Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Lior Zaltzman


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  • Social media has come unhinged

    Lior Zaltzman|Dec 1, 2023

    This essay originally appeared in Kveller. (JTA) — It was a slow trickle, each long press of the finger and ensuing quick tap was days and sometimes weeks apart (it’s hard to comprehend that a whole month has passed since Oct. 7), but I am here to tell you that I — a former social media manager — have removed each and every social media app from my phone. In fact, as I was writing this very esssay, I realized I still had Threads downloaded, opened it for a minute, saw a Thread that said “Zionism is antisemitism,” and promptly deleted tha...

  • I left Israel to give my kids the American dream. Is this it?

    Lior Zaltzman|Jun 10, 2022

    On the day when the shooting happens, I finally unlock what some say is the most vital part of the American dream. My husband and I have a house in the suburbs now, big trees towering above — no picket fence, but a wide expanse of green and room for the pattering of tiny feet. As we sign the paperwork, we each take turns rocking our baby on our legs. This house is for our children. We say it over and over again. If it were just he and I, we would be content with the walls of a small Brooklyn apartment, with the city streets as a backyard. I...

  • 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' is filming an Israel scene and looking for 'Jewish types'

    Lior Zaltzman|Jun 10, 2022

    Season four of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" was just as Jewy as the ones that came before it - with bar mitzvah scenes, lots of Yiddishisms, Jewish foods and contemplations about the existence of God. The Amazon Prime show about a Jewish standup comedian played by Rachel Brosnahan has consistently been one of the most Jewish shows on TV, despite the controversy about the fact that its star isn't a Jew. In almost every season, protagonist Midge Maisel visits a very Jewish location. In season two,...

  • 'Jeopardy!' just had a Yiddish category and we're kvelling

    Lior Zaltzman|Dec 18, 2020

    "Jeopardy!" fans have been hard hit by the loss of Alex Trebek, who died of cancer on Nov. 8 at age 80. But because the show films in advance - and Trebek kept filming until a week before his passing - the beloved longtime host is still with us until Dec. 25. Just why are we writing about this iconic game show? Well, Jewish questions and guests are not exactly rare on "Jeopardy!". But on Monday night, Nov. 30, the show had an entire category dedicated to Yiddish. The clueless contestants were...

  • Sacha Baron Cohen's next Netflix role is super Jewish and super relevant

    Lior Zaltzman|Oct 2, 2020

    (JTA) - The timing couldn't be more prescient for Aaron Sorkin's newest film, "The Trial of the Chicago 7." The movie by the Jewish "West Wing" creator, which is coming to Netflix on Oct. 16, is about the Jewish anti-war activist Abbie Hoffman, who was tried along with six others for conspiracy and inciting to riot for their role in the 1968 protests at the Democratic National Convention. Hoffman is played by none other than the Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen. It's his second super-Jewish...

  • A Jewish anti-racist reading list for children of all ages

    Lior Zaltzman|Jun 19, 2020

    This moment has many of us reeling. Honestly, for those of you who are, like me, white-presenting Jewish parents, we should consider this a time of reckoning. Are we doing enough to make our homes anti-racist? What about our communal Jewish spaces? The work to dismantle racism goes beyond what we do when people are out in the streets protesting. And the activism we do outside of our home is just as important as the one we are doing inside our homes with our families, and especially with our...

  • Netflix's 'Unorthodox' Is Yiddish, feminist and just what we need now

    Lior Zaltzman|May 1, 2020

    Back in 2012, when Deborah Feldman's memoir "Unorthodox" came out, several people recommended I read this tale about a young woman leaving the Hasidic Satmar sect. I didn't follow the advice, but I should have. It's an important and engrossing autobiographical work. "Unorthodox" has inspired an incredible new Netflix miniseries by the same name. Starring Shira Haas of "Shtisel," this is reverent and beautiful television. Haas plays Esther "Esty" Shapiro, a woman struggling to find her place in... Full story

  • The real history behind HBO's 'The Plot Against America'

    Lior Zaltzman|May 1, 2020

    (JTA)-The new TV show based on Philip Roth's novel "The Plot Against America," helmed by David Simon, the Jewish creator of "The Wire," has premiered on HBO and made a splash with critics and fans. The eerily captivating series, which borrows details from the iconic Jewish author's life and a crucial moment in American history, depicts an alternative reality in which isolationist Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election and encourages anti-Semitic... Full story

  • Jewish mom Pink opens up about aging and I feel so seen

    Lior Zaltzman|Feb 7, 2020

    I grew up with Pink. Her first two albums, "Can't Take Me Home" and "Missundaztood," came out during bat mitzvah season for me, and it was her songs that truly got the party started. Yes, they were catchy, but they were also vulnerable, wise and incredibly relatable. In "Family Portrait," for example, she tackled divorce, and "Don't Let Me Get Me" channeled so much of the angst and self-loathing I felt as a teen. Even in those early albums, Pink was derisive and dismissive of her looks. "Tired... Full story

  • There's a long history of Jews playing Nazis on screen

    Lior Zaltzman|Nov 1, 2019

    Taika Waititi's satirical film "Jojo Rabbit" is finally out! Set in Nazi Germany, the Jewish Maori director famously plays Adolf Hitler. "What better way to insult Hitler than having him played by a Polynesian Jew," Waititi himself tweeted. When it comes to the Holocaust and humor, many artists, writers and actors feel they have to tread a thin line: When does satire shine a light on injustices, and when does it become sacrilegious and downright hurtful? Yet there seems to be a general... Full story

  • Yiddish word kicked off Scripps Spelling Bee finals

    Lior Zaltzman|Jun 21, 2019

    It’s Yiddish for the win at the Scripps National Spelling Bee! OK, not quite, but last week, when the first rounds of the finals kicked off, the word “Yiddishkeit” nearly stumped contestant No. 5, Rishik Gandshari from San Jose, California. The seventh-grader didn’t quite know what to make of the quintessentially Jewish word, which the contest defined as “a Jewish way of life.” After asking what the language of origin of the word was, and receiving the answer “Yiddish,” Rishik chuckled nervou... Full story

  • 'Dead To Me' is the new Netflix show Jewish women need to watch

    Lior Zaltzman|May 31, 2019

    It's been a while since I felt like a show outsmarted me. But "Dead to Me," Netflix's new star-studded series, has made me gasp quite a few times. It manages to subvert all my expectations in a way that feels entirely purposeful-and not just for shock value. This compassionate, thrilling new "traumedy" (that's what the cast calls it, and it's quite a good description) is one of my new favorites. It's a must-watch for Jewish mothers, women and TV lovers in general. And while nothing about the sho... Full story

  • By comparing it to Anne Frank, this man nails the problem with Oscar winner 'Green Book'

    Lior Zaltzman|Mar 8, 2019

    When "Green Book" won the Academy Award for best movie, arguably the most coveted prize of the ceremony, "BlacKkKlansman" and "Do The Right Thing" director Spike Lee stormed to the back of the auditorium and kept his back turned for the entire speech. The gesture culminated a great controversy around the movie, which has been sweeping the awards this season despite some heavy consternation. "Green Book" has been accused of having a white savior complex, whitewashing racism and being inaccurate... Full story

  • Fire safety tips for the menorah

    Lior Zaltzman|Nov 30, 2018

    (Kveller via JTA)—While Chanukah is a favorite on the Jewish calendar, there is no holiday as dangerous with its open flames, boiling oil and sharp graters for making latkes. So we’ve compiled these helpful tips to help you minimize the risks and have a safe and bright Festival of Lights. Menorah safety tips: Don’t leave your menorahs unattended. Never leave a room where a menorah is lit. Either wait for the candles to go out, or put them out yourself if you need to leave the room or house. Put your menorahs on a nonflammable surface. If you’r... Full story

  • Eight 'Jewish' shows to watch this fall

    Lior Zaltzman|Sep 30, 2016

    (JTA)-Fall is here, and with it comes cooler weather, earlier sunsets and an end to whatever magical spell or temporary insanity that possessed us to spend our free time outdoors rather than in front of our screens. But now it's time to bring out those snuggies, brew those hot beverages and binge watch some quality TV. Luckily, this season has some very exciting, very Jewish shows. From Woody Allen's TV premiere to Sarah Jessica Parker's long-awaited return to HBO, here are eight shows you need... Full story

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