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Being Alive: Chava Rosenfarb and Tree of Life

January 30 marked Eight years since the passing of Chava Rosenfarb, one of the most significant, albeit underrated, Yiddish writers of the late 20th century. Rosenfarb was born in 1923 in Lodz, Poland. At that time, Lodz was about one-third Jewish, and the experience of growing up in a city with such a strong and […]

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Kosher Tartan: A Clan for Scotland’s Jews

Tartan, a checkered pattern that is formed when the same set of colored bands intersect horizontally and vertically, is one of the defining visual features of Scottish culture. Tartan is taken so seriously, in fact, that there is official legislation defining tartan and the process of registering it officially. Historically, tartan was associated with the […]

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Visions of Wontons: Jews and Chinese Food on Christmas

For those who celebrate, Christmas might conjure up images of sleigh bells, snow, and dancing sugar plum fairies. But for Jews, the holiday is just as likely to prompt mouthwatering visions of wontons, Kung Pao chicken, and other Chinese dishes. Jewish people eating Chinese food on Christmas is an image that has become so pervasive, […]

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Is Turkey Even Kosher: Jewish Thanksgiving

Every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American holiday, one that not only ushers in the winter holiday season, but also tells a story about the country’s founding and its values. Thanksgiving as a holiday whose purpose is to set aside a time for […]

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Pittsburgh strong: Historic tribute to a vibrant Jewish community

From its founding, Pittsburgh was a city that was open to Jews, and a place where they could prosper. Jewish achievements are wound into the literal fabric of the city; Frankstown Road, which runs through the city, was named after David Franks, a veteran of the Revolutionary War and a prosperous merchant who sent so […]

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The Lynching of Leo Frank

This week marks the 103rd anniversary of the lynching of Leo Frank, a Jewish industrialist who was falsely accused of a terrible crime and whose violent murder shook American Jews’ sense of security in their new home. Frank was born in Paris, Texas but his family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up. […]

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Welcome Barbie! An Interview with Tefillin Barbie’s Creator

With the opening of Beit Hatfutsot’s new exhibition, “Let There Be Laughter – Jewish Humor Around the World,” the Museum has welcomed Tefillin Barbie into its collection of objects that inspire, amuse, provoke, and enrich the story of the Jewish people. This year, Tefillin Barbie is celebrating her bat mitzvah: 12 years of bringing joy, […]

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The “Typhus Epidemic” that Saved Thousands

During the Holocaust a number of incredibly brave individuals risked their lives to save those of their friends, neighbors, or even the lives of strangers. One of the most remarkable stories of courage and creative thinking in the face of danger is that of Dr. Eugene Lazowski, who managed to create an entire typhus “epidemic” […]

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The Shabbos Goy to the Rescue

In 1993 General Colin Powell visited the State of Israel. Upon meeting then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir, he is said to have greeted the surprised Shamir with “mir kenen redn Yiddish!” (“We can speak Yiddish!”) Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants who was born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx of New York City, […]

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Just Like the Ones I Used to Know? Christmas Music and its Jewish Songwriters

Christmas is, ostensibly, one of the least Jewish days in the calendar. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a less Jewish day than one that celebrates the birth of a religious figure who was firmly and decisively rejected by Jews, and is traditionally celebrated with a special church mass and/or a Christmas ham. Historically, Christmas […]