Andrew Muchin


Tales from the Jewish Heartland

By Andrew Muchin

Tales from the Jewish Heartland
I’ve been fressing in the Midwest more or less continuously since 1958. I grew up in a kosher home in Manitowoc, WI, population 33,000, with an active Orthodox-ish congregation of about 50 families. When I was a preschooler, my Grandma Mamie Muchin used to shlep me to visit the local shochet, who kept chickens in his backyard. (Little did I know their fate.)Read More


Two Jewish Guys and an Arkansas Christmas Ritual

By Andrew Muchin

Two Jewish Guys and an Arkansas Christmas Ritual
You don’t need flashing reindeer lawn ornaments to tell you it’s the happiest time of the year in Arkansas’s capital. Simply tune into FM 89 KUAR in December for the “Jewish Guys’ Chanukah Special,” with co-hosts Phil Kaplan and Leslie Singer.Read More


A Final Yom Kippur in the Delta for Mississippi Community Begun in 1830s

By Andrew Muchin

A Final Yom Kippur in the Delta for Mississippi Community Begun in 1830s
As the members of Temple Beth El in Lexington, Miss., pray this Yom Kippur for inclusion in the Book of Life, they’ll be attending a funeral of sorts. The Ne’ilah, the day’s traditional closing service, will be the last scheduled worship to be held in their 104-year-old white wooden synagogue.Read More


'Rabbi' of Rumba

By Andrew Muchin

Before the Hip Hop Hoodios or the long-defunct Tijuana Brass added Latin rhythms to Yiddishe melodies, there was Irving Fields. The pianist who composed the 1946 hit “Miami Beach Rhumba” created the Latin-Jewish genre with the 1959 LP “Bagels and Bongos.”Read More


Pioneers in the Black Hills

By Andrew Muchin

It’s doubtful that Calamity Jane loved Wild Bill Hickock as much as local lore alleges, but there’s no disputing that the tomboy gunslinger bought groceries from Jacob Goldberg on Main Street.Read More






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  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
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