Tags: images

shiny jen

anti-semitic visual tropes: alive and well in your megillah

I can still tell you about this thing I noticed on Purim, can't I.

Artscroll puts out a Children's Megillah, also a Children's Haggadah.

There are little "Did you know??" boxes on a lot of the pages, with enthusiastic-looking children asking questions and learning things. Boys and girls, score gender awareness points Artscroll (and you never thought you'd hear me say that did you).

All these little boys and girls look like your classic peanut-butter-and-jelly American kids - see pictures here - blonde or light brown hair, white skin and chubby red cheeks, little snub noses.

Now, in the Purim book, there are some Villains, right? You remember the story. Evil people. Check out the picture. What's fascinating is that the evil villains in Artscroll's Children's Megillah have dark hair, big noses, strange hats - in fact, they look awfully similar to how anti-semites tend to portray Jews.

That is, here's a Jewish book in which the Jewish kids look like classic American kids as portrayed by white Americans, and the non-Jewish villains look like classic Jews as portrayed by white Americans. Artscroll's illustrators have chosen the classic presentation of the Evil Middle-Easterner, which is an old anti-Semitic trope inherited from Europe.

Suggests that they think of themselves as white European-Americans, which is interesting; it's not so long since American Jews were a Non-White Ethnic Group.

I'm mostly just struck by a certain irony here. I'm familiar with the dark big-nosed sneaky-looking character primarily as a Jewish one, from anti-Semitic propaganda. It's somewhat disconcerting to find it in a Jewish book, representing non-Jews. It could be deliberate irony, I suppose, but that's a bit subtle. I'm more inclined to read it as a group of assimilating Jews taking on the cultural role of "white folks" and with it the tacit permission to use ugly stereotypes of Middle Easterners.

I mean, okay, it's a story with villains, and you have to make the villains look villainous somehow, but I'm not sure that classical anti-Semitic polemic is the healthiest way to do it.

This entry also appears at http://hatam-soferet.dreamwidth.org/650229.html. comment count unavailable people have commented there, and you're welcome to join them. I've disabled LJ comments for the time being because of excessive spam.
shiny jen

Little fat kings

The story behind this image, and lots of adorable pictures of little kings, are all over at http://www.hasoferet.com/blog/?p=883.

I didn't cross-post, because the formatting went all whack, and I didn't feel like reformatting the whole thing for DW/LJ. You'll just have to click over, my loves. It's well worth it, I think.

This entry also appears at http://hatam-soferet.dreamwidth.org/648404.html. comment count unavailable people have commented there, and you're welcome to join them. I've disabled LJ comments for the time being because of excessive spam.
shiny jen

umlauts in hebrew

I posted recently-ish about one Theodor Nöldeke, who was a teacher of Louis Ginzberg.

In another Ginzberg book (vol. 2 of Ginzei Schechter, thanks to Hillel Lavery-Yisraeli) I saw the following transliteration of the name Nöldeke:

Umlauts in Hebrew? I never saw that before. Did any of you?


This is the second time I've seen a certain hawk in the tree outside my living-room window (yay binoculars!). It looks a lot like the pictures of the juvenile red-tailed hawk here (yay internet!), so I'm guessing it's a juvenile red-tailed hawk.

Here is a picture (yay camera!):

I am amused by the similarity between the hawk's expression and Waan's expression in the icon.
shiny jen

What I did on my weekend

chocolate trifleThe Boyfriend sent me this link and now I can't close the browser tab. YES I DARE YOU TO CLICK ON IT and tell me how YOU'D deal with the situation.

Today contained me saying to a young man I'd just met: "If you take your pants off, we can get on with the next part of the program."

This does not usually happen.

Actually, we'd been helping a mutual friend move house, and he'd torn his trousers in the process, so I traded work with him - he'd help me schlep the bedframe I was buying of Madame Moving, and I would fix his trousers. So in context it makes sense, and he skulked modestly in the bathroom until they were done, but still. What a line, eh?

Shabbat featured chocolate trifle. Stale Oreos from a beach trip a couple of weeks back, some extremely indifferent peaches that'd been lurking in the fridge - add a packet of chocolate pudding, a packet of frozen raspberries, and a pint of whipped cream, and this yumminess resulted. I think it could have used some alcohol, but otherwise it was very good.
shiny jen

Pleasing photo of awesome pleasingness

(Now on BoingBoing, thanks Aharon!)

Snapped this afternoon downtown.

In words:

There's this enormous cave in Mexico, and visitmexico.com is encouraging you to visit Mexico by having a life-size poster of the cave on the side of a Manhattan skyscraper.

In the picture are people on ropes, being lowered into the cave.

This afternoon I saw the workers putting the poster up. They're on a gantry, on ropes, being lowered over the poster.

So the small things on ropes that look like cave-descenders are in the poster, and the small things on a gantry that look like workers are in my photograph, and it pleases me immensely that I saw it in that stage.
shiny jen

making toy tefillin

I did a quick photo-series explaining how to make toy tefillin.

Toy tefillin

Originally I made them because Chum said that his Kid got fascinated by his tefillin when he was davening in the mornings, and he thought that Kid would be well-served by having some kiddy tefillin, so as to be able to join in.

So I made him some. Kid loves them, I hear, and Chum can daven in peace.

Apparently the grandson of the Alter Rebbe used to make toy tefillin out of potatoes (scroll to section 26), so for those who say toy tefillin teaches sacrilege, go take it up with the Alter Rebbe, and also with the fluffy sifrei Torah people.

I'm posting instructions because ChumsKid isn't the only one out there, they're awfully easy to do, and we're all about resources here. If they're so rough-and-ready as to be incomprehensible, I can make more detailed instructions, but I should think they're okay for most.

That said, for those who aren't artistically inclined, I can probably knock up a few pairs in time for Hanukah, if anyone's interested, profits split between Yeshivat Hadar and Project Renewal. Comment below or email if interested.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth. Re-enabling comments over here because dreamwidth fail at LJ integration. Pity, because they have principles.
shiny jen

A Problem caused by an Excess of Liquid

Blobby letter ayin in torah

(Click image for bigger version)

Ink deciding to be blobby, and turning letters from agreeably three-dimensional into excessively three-dimensional. Photographed whilst still wet.

This image amuses me for three reasons. First, just because it's amusingly blobby. Second, because the letter on the right is letter ayin, which is a fountain kind of word,* obviously the best letter to display excess liquid. Third, because it's in the story of the Flood, which of course was the archetypal problem caused by excess liquid.

Technical notes:

This sort of blobbing can be caused by variations in ink, pen, pen technique, klaf, atmosphere. Today the problem was the ink being rather too sticky - I'd left the lid loose on the inkwell over Pesach, so it had dried out a little bit and gone just sludgy enough that it behaved like this. Once I'd diluted it with a couple of drops of alcohol, it was fine. Barometer 30ins and rising slightly, temp mid-70s fahrenheit, humidity low 60%s. Leaving these as is may make them more prone to flaking decades in the future. You can sometimes sort it by blotting up the excess with blotting paper, but if the problem is sticky ink it won't blot well and you'll have to sort it later when it's dried by knifing off the excess. You should not do this in divine names.

* Linguistically, I mean. I understand that ayin literally means "eye" because of the underlying meaning "fountain," as in mayan. I could be wrong.