A certain kind of cooking, brought to New York City by Eastern European Jews, typified by bagels, pickled vegetables, gefilte and smoked fish, is having a genuine moment, the pinnacle of which is, perhaps, the opening of the long-awaited, full-fledged Russ & Daughters Cafe. While the Times, not incorrectly, characterizes this moment as a "sudden and strong movement among young cooks, mostly Jewish-Americans, to embrace and redeem the foods of their forebears" in order to "embrac[e] the quickly disappearing foods of their grandparents," the trend also conveniently fits quite neatly into the current milieu of all fermented everything, which is why it probably seems so palatable to a [...]
"New on the Passover scene is Joey Allaham, who has reserved all the rooms at the St. Regis Monarch Beach near Laguna Beach, Calif. Not to be outdone by musical acts, he has been attracting attention with his sports-themed offerings—some of which allow guests to hobnob with famous athletes. Mr. Allaham, who operates upscale kosher restaurants in New York, has created a Passover football field that will host stars such as National Football League player Mark Sanchez of the Philadelphia Eagles. For children, Mr. Allaham has arranged for dairy cows to come each morning so children can [...]
I have heard an argument made that Ron Moody's portrayal of Fagin in Oliver! takes a character who is an anti-Semitic stereotype to begin with and blows the big-nosed doors off, but I have to say that I cannot keep from loving this money-grubbing Jewy jig and the performance behind it. He was also amazing in Mel Brooks' third-greatest film. Anyway, the man is 90 today, and good for him.
If you've ever wanted to know how a nice Jewish girl like Merrill Nisker became Peaches, the new feature film slash documentary "Peaches Does Herself" won't exactly connect the dots for you.
If you'd like to see Peaches and her Fatherfucker Dancers reenact her rise to fame—complete with a giant bed that looks like a vulva, dancers in pink zentai that are orgiastically unzipped, and a surgery gone awry, then Peaches Does Herself offers all of that and more. Besides Peaches and her dancers, "Peaches Does Herself" stars Sandy Kane, of New York City public access fame—she's a former stripper in her sixties who wields a dildo [...]
It's nice to know that there's no "controversy" so stupid that Abe Foxman won't be ready with a comment about it.
If you saw any of the X-Men movies, was there any doubt that Erik Lensherr—the young man who goes all Uri Geller when the Nazis put his parents in Auschwitz—is a Jew? Followers of the 50-year-old X-Men comic books have different opinions. Some say "Magneto" (or Magnus or Erik, whatever you like to call him) is actually of Romany blood. (Nazis, you may recall, also massacred Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, Poles, Czechs, Russians, Ukrainians and Freemasons.) But in the form of actors Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender, Magneto has a concentration-camp tattoo identifying him as Jewish. Does this matter? Aren't most comic-book heroes also of the Chosen People? Of [...]
"Jewish students living in an NYU dorm woke up Thursday to find threatening 'eviction' notices left by pro-Palestinian activists, officials said. The notices – stealthily delivered in the dead of night by members of NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine – warned students at the Palladium Hall residence that their suites were scheduled for demolition." —[...]
Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake 700 years ago this week. The unfinished cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris—its towers completed just 65 years earlier—stood nearby as de Molay went up in flames. His death sparked conspiracy theories that have traveled through the centuries, across oceans and Ivy League campuses, and onto our flat-screen TVs.
As the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, de Molay was considered a heretic by both the French Monarchy and the papacy. King Philip IV of France had him tortured and burned, slowly, on the Île de la Cité, the tiny Parisian Island in the Seine. It was March 18, 1314—give or [...]
"Advocacy groups are incensed after a Romanian government-owned channel broadcast a Christmas song glorifying the Holocaust and calling for Jews to be burned. The channel is blaming a local group for the performance…. In the broadcast, a choir was shown singing a Christmas song that indirectly glorifies the Holocaust. The song, which rhymes and uses the word 'jidovi,' a pejorative word for a Jew, includes the lyrics, 'only in the chimney as smoke, this is what the "jidov" is good for.'"
"'Jewish men are very interested in the selection of whiskey available at a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah,' said Jonathan Goldstein, vice president of Park Avenue Liquor Shop, a Manhattan store known for its whiskey selection. 'They very often will pick up a special bottle to offer close friends or relatives.' Of the Friday before the Jewish holiday of Purim, last February, he said, 'It was like Christmas in here.'"
As a non-Jew who watched The Ten Commandments every Easter/Passover as a child and occasionally marries into Jewish families as an adult, I have been deeply disappointed with the reality of American Passover Seders. Expecting buckets of lamb blood for door painting and ominous bearded nomads reciting death tales from memory, instead I got people talking about college basketball around a glass-and-bronze dinette set piled high with unsavory seasonal items from the supermarket. That nobody at the table really believed in G-d never helped, either. How is He going to strike us all dead when he doesn't even exist?
While there's a lot more interesting food options for Pesach today—[...]
Politics apparently continued over the winter holidays. What did that crafty Barack Obama do while the rest of us were worshiping the Baby Jesus or whatever? He is suggesting that America allow Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense, that's what! Who would let Chuck Hagel do something as important as overseeing the continued American defeat in Afghanistan, when he has controversial opinions about The Gays and Israel?
But, like all cabinet battles, the controversy around Chuck Hagel is both a) limited to Politico reporters/editors and the people who actually read the Politico, and b) not really about the Defense Department but actually about right-wing Christians who hate gays [...]
Sundown Monday marked the beginning of Passover, the festival that celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from the Egyptian Pharaohs 3300 years ago, give or take. The story of Exodus tells of the 10th and final plague—the death of the first-born, cast down upon the Egyptians for failing to heed God’s command to free the Children of Israel. To avoid the scourge, the Israelites were instructed by Moses to mark their doors with the blood of a slaughtered lamb as code: "Pass over" this home.
A 73-year-old white supremacist killed three people over the weekend in a targeted attack on Jewish community centers in Kansas City. The [...]
Previously: • Bret Easton Ellis—Or Dr. Seuss? • Ask Reddit—Or Sociopath Quiz Question? Alex J. Mann is a writer, director and comedian living in New York City. He’s written for Nickelodeon, The Morning News, CollegeHumor and National Lampoon. You can check out his comedy projects here and follow him on Twitter here.
As we are so often reminded, mileage is variable, and that will certainly be the case for yours on the subjects of sports, Wilt Chamberlain and the Jewish summer resorts of the '50s. But if any of those are of interest to you, I highly recommend that you head here and watch this documentarette. The main point I would like to get across in this space, however, is that Haskell is actually a pretty great name and if we are going full steam ahead and recycling all the appellations of an earlier era you could do a lot worse than to choose that one for your child. Or someone [...]
"I did not learn to cook, either. Instead I have become a superior dinner guest. I am wonderful to have at your side while you cook, particularly if you give me a glass of wine, and also to have sit at your table, because I will appreciate your food in a deep, emotional and highly verbal way." —Awl pal Jami Attenberg reminds us that the key ingredient in chicken noodle soup is "guilt." In other news, her wonderful novel The Middlesteins has been picked up by German publishing company Schoffling & Co. It's fun to imagine the conversations at the office about how to handle the retitling of [...]