Well, Ron Jeremy certainly, and on Beliefnet you can find a new interview in which the porn star discusses his Jewish background and his thoughts about Judaism and sexuality.
We’re all Jewish. [My family] comes from Russia and Poland, as most American Jews do. Out of all of us, only my grandmother was religious. My brother and I got bar mitzvahed, but we weren’t that religious. And as my joke goes, in my documentary I said, “After getting bar mitzvahed, I hardly ever went to temple–unless I wanted some free coffee and Danish.” I discovered that food tastes so much better when nobody’s paying for it.
Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that Thomas Jefferson might have been the first Jewish president.
Purim’s coming and it’s time to have some fun!
Here are some terrific websites with lots of activities for kids:Â
- Toratots offers information about Purim celebrations around the world as well greeting cards, a Purim storyÂ (With a virtual grogger that goes off everytime you put your mouse over the word “Haman”!), coloring pages, games, a Purim shpiel and more.
- Babaganewz‘s Purim Central has Purim Mad Libs, as well as mask templates, Purim ecards, a costume maker (think virtual paper dolls), Holiday Jewpardy and special Purim movies.
- AreÂ your kids planning great costumes? Enter them in theÂ Chabad Kids! online costume contest. Chabad Kids! also has Purim videos, songs and stories, fun holiday games and puzzles, special Purim arts and crafts and kid-friendly Purim recipes.
- Encourage your kids act out the Purim story with the fun Purim Play from Akhlah. The Akhlah Purim page also has Purim traditions, vocabulary, blessings, and recipes, as well as a Children’s Megillah, a quiz and a Purim timeline.
In the mood for an old-fashioned Yiddish Western?
Click here to watch a short film called The Cowboy.Â
Here’s some background on this unique Western from the National Center for Jewish Film:
Yes, it’s just your typical all-Yiddish shoot-‘em-up: a small boy falls out of a covered wagon on its way West and shows up years later as a quick trigger cowboy. When he is unjustly accused of theft, a gunfight breaks out to the strains of “Oyfn Pripitchik.” This spoof was made [in 1968] by adding a Yiddish dialogue to the Son of Oklahoma, a 1932 Hollywood Western.
Thanks to alterkoker on ourÂ CultureÂ discussion boardÂ for bringing this to our attention.
Philip Roth has another award for his trophy case.
The AP reports:
Philip Roth has won yet another literary prize, this time the PEN/Faulkner award for “Everyman,” his short, bleak novel about illness and mortality…
Roth, who will receive $15,000, is the first three-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner, having received it in 1994 for “Operation Shylock” and in 2001 for “The Human Stain.” The PEN/Faulkner Award was founded in 1980. (MORE)
For those of you in the New York area looking for something to do tomorrow night (Feb 27), I’ll be moderating a discussion at the Skirball Center’s Ideas Cafe. The topic: Can a Jewish State Be Truly Democratic?
If you’re in the mood for some passionate debate, come on down. The program costs $10, includes wine and cheese, and starts at 8pm. The Skirball Center is at 10 East 66th Street.
Want to do some preparatory reading? Check out this article (“Arabs say Israel is not just for Jews”) from last week’s LA Times.
Hirhurim’s Gil Student has just published a review in the Jewish Press of Imrei Baruch (The Sayings of Baruch), a series of essays concerned with the ethical life that draws on biblical, rabbinic, and Hasidic texts.
The three volume set, by Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Baruch Simon, are in Hebrew and probably not on most of your reading lists, but I did want to note it because Gil alludes to a truth I can get behind:
If anyone has the right to write about the ethical life, it’s Rabbi Simon, a paradigmatic mensch who, when I sat in his class as a sixteen year-old a dozen years ago, displayed unquestionable Talmudic brilliance, but more importantly, an unparalleled capacity for kindness.
Benjamin’s writings are difficult and obscure, but because they’re theoretically so well-suited for analyzing pop culture, they often come up in more popular — and fun — contexts than, say, Heidegger.
Case in point: here’s a great bit from Rob Sheffield’s new memoir Love is a Mix Tape…
Walter Benjamin, in his prescient 1923 essay “One Way Street,” said a book was an outdated means of communication between two boxes of index cards. One professor goes through books, looking for tasty bits he can copy onto index cards. Then he types his index cards up into a book, so other professors can go through it and copy tasty bits onto their own index cards. Benjamin’s joke was: Why not just sell the index cards? I guess that’s why we trade mix tapes. We music fans love our classic albums, our seamless masterpieces, our Blonde on Blonde and our Talking Books. But we love to pluck songs off those albums and mix them up with other songs, plunging them back into the rest of the manic slipstream of rock and roll.
The latest installment of Adeena Sussmanâ€™s MJL food column â€œThe Inspired Kitchenâ€? is now available. The newest recipe: MandelbrotÂ – the Jewish biscotti. Find out out how this recipe made it from Italy to your Bubbe’s kitchen.
If you haven’t yet peeked at David Plotz’s Slate feature Blogging the Bible, yesterday’s edition is a good place to start, as he covers three books in one post. Plus, I’m guessing I’m not the only one whose knowledge of Joel, Amos, and Obadiah is a bit lacking.
Joel is the prophet of green, the oracle of Earth Day, the guru of global warming. His brief (four-chapter) book glows with images of nature — as destroyer, and as redeemer. It’s astonishingly beautiful.
And then comes the drama:
Wait a minute! My Christian Bible has only three chapters of Joel, but my Jewish Bible has four. What’s going on here?
Read the whole thing here.