Posted on Thursday 29 November 2007
A little somethin’ for the impending Hanukah festival. Okay, its silly, but it at least has good production value.
Jon Fursh was born and raised in Bay Shore, New York. For nine years, he attended Solomon Schechter, a private Jewish academy based in Commack, New York. While making yearly summer visits to family in Israel with his Israeli-born parents, Jon became fluent in Hebrew at an early age and continues to hold his dual-citizenship status. Jon also attended BHEC, a Jewish summer camp, for several summers.
Here’s their website.
Posted on Friday 16 November 2007
Dan ‘Mobius’ Sieradski gives a really good speech at the UJC GA. Read it:
The question is, of course, is anyone listening, and will they do something about it?
Actually, the question is, can they afford not to?
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Posted on Monday 12 November 2007
Fringesters: Short but delightfully packed interview up on Bigmouth Indeed Strikes Again (my blog) that I conducted with Scott Korb and Peter Bebergal, authors of The Faith Between Us, A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of G-d. Beautiful read, wonderful guys. Show some love: Meet Korb and Berbergal, check out the interview, and get the book.
Posted on Friday 2 November 2007
Ann Coulter dug herself in deeper with a new rant
about how the ADL is soft and left wing. Uh, okay. And then she
ranted about Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D. MN) swearing in on the Koran
rather than a bible and how he’s a Holocaust denier. Congress’ first
muslim member actually on very good terms with the Jewish community, has gone on record about the Holocaust and hatred. Since when are unsubstantiated ad hominems on members of Congress kosher? Oh, that’s right- the New Israel of the Christian right need not observe such mishegas…
Even if either of those were true, I’d rather be imperfect than crazy. ADL dismissed Coulter’s new rant as deflection, but I’ll bite.
“The ADL is more concerned with what it calls the ‘neo-Nazis’ and
‘anti-Semites’ in the Minutemen organization than with people who behead Jews whenever they get half a
Well, that’s because the ADL largely operates in the US and hasn’t
quite gotten their Baghdad office up and running. The ADL operates in
areas where there are Jews, however imperfect. In case Ann forgot,
most Muslim countries became largely Judenrein a few decades ago. ADL,
flawed though it may be, has more impact combating domestic extremism
and anti-semitism in an era when its on the rise in the US than as a
blunt instrument of a foreign policy that even the most powerful
country in the world has struggled to implement.
National Jewish Democratic Council renewed its call on broadcast
networks to stop using Coulter, dismissing her claims that she is a
true defender of Jewish interests. “Jews for Coulter?,” Ira Forman, the
NJDC’s executive director said in a statement. “You could hold that
convention in the backseat of a Volkswagen Bug.”
But hey, Ann, don’t sweat it. If you do get canned, I hear Prussian Blue is holding auditions.
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Posted on Thursday 1 November 2007
Posted on Wednesday 31 October 2007
A couple weeks ago bigmouth Ann Coulter let me know how much she loves Jews by wishing we’d convert and thus be ‘perfected.” Yeah. And she did it on Cable TV no less in an interview with Donny Deutsch.
So much for loving our friends on the Christian right. They, like we Jews, love Israel, in spite of its flaws. But we recognize those flaws as political ones which can be changed democratically. Coulter sees those flaws as theological can can only be changed through conversion. Or else we’re going to hell or dying violently come the rapture.
Oh, Ann, you old so and so. How you make mockery of our brothers who say Christian Zionists are our pals. With friends like these, who cares about Iranian nuclear ambitions? Gog and Magog me with a spoon!
Anyways, the best response to this so far has come from a most appropriate source of liberalism and humor. From Leah Kauffman, Jewess, Democrat and creator of “Obama Girl” and SNL’s “Dick in a Box” now comes musical video spoof, “Perfected.” Now if only the Ramones were still kicking. I’m sure those Jewish punks might have a thing or two to say about wanting to be
Posted on Wednesday 24 October 2007
It’s no secret that I wasn’t born Jewish. Despite what the books said about not talking about conversion on the internet, I blogged my whole conversion. I’ve written about it here, on Shebrew, and in PresenTense Magazine.
In fact my last article in PresenTense was about the growing Jew By Choice Blogosphere and what a relief it was to have it. When I started converting there was only one “out” JBC blogger and convert.com. Now I’m happy to point you to JewsByChoice.org which was launched recently by Avi of TikkunGer.
It includes a lot of great, in-depth posts about becoming a Jew, returning to Judaism, choosing a movement, choosing observance, and will certainly grow into an amazing resource for anyone who thought they were alone in this process. Mazel Tov Avi and Team!
Posted on Friday 19 October 2007
The Philip and Rebecca Esformes Day School, a Chabad Girls school, is the beneficiary of a rent dispute. The owners of the Lincoln Village Theaters on McCormick and Devon in Lincolnwood have sold their building to the school at a tenth of its value. More info is here and also here.
That’s great news for the Chabad community (though which element is unclear to me), but it also means that Temple Menorah, W. Roger’s Park only Reform congregation and current home to the school, will lose its primary source of income and will likely close shortly following the school’s departure in two years.
Posted on Thursday 18 October 2007
Recently, an interesting debate arose over at Semgirl’s place about over-enthusiastic Modesty Police in Lakewood NJ with nothing better to do than accuse women who walk with their arms swinging and wear hair bands of a suggestive color…
It spilled over onto Jewlicious, where ck argued that our brightest Torah minds perished in the shoah, leaving us with the remaining, lesser scholars who can best come up with are increasingly stringent and degrading chumrahs governing outer displays of modesty while concerns over nefesh decay.
Not sure I agree, but the point is valid. I don’t know anyone who walks with arms glued to their sides. And the only guys I know who find it distracting are too-pale, near-sighted products of inbreeding without fashion sense or much attention to personal hygiene. Other than people who have nother better to do than force women cover their elbows, cuz bony joints are sooo sexy, who would think that arm-swinging is also sexy?
Sometimes, the madness emanating from the Haredi world makes all Jews look weird and negates a lot of good will liberal-leaning Jews have toward their Orthodox brethren. Should a woman concentrate on not moving her arms while tripping over an overly tznius skirt? Are burkas next?
Here’s where it connects with Noah Feldman’s beef.
While they’re concerned with the way women walk or what hechsher is acceptable (anything resembling RICO is okay) rampant racism, wonton war-mongering, Armenian holocaust denial, gross sexual and financial impropriety go unchecked. Defense of fellow Jews is shirked in the name of Torah study. Sinat Chinam (baseless hatred) against various streams of Judaism and its adherents goes on while Haredim blame their victims for the destruction of the Temple or worse, the Shoah itself.
Feldman’s point was too narrow. Modern Orthodoxy may well be moderately intolerant of unconverted intermarried couples in it midst. Tempest in a teapot. Of greater concern is that Orthodoxy in general is increasingly intolerant of anyone that doesn’t look down their noses at their neighbors in the name of being “fummer than thou” and anyone who frankly, isn’t an Orthodox Jew. Far more troubling is the racism we too often see.
Maybe Feldman’s classmates were less intolerant of his having married a GOY than the suggestion that a gentile in on par with a Maimonides graduate. Subtle WASPY Country Club racism returns with a kippah? The concept of breaking Shabbat to save a gentile’s life only to “save Jewish face” IS despicable; it violates the sanctity of God’s creation in the name of sanctimoniousness. Should one NOT run into a burning building to save a life on Shabbat for fear of inadvertantly getting their clothes singed? Pikuah nefesh applies to all people, not just Jews, and anyone who hesitates to ask the question “is it good for the Jews” misses the point of that question in the first place.
There’s intolerance of gays, Blacks, Asians, Latinos and Moslems of any sort (for whom there is clear and open hostility). There’s nearly as much intolerance of Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Jews as well, in spite of the argument that today, all Jews subscribe to Reform theology, albeit not its specific platforms.
There is intolerance of tolerance itself. Unless you’re a right-wing ideologue, and any discussion to the contrary is Assur. Anyone who talks to or associates with anyone halachically different is in Cherem. Isn’t living under the Bush administration bad enough? The more hermetically sealed the community is, the purer and more extreme and boring and suffocating it becomes. I sometimes can’t sit at the same Shabbes table with these people anymore, and what good does that do other than to reinforce the divisions?
I go to an Modern Orthodox shul and adhere to Conservative theology. The general direction of the frum world frightens me. Dress this way. Pray this way. Eat this way. Walk this way. Oh, remove your brain, we have a new one for you that will comply. Even Cara seems to question the fanatacism. Surely it prevents many from becoming more observant in an organic way.
So, girls swinging their arms leads momentary lapses of reason wherein Jews may accidentally decide to break the Sabbath to save a goy’s life for the sake of Shamayim rather than the more pure intention of doing it for the sake of the Jews. Crossing that line is halachically unacceptable.
Posted on Wednesday 17 October 2007
Last week there was a bit of dustup recently over some Jewish organizational efforts to silence the movement to recognize the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Turks in WWI because a) nobody could have suffered more than the Jews and b) Turkey’s alliance with Israeli might somehow be jeopardized… Whatev. But thankfully that’s been remedied. Never Again applies to all, people.
Well, guess what? Genocide isn’t all the Armenians have in common with the Jews. They have learned well from us how to educate humanity on the wrongs they have suffered and plead their case on the world stage.
And now… Birthright Armenia brings young Armenians to their homeland, teaches them their tongue and how to advocate for their people… Ir hagoyim (light unto the nations) indeed. The mission is:
To strengthen ties between the homeland and Diasporan youth by affording them an opportunity to be a part of Armenia’s daily life and to contribute to Armenia’s development through work, study and volunteer experiences, while developing life-long personal ties and a renewed sense of Armenian identity.
Sound familiar? Check out About page. Its great, the “about” content and design even feel like Birthright Israel.
Posted on Tuesday 16 October 2007
Okay, its a year old now, but I finally made it down to Eleven City Diner on State and 11th. The place is like a shrine to Jewish (not kosher mind you) Delicatessens all over the world, from Jerry’s to 2nd Avenue to Katz’s and so on and so forth. It visually took me back to Ada’s, Ratners and old Ashkenaz. The Menu was familiar and the setting was a throwback. Their upstairs “Mish Mosh” room looked straight out of 1982 at The Bagel (on Devon) and they had the hand-rolled, chocolate covered Halvah slices that are flown in from Joyvah in Brooklyn. Dope. Its old school and yummy. Not kosher, but thanks to the cRc, what is?