The Shmooze

Rabbi Wins Buenos Aires Parliamentary Election in Landslide

By Ben Sales

In the metropolitan area where Adolf Eichmann once hid, a rabbi is now a member of parliament.

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, representing the center-right PRO Party Buenos Aires’s municipal election, won 45% of the vote in a race featuring 10 candidates, according to the JTA. He garnered more than three times the votes of his runner up, who received 14%.

Bergman, 49, is the rabbi of the traditional Congregacion Israelita Argentina in the Argentinean capital. Argentina is home to Latin America’s largest Jewish community. Bergman is also the founder of Active Memory, a group committed to commemorating the 1994 bombing of AMIA, a large Buenos Aires Jewish community center. Because he is an influential spiritual leader in the city, a Buenos Aires court forbade the title “rabbi” from appearing on the ballot.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Active Memory, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Elections, Sergio Bergman

Voting Boosts Stress Levels, Israeli Study Finds

By Nathan Jeffay

iStockphoto

Relax, while you still can — next year is going to be a stressful one. As America gears up for presidential elections in 2012, an Israeli research team claims to have proved that voting is so stressful that it actually causes hormonal changes in voters.

Scholars from the University of Haifa and Ben Gurion University of the Negev have found that before voting, people experience high levels of cortisol — a hormone released to help the body cope with threats when a person is under pressure. The findings were just made available to journalists by the researchers.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Stress, Polls, Israel, Hormones, Elections, Voting

Former Klan Leader Exploring GOP Presidential Bid

By Ben Sales

Wikimedia

A field crowded with governors, senators and a past speaker of the house may be welcoming a man with a more unique qualification: David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Duke is embarking on a tour of 25 states to see whether he could go all the way to the White House, according to the Daily Beast. A former congressman from Louisiana, Duke won nearly 40% of the vote in his 1991 bid to be Louisiana’s governor and served as his district’s Republican executive-committee chairman until 2000.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Louisiana, Ku Klux Klan, Fred Karger, Elections, David Duke

Yiddish Songs and Workers' Rights: Notes From the PJA Dinner

By Rex Weiner

Courtesy of Jewish Funds for Justice

A couple of things became apparent during the Progressive Jewish Alliance’s annual gala in Los Angeles last week, factors which will surely shape the run-up to the 2012 election. These factors did not include the “Yiddish songs of the labor movement,” which were performed entertainingly enough by singer Cindy Paley as guests shmoozed pre-dinner, but are unlikely to be adopted as campaign anthems unless David Dubinsky rises from the grave and runs for office.

The fund-raising dinner held at Temple Sinai in Westwood, where the merger between the PJA and — what’s that other org? many of the evening’s speakers joked — ah yes, the Jewish Funds for Justice was officially announced, also featured as guest of honor U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. A Latina and an L.A. native, Solis extolled the virtues of the country in which she rose from humble origins to a cabinet post. She received warm applause for praising the community organizer’s vocation, to which many in the packed banquet room, including Freedom Rider and PJA-founding member Ralph Fertig, had been called.

The warmest applause, however, came at the point in Solis’s speech when she hailed her boss, the President (another community organizer), saying she would be happy to serve Obama for another four years. And from the room’s unanimous reaction it was clear that the White House is wasting no time mobilizing its potent force of surrogates who are already on the campaign trail, firing up the Democratic base.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Progressive Jewish Alliance, Obama, Labor, Merged Entities, Jewish Funds For Justice, Hilda Solis, Democrats, Elections

Dan Adler Courts Korean Vote With Bizarre ‘Send a Mensch to Congress’ Video

By Michael Kaminer

Which Dan Adler ad is weirder — the one where he lifts a barbell off actress Patty Duke’s chest with help from two black bodybuilders, or the spot in which he reveals he’s Jewish to a Korean constituent who shrieks “What’s a mensch?”

Our money’s on the second, which — as intended — has catapulted the unknown Democratic candidate’s profile into the spotlight in time for today’s special election to fill California’s 36th district congressional seat.

Adler, a former agent and film executive, told the UK Telegraph he entered the campaign “on the day before the deadline for filing. So I came into it with no money, no machine, nothing. We had to grab people’s attention and the videos were our way of doing it.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Political Advertising, Patty Duke, Koreans, Elections, Dan Adler, Congress, California, Asians




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  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
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