UH-OH! Trump to give 'Hanukkah remarks' again 🕎

Brace yourself. President Trump and others in the image above are facing an imminent criminal prosecution showdown, but tomorrow Donald is due to give 'Hanukkah remarks' again. Have some popcorn handy, this should be bonkers. Read the rest

What do you call someone who derives pleasure from the bread of affliction?

What do you call someone who derives pleasure from the bread of affliction?

A matzochist.

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Why do we have a Haggadah at Passover?

So we can Seder right words.

Share your own in the comments! Happy Passover! Read the rest

When Joan Rivers and Martha Stewart decorated matzo houses for Passover

The late-great comedienne Joan Rivers was a frequent guest on Martha Stewart's daytime show. One year for Passover, they built gingerbread-like houses with sheets of matzo and decorated them with other kosher foods including macaroons, chocolate, dried fruits, and nuts. Such a cute idea!

Watch:

Happy Pesach to those of you out there who celebrate! Read the rest

As anti-Semitic bomb threats continue, ADL office evacuated in San Francisco

The terror attacks against Jewish folks in America continue. No one seems to care. Read the rest

San Francisco (and online): cool Hanukkah pop-up shop with Lemony Snicket and more!

My friends in Reboot and Partners In Crime opened a fantastically cool Reboot Hanukkah Pop-Up Shop on Union Street in San Francisco (and online too)! The physical shop is only open this weekend and there are terrific events for the whole family including a lunch concert today by blues guitarist Luther Dickinson, a reading/signing tomorrow afternoon by the inimitable Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and Lisa Brown, Lego Menorah Making, and a Sunday evening screening of Tiffany Shlain and Julie Hermelin's new film 50/50!

Reboot Hanukkah Pop-Up Shop Read the rest

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Nobel prize laureate and author, dead at 87

Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, a prolific author, and an outspoken activist for peace and human rights. He died Saturday, at 87 years old. Read the rest

Insane Clown Purim

A man wearing a mask takes part in a parade marking the Jewish holiday of Purim outside the Bialik Rogozin school in Tel Aviv, Israel March 22, 2016. Read the rest

MAKE: a tiki-mug menorah

Polyhai's tutorial for creating a tiki-mug menorah is all the sholem aloha you need for eight nights of candlelit grog-swilling. Read the rest

Jewish teacher in France stabbed in anti-Semitic hate crime by terrorism supporters

In France, police are searching for three terrorism supporters who stabbed a Jewish school teacher at a Jewish school in Marseille. Read the rest

Menorah bong makes Hanukkah a "high holiday"

The festival of lights, indeed. (Thanks, Jordan Kurland!)

Read the rest

Watch Nina Paley and Theodore Gray's fantastic embroidered animation for Passover song

The amazing Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues) and Theodore Gray created a fantastic embroidered stop-motion animation of my favorite traditional Passover song "Chad Gadya." Read the rest

Rube Goldberg's Passover Seder

Engineering, Architecture and Planning students at Technion--Israel Institute of Technology are remembering the story of Moses this Passover as only engineers, architects and planners can. Read the rest

Rosh Hashanah meets Daft Punk

Happy new year! Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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.

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

In 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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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