KOSHER MEAT REVOLTS?: The New York Jewish Week attempts to gauge reaction among kosher consumers to the controversy surrounding America’s largest kosher meat plant in the wake of a massive federal immigration raid. Among both Conservative and Orthodox Jews, the paper finds an uneven response, with pockets of anger and calls for boycotts, juxtaposed with the seeming indifference of many congregations. “In the end,” the paper concludes, “the boycott campaign may reach only those in religious Jewish populations who are inclined toward activism.”
A SCHOOL SHRINKS IN BROOKLYN: The New York Jewish Week reports that America’s first Orthodox girls’ school is looking to sell its main Brooklyn facility. With the borough’s Orthodox population shifting religiously rightward, officials at the Shulamith School for Girls point to falling enrollment at the Brooklyn campus and say they need to focus their resources on their newer Long Island branch. While school officials say they intend to reopen the Brooklyn branch in a new location, some local parents are up in arms and fear that the sale will spell the school’s demise in the borough.
BLACK ON JEWS: Constantly yelling comedian Lewis Black tells Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent that Judaism “provided a real basis for life. I’ve had some wonderful rabbis over the years. It’s all given me a strong ethical outlook.”
EAST VS. WEST: As leaders of Cleveland’s Jewish federation consider moving its headquarters from downtown to the heavily Jewish eastern suburb of Beachwood, The Cleveland Jewish News takes the temperature of the rank-and-file. Most of those queried, particularly those who live in the city’s western suburbs, say that they want the federation to stay downtown.
BEFORE JACKIE ROBINSON: In the years before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, it wasn’t easy for blacks and whites to play ball together. Sam Gordon, 84, reminisces about his experiences playing with a black softball club in an interview with Columbus’s New Standard. “Some of my Jewish counterparts, people here in town, word got back to me, said it was terrible that I was playing with a black team because it looked bad for the Jews in town,” Gordon tells the paper.
SILVERMAN SIS SPILLS THE BEANS: Writing in San Francisco’s J., Rabbi Susan Silverman explains how her famous comedian sister was always good at edgy humor. Even as a toddler, Sarah Silverman could crack up a room — by swearing. “Our mother rolled her eyes in mock disapproval as our father beamed,” the rabbi writes regarding one particular incident. “And we, her big sisters, couldn’t believe our luck — in Sarah we had found the perfect juxtaposition of adorable and crude. It was genius.” Rabbi Silverman also explains how her younger sibling is “Like the Jewish prophets.” (It turns out this essay is an adaptation of an article that appeared in the L.A. Jewish Journal back in November.)
‘SEX’ JEW SPEAKS: Actor Evan Handler — who plays Charlotte’s adoring Jewish husband, Harry Goldenblatt, in “Sex and the City” — tells the L.A. Jewish Journal “I am not that guy.” He also says that he is often stopped on the streets by Jewish men who praise his work on the hit show. “I don’t know whether most of the thanks were offered because they thought [Harry] was a positive portrayal of a Jewish character or if they were thrilled I’d defiled television’s ultimate rendition of another cultural stereotype: the shiksa goddess,” Handler says.
NO CITIZENSHIP FOR SEMITES: The L.A. Jewish Journal has the story of a local judicial candidate who has apparently advocated limiting citizenship exclusively to non-Hispanic whites. (That means no citizenship for “Semites,” either!) The Journal reports that his campaign manager is also the state coordinator of Ron Paul for President.
JEWS AGAINST BOREDOM: Underwhelmed by offerings for Jewish 20-somethings in the San Diego area, two young men decided to do something about it. The San Diego Jewish Journal reports on the birth of Jews Against Boring Activities. “We’re tired of people complaining about things and not doing anything,” group co-founder Brian Geffen tells the paper. “We’re doing it. We’re making it happen. We’re making Jewish events a want-to experience, versus a have-to experience.” According to the Journal, ideas for events include “a dinner cruise, a day at the Del Mar Racetrack, and cocktails, appetizers and live jazz at a trendy restaurants [sic].”
SHOSHANAH EATS SEAL: The San Diego Jewish Journal catches up with Shoshanah Jacobs, “a 29-year old Jewish girl from Ottawa, Ontario with a PhD in Arctic seabirds” who works as an Arctic expedition leader.
KINKY FRIEDMAN SPEAKS: Country music singer, mystery writer, former Texas gubernatorial candidate and (most recently) cigar manufacturer Kinky Friedman tells Britain’s Jewish Chronicle that Israelis are “very much like Texans.” “They both like to wear their hats indoors,” he explains, adding: “They’re also both gypsies, wandering in the raw poetry of time.” He’s less charitable, however, in his estimation of some varieties of Diaspora Jews: “The American Jew is a very uncomfortable creature. So is the British Jew. They’re wimps.”
IT’S GOOD TO BE AN OLIGARCH: Mikhail Friedman, the Russian “oligarch” whom Forbes magazine ranked the world’s 45th-richest person, chats with Britain’s Jewish Chronicle about the situation of Jews in Russia. “I would say that now antisemitism is not a big problem. Xenophobia is a bigger problem,” he tells the paper. “The problem of Jews are solved, but those of others such as the Armenians and the Uzbeks are not. On a social level, people far more often face competition with non-ethnic Russians and it’s much more problematic. It’s very important to express clearly our solidarity with non-Russian people fighting for their rights.”
NAZIS CROSS CHANNEL: Jewish leaders in Manchester are fuming over a 1940s-themed event in a heavily Jewish part of town in which some participants showed up wearing Nazi uniforms. Contacted for comment by Britain’s Jewish Chronicle, an event organizer responded: “I am making my tea and I do not want to speak to you. I do not have to. This is a free country and I speak to who I want to.”
SHTREIMEL SNATCHERS: Britain’s Jewish Chronicle reports on a slew of muggings in which London Hasidim have had their expensive fur hats stolen. One 19-year-old thug who snatched a 50-year-old teacher’s shtreimel was caught by onlookers. “A number of people were in the street at the time, and saw a man running off with the hat,” a Hackney police spokeswoman tells the J.C. “They pounced on him and detained him prior to police arrival. The hat was recovered by some members of the Jewish community and was returned to the victim.”
POWDER PLEA: A man who sent an envelope to Britain’s Jewish Chronicle that was filled with a harmless white powder and a note saying “All Jews Die,” “World Trade Centre” and “Pentagon” has pleaded guilty to a slew of charges, the J.C. reports.