Helen Chernikoff's blog

First, Midrash Manicures. Next, The Mall.

'Tis the season of holiday gift guides. We do one ourselves here at the JW.

But this blog post is going to ask you dafke to not buy something: the Jewish nail decals known as “Midrash Manicures” that are wrongly marketed to young girls. 

The author's 7th-grade English teacher confiscated her nail polish, and the teacher was right. Getty Images

A Mea Culpa From The Media

As Israel’s offensive in Gaza gathers momentum, many in the Jewish community have noticed international coverage of suffering in the strip.

They have accordingly seized the opportunity to again protest the media’s neglect of Sderot and other southern Isareli communities that bear the burden of daily bombardment.

Palestinians search the debris of the al-Dallu family home after an Israeli airstrike on Nov. 18. Getty Images

Shush, Sheldon

The 2012 election results revealed Sheldon Adelson’s $53 million in campaign donations to be a poor investment. Nearly all of the candidates he funded lost.

Of course, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. is the 12th-wealthiest American and must be a talented businessman.

Sheldon Adelson didn't pick winners in 2012. Getty Images

Jewish Feminism Chai

Bella Abzug. Gloria Steinem. Shulamith Firestone. Lesley Gore?

There are lots of ways to be a feminist.

Lesley Gore, who grew up in a Jewish family in Tenafly, New Jersey, won the right to be classed with the above grandes dames in 1964 with the release of “You Don’t Own Me,” which became a feminist anthem.

Lesley Gore, Jewish feminist. Getty Images

A Book For You, 20s and 30s Jews

Like this blog, the new anthology, Living Jewishly: A Snapshot of a Generation, is by – but not exclusively for – Jews in their 20s and 30s.

Edited by Stephanie Pervos Bregman and published by Academic Studies Press, it grapples with all the juicy stuff: dating, sex, God, food.

Some tidbits:

"Living Jewishly" is a collective literary effort by twenty and thirtysomethings. Via Facebook

Let’s Stand Up And Count

At this point, most folks who care know that the nones are on the rise.

A record one in all five adults – and almost a third of adults under 30 – have no religious affiliation, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Oct. 9.

Taking a census is inconvenient, but it's necessary. Getty Images

Like Weimar, But Better

More than anyone else, gay Jews are have cause to reflect on Weimar Germany’s mixed legacy.

On the one hand, both gay and Jewish culture flourished in that place and time, and had a dramatic impact on the rest of the world. On the other, that period was also full of menace, of threats that the Nazis would soon carry out.

Yet tomorrow, proud and vital members of this group will board a plane for Berlin to grapple with that history – and go clubbing.

He'bro, the events promotion business backing an LGBT-Jewish trip to Germany, knows how to have fun. Via myhebro.com

The Best Place To Die

If you had to die, where would you do it?

An Israeli professor of economics at Stanford University suggests a kibbutz.

His grandmother, an unlettered seamstress who fled anti-Semitism in her native Poland to Kibbutz Negba, died there with the best, around-the-clock care.

How do kibbutzim not only survive, but thrive? Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Kaparos: It's Complicated

Around the Christian holiday season, one often hears an old-fashioned song about the fate of the fowl destined for the festal board: "Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat."

Of course, for Jews -- especially Ashkenazi ones -- the humble chicken is often the holiday bird of choice around the new year: it's suitable both for consuming and for flinging about in an act of atonement called "kaparos."

An anti-kaparos storybook in which the chickens band together and flee their shtetl.

More Bad News For Mitt

In the wake of the Republican presidential candidate’s widely criticized remarks that the 47 percent of Americans who back President Obama are “dependent on government” and don’t pay income tax comes an ominous survey from the American Jewish Commitee.

According to an AJC poll, 69 percent of Florida's Jewish voters favor Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. Getty Images.
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