Still from Shiva Baby

A Funeral Farce (Shiva Baby)

Shiva Baby Released April 2, 2021 (USA) 1 hour 17 minutes Directed by Emma Seligman Neon Heart Productions Comedy, English When Danielle’s overbearing mother presses her into attending a shiva, a series of disasters converge over the span of several hours. Shiva Baby, directed by Emma Seligman, is a taut, finely scripted comedy in which emotional tensions, hidden secrets and discomforting personal interactions tumble out so swiftly that the audience is on tenterhooks wondering where this car crash will end. Danielle, played by Rachel Sennott (High Maintenance, Call Your Mother), is a bisexual woman who has just graduated with a degree in gender business studies, but she is aimless and unemployed. She has told her parents that she has what she euphemistically calls a part-time “babysitting” job that, in reality, involves getting paid for sex with a married man. Her parents’ desire for...

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Death in the Jewish Tradition

Throughout the ages, the Jewish people have developed customs, rituals and observances to guide us and provide comfort when a loved one dies. Moment Senior Editor Francie Weinman Schwartz, coauthor of The Jewish Moral Virtues with Eugene B. Borowitz, has prepared this compendium to help you make decisions in advance and know what to do when the time comes. Due to safety concerns brought about by the current public health crisis, we’ve also included new traditions to consider.

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Crime Scene

Closing the Book of Life: A Jewish Forensic Expert on Death’s Mysteries

For many Jews, the Day of Atonement marks a time for solemn reflection. After all is said and done—sins tallied, forgiveness asked, the Book of Life sealed shut—how did they measure up? As a forensic pathologist, Judy Melinek’s concerns are a little different. “It always makes me a bit worried,” says the San Francisco physician and bestselling author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner. “Does this mean I'm going to have more work next week?” Readers, be prepared: Melinek's book teems with bodies in dumpsters, New Yorkers boiled alive and maggots doing backbends. When you're handling 20 corpses a month, it seems, the mysteries of life and death become a little less mysterious. Here, the Israeli-born Melinek, M.D., speaks to Moment about "kosher autopsies," what it was like to be San Francisco's only Jewish assistant medical examiner, and why studying death ultimately...

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Spooky jack-o-lantern

Kosher for Halloween

By Daniel Kieval It's Halloween in the suburbs. For a couple of weeks, already, the neighborhood decorations have been out in full force: pumpkins, black cats, spiders, ghosts. Then there are the houses that hold nothing back, turning lawns into graveyards complete with tombstones, skeletons, and back-from-the-dead monsters, such as mummies and zombies. With kids and parents across the country designing costumes, planning parties, and fortifying candy supplies, Halloween may seem an unlikely time to start pondering Judaism.  After all, the chaos of the fall holidays has passed, and Jews are supposed to be enjoying a well-deserved break, not starting in on more holidays. Yet, surrounded as we are by the Halloween culture, it may be worthwhile to ask the question: Does Halloween's glorification of blood and gore, of demons and the living dead have any relation...

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