Jews in Comic Books

Posted on July 17th, 2017
BY ARIE KAPLAN for myjewishlearning.com 


How American Jews created the comic book industry.


Jews built the comic book industry from the ground up, and the influence of Jewish writers, artists, and editors continues to be felt to this day. But how did Jews come to have such a disproportionate influence on an industry most famous for lantern-jawed demigods clad in colorful tights?

First Comic Books
The story begins in 1933. During that year, the world experienced seismic changes in politics and pop culture. An unemployed Jewish novelty salesman named Maxwell Charles “M.C.” Gaines (née Max Ginzberg) had a brilliant idea: if he enjoyed reading old comic strips like Joe Palooka, Mutt and Jeff, and Hairbredth Harry so much, maybe the rest of America would, too. Thus was born the American comic book, which in its earliest days consisted of reprinted newspaper funnies. Gaines and his colleague Harry L. Wildenberg at Eastern Color Printing soon published February 1934’s Famous Funnies #1, Series 1, the first American retail comic book.

Continue reading.

The History of Yiddish

Posted on July 10th, 2017
BY MORDECAI WALFISH for myjewishlearning.com 


Yiddish originated in Germany, but was eventually spoken by Jews all over Europe.


In its 1,000-plus-year history, the Yiddish language has been called many things, including the tender name mameloshen (mother tongue), the adversarial moniker zhargon (jargon) and the more matter-of-fact Judeo-German.

What is Yiddish?

Literally speaking, Yiddish means “Jewish.” Linguistically, it refers to the language spoken by Ashkenazi Jews — Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, and their descendants. Though its basic vocabulary and grammar are derived from medieval West German, Yiddish integrates many languages including German, Hebrew, Aramaic and various Slavic and Romance languages.

The Origin of Yiddish

Continue reading.

Meet The Keeper Of Venice’s Forgotten Jewish Cemeteries

Posted on July 3rd, 2017
Jake Romm for The Forward


If you’re fortunate enough to find yourself in Venice during the Biennale, there’s a piece, recently reported on by the New York Times, that seems especially worth your time – Israeli artist Hadassa Goldvicht’s “The House of Life.” “The House of Life,” “a multiscreen video installation that opened this month at the Palazzo Querini Stampalia Museum” focuses on the life of Aldo Izzo, a former ship-captain who now tends to the two Jewish cemeteries of Venice (one dates back to 1386, and one, still in use, to 1774).

Read more: 

My Grandmother, the Undocumented Immigrant

Posted on June 26th, 2017
By Aaron Hamburger for Tablet Magazine 


On a recent trip to Cuba, I learned more about my grandmother’s journey to America—and the different ways my family has interpreted that piece of our history


In our family lore, we’ve regarded my grandmother’s year in Cuba as a bit of trivia in her heroic coming-to-America story, a peculiar intermezzo between the melancholy overture of shtetl life in rural Russia and the happy-ending crescendo of her American Dream. I hadn’t given it much thought until I decided to visit Havana myself in April, accompanying my husband, who was going there for work. It seemed like a rare opportunity to witness a country that had been off-limits to Americans for so long and was now going through a historic transformation.

We began preparing for the trip last fall, reading books and articles, filling out our visa applications, and loading up on essentials that our trip leaders had suggested we take along, like over-the-counter medications or extra rolls of toilet paper, which we were warned were not easily obtainable in Cuba because of the American embargo that’s still in effect.

Continue reading.

The Forgotten Truth about the Balfour Declaration

Posted on June 19th, 2017
Martin Kramer for Mosaic


For 100 years the British statement, which inaugurated Zionism’s legitimation in the eyes of the world, has been seen as the isolated act of a single nation. The truth is much different.


On November 2, 1917, a century ago, Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, conveyed the following pledge in a public letter to a prominent British Zionist, Lord Walter Rothschild:

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

At the time, as World War I raged, British forces were fighting deep in Palestine against the Ottomans, and were poised to take Jerusalem.

Continue reading.

Pages