}

Bad Rabbi, New Nobels, Mikvahs, #Vegas, and Other Etrogim

Mazal Tov to the 2017 Nobel Prize Winners announced so far.

The recipients of the 2017 Nobel in Physiology and Medicine are Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young. It was announced on Monday in STockholm. In 1984, Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash, both at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachsetts worked with Michael Young at the Rockefeller University in New York, and succeeded in isolating the period gene. Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash then went on to discover that PER, the protein encoded by period, accumulated during the night and was degraded during the day. Thus, PER protein levels oscillate over a 24-hour cycle, in synchrony with the circadian rhythm. Michael Rosbash, who was born in 1944 in Kansas City, and raised in Boston, is the son of a cantor and cytologist, both of whom fled Nazi Germany. Cantor Rosbach led Temple Ohabei Shalom for many decades.

On Tuesday, Sweden’s Royal Academy of Sciences announced that the Nobel Prize in Physics will be awarded to Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology, as well as Rainer Weiss of the MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for their work on Einstein’s theory about gravitational waves and black holes. Weiss, like Rosbash, is the son of a German-Jewish father who fled Nazi-controlled Germany. Weiss will receive half of the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize amount, while Barish and Thorne will share the other half. Dr. Barish was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in Southern California. He is the son of Lee and Harold Barish. His parents’ families were Jewish immigrants from a part of Poland that is now in Belarus.

And a Mazel Tov to Eddy Portnoy of YIVO who published a book this week titled BAD RABBI. Bad Rabbi exposes the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With true stories plucked from the pages of the Yiddish papers, Eddy Portnoy introduces us to the drunks, thieves, murderers, wrestlers, poets, and beauty queens whose misadventures were immortalized in print. It includes the story of the Polish rabbi who is blackmailed by an American widow.

Speaking of Mikvahs and Authors, best-selling Jewish-American author, Tova Mirvis, has written a memoir about the breakup of her marriage and her exit from Orthodox Judaism, and the identity it conferred. In Lenny Letter from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, Tova Mirvis writes about the mikvah and how it helped her change her mind about being Modern Orthodox. Her memoir is titled The Book of Separation. She started to use a lake instead of the local mikvahs each month, and later use the lake not for purity but to open wide. Another Jewish-American author has a best-seller out on her divorce, descent into depression, and her use of the Daf Yomi to recover and thrive. It is titled If All The Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan Kurshan, who resides in Israel, is a daughter of (Emeritus) Rabbi Neil Kurshan of the Huntington Jewish Center on Long Island, New York.

Speaking of Jewish American authors, The New York Times T MAGAZINE features a story on being a Jewish author. Three fiction writers and one cartoonist ruminate on Jewish identity and its relationship to Israel and the U.S. in 2017. They are Vanessa Davis, known for her autobiographical comics, like 2010’s book “Make Me a Woman,” which is about growing up Jewish in Florida; Joshua (Tough Jews) Cohen’s, whose latest novel is Moving Kings about a New York-based moving company made up of former Israeli soldiers (hint hint.. Moishes Movers); Nathan Englander, whose newst novel is Dinner at the Center of the Earth, a political thriller partially set during the Second Intifada; and Nicole Krauss, whose newest novel is Forest Dark about an American philanthropist who travels to Tel Aviv, and is also a meditation on writing itself.

No Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman? Wink.

Speaking of which, Nataniel Goldman and Asselah Rashid share a story in the Atlanta Jewish Times about their particiaption in the Muslim Jewish confab in Sarajevo.

Rabbi Douglas Sagal (HUC ’90) of Temple Emanu El in Westfield, New Jersey created an anti gun poem – after the murders in Las Vegas –
based on the high holiday lirugy and posted it on Facebook:

Rabbi Sharon Brous, in an OP ED in the LA Jewish Journal writes to politicians “Enough with your thoughts and prayers. People are dying.” on why gun control action is needed

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