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The Jewish mystical roots of His Dark Materials

The BBC and HBO recently aired the final episodes of the TV show His Dark Materials, based on the books of the same name by Philip Pullman, a self-described Church of England Atheist. When I first read the His Dark Materials trilogy 20 years ago, I knew the books were deemed as heretical. I read […]

Jewish Folk Medicine in Eastern Europe

Efram Sera-Shriar reviews a new book about Jewish Folk Medicine in Eastern Europe. Not so long ago I was having a discussion about traditional Jewish folk customs with my uncle, who is a lawyer. Like me, he’s always been interested in this aspect of Jewish culture, and we chatted about things such as the supposed […]

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Jewish velvet – a touching memoire

Keith Kahn-Harris explores how his inability to tolerate the touch of velvet shaped his experience of growing up Jewish.

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Pour Out Your Rage

Ruben Vis reflects on a key passage in the Haggadah. If the word Seder means order, then every piece in the Haggada must be in its correct place. Why, then, immediately after the meal, do we read a passage that seems out of place and why is it even there in the first place? It […]

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Intersex and Trans Jewish Lives

Martin H. Di Maggio argues that the time to act is now. Shortly after I was born, nurses noticed that I was “a bit different from other boys” and took me to have chromosome tests (without informing my mother) to verify my sex. It wasn’t enough that I “looked like a boy” or that I […]

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Introducing “Seinfeld Yomi”

Jarrod Tanny introduces us to Seinfeld Yomi, a Facebook group devoted to watching and discussing the series day by day in the tradition of our greatest sages. Welcome to Seinfeld Yomi! Are there degrees of coincidence? Is it permissible to parallel park headfirst? Is it poor hygiene to “double dip” a chip? How long must […]

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Solomon and Rabbi Simon

Barbara Borts tells us how Simon and Garfunkel explain Kohelet. Paul Simon has just celebrated his 80th birthday, keyn eyn hore, and Art Garfunkel has his coming up soon. All the celebrations have sent me with nostalgia back to their music, which formed a significant part of my teenage playlist of folk and singer-songwriter melodies. […]

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Stamp of Approval

In the third of three poems, Bruce Black reflects on prayer. Do prayers receive a stamp of approval when they arrive in heaven? Maybe there’s an angel sitting at a desk reading each prayer, deciding which one gets passed on to God and which gets dismissed—tossed into the wastebasket to be shredded later— while those […]

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Tikkun Olam in a Frying Pan

Michal Nahman tells us about the Bristol-based Mizrachi food project. As a kid, it felt like our family was an odd and outlandish mixture. I’d hear my dad’s Ladino intermingled with my mum’s family’s Romanian in our Israeli home in a lower middle-class suburb of Toronto. ‘Ach Patron del mundo’, my dad would plead, as […]

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Yizkor

In the second of three poems, Bruce Black reflects on Jewish prayer. Under the folds of my prayer shawl that I drape over my head before beginning to pray, I greet my parents, my grandparents, my uncles and aunts, imagining each embracing me again, holding me in their arms. Under the folds of my prayer […]

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