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Making Noise

The current issue of American Jewish Life magazine has a feature on “Women Who Rock,” including Sophie Milman, Marissa Nadler, Regina Spektor and Neshama Carlbach. In an introductory essay, Mordechai Shinefield writes, “most times the religion and gender of these singers are incidental. When I listen to Sophie Milman I’m not thinking of synagogue or… Read more »

Putting Ourselves Up for Sale?

In Suze Orman’s latest PBS special, the personal finance guru exhorts women not to volunteer, not to “put themselves on sale.” I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I am becoming increasingly aware of just how much Jewish communal life relies on volunteers, many of whom are women. To me, Orman’s directive sounds… Read more »

All the News that's Fit to…Something

It’s difficult to write about how aggravated you are about the media’s focus on glitz—when they’re supposed to be writing about politics, when it means that, when you’re supposed to be writing about politics, you’re focusing on media glitz. It’s “meta” in a most annoying way, plus I generally prefer not to make problems worse.… Read more »

Know any Israeli Accountants? Just One Condition…

In the spirit of “aliyah adventures,” I record here a transcript of a conversation I had this afternoon with an accountant in Jerusalem: “Hello, this is Avrum, returning your call. You left a message at our firm this morning?” “Yes, thanks for getting back to me. I am looking for an accountant who can assist… Read more »

How 'Bout a Reading List?

“Be warned,” Ellen Litman writes in Ha’aretz. “The Book of Dahlia is not the kind of book in which a girl gets an incurable brain tumor and learns an important lesson….[T]he cancer fails to reform her. She remains her nihilistic, wisecracking self – an antihero of sorts – unwilling to fight for her life the… Read more »

Reflections on International Women's Day

Saturday March 8th marked 100 years of commemorating International Women’s Day. (Mazel tov IWD!) A lot of people are skeptical of such Days with a capital D, but — like birthdays — these Hallmark-like days of social consciousness are an opportunity to remember the things we should always keep in mind, such as that the… Read more »

Economies of Scale

I feel chastened, somewhat, having written about my ambivilent attitude towards Israel just days before murdered eight students in a yeshiva there. That the yeshiva is associated with the religious nationalist faction is useful background information, but to make any sort of political pronouncements regarding that fact, to make any political pronouncements at all, feels… Read more »

Hideous Kinky

The other night, a friend and I went to a reading at the East Village’s cozy The reading was decidedly unsexy, too self-conscious to be much more than yet another erotic reading series (and New York has plenty), this time for a specific demographic. Even after listening to six readers, I’m not sure what it… Read more »

Portman’s Spicy Interfaith Flick

Israeli born actress, Natalie Portman recently made headlines for designing a new line of vegan shoes. (When I want to find stylish, leather-free shoes to match my vegetarian values, I head to Payless – but if Portman wants to make the $200 version, more power to her.) Before the buzz about her humane footwear had… Read more »

Philanthropy Begins at Home

We all know the stereotypes about Jews and money, but what if you’re Jewish and you don’t have any money to speak of? It’s one thing to help the UJA/Federation raise money for Jews facing persecution in third world countries, but what about when the need for charity lies closer to home? My son attends… Read more »

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