Soon there will only be one Judaica store left in Manhattan
By Ben Sales for JTA
Yaakov Seltzer remembers a different world, when he would sell his customers prayer books, then hand them an invitation to his daughter’s wedding.
When they would come in to Seltzer’s store to order a kippah for their new grandson, then ask him to attend the bris.
Or they would stop in on a Friday afternoon with nothing to buy, just to wish him a good Shabbat.
But though the Upper West Side of Manhattan is still heavily Jewish, the world Seltzer longs for has disappeared. And soon, so will his store, West Side Judaica, which Seltzer plans to close sometime next year.
Lane Bryant Malsin: Fashion Revolutionary
BY MICHAEL FELDBERG for myjewishlearning.com
Lane Bryant Malsin started a small business and became a famous fashion designer who made millions, but she was always involved in Jewish philanthropic work.
In 1895, a 16-year-old immigrant named Lena Himmelstein arrived in New York, having traveled alone from her native Lithuania. Without family, she supported herself by working as a seamstress, earning a dollar a week. A gifted dressmaker, Lena quickly became skilled at her craft and within a year was earning the extraordinary wage of fifteen dollars per week. Before the age of 20, Lena married a Jewish immigrant jeweler from Russia named David Bryant. Soon after their son Raphael was born, David Bryant died suddenly. The widowed Lena Bryant, thrown back on her own devices, supported Raphael and herself by returning to dressmaking in their cramped apartment.
By 1904, Bryant’s business was so successful that she opened a shop with living quarters in the rear. A bank officer misspelled her name on a business account application, and Lena’s first name became Lane. Thus began the pioneering women’s clothing enterprise known as Lane Bryant.
Haym Salomon: Revolutionary Broker
BY MICHAEL FELDBERG for myjewishlearning.com
Haym Salomon played a significant role in saving the newly established United States from financial ruin and was a prominent part of Jewish community affairs.
In the pantheon of American Jewish heroes, Haym Salomon (1740-1785) has attained legendary status. His life was brief and tumultuous, but his impact on the American imagination was great. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp hailing Salomon as a “Financial Hero of the American Revolution.” A monument to Salomon, George Washington, and Robert Morris graces East Wacker Drive in Chicago, and Beverly Hills, California, is home to an organization called the American Jewish Patriots and Friends of Haym Salomon.
How Modern Hebrew Developed a Full-Blown Slang in Just a Hundred Years
Philologos for Tablet Magazine
In part, it borrowed extensively from the slangs and vernaculars of other languages. Consider the case of de la shmatte.
Adin Eichler writes:
My grandmother had a word takhlis. [Mr. Eichler spells the word in Hebrew/Yiddish characters as טאכלעס.] She’d use it in sentences like, “It’s time for takhlis,” which meant she was about to sit us down and give us a good talking-to. I never understood precisely what that meant. Do you happen to know?
Takhlis is Yiddish for practical matters or for the practical side of something, as in a sentence like lomir redn takhlis, “Let’s talk takhlis,” that is, “Let’s get down to business” or “Let’s get down to brass tacks.” Although, with the stress on its first syllable, it’s pronounced as Adin Eichler wrote it, following the rules of Yiddish spelling, you won’t find it spelled that way in a Yiddish dictionary. This is because it comes from the Hebrew word takhlit, spelled תכלית, with the stress on the last syllable. The rule in Yiddish is that all Hebrew-derived words retain their Hebrew spellings even if that is not how their sounds would ordinarily be represented in Yiddish. And yet in writing takhlis in Hebrew today, it is often Yiddishized as תכלעס (sometimes elided into תכל’ס).
Jews in Comic Books
BY ARIE KAPLAN for myjewishlearning.com
How American Jews created the comic book industry.
Jews built the comic book industry from the ground up, and the influence of Jewish writers, artists, and editors continues to be felt to this day. But how did Jews come to have such a disproportionate influence on an industry most famous for lantern-jawed demigods clad in colorful tights?
First Comic Books
The story begins in 1933. During that year, the world experienced seismic changes in politics and pop culture. An unemployed Jewish novelty salesman named Maxwell Charles “M.C.” Gaines (née Max Ginzberg) had a brilliant idea: if he enjoyed reading old comic strips like Joe Palooka, Mutt and Jeff, and Hairbredth Harry so much, maybe the rest of America would, too. Thus was born the American comic book, which in its earliest days consisted of reprinted newspaper funnies. Gaines and his colleague Harry L. Wildenberg at Eastern Color Printing soon published February 1934’s Famous Funnies #1, Series 1, the first American retail comic book.