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
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.
It may be the first time that a rabbi is officially welcomed to his new synagogue on two wheels.
Joined by his mentor and congregants both new and old, newly ordained Rabbi Eytan Hammerman will bike from the synagogue where he spent the last two years as a rabbinic intern, to his new one 30 miles away, where he will have his own pulpit.
Hammerman will set out with Rabbi Gordon Tucker and fellow travelers from Temple Israel in White Plains, N.Y., by reciting the prayer for travelers, tefillat haderech. When they arrive at Beth Shalom, they’ll be welcomed by the town’s mayor and other local clergy, and plant a tree.
From the opening explosion to 360 degrees of streimels, there’s nothing less than stellar about this Yoel Brach production.
Faced with, on the one hand, overwhelming demand from Hasidic partygoers to hear the mellifluous warbling of Stefani Germanotta and, on the other, the blanket prohibition on listening to semi-naked gentile women who are writhing on stage, the band crammed the spirit of Lady GaGa into the bodies of a minyan of musicmakers (in a kosher way).
This YouTube video makes you know that Shaya and Perry had a great simcha. Mazel tov.
Watch the YouTube video below.
Hat tip to Tony Weiss for all things Hasidic.
Post-flotilla, Turkey is seething at Israel and Israel is furious with Turkey. Friction between the two nation’s politicians is higher than ever, and in both countries shoppers are boycotting goods from the other (Turkish coffee is currently having a Freedom Fries moment in Israel). But there seems to be one winner in all the tension – the Israeli tourist industry.
If anything can be had for a price, then Barbra Streisand — the best-selling female recording artist in history, who to some will always be Yentl — just might make a stop in Israel. Ynetnews is reporting that producers are offering the peerless Barb up to $4.5 million for a single performance on Jewish soil.
Her aides were recently in Israel to consider the option, but the plans for her tour are not yet set.
Growing up, American Jews spend hours learning about their Israeli counterparts. They descend on the Jewish state in droves, where they kiss the ground (and sometimes the soldiers). But – until recently – Israeli schools have given little attention to their country’s biggest fans.
That’s about to change.
On June 8, Jack Abramoff, the former bigshot lobbyist convicted of fraud, tax evasion, conspiracy and corruption, was released from prison and – economy be damned – he already has a job. Thanks to the good graces of Baltimore restaurant owner Ron Rosenbluth, Abramoff, an Orthodox Jew, will be working at a Tov Pizza 26-year-old kosher pizzeria.
“I think people get a second chance,” Rosenbluth told The Baltimore Sun. “If they do their time, they deserve a chance.”
James Doyan, A British man from North London, has done what generations of harassed Jewish sons only wish was possible: put his mother up for sale on eBay.
“My Yiddishe Momma for sale. Beautiful, great cook, educated, articulate, family focused, caring — priceless,” read the ad, according to a recent article in Britain’s Jewish Chronicle.
Doyan was apparently trying help his mother, 63-year-old Sandi Firth, find a mate after “having enough of her exploits in trying to find love.”
The ad was taken down, unsurprisingly, for breaching eBay’s policy not to sell “human body parts and remains” (hair, however, is permissible). By the time Doyan was caught, his mother had reached a whopping £1.60.
In a creative move aimed at curbing a recent spike in anti-Semitic violence, Dutch police are considering dressing up as religious Jews to bait potential attackers.
The idea was first suggested on Wednesday by Ahmed Marcouch, a Moroccan-born Dutch legislator who has previously taken heat for his
support of liberal causes. “I say send fake Jews to arrest the attackers,” he said in a radio interview quoted by Haaretz. “Everything must be done to keep this phenomenon from growing.”
Late last week, in response to a campaign by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, high profile Jewish philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad publicly pledged to give away 75% of their $5.7 billion fortune. As part of an initiative that aims to increase philanthropy among the wealthiest Americans, Gates and Buffett have challenged the super-rich to join them in donating more than half of their money to charities and other not-for-profit causes.
“We agree with Andrew Carnegie’s wisdom that ‘the man who dies rich, dies disgraced,’” the Broads said in a statement.
“No Soup for You!” Well, perhaps not for long.
Al Yeganeh, who was nicknamed the Soup Nazi in a 1995 Seinfeld episode, will return to his spot behind the counter of his original “Soup Kitchen International” in New York City’s theater district this July.
Bobby Fischer was once the greatest chess player in the world, before he devolved into a ranting, rabid antisemite, despite the fact that he himself was Jewish. By the end of Fischer’s life the only country that would have him was Iceland, where he died in 2008 of kidney failure, leaving behind some $2 million and no will. Now, AP reports, Iceland’s supreme court hopes that exhuming his corpse will help determine who gets the loot.
Since Fisher’s death, four different parties have been bickering over his fortune, including a nine-year-old Philippines girl named Jinky Young, whose mother, Marilyn, claims Jinky is his daughter. The other claimants are a Japanese chess official named Miyoko Watai, who says she was married to Fischer in 2004; Fischer’s two American nephews, Alexander and Nicholas Targ; and the American government, which claims Fischer’s money in compensation for unpaid taxes.
As the New York Post explains, however, according to Icelandic law Young would get two thirds of the money and Watai one third, if both of their claims are true. Genetic testing based on material from Fischer’s body should presumably determine whether Young is his daughter.
“Why don’t you just talk to the rabbi?”
Jewish Republican governor of Hawaii Linda Lingle seems to be heeding this advice — a favorite of my mother’s. A bill legalizing civil unions in Hawaii is on her desk, and her deadline for deciding whether to veto it is drawing near.
According to an article by the Associated Press, Lingle earlier this month said Hawaii’s small Jewish community was divided on the issue, and invited rabbis Itchel Krasnjansky (Orthodox) and Peter Schaktman (Reform) to talk to her about their divergent opinions.
The Forward took home a record 11 honors at the annual conference of the American Jewish Press Association, held this year in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, the Jewish media’s top honor, were presented June 16 at a banquet dinner, attended by writers, editors and publishers from dozens of Jewish newspapers, magazines and websites.
Here’s what the Forward won:
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