Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be a vile Holocaust denier, but that won’t stop some of his countrymen from learning about the genocide in their own language.
The Aladdin Project, a Paris-based organization devoted to co-existence and education, has announced that the landmark Holocaust documentary “Shoah” will be beamed into Iran next Monday via satellite. The film will be translated and subtitled into Farsi for the broadcast, and will be followed by similar Turkish- and Arabic-language airings elsewhere in the Middle East. The broadcasts “will allow wider audiences to be acquainted with the history of the Holocaust in their own languages,” Aladdin Project officials said in a statement.
Remember when American Jews viewed an apartment in Jerusalem as a cheap investment? New figures underscore just how much times have changed. While the property market in America is still sluggish, Israel had the third-fastest-growing prices in the world last year, Global Property Guide reports.
Israeli house pricess rose on average by 16.23% last year, or if you take inflation in to account, 13.43%. Either way, Israel comes in after Latvia, where the previously-fragile market made an unbelievable recovery, and Singapore.
So much for that defamation suit.
Fashion designer John Galliano is now in even deeper trouble after being arrested last week in Paris for an anti-Semitic tirade. (Anti-Semitic speech is illegal in France). England’s Sun newspaper posted video of the rant online today, with the clip immediately going viral, and contradicting Galliano’s denials last week about the incident.
Galliano, who initially threatened a defamation suit against his victims, will now have to explain footage that shows him proclaiming, “I love Hitler” and telling his targets, not unhappily, that if history had worked out differently, “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be f—ing gassed.”
Jews behind the camera, and one who works in front of it, scored big at last night’s 83rd annual Academy Awards. As widely expected, Israeli-born thesp Natalie Portman nabbed the Best Actress honor for her mad-ballerina shtick in “Black Swan.” Backstage, the with-child Portman told reporters, “[Pregnancy] has sort of been a protection against all of the hoopla, and the part that keeps you centered,” Entertainment Weekly reported. While “Swan” director Darren Aronofsky lost to “The King’s Speech” helmer Tom Hooper, the latter picture turned out to be a prize-getter for the Tribe. Screenwriter David Seidler, a stutterer whose grandparents died in the Holocaust, won for Best Screenplay; Emile Sherman, an Australian Jew, was one of three producers who accepted the Best Picture award for “Speech.” The Best Adapted Screenplay nod went to Aaron Sorkin for “The Social Network”; the Hollywood veteran told CBS News he’d “barely” heard of Facebook before the film, and closed his account once the movie wrapped.
Danish-Jewish director Suzanne Bier, the daughter of Holocaust refugees, scored a Best Foreign Language Film statuette for Kenya-set melodrama “In a Better World.” In the hotly contested Sound Mixing category, Lora Hirschberg was one of three honorees for “Inception.” Rounding out the Semitic successes, JTA reported that director-writer Lee Unkrich accepted the award for his animated feature “Toy Story 3,” and composer Randy Newman added another Oscar for his song “We Belong Together” from the same film. And while Israeli films didn’t fare well – none made the cut for Best Foreign Film this year — filmmakers Kirk Simon and Karen Goodman took home the Best Short Documentary prize for “Strangers No More,” about an Israeli school struggling to integrate immigrants.
A new British sitcom “Friday Night Dinner,” inspired by Jewish family life, will debut in the UK this evening starring Tamsin Greig of the TV show “Green Wing” and Simon Bird from the teen-comedy “The Inbetweeners.”
Continuing the Jewish march to the mainstream in Britain, the show, created and written by Robert Popper, a Bafta-winning producer previously involved with “Peep Show,” “Bo’Selecta” and “South Park,” will center around the idea of Friday night Shabbat family dinners.
While the sitcom, set in North London, is based on Popper’s own family dynamics, he was reluctant to make the show too overtly Jewish. He told the UK’s Daily Telegraph: “Usually when I’ve seen Jewish things on TV, it’s always been people saying, ‘Oy vey’ and stuff like that, which is something I don’t really experience and didn’t seem modern and real to me.”
Glenn Beck has cleared things up: Reform Judaism and “radicalized Islam” don’t have so much in common, after all.
The Fox News host apologized on his radio show today for comments he made Tuesday on television, in which he likened a form of Judaism practiced by millions to the version of Islam practiced by terrorists. “It’s almost like Islam … radicalized Islam in a way,” he observed earlier this week, referring to Reform Judaism. “Radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the Reform Judaism, it is more about politics.”
Not surprisingly, Beck’s comments about “the reform Judaism” weren’t universally embraced. In contrast to some of his other controversial positions, Beck retracted this one, today describing it as one of the “worst analogies of all time.”
Charlie Sheen thinks Chaim Levine is a “clown” and a “charlatan”. But does that make the “Two and a Half Men” star an anti-Semite?
The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, among others, thinks so. Chaim Levine is the real name of Chuck Lorre, producer of Sheen’s hugely successful — and massively lucrative — sitcom. The New York Times reports that in interviews yesterday with a syndicated radio host, and with celebrity gossip site TMZ, Sheen bit the hand that feeds him, braying he had transformed Levine’s “tin can” of a show into “pure gold.” But Sheen also referred to Lorre by his given name only, leading pundits like Goldberg to claim the star hates Jews. “Charlie Sheen Wins Goldblogs First Annual Mel Gibson Prize,” read the headline on Goldberg’s column.
Another day, another anti-Semitic tirade from a celebrity. This time, the culprit is John Galliano, fashion icon and (until about an hour ago) head designer of Christian Dior.
Galliano pulled a Mel Gibson last night at Paris’s trendy La Perle bar and restaurant, where he was arrested for hurling anti-Semitic taunts at a couple dining there. According to the London Telegraph, the 50-year-old mega-designer “swore heavily, using anti-Jewish insults, before attacking [the] couple.” (Making anti-Semitic remarks is illegal in France and punishable with up to six months in the slammer.)
Crossposted from Haaretz
After surviving 69 harrowing days in the belly of the earth, the Chilean miners who arrived this week in Israel as guests of the Tourism Ministry thought they’d already been through the worst of it. But they were welcomed here with harsh comments posted online: “We are tired of you” and “What a waste of our money,” among others. The press was critical of their being housed in a high-end hotel.
Israeli cynicism has reached such levels that even extraordinary people such as the miners have no effect on them anymore.
Sharon Salzberg co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass., and has taught spirituality and meditation for 35 years. By the time she was 16, she had lived in five different family configurations, and each had ended in trauma. Feeling alone led her to India when she was 18. There she discovered the Buddhist teachings that have shaped her life, though she still connects to her Jewish roots. Salzberg’s new book, “Real Happiness” (Workman), is a guide to meditation practice. A contingent of beginners (celebrities, journalists, finance types) is trying out this practice and blogging about it. Listen to the full interview with Sharon Salzberg here.
Allison Gaudet Yarrow: What kind of meditation do you practice?
Sharon Salzberg: One is an awareness practice that begins with feeling the sensations of your own breath as a way of paying attention to emotions and thoughts. I also practice loving-kindness meditation, which is having a greater sense of compassion for oneself and everyone else.
How does one sit quietly and not move?
You don’t have to sit in some pretzel-like posture on the floor; a chair or couch is totally fine. Set a reasonable length of time. Don’t feel constrained. It’s not the end of the world if you move a little.
They are all-too familiar arguments here in the Middle East: which land belongs to whom, accusations of occupation. But this time it’s a bit different.
Yamna Shushan of Kiryat Malakhi in Southern Israel bought a plot of land and has the documents to prove it – but it’s been occupied. And there’s no talking to the occupier – she’s dead.
The land in question is a cemetery plot that 77-year-old Shushan bought 11 years ago for around $1,000. She’s very keen to be buried there as it’s next to the resting place of her late husband Moshe. But last summer she discovered that another woman has been interred in her plot. It appears to have been the mistake of the burial society.
As Forward readers know, Michael Lucas is the Russian-born, New York-based gay adult-film producer whose fervent Zionism inspired production of the first gay porn film made in Israel with an all-Israeli cast.
And yesterday, Lucas emerged victorious in a battle with Manhattan’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community Center over its support for an “anti-Semitic” group.
It’s been well documented that social networking sites have been key in spreading pro-democracy messages and bringing people to the streets in the Arab world. Now, people are even being told they can choose their government on Facebook.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has asked his Facebook friends to help decide who should serve in his government.
His entire cabinet resigned last Monday, in an apparent attempt to make way for more inclusive government and avoid the pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Arab world from spreading to the West Bank.
We wouldn’t recommend wearing this to synagogue if you want to stand out.
Recently we were taken aback when we saw this poncho in the window of retailer H&M (could it stand for Haim & Moshe?).
Now we’re left wondering if this will set off a new Tallit-chic trend. Will H&M start carrying kippot next?
Anything’s possible. Remember Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 1993 hasidic runway shows?
And the sexiest lawmaker in the British parliment is… Jewish. Yes, in these times of political upheaval and economic crisis around the world the British media is polling citizens on who the most attractive politicians are, and Luciana Berger wins. Strangely the Mirror uses an unflattering photograph – a more typical one is found here.
Berger, only 29, came from the world of Jewish student politics. She shot to fame in 2005 when she dramatically resigned from the executive of the National Union of Students alleging that the organization had become hostile to Jews. Just then, rumors mysteriously crept in to the press that she was dating the son of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair – let’s just say they didn’t do her public exposure any harm. She went on to head Labour Friends of Israel, and now she is a rising star in parliament and a national sex symbol.
One of Israel’s most right-wing politicians has published a bizarre offer to help New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman to establish his home near Hebron. Yaakov Katz of the National Union party writes that “when the day comes that Mr. Friedman joins us in our mutual homeland — and if he doesn’t, perhaps his children will — I promise to welcome him with open arms, and to help him make his home in our ancestral land, near Hevron, Shechem, or Ramallah.” The Ramallah reference is seemingly Katz asserting his belief that the whole area between the Mediterranean and Jordan is, by rights, Israeli.
Katz’s offer comes at the end of a diatribe against Friedman, who “makes his home in the ghetto of a foreign land, lives as a Diaspora Jew, and perhaps would like to get us to join him” – but will, he hopes, come around to his way of thinking and make aliyah. Katz writes of Friedman: “Playing the role of the negative exemplars of the stereotypical Diaspora court Jew, he is filled with self-loathing, ashamed of his origins - and aims to ensure that this is common knowledge.”
While Orthodox Jews tend to shy away from mixed dancing, Conservative Jews seem increasingly keen to get moving.
Sunday April 3, five of Los Angeles’s most prominent Conservative rabbis will shake their stuff in an event hosted by the American Jewish University. “Dancing with the Rabbis,” called after the popular TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” will see the rabbis compete for the mirror-ball trophy and a donation to their chosen charity.
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, occupant of the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine chair of the Zieger School of Rabbinic Studies, will dance the foxtrot. The reformed mobster and official teacher at Beit T’Shuvah, Rabbi Mark Borovitz, will cha-cha-cha. Swing dance is the order of the day for Rabbi Elliot Dorff, chairman of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. Rabbi Nina Feinstein, the second female ordained by the Conservative movement will hustle, and Rabbi Zoe Klein of Los Angeles’s Temple Isaiah will tango.
The event will also feature performances by Karina Smirnoff and Louis Van Amstel of “Dancing with the Stars”.
Responding to the question of who of the two rappers is more kosher, Matisyahu responds: “Drake is a pretty good man. He’s got his thing, but it’s different than what I do.”
Continuing, he says of Drake: “He’s Jewish, but he’s not representing Judaism. He happens to be Jewish just like Bob Dylan happened to be Jewish, but what I’m doing is really tapping into my roots and culture, and trying to blend that with the mainstream…[Drake’s] being Jewish is just a by-product.”
Matisyahu, born Matthew Miller, was brought up as a Reconstructionist Jew and attended Hebrew school. His music often addresses traditional Jewish themes, and occasionally contains Yiddish and Hebrew lyrics.
Soccer manager Rob Lerner of London’s Holy Mount Zion Team allowed non-Jewish players to play under false names while competing in the Maccabi Southern Football League, reports the Jewish Chronicle.
FIFA-qualified referee, Nigel Burns, became suspicious mid-match when he heard the players, officially Danny Potter and Simon Laub, refer to each other by their real names, Mariusz Mielniczuk and Javier Guevara. The former later claimed that Mariusz was only a nickname.
The ultimate realization came as the result of a photo taken by a JC photographer. When the British newspaper requested captions for the image, it was given the names Potter and Laub. The same images, posted by team members on Facebook, contradicted the information: the same two players were tagged as Mariusz Mielniczuk, a Polish personal trainer, and Javier Guevara, a banker from Colombia.
Bizarre rumors surrounding Coca-Cola’s religious and political affiliations have circulated for years. Some of the most popular suggest that the company is Jewish-run and bankrolls Israel. Others propose that, read backwards in Arabic, its logo says “No Muhammad, No Mecca.”
Although these accusations remain entirely unsubstantiated and unlikely, the company chooses to step up and clarify. Wise move? Maybe not, according to recent opinions voiced by experts in the Economist.
Responding to the Jewish Zionist question, Coke’s website reads:
“We believe the origins of this rumor date back to 1967, when the Arab League pronounced a boycott against companies for conducting business in Israel, following the tensions in the Middle East. The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners were present in many Arab and Muslim countries before Coca-Cola was introduced in Israel, and came back to the Arab countries as soon as the boycott was lifted.”