Select Section Jewish Culture & Yiddish: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

Abie’s Irish Rose And Maurice Schwartz: How Yiddish Theatre Dealt With Issues of Modern Jewish Life

21.02.2014

Milly Guberman Kravetz recalls the plays she saw as a child at the Yiddish Theater, and speaks to the differences between Yiddish and English theater.

To learn more about the Wexler Oral History Project, visit:http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/tell….

Live Long and Prosper: The Jewish Story Behind Spock, Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek Character

 06.02.2014

Leonard Nimoy explains the Jewish story behind the hand-gesture he made famous through his role as Spock on in the Star Trek science fiction series.

To watch the full interview, visit: http://bit.ly/1lCZphz

See Leonard Nimoy’s photography series inspired by the same event: http://www.rmichelson.com/Artist_Page…

To learn more about the Wexler Oral History Project, visit:http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/tell…

Golda Meir Interview (Reel 1 of 2)

22.06.2011

National Archives – Golda Meir Interview – National Security Council. Central Intelligence Agency. (09/18/1947 – 12/04/1981). – This film shows Golda Meir, who was interviewed about Arab – Israeli relations and terrorists. – DVD Copied by IASL Scanner John Williams. – 1973 – ARC 642178 / LI 263.222

Golda Meir Interview (Reel 2 of 2)

Historic Yiddish theater damaged by Snow in 
Historic Yiddish theater damaged by Snow in Romania. Severe snow storms in Romania have 
usatoday.com

Awarding a Broadway ‘Wonder’
The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A.
Yet Tevye himself and the musical in which he is showcased can be provocative, too, if only because the character has traveled so far from his authentic Yiddish roots in the writings of his creator, Sholem Aleichem, to reach the stage and the screen.
See all stories on this topic »

Awarding a Broadway ‘Wonder’
The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A.
“She points out how ‘Fiddler,’ like the earlier incarnations of Tevye on the Yiddish stage, has come to serve as a ‘Jewish signifier’ for both Jews and non-Jews,” I wrote in my review of “Wonder of Wonders” last October. “But she also shows how 
See all stories on this topic »
The Jewish Origins of the Vulcan Salute [VIDEO]
Shalom Life
Speaking to The National Yiddish Book Center for their oral history project, Nimoy talked about his JewishYiddish-speaking childhood in Boston’s West End. In particular, he talked about significant moments that happened to him in his local synagogue.
See all stories on this topic »

Jewish groups facing ‘concerted’ cyber attacks, security network warns
The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A.
U.S. Jewish groups face “a more concerted and aggressive effort” from Internet hackers, the national community’s security arm said in an alert. “It is imperative that all IT departments understand how to mitigate the threat and are up-to-date on the 
See all stories on this topic »Awarding a Broadway ‘Wonder’
The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A.
Few figures of popular culture are quite so beloved or beguiling as the character of Tevye, the pious but philosophical dairyman who reached his most celebrated incarnation in the Broadway hit musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” Yet Tevye himself  Her 
See all stories on this topic »Silicon valley girl
The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A.
The outspoken and animated 32-year-old was visiting Los Angeles to speak to a JewishFederation women’s luncheon for big donors — which was appropriate, since she recently became one. A decade ago, she was just “a poor, entry-level” working girl 
See all stories on this topic »‘Omar’ portrays Israelis in harsh light
Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
Arts & Culture ‘Omar’ portrays Israelis in harsh light. Story · Comments  Israel’s “Bethlehem,” which pits Shin Bet agents against diverse Palestinian factions eager to blow up the Jewish state, was eliminated early by the Academy Awards selection 
See all stories on this topic »Free books _ 10 million of them _ help keep Jewish kids Jewish
Washington Post
And Grinspoon wants to bring the PJ Library to Russia — a country with one of the largestJewish populations in Europe, but where Jews can struggle to find Jewish culture. Worldwide, the PJ Library and its sister libraries have distributed more than 
See all stories on this topic »‘Warsaw Jewish museum will be best in Europe’
thenews.pl
Minister of Culture Bogdan Zdrojewski (L) and Professor Dariusz Stola (R) signing documents confirming the appointment of the professor as director of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kaminski. Professor Dariusz Stola was 
See all stories on this topic »Seattle Jewish Film Festival
TheStranger.com
F ounded in 1995, the Seattle Jewish Film Festival brings nine days of Jewish and Israeli life, history, culture, and art to big screens all over town. Produced under the auspices of the Stroum Jewish Community Center, the 2014 SJFF features 25 films 
See all stories on this topic »In Search of Something to Unite the Jews
New Voices
In my post, I discussed how attempting to connect to Jewish identity through Ashkenazi, Sephardi, or Mizrahi culture is mistaken, because these cultures are by nature sectionalized. If not through culture, then in what other ways could we connect to 
See all stories on this topic »Discover the Art of Matrimony at Columbus Museum of Art
The International News Magazine
For more than two thousand years, the ketubbah, or Hebrew marriage contract, has been an integral part of Jewish culture. Found in the homes of married Jews, whether wealthy or poor, scholar or layman, in the West or in the East, ketubbot provide a 
See all stories on this topic »Hebrew in America: A communal responsibility
Jerusalem Post
Nearly a century ago, in 1916, the Histadrut Ivrit of America was founded to spread Hebrewlanguage and culture to strengthen Jewish identity. Among the organization’s many initiatives was Hadoar, a weekly Hebrew-language newspaper which was 
See all stories on this topic »

German-Jewish cultural heritage in South Africa | DW.DE
During the Holocaust, some German-Jews immigrated to South Africa, which was in the middle 
dw.de

Students Travel From Tennessee To Philly To Learn 
Some area Jewish families played host this weekend to a group of school kids from Tennessee 
philadelphia.cbslocal.com
German-Jewish cultural heritage in China | DW.DE
DW presents a look at the development of German-Jewish culturalheritage in China.
dw.de
Students Travel From Tennessee To Philly To Learn 
Some area Jewish families played host this weekend to a group of school kids from Tennessee 
philadelphia.cbslocal.com

ESSAY: The Golden Tzitz

The Golden Tzitz
Adar I 26, 5774 · February 26, 2014
A mysterious ornament worn on the high priest’s forehead
© Ahuva Klein

The kohen gadol (high priest) wore eight garments and accessories when serving in the Holy Temple. Some, such as the choshen (breastplate), are more familiar, others less so. Let’s explore one of the lesser-known ones: the golden tzitz.

What Is the Tzitz?

The details about the tzitz, like all of the other components of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), were communicated to Moses by G‑d. This is how the Torah describes it:1

Make a plate (tzitz) of pure gold, and engrave on it as on a seal, “Holy to G‑d.” Place it upon a blue thread, so that it will be on the turban; it shall be opposite the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron will absolve the guilt of the holy things which the children of Israel sanctify, all of their holy offerings; it shall be on his forehead constantly, for their acceptance before G‑d.

The tzitz was an ornament2 that the high priest wore on his forehead.

The high priest wore eight garments

It consisted of a gold band with the words Kodesh La-Hashem (“Holy to G‑d”) inscribed on it in relief.3 One or more strings4 of sky-blue wool5 were threaded through holes in the band; these went around the high priest’s turban (mitznefet), and were tied at the back of his head to hold the tzitz in place.

Its Purpose

The verses quoted above state that Aaron used the tzitz to “absolve the guilt of the holy things.” The great commentator Rashi explains:

Offerings in the Holy Temple had to be brought in a state of ritual purity. If either the offering itself or the kohen (priest) performing the service was impure, then the offering would be disqualified and the kohen would be guilty of a transgression. In certain cases where an offering was brought in a state of impurity, the tzitz made it acceptable to G‑d.6

Additionally, our sages state7 that the tzitz, positioned as it was on the kohen gadol’s forehead, brought about

The person was righteous and deserving

divine pardon for the sin of impudence, known in Hebrew as azut panim, “hardness of the face.” (The term “forehead” is used in this sense in Jeremiah 3:3; the Zohar8 makes the association more explicitly, referring to impudence with the Aramaic term tokfa de-mitzcha, “hardness of the forehead.”9 )

The Zohar describes how this worked: the kohen gadol could observe whether the words inscribed on the tzitz, “Holy to G‑d,” were reflected on the face of the person standing before him. If so, that meant that the person was righteous and deserving of a share in the world to come. If not, then the kohen gadol knew that he was impudent, and the high priest would pray for G‑d to have mercy on the wicked person and forgive him.

The Tzitz in History—and in Rome

The tzitz played a key role during the Jews’ war against the Midianites.10 The war was in retaliation for the Midianites’ attempt—instigated by the wicked prophet Balaam—to corrupt the Jewish people by seducing them into immoral behavior and idolatry. During the battle, Balaam attempted to escape by using his magical powers to fly through the air. Pinchas responded by displaying the tzitz with G‑d’s name engraved on it,

A substitute wouldn’t have fooled the Romans

which caused Balaam to fall to the ground, where he was captured and killed.11

In the aftermath of that war, the tzitz was also used to determine which of the captive Midianite women had been involved in the affair and were to be executed.12

After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, all of its treasures and accessories were brought to Rome (hence the persistent legend that the menorah and the other Temple vessels are somewhere in the Vatican library). The Talmud quotes Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Rabbi Yosei, as saying, “I saw [the tzitz] in Rome, and the words ‘Holy to G‑d’ were inscribed on it on one line”—this was in response to the other sages, who said that the inscription was on two lines.13

The Tzitz and Moshiach

Chassidic sources note that the word tzitz symbolizes Moshiach, who is described as eagerly awaiting G‑d’s call to come and redeem us from exile—“standing behind our wall, looking from the windows, peering (meitzitz) from the lattices.”14

Now, the tzitz was worn on the kohen gadol’s forehead, and the forehead represents a willpower that is higher than intellect.15 Thus we learn, says the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that we will bring Moshiach by developing total trust in G‑d, even when the situation is hopeless according to human logic.16

FOOTNOTES
1. Exodus 28:36–38.
2. Ibn Ezra, in his commentary on this verse, notes that similar items were worn in those days by prominent people. Indeed, in Exodus 39:30 and Leviticus 8:9 thetzitz is also referred to as nezer ha-kodesh, the holy diadem or tiara. Compare also Psalms 132:18, referring to a king: “On him his tiara (nezer) will shine(yatzitz).” See also footnote 13 below.
3. This is the meaning of “as on a seal”—the letters protrude from the surface of thetzitz, like the designs on a signet or coin.
4. Anywhere from one to three—see commentaries of Rashi, Ibn Ezra and Ramban on this verse.
5. Dyed using techelet, whose precise identity is unknown today. See Techelet (Blue Thread).
6. Rashi on this verse, from Talmud, Pesachim 16b. See Mishneh Torah, Hil. Biat Mikdash 4:6–7, for details on when this exemption applies.
7. Talmud, Zevachim 88b; Vayikra Rabbah 10:6.
8. Zohar 2:217b.
9. A deeper reason for this association (see R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi, Likkutei Torah, Shir ha-Shirim 23c–d) is that the forehead, a part of the skull surrounding the brain and above the face where emotions are registered, represents the will(ratzon), which precedes and is higher than the person’s intellectual and emotional faculties. Thus, a person with a “hard forehead” is one who does not subordinate his will to a higher authority.
10. Numbers 31.
11. Yalkut Shimoni, Numbers 785.
12. Talmud, Yevamot 60b.
13. Talmud, Shabbat 63b and Sukkah 5a (see commentaries of Rashi, Tosafot and Rashba there for various opinions as to the exact arrangement of the words).Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Hil. Klei ha-Mikdash 9:1) rules in accordance with the majority opinion, but adds that post facto the tzitz is valid if the inscription is on one line, and (based on R. Eliezer’s testimony) that sometimes indeed it was made that way. The Lubavitcher Rebbe (in Likkutei Sichot 26:200–203) discusses why R. Eliezer’s eyewitness description is not accepted as definitive: the other sages had a tradition that the inscription on the tzitz was supposed to be on two lines, and they might therefore have replied to R. Eliezer that the tzitz that he saw was either a piece of jewelry (and thus was deliberately made somewhat differently than the tzitz) or a replica (perhaps made with the intention that it, rather than the real one, would fall into the hands of the Romans). Nevertheless, the Rebbe concludes, such a substitute wouldn’t have fooled the Romans if the real tzitz never was made that way, so that we are forced to say that indeed at some point in history R. Eliezer’s opinion was followed in practice (and that it is that tzitz which the Romans found), thus yielding Maimonides’ point that this arrangement is acceptable.
14. Song of Songs 2:9; see Midrash Rabbah on this verse.
15. See note 9 above.
16. Likkutei Sichot 38:199, based on various chassidic discourses, including Ve-Asita Tzitz by R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Torah Ohr, Shemot 83a ff).

Words for snow


Words for snowPosted: 26 Feb 2014 11:13 AM PST

12640726084_14f7c4fa30_nCarved cornices
perch at
roof’s edge.

Plows heap
mountains in
every driveway.

Finger drifts
skitter across
cracked asphalt.

Penitents, thin
snow spikes
reach skyward

marking off
these hills,
feather beds

for giants
drowsing beneath
cold eiderdown.

Warm days:
icicles crash
and shatter.

Sun cups
cradle spindly
tree trunks.

Next storm
always on
its way.


This poem was sparked by that old chestnut about the Inuit having 100 words for snow. Thinking of that led me to researching different English words for snow. I was particularly charmed by cornices (those wind-carved glaciers on rooftops), finger drifts (like tiny snow dust devils), penitents (spikes of hardened snow), and sun cups (the places around trees where the darkness of the bark creates just enough warmth to melt the snow.)

Photo source: my flickr photostream. This was taken last week, before a few days of rain tamped down these fluffy drifts, but the world outside my window is still almost entirely white. Now it’s just ice-hard instead of cloud-soft. This may be the shortest month on the calendar, but the wait for March can feel eternal! Of course, March up here means snow, too. But at least it will mean that the snow is on its way toward eventually ending.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.