Joking about his height at the podium at the October 13 U.S. Air Force, Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club’s 18th Annual Military Ball, U.S. Army (Ret) Col. Jack Jacobs — the only living Jewish recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor — cautioned the bemedaled and gowned military assemblage at The Pierre not “to take potshots” about “my standing on a box.”
Jacobs thanked SSMAC Chairman and CEO Ivan Obolensky and its executive director Hazel Cathers, “who labor tirelessly to make sure that there is a home for the troops who worked [and] fought to defend the homeland — without whom we would not be here today and I — and lots of people have to thank the troops…. For we and lots of other people in the world would not be enjoying the fruits of their labors — freedom which is priceless and can only be paid with — as has been said many times — since the [American] Revolution — with the blood of patriots. “
Col. Jacobs — whose curriculum vitae notes “ is among the most highly decorated soldiers from the [Vietnam] era having earned three Bonze Stars, two Silver Stars and the Medal of Honor” was, among others, a founder and CEO of AutoFinance Group Inc., a Managing Director of Bankers Trust, a London real estate firm The Fitzroy Group and serves on a number of charitable boards of directors, was an on air analyst for NBC News and recipient of the 2011 Murrow Award on the Nightly News segment “Iraq: The Long Way Out” (and more).
Emceed by WPIX’s Marvin Scott, the event’s honorees included General Mark A. Welsh III Chief of Staff, U .S. Air Force, Lieutenant General Stephen L. Hoog Asst. Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force., and Emmy Award-winning journalist WPIX 11 News Anchor Tamsen Fadalwho received SSMAC’s Distinguished Media Achievement Award.
Among the festive and uniformed guests: Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Ermias Sahle Selassie of Ethiopia, Countess Nicholas (Tanya) Bobrinkskoy, Helen Roosevelt, Iriina Dvorjitsky San Fillipo, Margo and John Catsimatidis, and newscaster/author Rita Cosby.
Founded in 1919 by Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Mrs. Cornelia Barnes Rogers, and Gen. John J. Pershing, SSMAC has served over five million Servicemen and Servicewomen, veterans and their families and those of our Allies with its “Home Away from Home” accommodations at its Lexington Avenue site.
On August 13, 2003, the day of the Northeast Blackout, Karen Leon (this column’s photographer and my daughter) had just left the Forward building at its then 33rd Street home when lights began to go out in Manhattan. There was no way to get out of the city so she walked over to the SSMAC Club and was welcome. By candlelight she slept on a cot, shared canned tuna and listened to war stories told by servicemen and women from across America. It was a night to remember.
Too lazy to sort through your parents’ kippah drawer? Now, you can print one — in 3D.
Craig Kaplan, an associate professor in the Computer Graphics Lab at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, rarely leaves the house without his Panama hat in warmer weather.
He wanted to design a 3-D printed version of the traditional hat, but he decided to start with an easier shape to reproduce: a yarmulke, or kippah — a plate-shaped head covering worn by observant Jews.
“After that,” he says, “it was just a matter of working through the mathematics — programming and 3-D modeling to make these kippah designs a reality.”
And yes, before you ask, it is kosher. Caplan consulted with rabbis to make sure that his model could be worn worry-free by all members of the tribe (though as Heeb points out, why you would need one is a whole other story).
There’s a downside, however. As Caplan pointed out to NPR, “they don’t do as good of a job at concealing the aging Jewish male’s bald spot, as I can personally attest.”
Swissinfo.ch reports that coffee lovers in Switzerland complained after waking up to a certain mustachioed dictator’s face along with their morning cup of Joe. The problematic creamers have popped up in a number of restaurants and cafes.
The packaging was part of a special collection 30 creamer lids featuring cigar band designs, created by Karo-Versand. The merchandise is still for sale on the company website, but Peter Rothenbühler, a Karo-Versand worker, confirmed that the no more Hitler lids would be manufactured.
“We weren’t observant enough to notice the picture of Hitler,” he said. But in retrospect, we should have paid more attention.”
Swiss retailer Migros announced (link in German) that it would no longer do business with Karo-Versand. Other festive lids in the collection feature images of Benito Mussolini, various flowers and animals, and John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States.
“You cannot murder eleven million people without the cooperation of journalists, doctors, lawyers, society as a whole,” declared Peter John Sacripanti, chair at the FASPE (Fellowship at Auschwitz For The Study of Professional Ethics) inaugural dinner held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Anthony Kronman, emcee and former dean of Yale Law School informed that FASPE is now in its 5th operational year “in the presence of Auschwitz… FASPE enables young professionals “to learn from the experience of their counterparts during the period of the Third Reich—sharpen their understanding [of] what they did and did not do…what courage looks like in human form.”
Honored posthumously was critic of the Nazi regime Blessed Bernhard Lichtenberg, of the Diocese of Berlin who organized protests outside concentration camps, led public prayers for Jews, and filed complaints against the Nazi Party. Following a two-year imprisonment, he resumed his criticism of the Nazis, was re-arrested and killed enroute to Dachau on November 5, 1943 at age 67. Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1966, he was honored as Righteous Among Nations at Yad Vashem.
Refusing to accept the posthumous award to Father Lichtenberg, Rev. Joseph Michael McShane S.J. President, Fordham University, said, “ We live in dark times again. Anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head through the world. In some places it assumed a genteel form. In others it is as brutal as it was in Hitler’s time.” Quoting Lichtenberg’s response to 1938 Kristallnacht he said, “’I reject with all my strength the deportation of the Jews with all its side effects, because it is directed against the most important commandment of Christianity: ‘You shall love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’”
Floris Dreesman Head of Audi Brand Strategy, accepted the FASPE award for Ethical Leadership and “its unflinching extensive examination…in horrifying detail… of the use that its predecessor company Autounion…had made of slave workers provided by the SS/Third Reich.”
The evening’s cerebral dessert was a Q&A with Randy Cohen, original ethicist of the New York Times Magazine, who — combining rabbinic-Freudian-Stand-Up-Comic wisdom — fielded questions from FASPE alumni.
Sample query: “As a rabbi, I officiated at a wedding that had a low likelihood of success and was in a quandary over saying something?” A smiling Cohen mused: “This is a question for the Jesuits.” [laughter!]. Chances of [any] marriage surviving is fifty-fifty. They are not asking you if they should get married. That’s what they ask their therapist [laughter]. They are asking you to just bless their union. You do not get to approve or disapprove of whom people love.”
Another puzzler was posited by a Jewish female hospital chaplain who saw a gorgeous guy on an on-line dating site. Just before answering him — the only Jewish chaplain on call — she ends up counseling him and his family pending a heart operation for his mother. “Can they meet?” she asked Cohen.
“This is not a moral question, but a ‘Seinfeld’ episode,” he replied. “You are only a chaplain for a small part of his life…you are not counseling beyond this incident.”
And so, another pop star jumps on the Kabbalah bandwagon.
Move over, Ashton and Madonna — this time, it’s Ariana Grande’s turn to spill the beans on her connection to the Jewish mystical practice. The former Nickelodeon darling told the Telegraph that though raised in a Catholic home in Boca Raton, Florida, she turned to Kabbalah in her teens because of the Church’s stance on homosexuality. Her brother, Frankie, whom she “adored and worshipped” growing up, is gay.
“When my brother was told that God didn’t love him I was like, ‘OK, that’s not cool,’” the 21-year-old said. “They were building a Kabbalah centre in Florida so we both checked it out and really had a connection with it. Since then my life has unfolded in a really beautiful way, and I think that it has a lot to do with the tools I’ve learnt through Kabbalah, I really do.’
Asked what she means by “tools,” she answered:
“You have to watch your intentions, make sure you’re not giving in to your ego. You have to numb your reactive state. You have the power to change your reality,” she says, clapping her hands together. “You have to take a second and breathe and reassess how you want to approach or react to a situation or approach an obstacle, or deal with a negative person in your space. That takes a lot of self-control and practice and, I guess, willpower,” she concludes with an embarrassed laugh.
Maybe she and Britney can bond over growing up to be pop stars with big bouncy ponytails, and their love for red string.
Alina Voronina from Moscow poses for the contest
Last week, Vocativ reported that VKontakte, essentially Russia’s version of Facebook, was hosting a Miss Hitler Pageant.
As one would expect, people got a little upset about it.
Hosted on the site’s Adolf Hitler page, the Miss Ostland pageant, as it’s officially known, called on women “who hate Jews” to share their most “sexy Nazi pics” of themselves. Admirers of all things Hitler (the page had 7,000 followers) would then vote for the most beautiful anti-Semite in all the land (to see pictures of the main contenders, click here).
Fortunately, people seemed to have regained their sanity, and the contest has been cancelled. Vocativ reports that the page has been taken down. VKontakte’s head of public relations George Lobushkin told Vocativ that “loading, storing, publishing, disseminating, making available or otherwise using any information which: propagandizes and/or contributes to racial, religious, ethnic hatred or hostility, propagandizes fascism or racial superiority,” violates the site’s Terms of Service.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest Aryan of them all? I guess we’ll never know.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg knows she’s badass. She’s got the t-shirts to prove it.
At an event held at the 92nd Street Y on Sunday night, the Supreme Court justice explained that she has “quite a large supply” of t-shirts showing her face and the slogan “Notorious RBG,” referencing rapper Biggie Smalls, also known as The Notorious B.I.G.
During the interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Ginsburg said she gives them out as gifts to her friends:
Totenberg: On a somewhat lighter note, I want to ask you about the Notorious RBG t-shirt.[Applause, Cheers]. I gather there are some people he who’ve worn them. I wear mine on the weekends all the time. And people will occasionally—The guy at the drug store said to me last weekend, he said, who is that woman, she looks very familiar, but who is she? I said she’s a Supreme Court justice. He said, oh good, I’ve learned something today. So how did you find out about the notorious RBG t-shirts.
Ginsburg: I think a law clerk told me about this tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious RBG was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that’s on the tumblr. I have—and in fact I think I gave you a Notorious RBG—
Totenberg: Two of my three. I bought one.
Ginsburg: I have quite a large supply.
Totenberg: Do you have the one—what’s the one ‘you can’t have truth without Ruth’”
Ginsburg: Without Ruth. [nods]
So, Ruth… I guess mine just got lost in the mail?
You can now tweet with that woman.
Monica Lewinsky, self proclaimed “social activist. public speaker. contributor to vanity fair. knitter of things without sleeves,” has joined Twitter. With two tweets under her belt, the woman whose blue dress almost brought down a president already has over 8,000 followers and a verified account.
Her first tweet, posted earlier this morning, is a little ominous:
Lewinsky’s Twitter debut coincided with her speech at Forbes’ Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia, in which she addressed the issue of cyberbullying.
“I was Patient Zero,” the 41-year old told the crowd. “The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet… Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too. I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”
Ironically, The New Republic reports that Lewinsky’s mentions feed is already full of mean tweets.
Welcome Monica! Don’t let the haters get you down.
Are you conflicted about what Halloween costume to buy your kids? Are you torn between the bumble bee, Frozen’s Elsa and Spiderman costumes? Have no fear, maybe you can dress them in something with a little more history, like a World War II child evacuee.
Sold on Amazon and UK’s eBay sites, the costumes feature a little girl with a smile on her face, her hand on her hip and a luggage tag on her coat. For about $18 you can also have your child trick-or-treat in this “WWII evacuee wartime fancy dress.”
And it’s only a matter of time before they start making the slutty version of this.
Also available for boys so no one feels left out.
The 2014 Appeal of Conscience Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria boasted more than 1000 guests and included a large contingent of exquisitely gowned women. Honored were Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Robert Iger and General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
Cardinal Theodor M. Dolanoffered a prayer and Secretary of the Holy See Cardinal Pietro Parolin brought greetings. Prefacing president Nieto’s address, Henry Kissinger lauded Mexico’s president as having “in less than two years opened up a new and even better future for Mexico” which has “transformed itself into a dynamic, vibrant, modern democracy.” Kissinger touted NAFTA and urged the reduction of “trade barriers” and making “our borders smarter [to] enhance our common security.”
Accepting the Appeal’s World Statesman Award, “on behalf of my entire country Mexico,” president Nieto said that he shared the moment “with religious and corporate leaders committed to universal principles…human rights, peace among all peoples, tolerance and camaraderie.” His roster of statistics included: “Mexico is one of the few true bio-diverse countries with 10% of our planet’s species found there….our population is the world’s 11th largest and 50% of it is under 27 years. ” He concluded with the hope that Mexico be a “nation of tolerance and harmony, in which all Mexicans can fully enjoy their Human Rights, make their dreams come true and be happy.”
Apropos Disney’s message of optimism, Bob Iger declared, “It’s an essential part of our company’s DNA [emanating] from our founder Walt Disney who always looked beyond today to the possibilities of tomorrow, convinced our future could be brighter than our past…. We want good to conquer evil…peace instead of conflict…and who doesn’t want to live ‘happily ever after’?” Citing the global disasters, Iger said “Even people who believe in the same god are killing each other over the proper way to worship…. Our future will be determined by our ability to resolve this disturbing dichotomy…and it will take more than military might and diplomacy…. We’re here tonight because we’re optimists…we believe humanity can do better.”
Barra informed that “GM was Disney’s first corporate partner at EPCOT 1979… we’ve been with Disney ever since.” Recalling her recent meeting with President Nieto and his team in Mexico, she said, “Next year will mark the 80th anniversary of GM operations in Mexico.”
“The life I lead today was not remotely possible just a generation ago,” said Barra. “My father was a die maker at GM’s Pontiac Motor Division for 39 years. He retired from GM in 1980—the same year I started…. He saw GM elect its first woman board member… establish the industry’s first supplier and minority dealer programs…. And he probably never imagined a day when GM would employ more than 32,000 women around the globe…. and I doubt he ever imagined the GM would have a woman CEO.”
In his address, Rabbi Arthur Schneier — founder of Appeal of Conscience Foundation and Senior Rabbi at Park East Synagogue–addressed the plight of Christians in the Middle East, the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and articulated his oft stated mantra: ”The hijacking of religion by barbarians is the greatest crime against religion and humanity.”
(JTA) — Back in 2003, long before Rabbi Barry Freundel’s arrest on voyeurism charges, and long before Sacha Baron Cohen was a household name, the rabbi appeared on Baron Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show.”
The rabbi was one of three religious leaders (plus an atheist) who agreed to appear on a panel, apparently unaware that they would be pummeled with questions like, “Is God just an overhyped David Blaine?” and “Isn’t it hypocriticalist that so many nuns work as strippers?”
In the roundtable discussion, Freundel defends circumcision and in-marriage.
When asked if he would marry someone who is not Jewish, Freundel replied, “I wouldn’t. The reason I wouldn’t is the family that I want to create is a family that’s going to have Jewish values in it.”
Baron Cohen’s character then asks: “What if she was really fit though?”
“Doesn’t matter,” Freundel said. “That’s not the most important thing in life to me.”
No mention of the mikvah, unfortunately.
(JTA) — For those on-the-go types who prefer to travel through, rather than live in, their (very) temporary dwelling, there’s a new option: the drive-thru sukkah.
Following the lead of Miami’s Bet Shira Congregation — which in 2009 opened what is believed to be the first drive-thru sukkah — a suburban Philadelphia synagogue is this year touting its own car-friendly booth.
Har Zion Temple, which, like Bet Shira, is Conservative, is inviting motorists to stop in throughout the holiday (on yom tov as well as hol hamoed) and say the blessing over the lulav and etrog. The drive-thru is in addition to a more traditional and, er, pedestrian sukkah on the other side of the synagogue.
Gavi Miller, the shul’s executive director, told JTA that drivers are welcome to bring the lulav and etrog into their car or to step outside and do the blessing. “The idea is to reach out to people where they are,” he said.
“This is another way to make the holiday a little more accessible,” he added. “Lots of people have memories of Passover seders, Chanukah and Rosh Hashanah, but some don’t have Sukkot memories.”
Adolf Hitler is on Tinder. I repeat, Adolf Hitler is on Tinder.
Well, not really because, you know, Hitler took his own life in 1945 to avoid being caught by the Allied forces. There is, however, someone impersonating a 22-year-old ‘Adolf’ on the popular dating app, and some screen grabs from Reddit suggest he’s done quite well for himself too.
Not much is known about this anonymous person who spent a month posing as the man responsible for the genocide against the Jews and other minority groups, except that he uses AT&T, and he should probably get an external battery charger.
I’m not quite sure if the Führer would’ve fared well in the modern battle known as online dating, but he did get around in his day. Hitler managed to have not one but two fiances, as well as an unknown number of companions and lovers. He also married the striking Eva Braun, who, while obviously deranged, was way out of his league. Let’s overlook the fact that two of his former lovers committed suicide and two others attempted it; it’s not unreasonable to assume that Hitler would’ve cleaned up on Tinder.
What’s most worrisome of all, I think, is that women actually swiped right when given the option of matching with this bad boy.
On second thought, it’s clearly the hipster mustache.
Actor Richard Gere reportedly is set to star in a new film by award-winning Israeli director Joseph Cedar.
Cedar also wrote the screenplay for the movie, which will be filmed in both New York and Israel, the Israeli daily Yedioth Acharonot reported Sunday.
Two of Cedar’s films, “Footnote” and “Beaufort,” were nominated for Academy Awards.
The movie is expected to be called “Oppenheimer,” according to Yedioth, and also will star Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi.
Call it the King David defense — for Bubba.
A noted Jewish studies professor once suggested President Bill Clinton was not guilty of adultery with White House intern Monica Lewinsky under a Talmudic approach — and noted that the Biblical David was never ousted for much worse sins, a newly released email reveals.
The email from Susannah Heschel, a professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth and the daughter of theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, is one of about 10,000 records from the Clinton presidency that were released by the Clinton Presidential Library.
“According to classical Jewish law, President Clinton did not commit adultery; adultery is defined as a married man having intercourse with a married woman, and Monica Lewinsky is single,” said Heschel’s email from Jan. 27, 1999.
The email, which was first reported by the New York Post came at the height of the sex scandal that threatened to topple Bill Clinton. The email from Heschel was sent to Hillary Clinton’s domestic policy adviser, Ruby Shamir, by Linda Commodore of Long Island.
Some nicknames are not meant to show up in an obituary.
After John McGee, of Wildwood, New Jersey, passed away on October 5, his unfortunate nickname — “Jewboy” — showed up in his obituaries in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. (Wildwood is part of Cape May County on the Southern tip of New Jersey and very close to Philadelphia.)
Newspaper spokesman Jonathan Tevis told Philadelphia Magazine that the nickname “never should have ran.”
“We are taking action,” he said. “It was an oversight and not good.”
Yesterday morning both newspapers published a new obituary and issued an apology that read:
“We regret that the above death notice, printed Wednesday, October 8, included a nickname that many would find inappropriate and offensive. We apologize for this oversight, and are taking the necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again.”
It was not immediately clear how McGee got the offensive moniker.
Danny Green poses for selfie at Holocaust Memorial in Berlin/Facebook
San Antonio Spurs star Danny Green went to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, where his team was playing an exhibition game. Nothing wrong with that.
He took a selfie amid the stark granite reminders of the millions who died in the Shoah. Nothing really wrong with that, although some might find his pose a bit insensitive, as noted by Deadspin, which first reported the incident.
Then he posted it to Instagram with the caption: “You know I had to do it one time lol #Holocaust.” Plenty wrong with that.
(JTA) — The holiday of Sukkot commands Jews to live in “booths” — commemorating the temporary dwellings their ancestors inhabited while wandering the desert for 40 years. Though many Manhattan apartments measure only slightly larger than those original booths, unless the apartment roof is retrofitted with twigs from Central Park, it doesn’t quite qualify as a sukkah.
Thankfully, one Brooklyn yeshiva student with the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic sect, has taken it upon himself to ensure that all New Yorkers can experience the holiday.
Levi Duchman, 21, is the inventor of the pedi-sukkah, a rickshaw bicycle with a mobile sukkah attached to the back. While small, each sukkah meets all the halachic requirements. During the days before Sukkot and during Hol Hamoed, Duchman says he spends 12 hours a day on the pedi-sukkah, pedaling around Brooklyn and Manhattan, and letting New Yorkers step inside to say a blessing.
“It’s the best thing to see people’s reactions, and to give people in New York the opportunity to get involved with the holiday,” Duchman said. “We get a lot of smiles and pictures, and lot of positivity, even from the police.”
Jennifer Lawrence at the Paris Fashion Week/Getty Images
Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, one of dozens of actresses, models and celebrities whose intimate images have been posted online, spoke about the photo hacking scandal for the first time on Tuesday, saying it is a crime and sexual violation.
In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Lawrence, 24, said she was frightened after the photos were released last month and worried about the impact it would have on her career.
“Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this. It does not mean that it comes with the territory,” Lawrence, who won a best actress Academy Award for “Silver Linings Playbook,” told the magazine.
The star of the blockbuster “Hunger Games” franchise said she considered writing an apology but had been in a loving, four-year relationship and realized she had nothing to say sorry for.
“It’s not a scandal,” she said. “It’s a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.”
Lawrence had been dating British actor Nicholas Hoult but the couple reportedly split up this summer.
Photos of Lawrence, model Kate Upton, actress Kirsten Dunst and other women had apparently been hacked from individual iCloud accounts and were uploaded to the image-sharing forum 4chan.
The FBI said it was aware of the release of the photos and was addressing the matter. Apple Inc admitted that certain celebrity accounts had been compromised, but the company said none of the cases it had investigated were due to any breach in Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find My iPhone.
The iCloud system lets users store photos and other content and to access it from any Apple device.
Sarah Silverman, the sharp-tongued Jewish comic, did not wait long after the end of Yom Kippur to start sinning again.
Appearing on Saturday Night Live, just hours after the holiest of Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur (also known as the Day of Atonement), was over, she cracked her first joke at the expense of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
It started out cute, but Silverman being Silverman couldn’t resist taking a pot shot at her fellow Jews, who wear long black coats in public for religious reasons of modesty.
“Tonight is the end of the holiday of Yom Kippur,” said Silverman toward the beginning of her opening monologue, “and I just want to take this opportunity to say to all the Hasidic Jews out there: I promise you God will not mind if you wear a nice cotton blend in the summer. You are being ridiculous.”