JBuzz Reviews May 31, 2013: New York Times Reviews Ruth R. Wisse: No Joke: Making Jewish Humor

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‘No Joke,’ by Ruth R. Wisse

Source: NYT, 5-31-13

No Joke: Making Jewish Humor
Ruth R. Wisse

Princeton University Press

Reviews | Table of Contents | Introduction [PDF]

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“No Joke,” a subtle and provocative new book by Ruth R. Wisse, who teaches Yiddish literature at Harvard, recounts the long history of Jewish humor and brings it up to date. She includes the effects of the Holocaust and Stalin on Jewish storytelling; she discusses American humorists from the borscht belt stand-ups of the 1940s to Larry David, and novels from Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint” to Howard Jacobson’s “Fink­ler Question,” which won the Man Booker Prize in 2010. And she reviews the lively state of humor in Israel today….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 29, 2013: Mauro Perani: Oldest Known Complete Torah scroll found at University of Bologna Library in Italy

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Old Torah scroll found in Italy university library

An Italian expert in Hebrew manuscripts says he has found the oldest known complete Torah scroll, a sheepskin document dating from 1155-1225. Photo / AP

An Italian expert in Hebrew manuscripts says he has found the oldest known complete Torah scroll, a sheepskin document dating from 1155-1225. Photo / AP

An Italian expert in Hebrew manuscripts said Wednesday he has discovered the oldest known complete Torah scroll, a sheepskin document dating from 1155-1225. It was right under his nose, in the University of Bologna library, where it had been mistakenly catalogued a century ago as dating from the 17th century.

The find isn’t the oldest Torah text in the world: the Leningrad and the Aleppo bibles – both of them Hebrew codexes, or books – pre-date the Bologna scroll by more than 200 years. But this is the oldest Torah scroll of the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, according to Mauro Perani, a professor of Hebrew in the University of Bologna’s cultural heritage department….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 29, 2013: Polish history professor Krzysztof Jasiewicz fired for blaming Jews for Holocaust

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Blaming Jews for Holocaust costs Polish prof his job

Source: JTA, 5-29-13

Polish historian Krzysztof Jasiewicz was dismissed from the Polish Academy of Sciences for laying some blame on the Jews for the outbreak of the Holocaust….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 28, 2013: Funeral held in New York for Torah scrolls ruined by Hurricane Sandy

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Funeral held in N.Y. for Torah scrolls ruined by Sandy

Source: JTA, 5-28-13

A funeral was held in New York for 12 Torah scrolls that were destroyed in superstorm Sandy….READ MORE

 

JBuzz News May 27, 2013: London family robbed of $30,000 in Judaica while sleeping

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London family robbed of $30,000 in Judaica while sleeping

Source: JTA, 5-27-13

Judaica artifacts worth approximately $30,000 were stolen from a Jewish family in northern London….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 27, 2013: Friedberg Genizah Project: Computer network to help break Cairo Genizah codes

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Computer network to help break Cairo Genizah codes

Source: JTA, 5-27-13

The Friedberg Genizah Project will use a high performance computer network at Tel Aviv University Cairo Genizah to break the codes of the Cairo Genizah….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 26, 2013: Naomi Schaefer Riley: Why do Jews intermarry, and who’d marry a Jew anyway?

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Why do Jews intermarry, and who’d marry a Jew anyway?

In her new book, Naomi Schaefer Riley takes a look at why so many in the American Jewish community are marrying out of the faith.

Jewish wedding

Jewish wedding Photo: Thinkstock
Over the past half century, intermarriage has become increasingly common in the United States among all religions – but among Jews at the highest rate.

Why that is the case is one of the questions Naomi Schaefer Riley probes in her new book, “‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America” (Oxford University Press).

One of the main reasons, Riley finds, is that the older people get, the more likely they are to intermarry….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 21, 2013: Hebrew Union College: US Reform Jewish seminary reconsidering policy against intermarried students

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U.S. Reform Jewish seminary reconsidering policy against intermarried students

Movement already embraces intermarried couples; now may start ordaining rabbinic students who married outside the faith.

Source: Haaretz, 5-21-13

Should the Reform movement ordain intermarried rabbis? Hebrew Union College, which is the seminary of America’s largest Jewish denomination, is considering altering its current policy, which does not allow admission to its rabbinical, cantorial or education schools of applicants who are married to or partnered with non-Jews.

A growing chorus of voices — including newly-ordained and long-time Reform rabbis — says that changing it is the only way to be a truly inclusive movement. Other rabbis, including the HUC’s president, say that doing so would undermine their graduates’ ability to model ideals of Jewish commitment, a key part of a rabbi’s role….READ MORE 

JBuzz News May 21, 2013: Barbra Streisand to receive honorary PhD at Hebrew Universty in Jerusalem

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Barbra Streisand to receive honorary PHD in Jerusalem

Source: BBC News, 5-21-13

The award is in recognition for her human rights work and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people. Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University, said they were “deeply proud” to honour her….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 20, 2013: Boruch Spiegel, Fighter in Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Dies at 93

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Boruch Spiegel, Fighter in Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Dies at 93

Source: New York Times, 5-20-13

Boruch Spiegel, one of the last surviving fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, in which a vastly outgunned band of 750 young Jews held off German soldiers for more than a month with crude arms and Molotov cocktails, died on May 9 in Montreal. He was 93….

Mr. Spiegel was on guard duty and, according to his son-in-law, Eugene Orenstein, a retired professor of Jewish history at McGill University, gave the signal to launch the uprising….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 20, 2013: Jonathan Marc Gribetz: Telling Jerusalem’s story through its many conquests

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Telling Jerusalem’s story through its many conquests

Source: NJ Jewish News, 5-20-13

Professor Jonathan Marc Gribetz questioned whether permanently holding the city of Jerusalem is an attainable goal. 

	Photo by Debra Rubin+ enlarge image

Professor Jonathan Marc Gribetz questioned whether permanently holding the city of Jerusalem is an attainable goal. 

Photo by Debra Rubin

“The history of Jerusalem is the history of conquest,” said Jonathan Marc Gribetz, “and that past has demonstrated that it is a place where religion and politics are almost inextricable.”

Gribetz, assistant professor of Jewish studies and history at Rutgers University, spoke May 6 about the conflicting identities of Jerusalem during a program at Highland Park Conservative Temple-Congregation Anshe Emeth….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 19, 2013: Baruch College Jewish Studies Center: Jewish Presence in Contemporary Art

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Jewish Presence in Contemporary Art

Source: Algemeiner, 5-19-13

A sculpture by Audrey Flack. Photo: Audreyflack.com

The Jewish presence and identity in the contemporary world of art is one truly worth noting. At the 3rd annual conference of “Jewish Arts & Identity in the contemporary world” in Baruch College’s Jewish Studies Center, at a panel entitled “Jewish Ways of Seeing: The Visual Arts and the Jewish Tradition”, the Jewish impact on the creative world is exemplified through the discussion of artist Audrey Flack and her various works….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 13, 2013: Shavuot, Jewish holiday celebrating the Torah starts on Tuesday evening

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Jewish holiday celebrating the Torah starts on Tuesday evening

Source: Syracuse.com, 5-13-13

Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jews, starts on Tuesday evening and ends on Thursday evening….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 13, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Receives First Fruits for Shavuot Holiday

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PM Netanyahu Receives First Fruits for Shavuot Holiday

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-13-13

“First fruits” had to be one of the seven species that the Bible lists as Israel’s best crops – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates and each year’s “first fruits” would be brought to the Temple from the holiday of Shavuot….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 10, 2013: Geza Vermes: Dead Sea Scrolls professor dies

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Dead Sea Scrolls professor dies

Source: Jewish Chronicle, 5-10-13

Dead Sea Scrolls professor Geza Vermes has died aged 88 of cancer.

Prof Vermes was the Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies at Oxford, best known for his work on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewishness of Jesus….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 10, 2013: Chabad Jewish education center in Miami could be lost in foreclosure auction

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Chabad Jewish education center in Miami could be lost in foreclosure auction

Source: South Florida Business Journal, 5-10-13

The Lubavitch Education Center in Miami, where Jewish studies are taught from preschool through high school and rabbinical training, has been ordered to foreclosure auction….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 10, 2013: Women of the Wall: Standoff at Kotel / Western Wall Over Praying by Women

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Standoff at Western Wall Over Praying by Women

Source: NYT, 5-10-13

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews joined a protest at the Jerusalem holy site, creating a standoff with a group of women praying there in garments traditionally worn by men….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 9, 2013: Mayanot Institute for Jewish Studies: Steer Towards the ‘On-Ramp’ to Jewish Education

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Steer Towards the ‘On-Ramp’ to Jewish Education

Students at Mayanot’s Women’s Program in class with Rabbi Mordechai Guth, right.

Students at Mayanot’s Women’s Program in class with Rabbi Mordechai Guth, right.

Nestled in the heart of Jerusalem, and long seen as an accessible starting point for young Jews looking to deepen their connections to their religion, the Mayanot Institute for Jewish Studies has had thousands pass through the doors of its campuses for young men and women since its founding more than a decade ago.

In response to requests from students and young adults who visit Israel as part of the 10-day Birthright Israel tours, Mayanot’s Jewish studies program will now offer an intensive crash course on “Judaism 101” for those with little or no prior Jewish education….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 7, 2013: Ted Merwin: Judaic studies speaker examines ‘non-Jews’ involvement in Jewish life

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Judaic studies speaker examines ‘non-Jews’ involvement in Jewish life

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, 5-7-13

The University of Scranton Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute hosted a lecture by Ted Merwin, Ph. D., entitled “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish: Non-Jews’ Growing Investment in Jewish Life” in Brennan Hall’s Pearn Auditorium….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 6, 2013: Suspected Auschwitz death camp guard arrested in Germany

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Suspected Auschwitz death camp guard arrested in Germany

Source: Chicago Tribune, 5-6-13

A suspected Auschwitz concentration camp guard and former Chicago resident was arrested Monday in Germany, according to a Nazi-hunting group….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 6, 2013: Monitoring Professors Who Hate and Attack their Country

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Monitoring Professors Who Hate and Attack their Country

Source: The Jewish Press (blog), 5-6-13

These professors utilize their position as a means to prove the justness of their cause while the fact that they are Israeli adds a sense of legitimacy….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 5, 2013: Nationalists Protest World Jewish Congress in Hungary

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Nationalists Protest Jewish Congress in Hungary

Source: New York Times, Reuters, 5-5-13

Leaders of a far-right Hungarian political party accused Israelis of plotting to buy up large parts of Hungary as several hundred nationalists protested on Saturday before a meeting of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 5, 2013: Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban comes up short in anti-Semitism message, World Jewish Congress says

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Hungary’s Orban comes up short in anti-Semitism message, WJC says

Source: JTA, 5-5-13

The World Jewish Congress welcomed comments by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban condemning anti-Semitism but said he did not go far enough….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 1, 2013: No White House party? What’s a Jew to do during Jewish American Heritage Month

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No White House party? What’s a Jew to do during Jewish American Heritage Month

Source: Jewish Telegraphic Agency (blog), 5-1-13

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a commemoration first recognized by President George W. Bush in 2006. Since then, hundreds of programs have taken place nationwide annually to honor the rich contributions of Jews to American culture and society….READ MORE