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
Accusations about media bias toward — or against — Israel have flown around since, well, 1948. But the side that claims Israel gets a raw deal scored a point yesterday when CNN’s senior editor of Mideast affairs was fired for a Twitter message praising a deceased Shiite cleric who encouraged suicide bombings.
The New York Times Media Decoder blog reported that Octavia Nasr, “a 20-year veteran of CNN, wrote on Twitter after the cleric died on Sunday, ‘Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.’” As a private thought, Nasr’s sorrow was touching. But it became a little more problematic as a public sentiment broadcast over an Internet vehicle that probably gets more viewers than CNN itself.
Recently, while eating at a diner in New York with my bubbe and zayde they began asking random people seated at nearby tables if they knew any nice Jewish girls for me. I was mortified.
For Jews marauded by relatives with marriage queries, desperately playing the dating game, Fifty First (J) Dates is a compelling and comical confessional blog, about just how bad (and entertaining) it can be. Meredith Fineman chronicles her own and others’ JDate debacles and also gives tips on how to navigate the not-always-kosher world of online in-Tribe romance. In doing basic searches on the largest Jewish dating site Fineman explains some of the site’s features: “‘Closest to You’ is a great strategy for booty calls. ‘Most Popular’ is for the JDate cads. And ‘Newest’ is for the fresh meat. Fresh kosher meat.”
Remember the controversy of the emergency room at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital? It was a saga of politics, war and religion that just a few months ago looked as if it could destabilize Israel’s government.
In 2008 engineers started preparing the ground for a new $120 million wing. It would have an underground bunker with wards for 300 patients and a large rocket-proof emergency room — important as the hospital serves the Israeli communities closest to the Gaza border. But then the constructors struck a piece of history, an ancient cemetery, and arguing it was too sacred to disturb, Israel’s Haredi community tried everything it could to stop building: public campaigns, protests and strong pressure inside government from the United Torah Judaism party. It ultimately failed, but managed to delay construction for two years.
18-year-olds have been known to do some pretty stupid (but entertaining) things. We’ve all been there (and, in most cases, would rather forget ). But a recent Youtube video of six IDF soldiers performing a Macarena-style dance to pop singer Ke$ha’s song “Tik Tok,” while on patrol (not to mention during the Muslim call to prayer) in Hebron, pretty much tops today’s list.
The original video, “Batallion 50 Rock the Hebron Casbah,” went up on Youtube over the weekend and was removed on Monday after it went viral on facebook and in the blogosphere. It was later reposted under the title: “It’s easy to laugh at the occupation when you’re the repressor (and a douche bag).”
Lindsay Lohan – erstwhile girlfriend of Jewish DJ-to-the-stars Samantha Ronson – has been spotted around town with a new sheyne meydl on her arm: former IDF soldier Eilat Anschel. TMZ reports that though the two met a while ago in LA, things have been heating up during the past month. It would seem, LiLo – who once toyed with converting to the tribe for Ronson – has a thing for Jewish girls.
Over at Gawker, Adrian Chen points out that the blogosphere’s breathless accounts of Lindsay’s “fighter”/”veteran”/”ex-IDF soldier” girlfriend fail to mention that military service in Israel is compulsory: “This is like saying Lindsay Lohan is a ‘former high school student.’”
Spidey’s always had Jewish roots. (Its creator, Stan Lee, né Stanley Lieber,who makes cameos in all the films, is an American-Romanian Jew).
But now Spider Man is getting a Jewish present. Andrew Garfield, a 26-year-old Jewish actor who was born in LA and raised in Surrey, England, has just been cast in the role of Peter Parker for the next installment of the “Spider-Man” franchise. Production on the film, which will open in theaters in July 2012, is set to begin in December, reports [Yahoo! Movies](http://movies.yahoo.com/news/usmovies.accesshollywood.com/andrew-garfield-cast-new-spiderman
There are some perks of being Jewish: knowing you’re part of the “Chosen People,” being part of a warm and vibrant community, and as Adam Sandler says, “Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.” But now there’s the chance to get $50,000 just for being Jewish.
There’s just one tiny catch: You and your family have to move to Dothan, Alabama. The town, which calls itself the “Peanut Capital of the World,” has a population of 65,000 people and only 43 Jews. An article in today’s Atlantic reports that Larry Blumberg, a member of the city’s only synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, is sponsoring the effort to bring 20 Jewish families to the town in 5 years. So far, three couples have signed up and moved to the area.
The Russian spy ring case that dominated headlines this week now has at least one Jewish connection.
The Daily News reports that 28-year-old Anna Chapman, one of the supposed spooks busted this week by the FBI, was dating a divorced New Jersey businessman “with deep pockets and influential friends” — and a Jewish backstory.
Michel Bittan, according to the News, “grew up in a poor Jewish family in Casablanca, moved to France and then to Israel before making his fortune in America.” During his years in Tel Aviv, “he got his start in the service industry as a busboy at the Hilton. Flash forward thirty years, and Bittan was making millions as a partner for Guess? Jeans and investing heavily in the real estate market down South,” Englewood Style magazine gushed in a 2009 profile.
Is a bikini-clad bum offensive? Does a clothed booty constitute an “inappropriate” image?
Probably not in hip-hop videos, vacation ads or swimwear promotions. But on the side of a New York City Transit bus that travels through heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, it’s a different story, a crusading rabbi says. And the Metropolitan Transportation Authority seems to agree.
The derriere dispute flared when the MTA banned a popular ad for Georgi Vodka featuring scantily clad models. “The ads show the back side of a woman dressed only in a bikini bottom and a woman sitting in the sand with her arms around her knees,” according to the NY Daily News.
The residents of Ashkelon in Southern Israel like to think of themselves as good, upstanding folk. Which is why one local street sign has become a cause of great annoyance and embarrassment.
For as long as most Ashkelon residents can remember, they have had a Sodom Street. Sodom, if you recall, was one of the two cities said in the Book of Genesis to have been destroyed by God for its immorality.
As might be expected of an Upper West Side girl who demanded a bat mitzvah, Elena Kagan seems pretty comfortable with her roots.
“As you know, I don’t think it’s a secret I am Jewish,” she said yesterday, during the second day of her confirmation hearings in front of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.
But the real kicker came when a question from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham created what was possibly Congress’ Most Jewish Moment Ever.
Michoel Streicher, a 50-year-old mentally ill Orthodox cantor who was popular (in certain circles) in the 1990s and calls himself “The Michael Jackson of Jewish music,” was sentenced yesterday to one to three years in prison for stealing $36,000 from a fan, according to the Daily News.
The victim, 55-year-old Judy Burstein, gave Streicher the cash after he’d led her to believe he was a rabbi who would use it to purchase a special Torah for her home.
The article says that Streicher was forced to return the money at his sentencing hearing.
His lawyer, Eric Franz, said Streicher, who has 11 children, suffers from “severe” psychological problems and asked the judge to spare him jail time.
In 1987, comedian Jackie Mason anticipated the title of his 1996 Broadway show, “Love Thy Neighbor,” by fathering a child with playwright Ginger Reiter (best known, according to TheaterOnline, for the play “Pickles,” based on their 10-year affair).
The product of that union is about to tell her own side of the story, The New York Post’s Page Six reports. Sheba Mason’s “702 Punchlines and Pregnant” will premiere July 6 at Gramercy Park’s Richard Shepard Theater. She’ll be playing her own mother; actor Alex Dunbar will play her famous father, who, Sheba told the Post, is not exactly expected to bring roses on opening night.
Ever since her first appearance in the national spotlight, Sarah Palin has garnered mild affection from the Jewish community for her frequent shout-outs to Israel (especially via Twitter and Facebook) and critiques of President Obama’s policies in the Middle East, most recently regarding the flotilla incident. But her social media war against Obama’s policies has taken a Hitleresque turn, and now some are crying foul.
In the space of 140 characters, Palin may have successfully undone whatever goodwill she was building in the Jewish community. “This is about the rule of law vs. an unconstitutional power grab,” she tweeted on June 25th regarding the BP oil spill, directing her almost 200,000 Twitter followers to an article by prominent conservative Thomas Sowell, in which he ominously warns that American democracy is being dismantled and then uses the BP escrow fund to compare the Obama administration to Hitler’s Nazi regime.
David Fane, a New Zealand comedian, achieved international notoriety this week after making grossly anti-Semitic remarks on Wednesday at a media event in Auckland. (Making offensive remarks to a room full of media types: not recommended.) He later claimed to have been intoxicated.
According to a report in The New Zealand Herald, Fane, who was on hand to roast some advertising executives at the event, began with, “I want to eat you, but I won’t because I don’t want to get HIV.”
Unwisely, he continued, “Would you roast an HIV person? You’d roast them because they’re expendable, like the Jews. Hitler had a right, you know.”
From June 27-29, dozens of Jewish LGBT organizations gathered in Berkeley, CA for the first-ever “LGBT Jewish Movement-Building Convening.” Gabriel Blau, a conference participant and the founder of GayGevalt.com, has been blogging about the gathering for The Shmooze. You can read his previous posts here and here.
We’re into the last day of the convening and getting into how you actually build a movement. In exploring the history of LGBTQ Jewish organizations and projects, the question of what a movement is and whether we are a movement has been prominent. But what is clear is that the work of the organizations and projects represented here is extensive, established and successful.
Collectively we have raised millions of dollars, hosted thousands of LGBTQ Jews at conferences, thrown massive parties, moved political agendas, marched in countless parades, and written thousands of pages in books and articles. We have sat down with mayors, senators, governors and even presidents. The list of what this small group has done goes on and on. There is real power here.
From June 27-29, dozens of Jewish LGBT organizations are gathering in Berkeley, CA for the first-ever “LGBT Jewish Movement-Building Convening.” Gabriel Blau, a conference participant and the founder of GayGevalt.com, is blogging about the gathering for The Shmooze. You can read his first post here and follow the conversation on Twitter here.
If you think it’s hard to get a consensus from a group of Jews, try a group of Jews that have committed themselves to the LGBTQ Jewish community. Let’s just put it out there: Us non-heteros are not an easy bunch. We’ve got ideas, visions and commitments. We are still discriminated against in the law as well as in our culture. We have a fine-tuned sense of acceptance and equality. And if you’re one of the people who has made Jewish LGBTQ issues part of their professional or semi-professional lives, you also have a healthy ego — a requirement in a field that is constantly shifting. Wonderfully, there seems to be none of that here.
The people who are at the Convening, and many who are not here, have achieved incredible things. They have organized conferences, founded shuls, grown organizations, changed politics, saved people’s lives, and even had a lot of fun doing it. But this conference is an attempt to do more than that — to bring together the leaders of a maturing movement to work together more than they already are. To better understand their efforts, I asked a few of my colleagues to share what brought them here.
Just months after three men were convicted of stealing the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) sign from the Auschwitz memorial, two Canadians were detained Saturday for allegedly pilfering two spikes from the railway tracks that run through the compound.
The nails, which were not fastened to the ground, were found in the men’s backpacks after witnesses notified authorities, according to an AFP article.
LGBTQ Jewish conferences aren’t new, but over the next couple of days in Berkeley a different kind of gathering is taking place. Called a “Jewish Movement-Building Convening” (using the URL JewishInclusion.com), the meeting is, ironically, an invitation-only event. The net was cast wide however, and it seems that just about every LGBTQ-Jewish related organization is represented. Funding for the conference comes mainly from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, with support from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.
Organized by Nehirim, Keshet, NUJLS and Jewish Mosaic, the conference includes representatives from Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, JQ Youth, He’Bro, World Congress of LGBT Jews, and about 50 other organizations including my own, GayGevalt.com. Thanks to the gathering I’ve already had the privilege of meeting Josh Furman, co-founder of Kolenu in Seattle, WA. The group has only been around for a year and a half, and already draws over 150 people to its programming.
As befits any group of over-achievers, the convening has lofty goals, including forging “a strategic vision to inspire and guide our actions over the next three years” and reducing “intra-movement tensions.”
Countless Americans and people around the globe criticize Obama daily (it’s part of the job). But it’s just something special when a major celebrity (and father of a an even more major celebrity) does it in ink.
Jon Voight, actor and father of Angelina Jolie, attacked Obama’s treatment of Israel and Jews in an open letter published Tuesday in the conservative Washington Times:
You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone’s enemy — and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm’s way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.
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