Monthly Archives: September 2009

This Week’s Links

By Sarah Breger

Rugalech makers take note, cupcake are the new key to Mideast peace. [NYT]

Beyonce to perform in Israel. No word if HOVA will accompany her. [Ynet]

Want a fashionable way to wear non-leather shoes to Yom Kippur services? When you buy a pair of TOMS, you also make a donation of a pair of shoes to a child in need. [Heart & Sole]

A Foer family “bad mutha-sukkah” sukkah. [Forward]

Tablet has a collection of songs to get you in the repenting mood. [Tablet]

And in case you need something to atone for:
This Yom Kippur, let's atone for 22 years of holding out hope that a hunky, heterosexual dance instructor will be into taking advantage of nerdy Jewish girls

Jewish Justices Brandeis and Frankfurter as Stamps


By Maxine Springer

A new series of postage stamps celebrating four U.S. justices includes Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, two of seven Jewish justices in the history of the High Court.

Brandeis, a Zionist who once said, “To be good Americans, we must be better Jews, and to be better Jews, we must become Zionists,” was known as the “people’s justice” for his defense of civil liberties. He served on the Court from 1916-1939. Read more about Brandeis in Moment’s review of Louis D. Brandeis: A Life.

Frankfurter, the first naturalized American be to appointed to the Supreme Court, served from 1939-1962. Before joining the Court, he was an adviser to FDR and a friend of Brandeis.

Read more about Jewish justices in Moment’s cover story about religion and the Supreme Court, where scholars discuss whether the religious beliefs of justices influence their legal opinions.

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Steve Urkel Stands Under the Chuppah in “Road to the Altar”


By Sarah Breger

The fall TV season has started, but there is one summer show you should make sure to catch up on (and with four minute long episodes that shouldn’t be too hard). Road to the Altar, a Web-only TV series, stars Jaleel White of Urkel fame and Leyna Juliet Weber as White’s fiancée, Rochelle Shapiro. The series tells the story of the couple planning their nuptials, with each episode featuring one item on the wedding to-do list (the caterer, the flowers, the band etc).

Rochelle (like Weber who is also the show’s co-writer) is Jewish, and tribal references abound throughout the show. The best is when Rochelle’s ultra-Orthodox cousin, Ruchel Leah, flies in from Brooklyn for a bridesmaid dress fitting. Ruchel’s Borough Park-style outfit covers her legs, arms and neck, confusing White’s character Simon who can’t understand why her Jewish traditions vary from Rochelle’s.

Rochelle plays the Jewish princess pretty typically—self-absorbed, demanding but very funny, while White plays the straight man to Rochelle’s frenzy. Admittedly, it’s a little tiring to see the the high-strung Jewish city girl character rehashed again (especially on the innovative webisode format). But aside from that, the stories are fun, the scripts are well-written and the timing is spot-on. Besides, where else could you hear a hip-hop Hava Nagila?

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Theater Review: “Zero Hour”

zero_mostelBy Nadine Epstein and John O’Leary

When does a Communist equal a liberal equal a Jew? Today, if you delete the word “Communist.” But the phrase was most applicable in the 1950s during the heyday of McCarthy with the blacklisting of actors and writers, who most often just happened to be Jewish. An endless supply of provocative anecdotes about this era shine throughout  “Zero Hour,” the one-man play about Zero Mostel, written and performed by Jim Brochu, that is now playing at the DCJCC in Washington, DC, and will travel to off-Broadway in New York from November 14 to January 31.

Among the most memorable is a story about his drinking buddy Lucille Ball, who starred with Mostel in his first Hollywood film in 1942. Calling it an “intellectual final solution” Mostel says of the blacklist that it “targeted Jewish minds.”  In 1936 Ball had registered with the Communist Party in order to vote for Eugene Debs, and the House Unamerican Activities committee had a copy of her signed registration card. But when called before the committee, Ball explained that she had only registered as a Communist to please her grandfather and was sent home. “Her ordeal started on Monday and was over on Friday. But not so if your name was Berman, or Choderov, or my dear friend Philip Loeb.” It was Mostel and his Catholic wife who took in a Loeb after he lost his job on The Goldbergs. It was Katie Mostel who made the despondent Loeb breakfast on the morning he checked into the Taft Hotel where he killed himself. “Talking about stars on the sidewalk,” Brocha says, reflecting on Loeb’s tragic end.

Alternately heartbreaking and riotous, always illuminating, “Zero Hour” reveals a brave, strong and eccentric Zero Mostel, who stood up to the House Unamerican Activities Committee with comedic panache, and a determination not to respond to questions probing his or his friends’ political affiliations.  Brocha makes the late actor’s ups and downs come alive. One can only be delighted to learn of Samuel Joel Mostel’s good fortune to see his career come roaring back “on the Way to the Forum ” and much more.

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Rosh Hashanah Roundup

By Sarah Breger

Fashion week drew to a close yesterday and some of the hottest designs were from Ralph Lauren, Diane von Furstenberg and Isaac Mizrachi. Find out about their previous lives as Ralph Rueben Lifshitz, Diane Simone Michelle Halfin and … Isaac Mizrahi, in Moment‘s feature story From Ghetto to Glamour: How American Jews Toppled Paris Couture and Redesigned the Fashion Industry. [Moment]

Paul Vitello of The New York Times has a small profile on Max Fuchs, who as a solider in World War II led a battleside prayer service in Aachen, Germany. “The first Jewish religious service broadcast from Germany since the advent of Hitler,” was broadcast by NBC and forgotten. The recording has recently been incorporated into a short video produced by AJC and has become somewhat of a YouTube sensation. If you listen closely in the video, you can hear artillery shells falling as Fuchs sings the Yigdal prayer. [NYT, AJC]

In case you need a quick pick-me-up from synagogue, Tablet has a few Rosh Hashanah inspired cocktails. [Tablet]

Holiday Greetings from Obama. [White House blog]

And from Kanye:

Have a Sweet Rosh Hashanah with Apple and Honey Challah

Courtesy of Jenna at ModernDomestic

Courtesy of Jenna at ModernDomestic

By Maxine Springer

Here’s a great idea (trust us, we’ve gotten to try it courtesy of our friend Jenna at ModernDomestic) for a delicious treat that’s especially wonderful for Rosh Hashanah: A scrumptious apple and honey challah!

Although Jenna isn’t Jewish, she talks about her appreciation for the interesting connections Judaism has with certain foods.

It’s no wonder that there is a plethora of Rosh Hashanah recipes for apple honey cake – in fact, the apple honey Hanukkah cupcakes I made in December would be a perfect (non-kosher) Rosh Hashanah dessert. But I decided to go a different route, and made challah with apples and honey, using a recipe I found on the King Arthur Flour Web site. Challah also plays a symbolic role in the holiday – it is traditional for Jews to eat challah dipped in honey at Rosh Hashanah – and I liked the idea of a recipe that combined all the symbolic elements in one

Jenna brought over her challah to Moment‘s office last week for a taste-test. We gave it the Jewish grandmother’s seal of approval.

You Never Write, You Never Twitter

By Sarah Breger

Twitter parodies have become pretty stale, and no one could beat the mom translator sketch on SNL earlier this year, but Twitteleh: Twitter for your Jewish Mother made my day.

Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, the video features a social media site exclusively designed for “the one person who wants to hear about your day.”

On Twitterlah you just need to answer 3 questions:

1. Where are you?

2. What have you eaten?

3. Are you wearing a sweater?

Yes, Mom, I am.

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Bring in Moment Facebook Fans, Get a Free Subscription!

Moment Facebook

Are you a Facebook fan of Moment Magazine? Now is the time to show your Moment pride! To celebrate the Jewish New Year, Moment is holding a fan appreciation contest. Bring in 10 new fans to our page and get a free digital or print gift subscription for the year! Have your friends message us with your name when they join. Once you get 10, you’ll receive a free subscription that you can keep or send to someone as a gift! Bring in 100 fans and we will give you 12 digital subscriptions and 3 print subscriptions for your friends and family! Just think: Without spending a penny, all your holiday shopping can be done…

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Battle of the Jewish Book Nerds


By Sarah Breger

In an interview with The New Yorker’s Book Bench, Lev Grossman, Time’s book critic and author of The Magicians explains his long-standing feud with Jonathan Safran Foer:

I used to write in a local coffee shop, but there was another guy, another writer, who kept sitting in my favorite seat. I would show up, and he would be there, and I would get exiled to a couch or something, and it would throw me off my game. Then I figured out that he was Jonathan Safran Foer. True story. You don’t get over a thing like that.

This is kind of like the time I sat near Nathan Englander at the Hungarian Pastry Shop in New York. He was working on For The Relief of Unbearable Urges and I was eating a cheese danish. True story.

Remembering Patrick Swayze in a Jewish Film

Dirty-DancingBy Maxine Springer

In Moment‘s article about great Jewish films, author Lester Friedman picks Dirty Dancing, starring Patrick Swayze, as one of his favorite Jewish films. He says,

This is one of the few films set around a Jewish-American woman and centers on her maturation during a summer when she is vacationing with her family at a resort in the Catskills. In a reverse of traditional morality, the non-Jewish male lead is in some ways the moral center of the film.”

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