By Rabbi Bradley Artson, provided by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, for MyJewishLearning.com
John Wayne Meets Jacob
Jacob inspires us to overcome our Esau-like desires for instant gratification and physical power.
Esau is surely one of the most tragic figures of the Bible. He is a simple man, whose robust nature leads him to exult in his own health, strength and energy. Esau loves to hunt. He revels in the outdoors and in bursting limits. Esau is a man of impulse. Like Rambo or John Wayne, Esau thrives on his tremendous power, his physical courage and his own inner drives.
Modern America admires that. We distrust the intellectual. Someone who thinks too much, or who is too sensitive to the feelings of others (or to his own feelings) is held in disdain. We prefer a man who can impose his own will through a show of determination and strength, someone who doesn't plan in advance, someone who can relish the moment and trust his own passions.
By Dani, an 11th grader on eJewishPhilanthropy
Talk loudly and talk a lot, because communication is first step on the path to healing.
Hope is a powerful thing. Hope inspires change. Hope – hatikva – is the reason our Jewish people have survived and thrived in this hostile world for so long. Hope is the ability to look past the darkness of the present and see a brighter future. But when a person loses hope, loses that ability to imagine an eventuality in which anything could ever be alright, it becomes difficult to go on.
I know this because I barely survived four years living without hope. For those four years, I was stuck alone in a dark, empty room, seriously contemplating just getting up and checking out before I realized that those who loved me – my friends, my parents, my rabbis – were only a phone call away. It is an experience I would not wish on anyone, and one I wish never to repeat.
Kenny Fries for Jewish Book Council
At a dinner party soon after I moved to Berlin, a German guest recounted the story of his struggle to restore the bomb-battered grave of his grandfather at the Jewish Cemetery in Weissensee. He regaled the dinner guests, telling us about his phone call to the cemetery administrator, who told him the requirement that all new gravestones are required to quote scripture.
“But my father wasn’t a believer,” he complained to the administrator. “He wouldn’t have wanted scripture, Jewish or otherwise, on his tombstone. He was a Communist.”
“Make up your mind,” demanded the administrator. “Was your grandfather a Jew or a Communist?”
BY RON KAMPEAS for The Jewish Week
Not long ago Yahel Epel, a volunteer with the Israeli American Council, fulfilled her assigned mission: She assembled 200 Jews, half of them Israeli American, in a room in Denver on a Friday evening for a potluck dinner and a Shishi Yisraeli program.
Shishi Yisraeli, a program launched by IAC that means “Israeli Friday evening,” seeks a happy medium between what those with and without Israeli roots or backgrounds would enjoy on a Friday night. The idea: Get them together. Create community.
How did it go?
By Gabriela Geselowitz for Jewcy
Starr Weems is a Jewish teacher and artist in Alabama who’s taken on the mission of creating a piece of art for every parsha of the year. These watercolors are dreamlike and ethereal (and a little bit psychedelic), visual midrashim, of sorts.
“This project started two years ago with my personal sketchbook,” Weems told Jewcy. “I had decided to spend time studying the parsha each week and translating it into my own visual language. It was sometimes a challenge to keep up with it on top of my regular painting and illustration jobs, but I managed to get through the cycle of an entire year… I had been wanting to rework my sketchbook ideas into finished pieces for a while, and when a venue contacted me to book a spring exhibit, I decided that now is a good time.”
Sarah Rich for Jewish Book Council
Sarah Rich is the co-editor of Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles. Cipe (pronounced “C. P.”) was one of the most influential graphic designers of the twentieth century, and the first female art director at Condé Nast.
When I first flipped through Cipe Pineles’s hand-painted recipe book from 1945, it felt deeply familiar. This was my family’s food—not the food we ate for dinner on an average evening during my childhood, but the food we kept in our cultural pantry.
It was a wonder to see these dishes rendered with so much vibrancy and character in Cipe’s art. In my mind, many Eastern European Jewish foods were fairly plain and monotone. You could paint matzo balls, gefilte fish, potato latkes, noodle kugel, kasha and brisket all within a spectrum from beige to brown. Yet here was a rainbow of beets, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes; not to mention the cool blue enamel and warm clay of the cookware. It was a visual celebration of a cuisine that typically feels nostalgic, comforting, old.
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE for Kveller
Remember Fievel? Fievel is the adorable mouse in the animated series “An American Tail”–and its sequel “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West.” How could you forget the whole Mousekewitz family saga? The movie, which chronicled their move to America, may seem eerily like your own family’s story.
There are a ton of things you may not realize about the American Tail series, however, and I’ve compiled them below:
Jeremy Dauber for Jewish Book Council
Writing a history of Jewish comedy, trying to cover everything—or at least a representative sample of everything—from the Bible to Twitter, was a daunting, though admittedly fun, task. One of the questions I got asked most frequently when I told people what I was working on was, “What is Jewish humor, anyway?” Or, put another way, “What makes comedy Jewish comedy?”
Luckily, now I have a pretty easy answer to that question—“I wrote a book giving my best answer; feel free to purchase on Amazon or at local stores”—but over this week, as a Visiting Scribe™ for the Prosen People, I wanted to try to give three different perspectives on that question. And I wanted to do it through looking at three Jewish jokes: jokes that I find deeply, almost ineffably, Jewish, even though their origins may come from elsewhere, or they could be easily told in other contexts.
So here goes, with joke number one. It’s set in medieval times.
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine
Apple turned to its R&D center in Israel for their new Face ID technology.
The wait is over. Apple unveiled the highly anticipated new iPhone models at an event streamed around the world.
Called the iPhone X, it marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's debut in 2007. While there are many new whiz-bang features on the phone, one in particular caught our attention: Face ID. The new technology is an infrared face scanner that will unlock your iPhone simply by looking at it. (Die-hard From The Grapevine readers will recall that we predicted this back in the summer of 2015. OK, so we were off by two years. We're not perfect.)
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily
By Kristin Posner
As a fourth generation Japanese-American, I’ve often felt my heritage was slipping away from me. I grew up feeling in between the two: not quite Japanese enough or American enough, not really belonging in either category. There have been phases of my life when I’ve embraced being just American or just Japanese. It wasn’t until my conversion and our wedding that I came to realize that there is space for both.
When Bryan and I started dating, I became interested in his Jewish heritage. As things started getting serious, I felt that if we were to spend our lives together I had a responsibility to learn about his heritage too. In many ways, in Judaism I found the sense of belonging, spirituality and sense of community I had been searching for my whole life.
BY MJL STAFF
These supernatural beings appear widely throughout Jewish texts.
Angels are supernatural beings that appear widely throughout Jewish literature.
The Hebrew word for angel, mal’ach, means messenger, and the angels in early biblical sources deliver specific information or carry out some particular function. In the Torah, an angel prevents Abraham from slaughtering his son Isaac, appears to Moses in the burning bush and gives direction to the Israelites during the desert sojourn following the liberation from Egypt. In later biblical texts, angels are associated with visions and prophesies and are given proper names.
Later rabbinic and kabbalistic sources expand on the concept of angels even further, describing a broad universe of named angels with particular roles in the spiritual realm.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
From e-scooters to smart water systems to upcycled accessories, these items consume fewer natural resources and keep the air cleaner.
You don’t have to be a card-carrying tree-hugger to take some simple steps toward a better environment. Whether you care deeply about air and water pollution or just want to cut your energy bills, the things you choose to use can make a difference.
ISRAEL21c looks at eight products designed in Israel that can help make a positive contribution to planet Earth.
Jewish mysticism has taken many forms.
The Jewish mystical tradition is rich and diverse, and Jewish mysticism has taken many forms. Scholar Moshe Idel groups the different expressions of Jewish mysticism into two fundamental types: moderate and intensive. Moderate mysticism is intellectual in nature. It is an attempt to understand God and God’s world, and ultimately affect and change the divine realm. This type of mysticism incorporates many aspects of traditional Judaism, including Torah study and the performance of the commandments, infusing these activities with mystical significance. Intensive mysticism, on the other hand, is experiential in nature. Intensive mystics use nontraditional religious activities, including chanting and meditation, in an attempt to commune with God.
Dialogue” is the watchword in defining relations between Jews and peoples of other religions, particularly in North America’s environment of religious pluralism. The emphasis on dialogue comes as a result of years of hard work on the part of religious leaders and a growing concern about religious intolerance that has continued to brew and cause turmoil throughout the world.
Leaders from the Catholic Church, for example, take a proactive role in seeking dialogue with Jewish leaders. Since the Vatican II decision of the 1960s formally ending the Catholic belief that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death, Catholic leaders such as Pope John Paul II have attempted to change their relationship with Jewish people. All major archdiocese include specific offices of interreligious affairs, in which a team of priests, nuns, and educators work with members of clergy from the Jewish (and other) faiths. These offices often play a key role in helping to create annual community-wide Holocaust memorial services on Yom Hashoah (Day of Holocaust commemoration).
Genesis 23:1 - 25:18
BY RABBI ADINA LEWITTES for myjewishlearning.com
The Miracle in Sarah’s Tent
How the matriarchs' homes resembled and inspired the Temple.
In this week’s Torah portion we encounter Isaac deep in mourning for his mother, Sarah. The Rabbis suggest he was inconsolable until he met his future wife, Rebecca.
In a scene that starts off like a Monty Python movie — “And Isaac went out walking in the field toward evening, and looking up, he saw camels approaching; raising her eyes, Rebecca saw Isaac and fell off the camel,” it quickly gets more serious:
by JerusalemU.org for aish.com
With no friends and no future in sight, Ben cried himself to sleep at night, even contemplating suicide. But then he had a revelation that changed everything.
“When everyone else has given up on you, it’s hard not to give up on yourself.” Ben is a fighter. And there are others out there. People who seem so ordinary - yet contain a hidden greatness. Watch the rest of Jerusalem U’s Hear Me Roar series, and meet young Jewish heroes who have overcome staggering obstacles to reveal their inner strength. Support Bullying Prevention Month, World Day of Bullying Prevention, National Stop Bullying Day, and Anti-Bullying Day - let’s put an end to bullying!
By: Nico Lang for intomore.com
The new film by Eliza Hittman is a complicated coming-of-age story that challenges how we think about queer films today.
Great movies often feel as though they are in conversation with other movies. Beach Rats, the second feature film from Eliza Hittman, is not quite a great movie, but it aspires to be one.
A tone poem about a young man struggling with his attraction to other men, Beach Rats recalls Saturday Night Fever, another film about frustrated masculinity set in blue-collar Brooklyn. Frankie, played by the electric Harris Dickinson, is a spiritual successor to Tony Manero. Both characters struggle to find themselves in an environment that doesn’t appear to have many options for the men they want to be. Beach Rats is the rare movie to feel like a descendant of both Kenneth Anger and Harmony Korine. Anger festishizes masculinity, whereas Korine explores the consequences when manhood isn’t fully realized.
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine
While the tech giant searches for a new home in the U.S., it is already planning two new R&D centers in Israel.
This summer, Amazon announced it would build a second headquarters somewhere in North America. That news set off a parlor game du jour, with everyone weighing in on what city the tech giant would pick. Would it be Atlanta, Boston, Denver? Perhaps a small college town in Texas? Bringing with it jobs and infrastructure, the high-stakes move is sure to be a boon for whichever city gets chosen. One Georgia town made news this week when it offered to change its name to Amazon.
While the quest for a new headquarters in the U.S. continues, it seems Amazon has made some decisions on another front. The Seattle-based e-retailer will be opening two R&D centers in Israel – one will be in Tel Aviv and the other in Haifa. The labs, which will employ about 100 engineers, will work exclusively on the company’s Alexa voice-operated device.
By Liel Leibovitz for Tablet Magazine
Go ahead, I dare you not to dance to Meilech Kohn’s ‘Ve’Uhavtu’
Growing up, Meilech Kohn didn’t like it in the Yeshiva. He was the quiet kid who liked to daydream and hum nice tunes, and his fellow students were so miffed by his strange ways that they shunned him altogether, refusing to speak to the awkward child. Increasingly distraught, he retreated into his inner world, which was increasingly consumed by writing songs and melodies. Eventually, he decided to drop out.
Much to the chagrin of his parents, Meilech left the fold of his tightly-knit Hasidic community. He moved to Los Angeles, then Puerto Rico, then Texas. He listened to any kind of music he could find, and continued to teach himself his craft. By the time he was ready to return home and recommit himself to religious life, he contained multitudes.
Jamie Geller for The Joy of Kosher
15 BUNDT PAN RECIPES THAT AREN'T NECESSARILY CAKE
The bundt pan is the secret workhorse of your kitchen. Besides cakes, you can make kugels and breads as well as totally crazy dishes like roast chicken or lasagna.
Here are a few of our favorite bundt recipes that aren't necessarily cake (and a few that are).