The Shmooze

A Christmas Song, Brought to You by an Israeli-Iranian Duo

By Anne Cohen

What’s the only thing that Israel and Iran can agree on?

Christmas, apparently.

Israeli singer Liel Kolet has teamed up with exiled Iranian singer Ebrahim Hamedi, 64, better known as Ebi, to release a holiday single called “I Can Hear Christmas,” Ynet reported.

Originally written by Yoav Ginai and Tomer Addadi for Israeli singer Boaz Sharabi, the song was released as “Chag Sameach Ahavat Chayai” (happy holiday, love of my life) about three years ago. Kolet got the idea of re-recording by Tomer Addadi, to be featured on her upcoming album.

What ensued is perhaps the most absurd Christmas video ever to hit the Internet, from the early shots of a yarmulke-clad boy bowing to a little girl in a hijab (and then them holding hands in front of the Christmas tree) to the black and white montage of the singers dramatically embracing world peace.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: liel kolet, jewish, israel, iran, ebrahim hamedi, ebi, christmas

Iran Nuke Scientists Get Heavy Metal Blast

By JTA

getty images

An Iranian nuclear scientist complained to a cybersecurity expert via email that the AC/DC song “Thunderstruck” was playing from computers at two of the country’s nuclear facilities.

According to the Times of Israel, computers at the Nantaz and Fordo facilities blasted the heavy metal song at full volume in the middle of the night last weekend. The virus that caused the song to play also shut down part of the network.

The cybersecurity expert, Mikko Hypponen, the chief research officer at the Finnish security firm F-Secure, could not confirm the reports.

The head of Iran’s Information Technology and Communications Organization, Ali Hakim Javadi, called on Wednesday for international condemnation of cyberattacks on Wednesday.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: nuclear, iran

Shimon Peres Wishes Iran a Happy New Year

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Hot on the heels of the Facebook love fest between everyday Israelis and Iranians, the social media-savvy Israeli President Shimon Peres is sending out special videotaped Nowruz greeting to the Iranian people. Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is being celebrated today.

In his taped message, Peres comes across as genuinely concerned about the Iranian people. But let’s not kid ourselves — given the tense situation over Iran’s nuclear build up, it is not just by chance that the president is making this gesture now.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shimon Peres, Iran, Facebook

Shimon Peres Does Tinseltown

By Rex Weiner

getty images
Shimon Peres

When Jason Alexander, the veteran actor from the 1990’s hit TV series “Seinfeld,” met Shimon Peres at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Thursday night, it was, at first, as though he were channeling his old character, George Constanza.

“Happy Purim!” he exclaimed, immediately launching into a comedy routine. Then, commenting on the heavy security on the way in, he said, “I had to give them the names of my rabbi, my cantor—and my moyle…”

It was the last leg of Peres’ visit to the U.S., and for a moment the gathering, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Israeli Consulate, seemed headed in the direction of yet another Hollywood roast. But Alexander quickly turned serious, paying tribute to the 88-year-old Israeli president by citing the Nobel Prize winner’s oft quoted motto: “Pessimists and optimists die the exact same death but they live very different lives.”

One pessimist in the crowd told the Forward earlier in the evening that she was not entirely an admirer of Peres, whose efforts resulting in the Oslo Peace Accord earned him his Nobel award.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: nuclear attack, shimon peres, los angeles, jason alexander, iran, hollywood

Madonna Fans To Bibi: Hold Off On Iran Strike

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Madonna’s upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, or the Iranian nuclear crisis: Which is more important? The answer is obvious to some of the Queen of Pop’s Israeli fans.

Confident that they have their priorities straight and that their cause is just, Madonna fans are pleading with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off on striking Iran until after the singer’s concert has taken place at the Ramat Gan Stadium on May 29. And just like any other protest group, they have set up a Facebook page — this one replete with a photo of Bibi posing with Madge, likely taken on one of her recent visits to the Holy Land). It’s called, “Bibi, No War with Iran until after Madonna’s performance on May 29.” Not too snappy a title, but they do get their point across.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ramat Gan Stadium, Madonna, Israel, Iran, Facebook, Benjamin Netanyahu

Iran Hiker Josh Fattal's Judaism Kept Secret

By Renee Ghert-Zand

In an exclusive report, the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia has revealed that Josh Fattal, one of the two American hikers released from Iranian prison last week, is Jewish. This information had been purposely kept out of the press for the 26 months of his captivity for obvious reasons.

Although local friends, acquaintances and rabbis in suburban Elkins Park, Pa., Fattal’s home town, knew of his being Jewish, it was a deliberate decision on the part of the Fattal family to decline offers of assistance from Jewish organizations. The hiker’s Jewish identity was kept almost completely under wraps, and the Exponent refrained from reporting the story. “When it comes to someone’s physical safety, we’ll always err on the side of caution, even if it means suppressing such a dramatic and important story,” said Lisa Hostein the paper’s executive editor.

Fattal, 29, had been in Israel just prior to meeting up with friends Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd in Syria and then continuing on together to visit Iraqi Kurdistan. It was as they hiked in Iraqi Kurdistan in July 2009 that they allegedly — according to Iranian officials — crossed the Iranian border, prompting Iran to claim they were U.S. spies and arrest them. Shourd was released in September 2010.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: American, Hiker, Iran, Josh Fattal

Holocaust Documentary To Show in Iran

By Nathan Burstein

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.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: iran, holocaust, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, movie, shoah

'Oh Lord': Iran at Work on a Search Engine

By Lauren F. Friedman

People ask for Divine guidance on life decisions and matters of the heart, so why not on more mundane questions like: What is the capital of Azerbaijan?

With its new search engine, dubbed “Ya Haq” (that’s “Oh Lord” in Persian), Iran is seeking to take on Google and allow its people a non-Western (read: non-evil) option for online fact-finding.

According to a Sunday article in The Media Line, the service will debut in 2012. Some sources implied that the new site will just be the first step in developing an Iranian intranet that will only allow access to approved sites.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Persian, Oh Lord, Iran, Google, Baku, Azerbaijan, Pujan Ziaie, Ya Haq

Iran Declares War — On Pets

By Lauren F. Friedman

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they have now been added to Iran’s ever-growing list of enemies.

This week, the Los Angeles Times reported, a powerful Iranian cleric issued an anti-pet fatwa. Pets have become increasingly popular in Iran, but the fatwa cites Islamic texts that classify dogs as unclean.

The same cleric, Ayatollah Nasser Makkarem Shirazi, had previously upbraided Iranians for owning dogs, saying they were “blindly imitating the West,” which would lead to “evil outcomes.” (According the LA Times article, the crackdown may have more to do with targeting well-to-do families — who make up most of Iran’s pet owners — than following religious mandates.)

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Islamic, Iran, Dogs, Fatwa, Ayatollah Nasser Makkarem Shirazi, Pets




Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.