Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Great Regulars: But last week, the web--especially

its Jewish corners--was buzzing over a bizarre photograph of an Orthodox Jewish man on an airplane, completely wrapped in a plastic bag. Many commenters on the photo assumed this had something to do with sexual purity or avoiding women, but in fact, as knowledgeable readers pointed out, it actually involved another taboo entirely.

The man must have been a Kohen, a member of the priestly class, and Kohanim are prohibited from coming into contact with corpses. Passing over a cemetery--even, in this case, at 30,000 feet--qualifies as such a contact.

from Adam Kirsch: Tablet: Crossing the Line


Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp is the latest of these revenants. During World War II, some 15,000 Jewish children passed through the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia; of those, about 100 survived to the end of the war. One of them was Helga Weiss, a Prague native who is now 83 years old and lives, amazingly enough, in the same apartment from which she and her parents were deported on December 7, 1941 (the same day the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor brought America into the war).

from Adam Kirsch: New Republic: The Other Anne Frank


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