Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Avishay Artsy

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  • Bob Dylan lyrics as Oral Law?

    Avishay Artsy|Mar 18, 2016

    (Jewniverse via JTA)-"Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call. Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall," Bob Dylan sang in his 1964 anthem "The Times They Are a-Changin'." Dylan was excoriating Washington decision-makers for dragging their heels on passing the Civil Rights Act. But his lyrics have since become de rigueur for judges explaining legal decisions, much the way rabbis cite the Oral Torah, aka the Mishnah and Gemara, to justify their positions. The late Justice... Full story

  • Meet Max Ries, who brought edible insects to 1940s Chicago

    Avishay Artsy|Feb 19, 2016

    (Jewniverse via JTA)-There's been a surge of interest in entomophagy, the human consumption of insects. Eighty percent of the world's population already does it. Even in Israel, a recent locust swarm got foodies salivating, even though it's unclear whether-or more precisely, which-locusts are kosher. Americans have been eating insects for decades, and one of its chief proponents was a German-Jewish textile manufacturer. Max Ries set up a cheese import business from the back of his station wagon... Full story

  • How the jewfish got its name

    Avishay Artsy|Jan 15, 2016

    (Jewniverse via JTA)-Why does putting the word "Jew" in front of any object make it sound a little anti-Semitic? There are several theories for how the jewfish (Promicrops), an Atlantic saltwater grouper with fins and scales, got its name. It may derive from the Italian giupesce, which means "bottom fish," or may have originally been named "jawfish" for its large mouth. A less flattering theory is that in the 1800s, jewfish were declared inferior and only fit for Jews. The Maryland-based... Full story

  • How 'Transparent' is reshaping views of transgender Jews

    Avishay Artsy, JTA|Jan 15, 2016

    LOS ANGELES (JTA)-The prevalence of transgender issues in pop culture seems to have reached a pinnacle this year. Caitlyn-nee Bruce-Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair. The movie "Tangerine," which stars transgender actors, took film critics by storm. Director Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl," currently in theaters, tells the story of one of the first sex-change operations. And the second season of Amazon's Emmy Award-winning "Transparent," about a Jewish family coming to terms with their... Full story

  • 'Star Trek' and Great American Songbook meet the Jews

    Avishay Artsy|Apr 24, 2015

    (Jewniverse via JTA)—What happened to the classic songs of the 1930s and ’40s? The standards of the Great American Songbook crooned by Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee or Ella Fitzgerald (and later made unforgettable by Data of “Star Trek”)? “The B-Side” by Ben Yagoda, which was published this year, reads like a detective story sniffing out a homicide, and the deceased is Tin Pan Alley, New York’s epicenter of songwriting and music publishing for decades. A surprising number of its authors and composers— George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome... Full story

  • Why the original Dodge logo was a Jewish star

    Avishay Artsy|Apr 3, 2015

    (Jewniverse via JTA)-In 1900, Horace Elgin Dodge and John Francis Dodge founded the Dodge Brothers Company. The brothers were not Jewish, but their original logo looked a lot like the Star of David. It was a circle with two interlocking triangles forming a six-pointed star. An interlocked "DB" was at the center of the star, and the words "Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicles" encircled the outside edge. One popular belief was that the symbol was chosen to anger their competitor Henry Ford, a notorious... Full story