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Ashley Blaker's Comedy Tops NYT Arts Section & Other Orthodox Jews in the News

Ashley Blaker’s Comedy Tops NYT Arts Section & Other Orthodox Jews in the News


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Building Bridges: An Interview with Allison Josephs
Allison Josephs’ website Jew in the City is all about celebrating the intersection of Orthodox Judaism and the realities and conundrums of everyday life. Browsing through this beautiful site, one encounters articles that range from the light-hearted (for instance, a recent post was titled “Why Judaism believes in Laurel and Yanny,” in reference to a recent viral audio clip) to the educational (“What is a Kesubah (or Ketubah)? Why is it good for women?”).

The Orthodox Jew Who Created Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band
Imagine Ringo Starr, arguably the most famous drummer in the world, sitting at your Shabbat table tapping away a steady beat as your family belts out their favorite Carlebach tunes. It happened to David Fishof, the New York music business entrepreneur who revived Starr’s performing career in the late 1980s by masterminding the Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band brand.

Brooklyn Lawmaker Wants to Host Gender-Segregated Beach Days
A new proposal for gender-segregated beach days has sparked debate among activists over the possible dissonance between feminism and religious tolerance. Chaim Deutsch, a Democratic city councilman from Brooklyn, will be renting the Kingsborough Community College’s beach for two days this summer in order to offer gender-segregated beach days for Orthodox Jews and Muslims. Allison Josephs, founder of “Jew in the City,” approves of the proposal. “For the women who choose to not expose themselves to members of the opposite sex, they have less beach options than women who go to mixed beaches.”

‘Virtual Wall’ Helps Dallas Orthodox Jewish Community Practice Faith in Modern World
Just before the sun goes down on Friday the walk home from synagogue in Dallas is a grand sight. More than 120 Orthodox Jewish men dressed in traditional black pants and a white shirt are setting off for the beginning of Sabbath. “I get so elated every Friday night. It never gets old,” said Rabbi Sholey Klein. Orthodoxy is about originality. But also written in the Torah’s text is the room to adapt.

Quicken Loans Makes it Kosher for Orthodox Jews to Take Out a Mortgage
Orthodox Jews can continue to take out mortgages and other loans from Quicken Loans after the company resolved a Jewish legal problem. Agudath Israel of America, a major Haredi Orthodox organization, issued a Jewish legal ruling in April prohibiting Jews from taking out loans from the Detroit-based company because it is majority-owned by Jews — notably Dan Gilbert, who also owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

What’s So Funny About Orthodox Judaism? This Comic Has One Answer
The conundrum of Jewish comedy today is this: How does a sensibility that has long benefited from its outsider status adjust to a world where it has not only assimilated into popular culture but also helped define it. One answer can be found at the Theater Center in Times Square, where a slickly funny stand-up show, “Strictly Unorthodox,” presents a more culturally marginal Jewish perspective. An ultra-Orthodox Jew from England, Ashley Blaker has built an act about the rituals of an insular, deeply traditional community that treats much of modern culture and society with suspicion.

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Sara Levine

A former Hollywood script editor, Jerusalem event planner, non-profit fundraiser and professional blogger, Sara Levine is an accomplished writer and editor. After graduating from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, her first screenplay was well-received by story executives at major studios. As a journalist, her articles have been published internationally in popular magazines and websites. With over 18 years experience as a story consultant, her notes and critiques on novels and scripts have been used to select and improve material by top studios, networks, agencies and writers in Hollywood and beyond. She is currently at work on her first novel.