Thou Shalt Take A Surname

Goldberg, Rosenstein, Feldman...typical Jewish Ashkenazi names. Historically, however, until the early Industrial era, Jews were generally known by a patronymical : Rabbi Shimon ben (son…

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Moonbeam

December 21, 1968/30 Kislev 5729 was the day on which the world held its breath as American astronauts set out for the moon. On this day, Apollo 8, with its three member crew, was…

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Jews and the American Revolution

In 1776, there were approximately 2,000 Jews in America. This rather small part of the population took an active role in the American Revolution. One company of soldiers in South…

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IPO Music

On December 26, 1936, corresponding to the 12th of Tevet, the Palestine Orchestra, founded by Polish-Jewish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, held its initial concert in Tel Aviv. At that…

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Alas Poor Yorick

William Shakespeare used the imagery of the skull of Yorick as a means for Prince Hamlet to wax poetic about the futility of life. While Yorick’s may be the most famous skull in…

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Kosher in Gracie Mansion

Although New York has one of the oldest Jewish communities in the United States (the first Jews arrived in 1654), the first openly Jewish mayor of New York City was not elected until…

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A Taste of Shakespeare

Yiddish theater, which saw its heyday in the early decades of the twentieth century, played an important role in the lives of the American Jewish community. More than just entertainment…

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Shakespeare’s Jew

From 1290 until the 1650s, Jews were not permitted to settle in England. However, marranos/anusim–Jews from Spain and Portugal who had converted to Christianity in name only in order to…

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