection of modern art as "degenerate." He was tried at Nuremberg, sentenced to death, and hanged on October 16, 1946, after having been convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The diary will eventually be displayed in the Holocaust Museum. More photos, video from the press conference where the seizure was announced, video of Rosenberg speaking, and more of the story behind this important historic artifact are below.

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A wonderful radio program with old timey Yiddish Music from "rescued" 78s

My brother Carl, a crate-digger and amateur ethnomusicologist of sorts, hosts a radio program on WRIR, an indie radio station in Richmond, VA. The latest episode of his show is available here for download, and includes a batch of rare, wonderful Yiddish popular music from the '40s and '50s on 78 RPM vinyl, all of which he found at a thrift store in town. The show also features homages to Ravi Shankar and Dave Brubeck, legendary musicians who recently died. Go have a listen!

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Holiday music: "Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights"

NewImageIn their continuing fight against bad holiday music, our friends at the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation have released Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights. This new double-CD set explores "the relationship between (Hanukkah and Christmas) and their impact on acculturation and negotiations of personal, social, and communal identity within American culture." Yeah, that, and it features killer tracks like The Ramones' "Merry Christmas I Dont Wanna Fight Tonight," Woody Guthrie's "Hanukkah Dance," Bob Dylan's "Little Drummer Boy," and The Klezmatics' "Hanukah Tree."

Co-founded by my pal David Katznelson, the Idelsohn Society is a non-profit dedicated to the musicology and exquisitely-curated reissues of incredibly strange, offbeat, "space age," and fantastic vintage Jewish albums by the likes of Irving Fields, Gershon Kingsley, and The Barry Sisters. Like all Idelsohn Society releases, "Twas the Night Before Hanukkah" includes killer liner notes, such as essays Greil Marcus and renowned Washington University historian Jenna Weissman Joselit. "Twas the Night Before Hanukkah" is truly an instant interfaith classic. Check out these sample tracks:

And if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, Idelsohn Society is hosting a record release party and concert on the last night of Hanukkah, December 15, at the fabulous Brick and Mortar Music Hall. The concert, "Twas the Last Night of Hanukkah," will feature performances Sway Machinery featuring Jeremiah Lockwood, Luther Dickinson(North Mississippi All-Stars, Black Crowes), Thao, Rebecca Bortman, Ethan Miller (Howlin’ Rain, Comets on Fire), Lyn Burton (of the Burton Sisters), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), members of Antibalas, and others.

Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights

Cancer and the High Holy Days: Rethinking Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die

Cancer survivor Lani Horn, who helped me through some painful times during my cancer treatment, writes in a piece for kveller.com about anger, justice, and the search for deeper meaning in the Jewish holy days. She talks about a moment of clarity during a workshop for survivors, where she witnessed much talk about "making meaning out of the cancer experience, deepening our gratitude for the ordinary, becoming more compassionate." Snip:

After losing my brother, two breasts, and almost three years of my life to illness and hospitals, I was over these platitudes. I stood up to speak. “This is all fine. I get it. But my problem is that I am mad at God.” I even talked about the Unetanah Tokef, which had been a grueling part of the High Holiday liturgy since Jeremy died. Who shall live and who shall die?

A surge went through the room. I had uttered the unspeakable. Afterwards people came up to thank me for my honesty. One was a hospice chaplain, himself a cancer survivor.

“Remember,” he said, “there is a such thing as holy anger. Think of the prophets. Anger can be a spiritual feeling.”

For the first time, I did not feel like my anger separated me from God. It was an honest description of my relationship.

Yes, I was angry. Who shall live and who shall die? Why him and not me? And why him at all?

Read the rest: Rethinking Who Shall Live & Who Shall Die (Raising Kvell)

(Image: Dad's Grave's Broken Headstone at the Jewish Cemetery in Mumbai, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from Avi Solomon's photostream.)

Crappy YouTube trailer leads to death of US diplomat and others in Mideast

Update: The whole thing sounds like a weird disinfo job. But, by whom and to what end? The AP has outed "Sam Bacile" as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian who claims the film supports the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims. On The Media notes that there's something fishy about the film dialogue. And Gawker has spoken to one of the actresses in the film, who says she had no idea what the film was really about.


The Associated Press identifies Sam Bacile as an Israeli filmmaker based in California who made an independently produced and financed anti-Muslim movie that's sort of "Birth of a Nation" meets "Bed Intruder." The YouTube trailer is embedded above, and it unapologetically attacks Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Bacile has no known prior history as a filmmaker.

His D-grade web trailer inspired (or, alternately, was used as cover for) attacks by ultra-conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya. J Christopher Stevens, America's ambassador to Libya, and three American members of his staff were killed today in resulting violence.

From the Associated Press:

Speaking by phone Tuesday from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that the 56-year-old intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion. Protesters angered over Bacile’s film opened fire on and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Libyan officials said Wednesday that Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob firing machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.

Bacile is a real estate developer in California who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew. “Islam is a cancer, period,” he told the AP. The video above is a trailer for his two-hour movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” which cost $5 million to produce and was, according to the director, backed by funding from 100 Jewish donors. There's an English version and an Arabic-dubbed version of the trailer here. Bacile reports that the entire film has been shown "once, to a mostly empty theater in Hollywood earlier this year."

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What do astronauts and the Holocaust have in common? "An Article of Hope"

Filmmaker Dan Cohen is the guy behind "An Article of Hope," a feature film project seven years in the making. The documentary is done, but Dan's got a Kickstarter to raise funds to get it on television and into schools. Below, some words from Dan for Boing Boing readers about the film:

What could space shuttle Astronauts and the Holocaust possibly have in common? When I began my research into my documentary An Article of Hope, I thought I was making a film about a Holocaust story. But I soon unraveled a story that was much more than that. It is a story that crosses generations woven by the lives of three men, born at a different time, but brought together by a twist of fate.

At the center of the story were the Astronauts of the Space Shuttle Columbia. All from different backgrounds from around the world, magnificently diverse, yet threaded by a moment from the Holocaust, a horrific attempt to stamp out diversity.

Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon was a hero fighter pilot, a man who had the ability to rise to the moment. By the time he launched into space he was more than that, he was the representative of his country, his faith, and in his eyes perhaps, humanity. He searched for a symbol of this responsibility, and found a little Torah scroll given to a boy in a secret Bar Mitzvah in a Nazi concentration camp.

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Funny video series "Old Jews Telling Jokes" returns with all-new, even older elders telling even funnier jokes

Video director and wonderfully funny guy Eric Spiegelman tells Boing Boing,

The new season of Old Jews Telling Jokes begins today, featuring jokes we recorded in Boca Raton. We've been on hiatus for almost a year, and it's good to be back. The joke that begins our season, about a bull and an enema and a bridgekeeper, is one of the best I've heard. Also, a bit of trivia. We have a new logo for the show, and it was designed by Milton Glaser. I'm not going to lie, I feel like that's a pretty great honor.

Embedded above: I've selected a joke from the new season told by Irving ‘Brownie’ Brown, a gentleman who is 102 years old. Below, the bull enema joke, as told by Charlie Seibel.

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For Passover fun in Israel, a safari of animals crafted from Coca-Cola trash

A monkey sculpture is pictured on a pick-up truck before it is placed in an exhibition at Hiriya recycling park, built on the site of a former garbage dump near Tel Aviv. The Coca-Cola Recycled Safari featuring animals made of recycled Coca Cola packages will be open to the public during the Passover holiday.

More images of other critter creations from the recycling project, below. (REUTERS/Nir Elia)

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Menorah Mashups: djBC's seasonal copyright infringement with a little Klezmer


djBC writes, "After four years of Christmas collections, and with a 18/mo little girl, I decided it was time to take a stab at a Hanukkah mashup/remix collection. The 8 tunes (8 days, 8 tunes, get it?) have a sort of klezmer/traditional Kewish music meets dub/house/pop/hip-hop sort of feel, and the two bonus tracks are for laughs. One high point is Brasilia's FAROFF with his House of Pain vs Amsterdam Klezmer Band mash, with mp3 and video."

I love the description: "Ingredients: Frank Yankovic and His Yanks, Gwen Stefani, House Of Pain, Frank Zappa, Amsterdam Klezmer Band, Pa Brapad, several iterations of The Dreidel Song, several iterations of Hava Nagila, South Park, a dash of Chingy, Adam Sandler, The Star Trek Theme, Van Halen, James Caan, Charlton Heston, Fonzie, Sarah Silverman, Trio, Three Weissmen, Craig and Co, Alan Sherman, Pudie Tadow, and two seconds of Black Eyed Peas."

Menorah Mashups