Bintel Blog

In Other Jewish Newspapers: Who’s a Hellenist?, Kabbalah Centre Reconsidered, Stripping for Charity

By Daniel Treiman

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TARSY SPLITS: After facing down Abe Foxman over the Armenian genocide issue, getting fired for it and then being reinstated following the ensuing uproar, the ADL’s New England regional director, Andrew Tarsy, is stepping down. Boston’s Jewish Advocate has the story.

WHO’S A HELLENIST?: Writing in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish Press, Rabbi Gil Student says you can embrace modern culture without becoming a “Hellenist.” “When we replace our religion with foreign values and abandon our covenant with God, we are acting like Hellenists,” he explains. “When, however, we remain firmly entrenched in our Jewish beliefs and observances but expand our horizons with additional, religiously inoffensive culture, we are not acting like Hellenists at all.” He adds: “There may be ‘Hellenists’ today who try — through misinformation, intimidation and legislation — to remove Jews from their religious heritage. In my experience, however, the major Jewish movements and certainly the various segments of Orthodoxy do not conform to this description.”

KOUFAX KIPPAH: A yarmulke that was supposedly once worn by baseball legend Sandy Koufax nets $91 on E-Bay, The New Jersey Jewish News finds. The sale is not to be confused with the infamous Koufax kippah controversy of 1995.

‘JEWISH JORDAN’ HOMECOMING: Tamir Goodman, the kippah-clad teen basketball sensation who was over-optimistically dubbed the “Jewish Jordan,” has returned to his home state of Maryland to play ball, The Baltimore Jewish Times reports.

Also in the Jewish Times: A Jewish comedian cracks up our troops in Afghanistan, and a local rabbi has been arrested and charged with sex offenses.

KABBALAH CENTRE RECONSIDERED: L.A. Jewish Journal editor Rob Eshman makes a second visit to the Kabbalah Centre, and — much to his surprise — he likes it. What changed? For starters, he had read religious studies professor Jody Myers’s book, “Kabbalah and the Spiritual Quest: The Kabbalah Centre in America.” And now, Eshman feels compelled to ask: “What if we were to see the Centre not as a threat but as a model?”

Also in the Jewish Journal: Amy Klein investigates whether L.A. can support a second non-denominational mikveh, and Brad Greenberg profiles a judge known for his pro-Israel views who slammed U.S. government efforts to deport a group of Palestinians sympathetic to a radical group.

BEARD IS NO BARRIER: Like his uncle before him, Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum has been granted a beard exemption to allow him to serve as a military chaplain despite his facial hair. A shortage of chaplains may have helped the Chabad rabbi get the go-ahead from the Maryland Defense Force, The Washington Jewish Week reports. “The need today is great enough to afford us the opportunity to think outside the box,” Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hastings told the paper.

‘SHLEPPING TO THE SUBURBS:’ Detroit’s mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, swings by the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield to invite area Jews to revisit the city that many once called home. The Detroit Jewish News was on the scene to hear the mayor use words like “shmegegge” and “shlepping.”

SHOEBAT SPEAKS: Palestinian-terrorist-turned-Christian-pro-Israel-advocate Walid Shoebat speaks at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee — and draws some Jewish detractors, The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle reports.

HONORED AT THE END: Kansas City business magnate and Jewish community pillar Sherman Dreiseszun passes away the day after he was honored by 1,000 people at a local synagogue. The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle looks back on his life.

A BRIDGE TOO FAR: Pro-Palestinian activists commandeer a local highway overpass to display anti-Israel banners, Houston’s Jewish Herald-Voice reports.

CALENDAR BOYZ: A group of British Jewish businessmen show some skin to raise money for a community center. London’s Jewish Chronicle has the (illustrated) story of the Calendar Boyz.

Also in the J.C.: The J.C. reports that the businessman at the center of a Labor Party fundraising scandal told the paper that he donated anonymously to avoid talk of a Jewish conspiracy. But now, the J.C. reports, Abrahams is denying having given an interview to the paper — a development that left the paper’s editor feeling “bemused.”

DOUBLE THE HATE: Antisemitic incidents in Australia have more than doubled in the past year, according to the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. Acts of assault, harassment, intimidation and vandalism have surged, as have antisemitic e-mails and Internet activity. While Aussie antisemites are stepping up their online activities, there is a silver lining, according to The Australian Jewish News: “Bigots have begun to desert the older technologies. Telephone calls with extreme anti-Semitic abuse were at the fourth lowest rate in 18 years, as was hate mail.”

CANADIAN CAMPUS CONFLICT: Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students clash at two Toronto campuses, The Canadian Jewish News reports.

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