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Culture

Daily Distraction: A ‘Plot Against America’ podcast, Netflix Party and Yiddish cooking

Welcome to your daily distraction, our recommendations for ways to stay engaged and entertained while we socially distance ourselves to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak. You can find our past recommendations here; many of the opportunities we’ve highlighted are ongoing.

Hi! First of all, breathe and center yourself. It’s Thursday, and you’ve almost made it through the week. It’s good to keep a schedule, even while mostly staying home. But you also need some diverting activities that aren’t work — or homework. Once again, we have you covered.

1) Listen to “The Plot Against America” podcast

David Simon and Ed Burns’ audacious television adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel kicked off on HBO Monday evening. You can read about its backstory here, but, if you want to go deep on Simon’s process and the historical Easter eggs he packed into each frame, we recommend the show’s podcast featuring Simon and NPR’s Peter Sagal. Simon described the podcast, best listened to after watching an episode, as a “didactic headrush” where two “Hebrew characters tell you in Talmudic detail what you already saw.”


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2) Go to the movies with friends — without leaving home

In this age of streaming, we don’t go to the movies nearly as much as we used to. But, with most theaters closed these days — and experts advising against going to those that remain open —many of us miss having the option of a cinema-driven social outing. Luckily, there’s Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension that lets you watch movies and TV shows with friends while still complying with social distancing guidelines! The free extension lets you synchronize viewing with friends anywhere in the world and has an added chat feature for those inclined to make snarky remarks. It’s a great way to connect with friends and beat back the self-isolation loneliness. All that’s missing is the overpriced popcorn.

3) Cook dinner while learning Yiddish

Cooking for yourself can be a great way to relieve stress — especially when you can do it in the mamaloshen. The Forward’s Yiddish-language cooking show, “Eat in Good Health,” which has English subtitles, features a number of easy recipes — some of which, like this Indian lemon rice, rely on simple pantry staples. While you cook, pick up a bisl of Yiddish if you’re new to the language. If you’re fluent, feel free to speak to your screen; it will feel almost like Forverts editor Rukhl Schaecter and her guests are in your kitchen keeping you company.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at grisar@forward.com

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