Tag Archives: Jewish

MiniReview: Everything is Illuminated

I’m trying to make it a policy that I’ll post at least a short review on anything we are watching from Netflix, mostly for the greater good my own recollection. Anyway, I’d seen a preview for Everything is Illuminated sometime last year when Amy and I had actually managed to see a movie, the I Heart Huckabees indie flick. Anyway, I recall being charmed by the visuals and the storyline of an American Jewish writer going back to Russia to find the people involved in his grandfather’s life and his escape from the Germans in WWII. The film was charming at times, disturbing at others, and in my opinion a must-see for anyone who traces their ancestry through Eastern Europe and the Holocaust. A great performance by Elijah Wood, the grandfather (who at times reminded me in mannerisms of my dad), and the goofy rapping Russian guide. I’m putting the book by Jonathan Safran Foer on my ‘to read’ list. Four stars.

JibJab’s Passover Shtick

987597.579310.jpgMeant to post this yesterday, but little Sam kept us busy. The folks over at JibJab.com (you know, the guys who created the ‘This Land is Your Land’ piece before Election 2004?) have created a new animated film, this one titled ‘Matzah – Hip Hop Fo’ Hebrews.‘ Featuring a Jewish rapper who looks and sounds a lot like Eminem, this is a must-see before the first Seder tonight. And remember ‘Let my peeps go!’


For the Torah-studying scholar on-the-go, 23-year-old entrepreneur Yehuda Shmidman has created the ShasPod, a 20GB iPod filled with the equivalent of 2,700 pages of the Talmud as read and commented by Rabbi Dovid Grossman of Los Angeles. The $399 price is one hundred bucks over the price of the iPod as shipped from Apple. And while the lectures by Rabbi Grossman are available for free at dafyomi.org, some Orthodox Jews will not use the web for non-work purposes. Timing is key here as well. As the New York Times reported (free registration required), Jews worldwide recently celebrated the completion of the seven-and-a-half-year cycle of Talmudic learning called the Siyum HaShas, where students learn one page per day. Here’s a sample file about the s’hma.