All The Presidents’ Dogs: A Walk Through History

White House canine companions from Bo Obama to Tipsy Washington

President Barack Obama greets his dog Bo outside the Oval Office of the White House March 15, 2012 in Washington, DC.(Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images)

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we’d like to take a moment and honor those most important members of the White House team: the presidents’ pets. Specifically, their dogs. Because if dog’s are man’s best friend, that means they’re probably presidents’ best best friend, and it’s about time our presidential pooches got some love.

While the recent trend of bark mitzvahs and rabbis blessing animals may suggest otherwise, Jews have long been believed to have a rocky relationship with domestic animals, and dogs in particular. According to Moment Magazine, “Literature is filled with references that underscore this ambivalent relationship.” (more…)

Israeli Actress to Star in ‘Goosebumps’ Movie

Odeya Rush joins Jack Black in film adaptation of classic R.L. Stine books

Odeya Rush. (Imdb)

Odeya Rush, the 16-year-old Israeli actress, has landed a new movie role. The Haifa-born starlet, who’s had roles in the The Odd Life of Timothy Green as well as the film version of The Giver (which is presumably how she met Taylor Swift), is set to star in a big-screen adaptation of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, the classic children’s book series that still frightens me. The Wrap reports that Rush joins Jack Black in the film’s cast, and will be playing his niece. (No word whether Black’s plan to get his real-life kids into a Jewish school worked.)

The movie won’t be out for a while, so until then we’ll be hanging onto R.L. Stine’s every last tweet.

Previous: Sundown: Israeli Actress in ‘Passion’ Prequel

Pope Francis Urges Jewish-Catholic Cooperation

Calls his upcoming visit to Israel a trip of ‘communion, hope, and peace’

Pope Francis arrives for a Valentine's Day celebration in St Peter's square at the Vatican on February 14, 2014. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis praised dialogue between Jews and Catholics, emphasizing the importance of interfaith cooperation, while addressing a 50-person delegation from the American Jewish Committee at the Vatican this week, JTA reports. He also called his upcoming trip to Israel a chance for “communion, hope and peace.”

Francis praised the AJC for its work in promoting Jewish-Catholic dialogue. He noted that next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate declaration, which launched the formal dialogue and, he said, “constitutes for the Church the sure point of reference for relations” between Catholics and Jews.” (more…)

Finding Love in a Hopeless Place: The E.R.

Tablet contributor Margarita Korol recounts a dramatic, emotional afternoon


Margarita Korol, whose bold, evocative art often illustrates Tablet stories, has been a longtime member of the Tablet family. Even when she moved to Chicago last year, she remained an important part of our extended team of collaborators. She’s written an article for Oy!Chicago that so perfectly encapsulates her spirit—fearless and hopeful even in the face of strange and unexplainable adversity—that I wanted to share it with our readers on this Valentine’s Day.

In it, she describes an afternoon with a new love interest that goes sharply awry. (more…)

How A Middle School Teacher Inspired ‘Noah’

Darren Aronofsky credits Mrs. Fried with the idea for the film, cast her in it

Russel Crowe in 'Noah.'(The Wrap)

There’s a big story about Darren Aronofsky’s ambitious new film project, Noah, in The Hollywood Reporter this week, which details the embattled process of getting potential faith-based audiences on board with the various artistic liberties taken by Aronofsky in his depiction of the biblical story of Noah’s Ark. It’s an interesting look at how the support of Christian viewers can propel a film to success (see: The Blind Side), and the extent to which studios will accomodate their needs when marketing—and in this case, producing—a film.

But the best part, as Vulture points out, is the part about Mrs. Fried, Aronofsky’s middle school teacher, who Aronofsky credits with inspiring him to create the film. (more…)

A Savory and Sentimental Cake Recipe

Derek Attig shares the recipe for carrot ring, his signature Jewish dish


One of our readers wrote in today, asking for Derek Attig’s carrot ring recipe, after reading his piece about connecting to Jewish cuisine. “Out of ordinary ingredients—carrots, flour, shortening, sugar, salt—comes something that, with only a little bit of time and a table full of friends, feels comfortably, perfectly Jewish,” Attig wrote of the dish.

We thought all our readers might want this recipe, and Derek—who says it’s his “signature” now—agreed to share.

Carrot Ring

1.5 cups Crisco
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs cold water
3 cups grated (by hand!) carrots
juice of 1 lemon

Cream Crisco and brown sugar. Add all other ingredients. Pour into well-greased bundt or spring-form pan. Refrigerate overnight. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

(recipe can be multiplied by 1.5)


Related: How Froot Loops Helped Me Create a Culinary Connection to the Jewish World

NYC Congregation Finds a Home—in a Pharmacy Basement

Inwood Orthodox rabbi will host monthly services at Dichter Pharmacy

Dichter Pharmacy in Inwood, N.Y. (Yelp)

The Orthodox Jewish community in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood was having trouble finding a place to convene their weekly prayer services. So they set up shop in a drug store.

But Dichter Pharmacy, a community staple for more than seven decades, is not your average Duane Reade or Walgreens. Dichter’s, located in upper Manhattan at 207th St. and Broadway, is also home to many eclectic activities, including art exhibitions, monthly poetry slams, and a pre-school. This, however, is the first time prayer services will be added to the pharmacy’s unconventional parade of activity. The weekly minyan will be hosted in the pharmacy’s basement, which previously housed a local funeral home’s embalming room. (more…)

Warm Up With Vox Tablet

Wait out Winter Storm Pax with some of our favorite podcasts


Stuck at home while Winter Storm Pax slams the East Coast? Here to help you wait out yet another snowstorm is our podcast, Vox Tablet.

We’ve put together a list of a few of our favorites, which are perfect for a snowy day like today. Escape to Jerusalem, or the Mediterranean coast, or just tune out the storm with the sounds of a Hasidic alt-rock women-only band. (more…)

Sheldon Adelson’s War Against Online Gambling

The Jewish casino mogul is spending millions to stop internet gaming

Sheldon Adelson in Israel on July 29, 2012. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson fears his empire is on the verge of destruction.

The enemy? Internet gaming. If this new form of gambling takes off, Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, worries that the ramifications for the live gambling industry couldu be disastrous.

“Somebody like Google or Facebook, they’ve got a billion customers hitting them every day,” the usually press-averse Adelson recently told Politico, “They’ll come in there, they’ll squash the other guys like … you squash the little ant running across the table or the floor and that’s going to be the end of all of it.” (more…)

Watch Zach Braff’s Purim Pitch for Yeshiva University

Here’s why he made it


Purim may not be for another month, but actor Zach Braff has preempted the season of parody by producing an ad promoting Yeshiva University. Braff is best known for his work on the medical comedy series Scrubs as well as the film Garden State, where he starred alongside Natalie Portman. Lesser known is the fact that Braff had what he has termed a “very strong Conservative/Orthodox upbringing,” an experience that informs his next film, Wish I Was Here, which also stars Jewish acting icon Mandy Patinkin. In other words, Braff is not as unlikely a satirical spokesman for Yeshiva University as it might seem.

But how exactly did the video come about? Yeshiva University hasn’t taken credit for it, but it looks like they or one of their supporters contributed $500 to the Kickstarter campaign for Braff’s upcoming movie. The prize offered by the actor for such a generous donation? “I’ll say or do pretty much whatever you want for twenty seconds. I will send you the mpeg file so you can upload to YouTube, play at parties, or send to friends. I will be your dancing monkey.” Or in this case, mascot.

Watch Braff’s pitch for YU below: (more…)

JDate’s Brash New ‘Get Chosen’ Ad Campaign

Are the Jewish dating site’s new billboards clever or cringeworthy?

One of JDate's new Times Square billboards. (Terry & Sandy Solution)

“Find someone who wasn’t on your Birthright trip,” reads a cheeky billboard you’ll likely see if you visit Times Square in the coming days. JDate is rolling out a brand new advertising campaign just in time for Valentine’s Day, the New York Times reports, and the Jewish dating site is stepping up its game with attention-getting ads that seek to show you they’re in on the joke.

The ads, which will be online, in print, and splashed across a digital billboard in Times Square, feature lines like “More Jews than a Chinese restaurant on Christmas,” “Find someone who still loves to talk about sleepaway camp,” and “Find someone who shares your love for gefilte fish,” each bearing the site’s new tagline, “Get chosen.” (more…)

Weeping Virgin Mary Statue Draws Crowds to Israeli Town

Nearly 2,000 people have visited the home of a Christian family in Tarshiha

Weeping Virgin Mary statue in Tarshiha, Israel. (AP)

Thousands of faithful Christians have flocked to the small northern Israel town of Tarshiha to catch a glimpse of a statue of the Virgin Mary that reportedly “weeps” oil, the Daily Mail reports. Osama and Amira Khoury, the statue’s owners, said they recently found the statue inexplicably “covered in oil,” and that it spoke to Amira. Word of the remarkable discovery quickly spread after a neighbor witnessed the statue weeping.

In the week since, an estimated 2,000 people have arrived in the Khoury’s living room in Tarshiha, near the Lebanon border. (more…)

New Spanish Law Would Give Sephardic Jews Dual Citizenship

If passed, the bill would allow 3.5 million Sephardic Jews to claim citizenship

Shlomo Moshe Amar, the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, during his visit to Granada's Alhambra on May 31, 2011, the first ever official visit by a Jewish religious leader to the Alhambra since an eviction decree against Spanish Jews was signed in 1492. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

Spain called, it wants its Jews back. But really. A proposed new law, which is awaiting approval from the Spanish parliament, would allow descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled in 1492 during the Spanish Inquisition to seek dual Spanish nationality. Slate reports that the bill amends a 2012 initiative which granted Spanish citizenship to some eligible Sephardic Jews, but on the condition that they relinquish their citizenships in other countries.

According to the Financial Times, 3.5 million Sephardic Jews would be entitled to claim Spanish citizenship under the new law. (more…)

Comedy King Sid Caesar Dies at 91

The groundbreaking performer and TV star had been ill during the past year

Actor-comedian Sid Caesar attends a surprise 70th birthday party for television talk show host Larry King held on November 19, 2003 at the Museum of Television and Radio, in Beverly Hills, California. (Vince Bucci/Getty Image)

Jewish comedy legend Sid Caesar died today at his home in Beverly Hills, CA, Reuters reports. His longtime friend Carl Reiner announced the death, saying Caesar, who was 91, had been ill for the past year.

Caesar, who was born Isaac Sidney Caesar on September 8, 1922 in Yonkers, N.Y., is one of the first television stars, and the comedic forefather to much of what entertains us today. He first made his name in the early 1950s as a television performer in Your Show of Shows, a weekly variety show, where he began working with the likes of Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and Neil Simon. Caesar then got his own variety show, Caesar’s Hour, which was later followed by the Sid Caesar Show. He’d go on to collaborate often with Brooks and Reiner, appearing in several of Brooks’ movies. (more…)

European Parliament Chief Heckled in Knesset

Economic Minister Naftali Bennett walked out during Martin Schulz’s speech

European parliament president Martin Schulz delivers a speech during a meeting gathering local representatives of France's socialist party (PS) on February 1, 2014, in Paris. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, delivered a speech to the Knesset in his native German, in which he rejected boycotts of Israel and announced, “We defend the right of Israel to exist and for the Jewish people to live in security and peace.”

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator, gave Schulz a standing ovation. 

But when Schulz noted that Palestinians in the West Bank receive as little as a quarter of the water Israelis get and mentioned the Israeli embargo on the Gaza Strip, economic minister Naftali Bennett—chairman of the Jewish Home party—stood and led his fellow faction members out of the room. “I won’t accept lying moralizing against the people of Israel in the Israeli Knesset,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook account. “Definitely not in German.” (more…)

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.