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
Want to be happier? Move to Israel.
And no, this isn’t Jewish Agency propaganda. It’s the results of a recently announced Forbes mega-study on happiness around the glob.
Gallup surveyed thousands of people in 155 countries, between 2005 and 2009, to find out how happy they were. It asked participants about overall satisfaction with their lives and how they felt the previous day. Statisticians then crunched the numbers to come up with a percentage of people thriving, struggling and suffering.
Israel ranks a remarkable eighth, with 62% of the population thriving, only 3% suffering and 35% struggling. America only ranks 14th, with 57% of the population thriving, 40% struggling and, like Israel, 3% suffering.
As Jews across America wait with bated breath to find out whether Chelsea will join the tribe (next question: Bar Mitzvahs for the children?) and the interfaith pair prepares for their world-famous nuptials rumored to be in Rhinebeck, NY let’s take a moment to remember: Now is not the first time Jewish eyes have zeroed in on this scenic Hudson Valley hamlet.
Between 1923 and 1979, the Rhinebeck area was the site of Camp Boiberik, a Yiddish culture camp. In a 1998 article in the Forward, former camper Mara Sokolsky recalled “an East European, socialist, Yiddish cultural overlay that permeated everything we did.” There were normal summer camp activities, but there were also mostly-secular Shabbat services, a peacenik camp logo and an abundance of singing in Yiddish. (Certainly, this is all the evidence we need to prove that Bill Clinton is a Communist.)
Roman Polanski, step aside: If we believe the Egyptian press, there’s another elderly Jew on the lam – only this time, no minors and no sexual misconduct are involved. Just a whole lot of cash.
Over the weekend, JTA reported that Carmen Weinstein, the leader of Egypt’s dwindling Jewish community, was MIA and had allegedly fled the country after a fraud conviction.
There was probably just one screening room in 1990s America — and maybe on the planet — where a triple feature might have included a Judy Garland flick, a movie about troubled adolescent boys and a Nazi documentary like “Hitler’s Children”.
Its unlikely location, according to a report in the New York Post, was the Neverland Ranch, the sprawling Santa Barbara home of one Michael Jackson.
A former video distributor named Norman Scherer revealed to the Post that he’d been approached in 1995 “by a New Yorker looking to place big orders for a ‘famous’ client — as long as he could be discreet.” The New Yorker turned out to be Scott Shaffer, Jackson’s longtime personal assistant. “I knew what [Jackson] wanted,” Shaffer told the Post.
If you’ve been reading all of the Chelsea Clinton-Marc Mezvinsky wedding news and wondering, “Chelsea who?”, then happy fifth birthday. But for everyone else, the big question is: Who is this Marc fellow, and how did he win the heart of America’s least drunk first daughter?
1) Marc is the Jewish half of this interfaith union. He was raised Conservative — along with his 10 siblings — on Philadelphia’s tony Main Line. His Bar Mitzvah video has not been found on YouTube. Yet.
2) While no Mezvinsky has ever been leader of the free world or uttered the phrase “sexual relations” on national TV, Marc has grown up around politics and scandal, just like his bride. His parents (now divorced), Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and Edward Mezvinsky, both served in Congress and have been longtime allies of the Clintons. (You could say Marc’s mom is an excellent wingman: She cast the deciding vote in favor of Bill’s 1993 tax bill.) Edward Mezvinsky, meanwhile, was convicted of fraud in connection with various Nigerian email scams; he served a seven year prison term and was released in 2008.
Noah built an ark. Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch built a Borough Park taxidermy museum in a brownstone and filled it, he claims, with every animal mentioned in the Torah — 350 specimens in all.
An article in The Brooklyn Ink details Torah Animal World, which will be complete once Deutsch puts the finishing touches on an annex for sacrificial animals. (He’s already open for business though and has drawn some 35,000 annual visitors — hordes of Orthodox yeshiva students along with a smattering of Amish and other Christians.)
While Jewish New York Knicks fans may wonder if signing NBA superstar Amare Stoudemire was worth the $100 million price tag, as well as the loss of all-star center and all-around mentsch David Lee, they can at least take comfort in the fact that the 6-foot-10-inch power forward has taken an interest in Judaism.
Stoudemire, picked up by the Knicks in a failed attempt to lure Lebron James to Madison Square Garden, is apparently making a trip to Israel. From his Twitter account, dated July 24: “I’m the new Reggie White. (RIP) I’m going 2 Israel 2 study Hebrew. It’s time 2 get a better understanding on who we R. Follow me !! Shalom”
Responding to reports of Stoudemire’s trip, Sacramento King’s Israeli superstar Omri Caspi told AOL Fanhouse’s Elie Seckbach not only that Amare’s mother is Jewish, but that he recently got a Star of David tattoo.
Three times each day, strictly observant Jews pray for the rebuilding of the Temple. Their prayers have been answered. King Solomon’s Temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE, is finally going to be rebuilt — in Sao Paulo.
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a Brazilian Pentecostal church that claims 8 million followers in 180 countries, received planning permits in late July to construct a 10,000-seat replica of the holiest site in Judaism. “We are preparing ourselves to build the temple, in the same mold as Solomon’s,” Bishop Edir Macedo, the church’s founder and leader, said in a televised service posted on his blog.
Maybe he’s not such an expert on natural born killers, after all.
For the second time this year, filmmaker Oliver Stone has generated controversy with comments about Adolf Hitler, contending in London’s Sunday Times that the Nazi dictator needed to be viewed “in context.” The July 25 interview also quoted the “Platoon” and “Wall Street” director as criticizing “Jewish domination of the media,” saying that it had distorted popular understanding of the Holocaust. The comments followed a January press conference in which the three-time Oscar winner told journalists, “Hitler is an easy scapegoat…. We can’t judge people as only bad or good.”
A swift online backlash (which included a tongue-lashing from several prominent Jews, including Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League) prompted a July 26 apology for the most recent comments, in which Stone also contended that Israel has “f—ed up U.S. foreign policy for years.”
It turns out that the world’s most famous bicycle race, the Tour de France, has an unlikely origin: It was a direct result of the notorious Dreyfus Affair.
The slightly condensed, rather confusing story goes something like this: When pro-Dreyfus Émile Loubet became president of the French Republic in 1899, he was attacked (and beaten on the head with a walking stick) by the passionately anti-Dreyfus Count de Dion, one of France’s major bicycle and auto manufacturers. De Dion was jailed for the attack, and the resulting scandal was featured prominently in the then-major daily sports paper Le Vélo (The Bike), whose editor, Pierre Giffard, was just as passionately pro-Dreyfus.
With the (reportedly) $2 million wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky just days away, the press is all over this historic affair, spending many hours getting all the deets — or at least trying to.
Every day this week, as the country’s best investigative reporters blanket the Hudson Valley, Shmooze will update its readers on the latest developments emerging around what New York Magazine has dubbed The Most Important Wedding in the World. If there are no notable developments on any given day, don’t worry: We’ll update you anyway. Why? Because we are The Press, and this is The Story.
To start, let’s review what we know so far:
1) The wedding will probably be this Saturday in Rhinebeck, a picturesque Hudson Valley town, although the Clintons have not officially confirmed this. The Wall Street Journal, for one, has an article called “Rhinebeck Conspiracy Theory” that quotes the town’s mayor saying it might be a “decoy location.” Truth-telling or smoke and mirrors? Nobody knows. Fear not: After a careful investigative analysis — The New York Times’ two reporters embedded in Rhinebeck wrote that “you can practically feel the shopkeepers biting their tongues” and described another local who was forbidden from disclosing details as “stricken-sounding.” If that’s not evidence, nothing is.
In a rare piece of lighthearted, apolitical news from the Gaza Strip, AP reported that more than 7,000 Palestinian children there spent five minutes on Thursday simultaneously dribbling basketballs in an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.
The children, among 250,000 in the Gaza Strip who attend United Nations summer camps, were aiming to beat a previous record set in Indiana in 2007. (The political angle here — and there always is one — is that about 100,000 other children in Gaza attend competing summer camps run by Hamas, where they reportedly learn Israel-hating, along with swimming.)
Israel’s roads are scary places. Okay, the old joke is an exaggeration – drivers in this hot country don’t stick to the left-side or right-side, but drive in the shade – but even the US State Department comments on Israel’s aggressive driving tactics on their Israel page: “Aggressive driving is a serious problem…Drivers are also prone to stop suddenly on roads without warning, especially in the right lane.”
A new survey, commissioned by Or Yarok Association for Safer Drivers, found that 40% of drivers in Israel engage in illegal acts that distract their attention while driving, with 15% of Israeli drivers texting (illegally) while driving.
In the mid-1930’s, my great uncle, just out of high school and struggling to find a job, came home one day to announce he was changing his last name from Gerstenfeld to Grey. The entire family went along with his decision, and today that family is the Grey family.
My family is not alone. Jews around the globe have changed their names throughout history to help avoid antisemitism, to assimilate and generally to blend in.
But today, some Jews are fighting to change their names back. A recent article in the LA Times reports that close to 30 French Jews, whose families changed their names to more French-sounding ones after World War II, have formed La Force du Nom (The Strength of the Name). The group is petitioning France’s State Council to legally revert their names back to the original, more Jewish-sounding ones.
On Friday, 23-year-old Jessica Posner was in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum. Three days later she was in Los Angeles’ Hollywood Palladium, sitting amongst gliterrati like Snoop Dogg, chatting with host Jane Lynch and – ultimately – accepting a $100,000 Do Something Award on VH1 for her work in starting a school for girls and a community center in Kenya.
“It was pretty surreal to go from being in Kibera to being in Hollywood,” Posner told the Forward, just before her flight back to Kenya, scheduled for just two days after the awards ceremony. “The award just makes me want to work so much harder,” she said.
“If you can survive being an MOTB, being the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism seems like a relief,” Hillary Clinton quipped recently to fellow MOTB – Mother of the Bride – U.S. Special Envoy To Combat Antisemitism Hannah Rosenthal at an event honoring Rosenthal in Washington.
Clinton has been taking time from Middle East policy to help her daughter Chelsea with tastings and dress fittings for her upcoming wedding to Marc Mezvinsky on July 31. Specifics of the wedding have been kept so quiet that “details are harder to ferret out than the president’s Afghanistan strategy,” the New York Times Style Section declared this Sunday.
It seems that musical hasbarah — Israel advocacy — is the new in thing, after the flotilla “We Con The World,” an angry — and some say offensive — caricature of the flotilla activists, went viral on YouTube. It’s still online here and has received more than 2 million hits.
Now, a composition student at the Jerusalem’s Rubin Academy of Music and Dance, 22-year-old Yedida Freilich, has decided to appeal to people’s musical senses over their penchant for parody. Her song “Only Israel” has received more than 380,000 hits, and has just gone on sale at iTunes. It decries what Freilich sees as double standards that are applied to Israel in international opinion.
Long before Mel Gibson’s racist, sexist rants to girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva went public, I had been a victim of Mel’s, in a way.
Gibson’s fans seem to be surprised at his transformation from legendary action hero to belligerent drunk. Yet, throughout his decadent decline — from making 2004’s “Passion of the Christ” to slurring Jewish epithets at police officers during a 2006 DUI arrest to his latest, perhaps most damning tirades — I remained nonplussed, even gleeful about his downfall. Fourteen years ago he had crushed my dreams.
As a 10 year old, I got a role as an extra on “Ransom,” a big-budget Hollywood production starring Mel Gibson and Renee Russo and directed by Ron Howard.
Lindsay Lohan’s recent headlines have had little to do with boozing and drugging, and more to do with affiliating with members of the tribe.
We recently reported that Lohan was spotted arm-in-arm with former IDF soldier Eilat Anschel. Yesterday, it was reported that she recruited former O.J. Simpson-defender and not-so-favorite-Jew Robert Shapiro to rescue her from the perils of the woman’s prison system.
And let’s not forget Lohan’s recent Twitter feud with the biggest yente of all time: Joan Rivers. Rivers had 140 characters of harsh words for the troubled actress, tweeting:
Israeli satirist Ephraim Kishon once said Israel is surrounded by enemies “yet its inhabitants’ ulcers are caused by the neighbors.”
In a country of extremely opinionated people, disputes and yelling matches are common-place. Though, they’re usually about wild pets and teenagers drumming, not loud moans coming from the neighbor’s bedroom.
But at 5am last Thursday, a couple on Hankin Street in Holon woke up early and made love, apparently making a bit too much noise. The neighbors, annoyed to be woken before dawn, called the cops to complain.
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