Monthly Archives: October 2007

Why? Why? Why?

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-Why is it that “young Israelis are fighting for the chance to work as pickers throughout the country’s kibbutzimâ€? even though apple picking season in Israel has a “frenzied pace … exhausting work that barely pays minimum wageâ€? — and sometimes not even that. (Ynet)

-Why are Crocs “the new Jew shoe� (J.)

-Why does the Israel Nature and Parks Authority “have to rack its brains to find a way for the� cyclamen flower “to bloom in August …instead of in winter�? (Ynet)

-Why is Harvard Professor of Armenian studies James Russell, a gay Jew and staunch Zionist, “reviled by Turks and Armenians alike�? (The Forward)

-Why do some Los Angeles Jews detest Jimmy Carter for reasons having nothing to do with the Palestinians? (Jewish Journal)

Posted on October 17, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

L’Chayim, Motherf***er

This entry was posted in Culture on by .

Thanks to Jewcy for a heads up on this video, “analyzing” the following Jewish lyrics in Jay-Z’s latest song Roc Boys:

Rich niggas, black bar-mitzvahs, Mazel Tov its a celebration bitches,

L’Chayim i wish for you a hundred years of success but it’s my time

Cheers, toast to crime number one d-boy dahm he could rhyme.

I don’t get it. I know I’m white, but still. It’s not like I can’t understand what he’s saying. But what the hell does it mean?

Sorry, what the hell does it mean, bitches?

Posted on October 16, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jewish Apathy

This entry was posted in Practices on by .

From AJWS’s Aaron Dorfman…

As thousands of Buddhist monks continue to take to the streets of Rangoon in protest over ongoing military oppression and human rights violations in Burma, Jews around the world are gearing up to observe Heshvan, the 29 days designated Jewish Social Action Month.

“We certainly hope those monks can hold out until Heshvan starts so we can lend a hand,” said J., chair of a major Jewish federation outside Asheville, North Carolina.

Like J., Jews all over America are looking forward to the beginning of Heshvan, when they can leave behind their studied apathy and explode in a burst of social justice activism for nearly 30 full days.

MORE…

Posted on October 15, 2007

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More Jellies in Your Bellies

This entry was posted in Practices on by .

The Orthodox Union (OU) has just certified some additional flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans as kosher:

jelly_belly.gif
Berry Blue
Buttered Popcorn
Chocolate Pudding
Dr. Pepper
Green Apple
Lemon Lime
Margarita
Pina Colada
Plum
Raspberry
Soda Pop Shoppe
Sour Cherry
Sour Strawberry
Strawberry Daiquiri
Top Banana
Watermelon

This now makes some of the company’s classic “recipes” kosher including Mud Pie, Tiramisu and Fruit Salad.

Posted on October 15, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Synagogues & Rabbis

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-Buzzy Gordon and Barry Goldsmith select “a minyan of remarkable synagogues known for their beauty or their place in history,� including Princes Road Synagogue and Choral Synagogue, with a capsule description and in most cases the URL of the shul’s website. (The Jerusalem Post)

-Rabbi Kenneth L. Cohen finds “A Prayer for Those Who Don’t Talk in Shulâ€? — with commentary. (Kerem)

-If a rabbi regularly holds worship services in his home, is his home a house of worship, and thus covered by zoning ordinances? And would it be OK to tape those coming and going to see just how many people this involves? (NJ Jewish News)

-A look at how synagogues are getting involved with local, grassroots social actions efforts, ranging from elder care to transportation to union issues. (The Nation)

-Marvin Marks shoots his daughter during a Rosh Hashana service, triggering a review of synagogue security policies and procedures, and an apology to Marvin Marks. (Texas Jewish Post)

Posted on October 15, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

As the playoffs continue

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I’m a few days late getting this up, but it still holds true.

From Overheard in NY:

Old Jewish man #1: Did you see the Yankees last night?

Old Jewish man #2: Watching the Yankees play baseball is like sitting shiva.

Posted on October 12, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Blogspotality

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Guest blogger Rabbi Jennifer Krause is the author of The Answer: Making Sense of Life, One Question at a Time.

Answer1.jpg If hachnasat orchim, welcoming guests, is a cornerstone mitzvah of Jewish life, surely it must extend from Abraham’s tent all the way to the big tent (a popular phrase on this site this week!) that is the blogosphere.

Blogs are the biggest tents we have in many ways – miles of open country where conversations transcend geographical boundaries and open themselves to people who might otherwise never have met face-to-face.

And it is in that spirit that I want to thank the good peeps at MyJewishLearning.com for opening their blog, their tent, to my words and ideas. It has been a pleasure virtually visiting and being part of this sacred space.

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted on October 12, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Auslander: My Two Cents

This entry was posted in Beliefs, Culture on by .

Shalom Auslander’s memoir Foreskin’s Lament was published last week and seems to be selling quite well on Amazon. For those of you who missed all the pre-pub publicity, the book is a memoir of Auslander’s relationship with the angry, violent God his Orthodox family/education taught him to be terrified of.

The book is funny, sadder than you’d expect, and also a bit repetitive and over the top (not always in a good way). But despite its imperfections, I’ve been calling people to read them excerpts since I got a review copy several months ago.

Auslander grew up in Monsey, NY, and while his family may have leaned further to the right than mine, we were raised in similar worlds (and went to the same high school). While his book is very personal, it also gives glimpses of a certain Jewish upbringing until now not written about: the teenage life of sports, pot, girls, and Torah.

In some sense, Auslander also updates Philip Roth’s “The Conversion of the Jews”: we still have the skeptical troublemaker kid and the fire-and-brimstone rabbis, but the social landscape has radically changed. Roth gave us an urban, Eastern European-influenced Jewish milieu. Auslander takes us where Orthodoxy has gone in the last 50 years: to the suburbs, where, in many (though by no means all) communities, fundamentalism and materialism have had an unlikely, but happy marriage.

More from my latest column for the Jerusalem Post:

No doubt, those with ties to Orthodoxy will cringe when reading the book. As it turns out, Noah Feldman was just the opening act, and Auslander makes the gentleman from Harvard look like Emily Post.

Feldman was lambasted for his New York Times article about his relationship with his modern Orthodox alma mater after marrying a non-Jew, but to a certain extent, this was a sign that the community took him seriously. From the perspective of his critics, Feldman may have been a self-righteous shanda, but he was no fool. His Rhodes Scholarship ruled out that option.

Auslander, on the other hand, may very well be ignored by the Orthodox community. His profanity and hutzpa will be used to discredit his voice.

Which would be a shame.

Because buried under all of that dirty laundry is the first true literary depiction of a certain brand of American Orthodoxy. The brachos bee scene, in which young Shalom is pressured to recall the proper blessings for “ice cream in a cone,” is both priceless and utterly novel. Especially for those of us who passed through similar classrooms and challenges.

More importantly, there’s much in Auslander’s critique that’s valuable. While I may have been less tormented by my Orthodox education, Auslander’s basic gripes ring true. Fear and guilt are all too often the primary religious motivators. (MORE)

In addition to the the fear and guilt, I sometimes experienced depth, meaning, and beauty from Orthodoxy, but I have to admit, I’m glad Auslander didn’t write about those things. They’re not nearly as funny.

I’ll be interviewing Auslander at the 92nd Street Y in January, and for those of you in New York who are interested, you can buy tickets here.

Posted on October 12, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Coming to Israel

This entry was posted in History on by .

-Michael Freund decries the fact that Subbotnik Jews are allowed to make aliya under the Law of Return “only as long as they married within their “community framework.”â€? (The Jerusalem Post)

-From southwestern Australia came the most invasive species on Israeli soil, the blue acacia, and now Israelis are trying hard to get rid of it. (Haaretz)

-Shlomo Avnieri argues that aliyah organizations should stop ferreting out people who qualify under the Law of Return, but are people “for whom the Law of Return was not intended.� (Haaretz)

-Keep/Modify/Abolish the Law of Return for Jews?

Posted on October 12, 2007

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy