October 7: The “Howl” Premiere

Twenty-nine-year-old Allen Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” in public for the first time on this date in 1955, at Six Gallery in San Francisco — a former auto-repair shop with a dirt floor measuring 20′ x 25′. The reading, which he shared with Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, and Philip Whalen, was a “coming out” […]

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Jewish-Goyish

Lenny Bruce’s Mission to America by Lawrence Bush from the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents LEONARD ALFRED SCHNEIDER, who took the stage as Lenny Bruce, died half a century ago on August 3, 1966, age 40. He was not the nice Jewish boy you’d want your daughter or son to marry. A drug abuser, […]

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December 7: The Father of Conservative Judaism

Solomon Schechter, the Jewish scholar and educator who served as architect of the Conservative denomination of Judaism, was born to a Lubavitcher family in Romania on this date in 1847. Schechter became internationally known in 1896 for discovering and bringing to London more than 100,000 pages of rare manuscripts from the Cairo genizah. Invited from […]

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October 14: The First National LGBTQ March

Some 100,000 people participated in the first National March on Washington For Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights on this date in 1979, galvanized by the assassination of Harvey Milk, who had helped to plan and organize the event. The National Steering Committee for the march, with mandated gender parity and 25 percent representation of people of […]

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Mad Men’s Jews

by Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel THE ARTISTIC and engaging AMC series, Mad Men, which just ended, contrasted the closed 1960s male Protestant world of Madison (“Mad”) Avenue admen with an occasional Jewish character. Actually, the Jewish male characters were all contrasted with mysterious advertising genius Don Draper, known for his conquests of corporations and women.

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May 28: The Tropic of Free Speech

Lenny Bruce, Allen Ginsberg, Al Goldstein, and Elsa Dorfman were among the controversial artists and writers featured in Obscene, a 2007 documentary about publisher and free speech warrior Barney Rosset, who was born to a Jewish father and Catholic mother in Chicago on this date in 1922. The owner of the Grove Press (from 1951) […]

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April 6: The Word Is Out about Rob Epstein

Gay filmmaker Rob Epstein, who has won two Academy Awards for Best Documentary for The Life and Times of Harvey Milk and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, was born in New Jersey on this date in 1955. His other films include Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives, The Celluloid Closet, Paragraph […]

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Jewish Troublemakers in America, Part 1

A History and An Analysis by Lawrence Bush From the Winter, 2014-15 issue (art calender) of Jewish Currents THE STREETS WERE PAVED with stones and cement, not gold, in the so-called goldene medine, “golden land,” of America, but at least a Jew could walk those sidewalks with “none to make him afraid,” as President George […]

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L.S. Asekoff, Judge of Our Poetry Contest

by Gretchen Primack The great poet L. S. Asekoff has published four books: Dreams of a Work (1994) and North Star (1997) with Orchises Press, and The Gate of Horn (2010) and Freedom Hill (2011) with TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press. Between books, his thoughtful poems have appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, American Poetry […]

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