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Katie Holmes stars in a play about Hasidim, a Pulitzer Prize winner and the seven-year itch: The Wanderers, a new off-Broadway show about two very different Jewish couples in Brooklyn, features characters who all “have sort of a pebble in their shoe,” explains its playwright, Anna Ziegler, 43, who once spent a summer interning at the Forward. “There’s something that doesn’t feel quite right. They’re all looking over their shoulders to see if there’s some better life out there or some other life that might be more satisfying.” Read the story ➤
Getting ‘Santosed’ | Truth-deprived congressman’s name is now a verb: The term is already so ubiquitous that it has several definitions on Urban Dictionary. “When you fall for someone’s bald-faced, outlandish lies,” reads one, using the example of a boyfriend “who said he was a doctor, had a house in the Hamptons, and that his dad was an astronaut; can’t believe I fell for that.” Read the story ➤
How 99% of Nazis got away with murder: The documentary Getting Away With Murder(s) explores why so few Nazis and their collaborators faced justice for their crimes. Speaking to survivors and historians, director David Nicholas Wilkinson reveals just how quickly world governments lost interest in prosecuting Nazis after Nuremberg, shifting their focus to the Cold War. Our PJ Grisar called the film “a fiery indictment of a historic injustice too little heeded and too often rationalized.” Read his review ➤
The yearbook for Jerry Kowalski’s class of 1968. (Courtesy)
At this yeshiva, academics, religion — oh, and the occasional Playboy mag: Jerry Kowalski attended an all-boys yeshiva in 1960s Brooklyn, where he was part of a rambunctious clique. “When the TV series Welcome Back, Kotter premiered,” he writes, “I could have sworn the storyline was premised on my high school experience.” Some students would play clandestine poker games, while others would sneak out a window to go bowling. Decades later, Jerry bumped into his high school rebbe, who admitted being proud of him despite all that. Read his essay ➤
Scrub Daddy’s viral sponges come in kosher options now: Why did the brand, which leans heavily into a social media strategy replete with sexual innuendo, decide to use TikTok to sell and promote a product for observant Jews? Our digital culture reporter, Mira Fox, investigates. Read the story ➤
But wait, there’s more…
- There were a handful of shtetls in Ukraine and Moldova that survived the Holocaust, and endured for decades. Shtetlers, a documentary telling their stories, debuts Friday on Apple TV+.
- Roughly 100 schools, congregations and Jewish organizations have signed an open letter to Elon Musk denouncing antisemitism on Twitter.
- When friends refused to take a COVID-19 test before getting together, a reader felt disrespected. She asked our Bintel Brief advice column if she should end the relationship. “It’s so, so easy to want to just let things go,” counseled Bintel. “But you shouldn’t.”
- Standing alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday in Jerusalem, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Israel to maintain its strong democracy and reconsider the far-right government’s attempts to overhaul it. With the region on edge after a Palestinian gunman killed seven Israeli Jews as they left an East Jerusalem synagogue on Friday night and a deadly Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp the day before, Blinken is set to meet today with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
- Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, speaking at a Manhattan synagogue Monday night, urged American Jews not to give up on Israel because of the new government’s moves to undermine the independent judiciary and other initiatives. He assured the audience that most Israelis favor democracy and encouraged them to keep voicing their views and engage with Israel’s leaders.
- Meanwhile, Amichai Chikli, Israel’s new minister of diaspora affairs, in an interview with our Jacob Kornbluh, was unapologetic about his government’s agenda and blamed political foes for eroding relations with American Jews.
- Israel’s new version of Air Force One, dubbed the Wing of Zion, is taking test flights but will likely not be ready for Netanyahu’s trip to Paris on Thursday to meet French President Emmanuel Macron. The plane was commissioned under the previous government but then shelved, and has been in storage.
Are you subscribed to our new podcast, Playing Anne Frank? The show debuted last week and is already the No. 8 ranked performing arts podcast in the U.S. Episode 3 dropped this morning; it explores the lives of actors from the original Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank, in 1955, who went on to pursue widely-divergent careers at places like the Metropolitan Museum, Vogue magazine and Hollywood. One created an extremely successful TV show while another became an internationally-renowned photographer. Listen now ➤
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WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
💑 Two stars of Shtisel will be reuniting for a miniseries about a family that survived the Holocaust. Actors Michael Aloni and Hadas Yaron, who played Akiva and Libbi on Shtisel (pictured above), will once again play a married couple in the new show, which is being made by Hulu and based on the 2017 bestselling book We Were the Lucky Ones. (Kveller)
🇩🇪 Germany returned a 16th century sculpture to the heirs of Jakob Goldschmidt, a banker who fled soon after Hitler came to power. The sculpture shows Mary nursing an infant Jesus and has been on display at the German Museum in Ulm since 1993. (JTA)
🔫 In a wide-ranging interview, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, talks about her gun safety advocacy work, her late-in-life bat mitzvah and forgiveness. “I’ve never given up hope,” she said. (New York Times)
🇦🇪 A museum in the United Arab Emirates unveiled a new exhibit featuring a Torah scroll that survived the Holocaust, part of a new effort to change the Arab public’s understanding of Jewish history. (Reuters)
📚 The top prizes for Jewish children’s literature in 2022 are out and the winners include an illustrated book about a Holocaust survivor who collected thousands of photos and and two works of fantasy featuring dybbuks and Jewish demons. (JTA)
🍳 Tali Friedman, an Israel-based cooking instructor, provides celebrities and politicians an authentic experience at Jerusalem’s bustling Machane Yehuda market. Her clients include Martha Stewart, Mitt Romney and Ivanka Trump. (NY Post)
Shiva call ➤ Avi Poster, a Jewish communal leader who built bridges between Nashville’s Jews and Muslims, died at 77.
What else we’re reading ➤ The Israeli vegan chef who cannot stand vegans … What monks can teach us about paying attention … On a family journey to Morocco’s southern coast, a writer reckons with his Jewish heritage.
An exhibit of historical images from the Forward’s archives went on display this week at the University of Pittsburgh. Get more info here, and watch the video above for a behind-the-scenes look at the exhibit, which first went on display in 2019 in New York. It’s slated to be in Pittsburgh through April.
On this day in history (1937): Philip Glass was born in Baltimore to Lithuanian immigrant parents. Glass, a pianist, is considered one of the most influential composers of the later 20th century, known for his minimalist musical style. He has written 25 operas, 14 symphonies and three Academy Award-nominated film scores. Test your knowledge on the famous composer with our Philip Glass pop quiz.
Last year on this day, we released our ranking of the 150 greatest Jewish pop songs of all time, along with a series of essays that explored Bob Dylan’s Talmudic masterpiece, the most massive bar mitzvah hit of all time, Mel Brooks’ Hitler diddy and much more. Check it out ➤
In honor of National Hot Chocolate Day, try Molly Yeh’s recipe for tahini hot chocolate. You’re welcome.
On the last leg of his trip to Poland and Germany, Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman of the United States, got a tour of the Oranienburgerstrasse Synagogue in Berlin, where he also met with Ukrainian refugees. Earlier today, Emhoff also participated in a roundtable with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders on the importance of interfaith collaboration in combating antisemitism.
Follow our traveling Laura E. Adkins on Twitter for the latest from the trip.
Thanks to Laura E. Adkins, Beth Harpaz, Jacob Kornbluh, Adam Langer, Sarah Nachimson, Chana Pollack, and Talya Zax for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at [email protected].