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Ruth Handler and Barbie

Ruth Handler’s Barbie doll was introduced to society at the New York Toy Fair on this date in 1959. Born Ruth Marianna Mosko in 1916 in Denver, Colorado, Handler was a child of immigrant parents from Poland. Her creation of Barbie (named after her daughter, Barbara) was designed as a quantum leap in how preadolescent girls approached doll […]

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Hello, Deli!

CHRONICLING THE NEW YORK JEWISH DELICATESSEN by Mikhail Horowitz from the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli, by Ted Merwin. New York University Press, 2015, 245 pages. IN THE MID-1980s, I worked for a daily paper in the Hudson Valley with an […]

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August 23: Malvina’s Little Boxes

Activist songwriter and folksinger Malvina Reynolds was born to Jewish socialist immigrants in San Francisco on this date in 1900. She earned a doctorate at the University of California/Berkeley in 1938, and was already in her forties when she joined company with Earl Robinson, Pete Seeger, and other folk singers and songwriters. Her progressive, popular […]

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Rediscovering Ezra Jack Keats

by Helen Engelhardt From the Autumn, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents EZRA JACK KEATS IS KNOWN to many of us as the author of the modern classic children’s book, The Snowy Day, in which a young boy named Peter wakes to find his urban neighborhood transformed by a snowfall in the night. He puts on […]

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April 22: This Guy’s In Love with You

Trumpet player Herb Alpert sang a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song, “This Guy’s In Love with You,” to his wife Lani Hall on a CBS television special on this date in 1968. A deluge of calls from fans to the television station convinced Alpert to release the song as a single two days later, and it […]

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April 5: “Marxism and Hard Work” in Texas

Bernard Rapoport, founder of the American Income Life Insurance Company and a major donor to progressive Democratic candidates and liberal causes, especially in his home state of Texas, died in Waco at 94 on this date in 2012. Of his immigrant parents, Rapoport said: “My father,” who was a peddler on the streets of San […]

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