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Pop Culture

TLC's Sister Wives: A Closer Look

I returned home from my cousin’s wedding Sunday night, happy and exhausted with barely enough energy to flop onto the couch and turn on the TV. That is how I found myself watching the two new episodes of TLC’s Sister Wives, a reality TV show about a modern polygamous family.

The Colors of Water

Water has no color, and yet it contains the rainbow. Transparent and reflective, water reveals the myriad shades of cloud, sky, and light; the rosy glow of dawn, the orange burst of sunset.

The soul has no color, and yet it imbibes the flavors, melodies, and histories of humanity. Intangible and sacred, the soul is never generic; each one tells its own story and sings its own song.

Will America's Next Top Model Be Modern Orthodox?

There has been a lot of talk lately in the Jewish community about a particular contestant on the CW’s reality hit America’s Next Top Model (ANTM). Esther Petrack, an 18-year-old, self-identified Modern Orthodox Jew, is an aspiring model on the show. When asked by Tyra Banks, the show’s host, whether or not she observed Shabbat, Esther said yes and proceeded to explain all that that entailed. But Tyra fired back that contestants on ANTM work on every day of the week. Would Esther be prepared to break the Sabbath in pursuit of her modeling dreams? “Yes, I would do it,” Esther replied.

The Snarker and The Yente

Evil tongues, gossip and snark; who is not guilty of slithering into their seductive arms? I refused to see the movie “Mean Girls.” I was not, however, immune to its cultural reverberations and its ever-popular subject matter: catty girls destroying one another with vituperative snark, often in the cafeteria accompanied by sidelong glares and diet sodas. Jews and students of Judaism may be familiar with snark under its Talmudic pseudonym lashon hara – evil language/tongue.

Fress. Kvetch. Shtup.

Your life is a mess. You’re tired of the routine, you’re constantly craving more of what you’ve already attained, and you find true satisfaction in nothing and in no one. Well here’s the quick fix:

  1. Plan an expensive get-away.

  2. No, actually, scratch that—plan three expensive get-aways.

  3. But it’s not just the location that’s getting to you. You’re also sick of your significant other. So dump the schlub, give no real reason for your decision to break-up, and then…

Teffilin Barbie and Burqa Barbie: What does it mean to dress dolls?

Barbie was created in 1959 by Jewish business woman Ruth Handler. She was an Amazonian creation: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, big-busted American beauty. She loved to drive pink convertibles; her wardrobe and shape-shifting abilities were astonishing. By the 80s, she was highly multicultural and had an endless variety of career paths open to her, from model to mad professor. Nothing is off-limits to ever trail-blazing Barbie, not even tefillin or a burqa.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" -- When Genealogy Meets Reality TV

After hearing various archivists, historians, and librarians rave or moan about the genealogy TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” I finally got a chance to see it for myself. This show is run by the genealogy database Ancestory.com and takes various celebrities on journeys to discover their roots in an odd blend of reality TV confessionalism and historical inquiry. This is the show that recently helped “Sex and the City’s” Sarah Jessica Parker discover a distant ancestor involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

Vampire Mania: Paying tribute to the original "vamp"

We are a country in the grips of vampire mania.

Why We Must Boycott "The Biggest Loser" Casting Call for Jews

I just found out that NBC's The Biggest Loser is looking to cast Jews in it's upcoming season. The casting agents will be in Boston July 24 and are even offering a handful of "VIP audition passes" through JewishBoston.com.

When Harry Met Sally: 21 Years Later

It was twenty-one years ago on July 12th, 1989 that audiences were introduced to characters Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) and Harry Burns (Billy Crystal), who brought the perennial question of whether men and women could just be friends to the big screen in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. It has become one of the most iconic films of the twentieth century with people still watching and talking about the movie today.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Pop Culture." (Viewed on December 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/culture>.

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