Love It. Fear It. Smear It.
Is 'Halachic' Going Mainstream?
Sitting Shiva for Spot?
A 'Crazy' Look at Paris Strip Palace
Boycotting Israel and My Olive Tapenade
From Esperanza to Shprintze
Israeli Gas Masks Help Get You High(er)
Was Adolf Hitler Leader or Follower?
Why My Daughter Isn't Bilingual — Yet
Preaching Lost Art of Fermentation
'Homegrown' Story of West Coast Jews
Remembering Mike Wallace
Sisters in Skivvies on the Lower East Side
An Anthem for LGBT Youth
Jewish Gangsters at the Mob Museum
Mayim's Most Important Role
‘Cabaret’ Comes to Tel Aviv
A Transsexual at Yeshiva University
'Strange' Evolution of Legendary Song
Kehinde Wiley Paints Israelis in Color
Nudge, Nudge. Wink, Wink.
Sweating in the Cleveland Schvitz
Berlin Film Festival Gets Serious, Mostly
Addicted to Aggadah
Why Do Men Write All the Baby Manuals?
Jewish Oscar Winners, From Allen to Zinner
Cleveland Rocks — Not Really
Raised Christian, But Jewish by Birth
Be My Israeli Valentine
The Jew and Hitler's Bug
Academy Awards Slideshow
Oscar Wins for ‘The Artist’; ‘Footnote’ Shut Out
The Jewess of 'Downton Abbey'?
The Allure of the Burka
Who Will Light Up Jewish Kids Lit?
Leonard Cohen's Old Whine in a New Bottle
Stephen Colbert vs. Maurice Sendak
X-Rated Dispute in Knesset
A Fraught Journey To Judaism
Bringing Real Bagels to the Motor City
Saying Mazel Tov in Mandarin
Strange Origins of David Cronenberg's 'A Dangerous Method'
How Jews Stayed in Good Spirits During Prohibition
The Word 'Jew' Has Fallen Out of Favor
Last Song of Hitler's Favorite Crooner
Making Foodie Resolutions for New Year
For the Glove of the Game
Adrienne Cooper Embodied Progressive Spirit
TV Ripped My Son From Reality
How Authentic Is ‘Porgy and Bess’?
Sandra Bernhard Shows Her Softer Side
Gimme Some New Time Religion
Tintin and the Anti-Semites
Gimme Some Old Time Gossip
Jewish Cookies Santa Would Love
The Hanukkah Bush and Christmas Dreidel
There was a rare show of unity between Jews, Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem this week, as leaders of the three faiths came together to promote a cause that affects them all — the environment.
They spoke at the Interfaith Environmental Forum in Jerusalem, asserting the imperative in their religions to halt environmental damage and advance sustainable living.
The panelists were Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Deputy Minister of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Religious Affairs Haj Salah Zuheika, and American Jewish Committee International Director of Inter-religious Affairs Rabbi David Rosen.
“The main religions should study ecological issues together because we have a common destiny,” said Shomali. “We need to put all of our energies together to solve the environmental crisis, which is ethical, moral, and spiritual.”
Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira was laid to rest on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, following his stabbing murder by a visitor to the Yeshiva in Beer Sheva where the rabbi was greeting guests just after midnight Friday morning.
Thousands attended the funeral procession of the revered Kabbalist, which began in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Meah Shearim in Jerusalem. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Shas eulogized Abuchatzeira, and Israelis Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar were also in attendance, as were many Haredi religious and political leaders.
Abuchatzeira, 62, was the grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira (known as the Baba Sali), who was a leader of the large aliyah of Moroccan Jews in the 1950s and thought to be a miracle worker.
One common interpretation of the symbolic significance of the egg on the Seder plate at Passover is that it represents the paradox of the Jews. Suffering at the hands of oppressors, from ancient Egyptians onward, made us stronger. Likewise, eggs are one of the few foods that get harder when boiled.
There’s nothing new there — but could violence from our enemies also somehow help our crops?
Farmers in Southern Israel say they have never seen pumpkins so enormous as those grown in a field twice hit by rockets from Gaza. The Mines family of Kfar Maimon have grown two supersize pumpkins, one weighing 140 pounds and another weighing 100 pounds.
“Oy Vey! Is this a mishuga game or what!” That’s the reaction game developer Andrew Charon hopes you’ll have, at least.
Charon is the mastermind behind Judoku, a Jewish-themed version of the popular Sudoku puzzle. Instead of simply lining up the numbers one through nine in that familiar 81-cell matrix, puzzle-doers can choose to arrange Hebrew letters or Jewish symbols instead.
Judoku is available from the Mac App Store for $1.99. Its distinct and mildly irreverent icon — a cartoon man with peyes and black hat — is in keeping with the lighthearted spirit of the game.
Dr. Leonid Eidelman, the chairman of the Israel Medical Association, is doing something he would probably never allow any of his patients to do: He is going on a hunger strike to try to force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene in a four-month-old doctors’ strike.
With efforts to negotiate a settlement with the Finance Ministry exhausted in the wake of strikes that have taken place at various hospitals around the country, Eidelman and the IMA are ready to take more drastic measures to have the doctors’ demands met.
Boy, oh boy — and girl, oh girl — things happen fast in Israel.
Just the other week, The Marker ran a big story on the comparatively high cost of raising children in Israel, as compared to other countries. Everything from diapers to strollers to baby clothes and toys seem to cost more in Israel.
Now, The Marker reports that, in response to concrete information supplied the public by that article, parents are rising up in protest. With their hunch about the economic burden of parenting confirmed, they are planning to join the many other protesters (young people angry about the cost of housing, striking doctors, and others) clogging the streets of Israel this week.
Good news for crazy Danish director Lars von Trier, who definitely doesn’t admire Hitler: his latest film, “Melancholia,” will celebrate its North American premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Toronto screening will offer something of a fresh start for “Melancholia,” which temporarily stole the show at the Cannes Film Festival in May, after von Trier said he “understand[s] Hitler” during a bizarre monologue that got him kicked out of the festival.
An allegedly anti-Israel boycott by an Iranian swimmer has set off a wave of recriminations in Israel.
The episode started yesterday, when Iranian sprinter Mohammed Alirezaei, rather than compete against Israeli swimmer Gal Nevo, skipped a 100-meter breast stroke heat at the world swimming championships in Shanghai.
Nevo, whose first name means “wave” in Hebrew, responded angrily to Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, saying it was time for FINA, the world swimming body, to “deal with” Alirezaei, who he said had boycotted races against Israelis twice before. (The Iranian swimmer skipped a race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics against Israeli swimmer Tom Beeri, citing illness — an explanation the International Olympic Committee accepted.)
Is a Cuban-Jewish actor responsible for breaking up Jennifer Lopez’s marriage?
That’s just one of the rumors swirling around William Levy, a Cuban-born telenovela star currently making a splash in the U.S. as the featured male beefcake in “I’m Into You,” J.Lo’s latest music video (see below).
Speculation about a marriage-ending affair with J.Lo last week inspired Levy to release a statement denying any romantic connection with the singer/actress/producer/entrepreneur/”American Idol” judge, who earlier this month announced the end of her seven-year marriage to singer Marc Anthony.
“My relationship with Jennifer has been strictly professional,” Levy wrote. “These alleged rumors suggesting something more personal are 100% false and inaccurate. My best wishes go out to their family.”
It is common knowledge that all 18-year-old Israeli males serve in the Israel Defense Forces for three years, and all females for two years. Only that common knowledge is wrong.
Israel’s Channel 2 News reports that in an interview with Israel Defense magazine, the IDF’s top human resources commander, Brigadier General Amir Rogovsky, said that the majority of Israeli youth are not being drafted into the army, and that just as many are not joining as are joining. The numbers are expected to decline even more, so that by 2020 only 46% of Israeli 18-year-olds will be putting on a uniform for the first time that year. All this is translating into a big human resources crisis for the IDF.
The 50% statistic for this year’s draft includes Israeli Arabs, who constitute 20% of the population and who almost never serve in the IDF. Among the Jewish population, the draft statistic is 67% (75% of men and 60% of women). The Druze population has the highest percentage of youth serving in the army, at 80% (men only).
Somehow, it’s not surprising that Jews, who are known to answer a question with a question, may have invented the question mark.
Reuters reports that manuscript specialist Chip Coakley of Cambridge University was studying biblical manuscripts at the British Museum in London when he determined that the “zagwa elaya” (two dots resembling a the modern colon punctuation mark), which is found in biblical manuscripts dating to the fifth century B.C.E. written in Syriac, function as a question mark.
He claims that up until now grammarians had been mistaken about the mysterious marking and thought that it denoted sarcasm or reproof. He realized that the zagwa elaya, which appears at the beginning of a declarative sentence, is the first example of a grammatical punctuation mark denoting questioning. Earlier languages, such as Hebrew, used particles instead.
The term “Glatt kosher” doesn’t just refer to meat anymore. It’s now for social networking, too — at a website that is specifically designed to avoid the meat market aspects of the online world. Ynet reports that there is now a Facebook-type site, aimed at the gender-segregated Haredi population, called FaceGlat.
If you are a guy who trolls social networking sites to get a glimpse of some hot babes, or a woman searching for a nice guy to date, then FaceGlat will not be to your taste. Women and men may only sign up for separate sections of the site, and cannot access accounts of anyone of the other gender. It’s a tsnius (modesty) thing.
The brainchild of 25-year-old Yaakov Swisa of Kfar Chabad in Israel, FaceGlat packs loads of filters to block specific words or types of comments, and to prevent men from sneaking into the women’s section or women from peaking over the virtual mechitzah. The site is still in a start-up phase, and Swisa has said that its setup may need to be tweaked “if the website in its current format leads to ‘negative activity,’ as defined by Swisa, or attracts people who don’t even own a Facebook account at the moment,” according to Ynet.
New York’s weekend of marriage equality launched with a joyous Jewish twist. Mayor Michael Bloomberg last night officiated at the wedding of two Semitic members of his staff at a Gracie Mansion ceremony.
Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt tied the knot after being together for 14 years, according to CBS2. Their daughters Maeve, 8, and Georgia, 6, were witnesses and ring bearers.
Mintz and Feinblatt “exchanged rings, broke glasses in the Jewish tradition and had ‘eco-friendly’ confetti thrown at them, the report said. Even though they’re a long-time committed couple with kids, they said the ceremony seemed to change things. “Things are different. Everybody’s gathering around and telling you they love you and your family is getting to say things they were never able to say before because we could never do this before,” Mintz told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.
The Israeli team at the 42nd International Physics Olympiad returned home from Bangkok, Thailand with some serious bling around their necks. Each of the team’s five members came home with a prize. The teenagers won five medals – two gold, two silver and one bronze – ranking Israel 13th in the world, four places higher than last year.
Delegations from 84 countries attended the competition this past week, which included a theoretical examination and a practical examination. In May, the Physics Olympiad for Asia was hosted at Tel Aviv University and involved 120 youth from 16 different countries. At that competition, the Israelis won a gold, a silver and two bronze medals.
The Israeli team was greeted upon their return by Education Minister Gideon Saar at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The gold medalists are Gal Dor from Petah Tikvah and Asaf Rosen from Modiin. Gur Peri from Mazkeret Batya and Ben Feinstein from Modiin received silver medals, and Aviv Frenkel from Netanya is the bronze medalist.
The most prominent Palestinian imprisoned by Israel, Marwan Barghouti, is now serving two weeks in solitary confinement for having been caught with a mobile phone in his cell. Israel’s Channel 2 News reports that the phone was discovered during a search by prison personnel in response to tips that contraband had been smuggled to security detainees in the Hadarim prison.
The discovery of the phone took place just one day after Barghouti (once Yasser Arafat’s right-hand man, founder of the Tanzim-Fatah militia and a main leader the Second Intifada) made a public call for Palestinians worldwide to stage mass demonstrations in September, when the Palestinian Authority is expected to unilaterally seek recognition for a Palestinian State at the U.N.
“The victory in the upcoming campaign in September, which we view as a major milestone in our nation’s struggle, requires the greatest public demonstration in our homeland, the Arab countries, Muslim countries, and the world’s capitals,” Barghouti said. He urged Palestinians to not see this as an initiative of only Abu Mazen, the P.L.O. or the Palestinian Authority, but of the entire Palestinian people worldwide.
The Israeli left is none too happy about the fact that broadcaster Glenn Beck is planning a huge rally for Jerusalem in August. But it seems that it’s not only the left that has become concerned about the marriage of convenience between the controversial American conservative and Israelis — it’s also some on the Israeli right.
Moshe Feiglin is the leader of the Manhigut Yehudit (“Jewish Leadership”) faction within the ruling Likud party, which tries to move Likud further to the right. He’s a force to be reckoned with — in the leadership race ahead of the last general election, Benjamin Netanyahu, now Prime Minister then party leader, fought hard to stop him from posing a challenge. “The problem is that the most loyal Jewish public is giving him its support without thoroughly checking his message,” Feiglin argued in a recent op-ed. “They are unwittingly abetting a very gentle and heartwarming type of modern crusade.”
Guys named Ari were everywhere (relatively speaking) at Tuesday night’s premiere party for the new season of “Entourage,” which took place at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History.
Jeremy Piven, who plays hard-driving Hollywood agent Ari Gold, was in attendance. So was Ari Emanuel, the real-life Tinseltown dealmaker on whom the character is based.
But there a third Ari — a mystery Ari, if you will — also living it up at the party. He was hanging out, in fact, with “Entourage” executive producer Mark Wahlberg, who also invited a number of childhood friends.
The Shmooze hasn’t yet figured out the connection between the third Ari — Rabbi Ari Shapiro is his full name — and “Entourage.” But given his first name, we imagine he fit right in.
Good news for the Jews: Unlike Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Bernie Madoff before them, the most recent scandal-plagued bold-faced names are not members of the tribe.
You may have heard something of a little scandal involving phone hacking on the part of the defunct British tabloid News of the World. Well, the bright side to it all is that despite her Semitic-sounding name, curly hair and criminal wrongdoing, the recently arrested former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks is NOT Jewish.
One of the many challenges that faces the Israel Defense Forces is the fact that its conscripts are essentially kids. A few weeks before getting their uniforms they are sitting in classrooms and being told by their moms not to stay out too late. The army finds itself in loco parentis.
A heartbreaking example of how this arrangement can go wrong is revealed in today’s Israeli press. According to reports, a young female conscript felt that she’d been abused by her commander. She then deserted and developed eating patterns associated with anorexia. Her father realized that because she’s a soldier, her only source of medical care would be through the army — and so he turned to the military police. Unfortunately, the police didn’t take the call as a cry for help, but rather as an aid in the search for a wanted person. The former soldier was arrested and imprisoned her for two weeks, which are up today.
According to Ynet, “Her parents were appalled to discover her painfully emaciated when they arrived for a hearing at the Jaffa Military Court.” The same article quotes her father saying: “She was so thin that sitting on the bench actually hurt her. She had to wear sweat pants underneath her uniform.”
“Narrow-minded” isn’t how Etgar Keret normally comes across. But his new project in Warsaw actually has the Israeli author and filmmaker limiting his boundaries.
According to the Toronto Star, Keret will become the occupant of the “world’s skinniest house”—a four-story, five-foot-wide modernist structure to be completed by winter.
Located in an alleyway between a 1960s office tower and an apartment building, the home “includes two livable floors, complete with a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen. It will be furnished with a kitchen table, bed, bookshelf and a ladder to connect the two floors,” according to the report.
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