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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Do you Koogle? First there was kosher meat. Then there was kosher cheese. Kosher pickles are also big in the markets. And did you remember to get that kosher soap the last time you went to market?

Well now there's a free kosher search engine, Koogle, self defined as a "parody...[that]..is in no way affiliated with the fine folks at Google. Nevertheless, Koogle is a real & effective Index/search engine targeted for the Jewish & Israeli community on the web."

And for Kosher content filtering, you can check out safelines.net, formerly "Koshernet," which I came across in a book about the laws of passover, in the alphabetical index under "I" for "internet." Offering both a Business Version and a Family Version, the claim that it is, "itís everything you could possibly want, minus everything you donít." They also offer many Jewish links from their main page. Their service is $21.95 per month. —Sarah Chandler
posted by Mobius1ski | 11:40 PM | Link | (5) comments |
Sunday, April 27, 2003

And he knew her: "The Bible includes countless tales of raw, forbidden sex. We've gathered some of the best bible sex stories here, filling in what you didn't learn in Sunday school." Would you like some sacrilidge with your coffee? Check out Bible Sex Stories.
posted by Mobius1ski | 10:11 PM | Link | (0) comments |

The pop-in: What's the deal with Jerry Seinfeld? Last year the Jewish comedian got cold feet and bailed on a scheduled solidarity trip to Israel, instead sending his opening act, comedian Larry Miller. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Well it looks like Seinfeld, who once spent a year living on a kibbutz in Israel, will be doing some repentance on May 19th when he is due to be among the headliners at a star-packed celebration of Israel's 55th anniversary in Washington, D.C. Also expected at the "Spirit of Israel" event are President Bush and Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Moshe Katsav. Among the other performers are Tony Bennett, Norah Jones, and Ben Stein. Tickets for the MCI Center show are available from ticketmaster.com.
posted by Benyamin | 4:39 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Saturday, April 26, 2003

So, I married a pagan witch: Jewish author William Klein reveals the inner struggle he faces on a daily basis due to the fact that he married a witch -- literally. Once a member of an actual coven, Klein tells the sordid tale of his Wiccan wife on the Beliefnet Web site. "When my girlfriend first told me she was a witch, I immediately asked the question I think anyone would, that is, anyone who's seen The Wizard of Oz," he writes. "Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?"
posted by Benyamin | 10:56 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Friday, April 25, 2003

Computer cookies: We all know that we have to sell our chametz (leavened products) before Passover. To accomplish this, most people simply use their syangogue rabbi as their agent who, in turn, sells it to a non-Jew on behalf of the entire congregation. Chabad goes one step further and allows you to sell your chometz online. But one clever Brooklynite took it to the next level. He sold his chametz on eBay. The item, entitled "All my residential chametz -- non Jews only" sold for the halachically-correct value of one penny. The seller made clear that the auction was for ownership rights only and not for actual delivery of said bread crumbs. Turn on your speakers when you go take a look.

That was not the only odd Passover related item for sale on eBay. While browsing the auction site, we also came across this weird nugget. And, finally, rounding out the intriguing ways that Passover came to the Web this year, read about two London students who created a Web site to make purchasing products for the holiday just a little bit easier. Now, if only they could figure out a way to make shmura matzah without charging $15 a pound.
posted by Benyamin | 1:16 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Mo Money: Charity begins at home. Or in Iraq as is the case with Marc Cuban, the Jewish billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks. In conjunction with Bank of America, Cuban has set up the Fallen Patriot Fund established to help families of U.S. military personnel who were killed or seriously injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom. "Now is a good time to take steps to support our troops," says Cuban. "I encourage everyone to support our fallen heroes and find their closest Bank of America banking center and truly show their support." Cuban, who has agreed to match all donations up to $1 million, became wildly wealthy in the mid 1990's when he sold his company, Broadcast.com, to Yahoo! for $10 billion. And he's only giving a million to tzedakah?
posted by Benyamin | 12:32 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Under Fire: It looks like putting up an eruv is the least of worries for Williamsburg's chasidishe community. The Brooklyn neighborhood's Latino community is deeply concerned with abuses of power by the local Shomrim (otherwise known as the Williamsburg Saftey Patrol Unit), a NYPD-sanctioned neighborhood watch composed of Hasidic volunteers, similar in organization to Hatzalah. Apparently some incidents between the Shomrim and Latino youths have bordered on explosive, inciting animosity between the groups. Such allegations come at an inopportune time, when the trial of Lemrick Nelson, Jr., who killed Yankel Rosenbaum in 1991's racially-charged Crown Heights riots, is back in the news.

Obviously, since September 11, 2001, in the face of increased anti-Semitic violence in New York City which culminated in a Hasidic man being pushed from a subway platform towards an oncoming train, a heightened awareness and responsiveness is necessary to safeguard the Jewish community. But are the Shomrim going too far and allowing their power go to their heads?

...Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
posted by Mobius1ski | 10:59 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Why should she quit now? Having helped master the art of cashing in on Kabbalah, the material girl herself, Madonna—recently depicted wrapping tefillin in a music video—is now writing Kabbalistic children's books.

"Now I'm starting to read to my son, but I couldn't believe how vapid and vacant and empty all the stories were," said the singer.

That's just what we need from the shiksa author of the Sex book—children's tales imparting Jewish moral values. Oy.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: You pretty much know your fucked when Madonna starts co-opting your culture. We need OSJ now, more than ever.
posted by Mobius1ski | 12:05 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Monday, April 21, 2003

Frank Fiction: Widely popular on the Internet since the early days of Usenet, fan fiction is a genre of literature in which fans of a particular film, television show, or book, create original stories that sort of pick up where their obsession left off, using the same characters and settings as the works to which they pay homage. And of course, the Internet being what it is, the most prominent 'fanfic' to date seems to be homoerotic Star Trek and X-Files episodes. Be that as it may, a new breed of fanfic has been cropping up as of late, one with a peculiar twist: As if you didn't get enough the first time, additions to The Diary of Anne Frank are growing in abundance. Ugh. A strange obsession for sure. So much for authenticity. (c/o memepool)
posted by Mobius1ski | 11:04 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Sunday, April 13, 2003

The Dark Arts: The Robots Have Feelings Too group art show, currently taking place through May 18th at Culture Cache Gallery in San Francisco, spotlights many brilliant modern artists (whose works you can peruse on their website), my favorite of which being event curator Jeff Soto, whose graf-inspired robot-beings remind me somewhat of Mark Ryden, who is currently exhibiting his latest work at the Earl McGrath Gallery in Los Angeles.

However, one participating artist who profoundly garnered my attention with his dark and provocative work is Jonathan Weiner, a RISD grad and Brooklynite, whose pieces Subterranean Benediction and Sephardic Dancer invoke Judaic symbolism rather intrigueingly in a Tim Burtonesque Nightmare Before Christmas kind of way. (Notice the payes & the Cohanic hand gesture in SB?) Weiner's collected works are both stunning and impressive. If you're in the San Fran area, I recommend you check out the show.

Also, on the Jewish art front, my friend David's step-father, Paul Graubard, will be exhibiting work that has been "inspired by [his] visions of Jewish life," at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Chelsea, NYC, from May 8 through June 7.

On April 30-July 30, director Pearl Gluck and musician Basya Shechter will be exhibiting an installation at the Eldridge Street Project. "Using fragments of lived experience from the landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue and its surrounding historic neighborhood, Trance is a sound and video installation that breaks boundaries and sparks cross cultural dialogue between the Asian and Jewish communities on the Lower East Side."

And while we're on the subject of art—I recommend a visit to the website of David Friedman, a kabbalistic artist from Tzefat, whose works explore the deepest levels of Jewish mysticism with vivid colors and a delightfully cartoonish candor. More of my friends have his prints hanging than any other artist I'm aware of.
posted by Mobius1ski | 8:43 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Let's stop and ask for directions: Apparently, Mt. Sinai is not where we thought it was. Don't worry -- nobody took it -- but a Cambridge University scientist has concluded that after the Jews left Egypt (like the Haggadah tells it) they ended up in Saudi Arabia, and not in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Colin J. Humphreys' radical idea is brought forth in his new book called "The Miracles of Exodus : A Scientist's Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories". In the book, Humphreys also suggests that the Jews did not spend 40 years in the desert, that most of the Exodus was fiction, and that the episode of Moses and the burning bush was merely caused by flammable natural gas or volcanic gas escaping from a small vent in the ground. Paging David Copperfield.
posted by Benyamin | 7:29 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Dixie Yids fare better than the Dixie Chicks: A Jewish documentary about Jews in the South that has been making waves at various Jewish Film Festivals has just got a new lease on life. The hour-long documentary, aptly titled Shalom Y'all has been picked up by Showtime Networks which plans on broadcasting the film five times this month on its Sundance Channel. The premium chable channel reportedly piad "five figures" for the broadcast rights. "The prestige of Showtime and Sundance far outweighs the dollar figure," producer Susan Levitas says. "What this essentially is, is the watershed moment for this film's viability." For more information about the film, read Jewsweek's recent cover story about it titled "The Bard of Dixie".
posted by Benyamin | 7:16 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Rebel Ryder: Speaking of auctions, Winona Ryder is back in the news. The Jewish actress best known for her roles in Little Women, Edward Scissorhands, and taking part in a riveting shoplifting incident at a Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue last year is back in the news again. At a recent court appearance where Ryder showed up to tell the judge that she had completed all 480 hours of community service that he had ordered -- ahead of schedule, Ryder suggested that she auction off the shoplifted items for charity. The judge sparred with Ryder's lawyer over the idea even though the stolen property now rightfully belongs to Ryder since she paid a $10,000 fine. "Your client should not benefit" from her crime, said Judge Elden Fox. We just want to know which charity she had in mind. Can anyone say Hadassah?
posted by Benyamin | 6:34 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Going once, going twice: Internet auction site eBay is getting itself into murky waters again. Earlier this month eBay was under fire again for selling soap from Auschwitz. The Polish seller, who claims that the only other known Auschwitz soap is on display at the Holocaust museum on the camp site, asks eBay users to "see our other listings for more cool stuff." We, however, suggest that if you're in the market for intriguing soap products, try primalelements.com
posted by Benyamin | 5:51 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, April 10, 2003

The second time's the charm: Virginia Congressman James Moran just can't learn his lesson. A month ago, the loose-lipped Moran suggested that the reason America went to war was because a bunch of influential Jews pushed President Bush to do so. If only we had that kind of power. In any event, moran is up to his old tricks again. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that while Moran was atatneding a recent party he told friends that he had heard that the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC was raising $2 million in an effort to unseat him in next year's elections. When asked about the comment a few days after the party, Moran still couldn't keep his mouth shut: ""It's conceivable. You'd have to be naive not to recognize that AIPAC is a very important network of people organized around a cause .... But if I have to run against a national network that I don't have the ability to communicate with, it's going to be very difficult." Moran has been flubbing so much recently that a Web site, aptly titled Morantics, has been set up to keep track of all his latest slips.
posted by Benyamin | 2:37 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Sunday, April 06, 2003

Our DVD pick of the week: Forget The Pianist. The best Holocaust film of 2002 was not the Roman Polanski sleeper. It was The Grey Zone, the compelling true story of the Sonderkommandos, those Jews who worked in the gas chambers. As well, the film is actually not the downer you'd expect. The Grey Zone, with its artful directing and poignant acting, also tells the never-before true story of how a group of Jews successfully rebelled against the Germans by sabotaging and destroying two of the Auschwitz gas chambers. It's heroism at its finest. Run, don't walk, to Blockbuster to rent this movie.
posted by Benyamin | 2:48 PM | Link | (0) comments |

We did it: It's common knowledge that Jews were responsible for the death of one Jesus Christ. In fact, scholars will tell you that it's the psychological root of most anti-Semitism in the world today. So, if that's the case, then why are so many Jews up in arms about Mel Gibson's new movie? The film, entitled Passion and currently filming, is an all-Aramaic movie about the crucifixion of Jesus and blames the Jews. So many movies rewrite history -- why should we get upset when one finally gets it right? Besides, did you read the other sentence? The whole movie is in Aramaic, guys. Stop wetting your pants over this. There's a real war going on.
posted by Benyamin | 2:00 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Missing in action: Larry Cohen would've been on the cover of Jewsweek Magazine this week, but he has the world's worst publicist. The 64-year-old Cohen, who penned the new movie Phone Booth, would've made Jewsweek headlines this week if only the publicist for 20th Century Fox would return our calls. This is not the first time Linda Crane has ignored requests from us. When Steven Spielberg's Minority Report came out last year, it was like pulling teeth just to get the press kit from her. In the end, we had to call 20th Century Fox headquarters just to get a photo of Spileberg on the set. Yes, we know what you're thinking. Isn't it the publicist's job to promote the film for their company? That's what we thought, too. So, we're bringing the issue to you, our readers. If you would like the Larry Cohen gaffe to not hapepn again in the future, please send an e-mail to Linda at linda.crane@fahlgrenent.com and tell her to start returning our calls.
posted by Benyamin | 1:27 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Friday, April 04, 2003

The Bible in Baghdad: From the "of course we expected this" department, a news story in The Guardian last week reported that someone besides coalition troops are marching on the Iraqi capitol. Christian evangelicals are reportedly poised to enter the sin once it's deemed safe with food in one hand and Bible in the other. Mulsim clerics are obviously fuming mad that the evangelicals are pushing their religion onto their devotees. Could a Baghdad office of Jews for Jesus be far behind?
posted by Benyamin | 4:43 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, April 03, 2003

Operation matzah drop: While American soldiers are stationed in the Iraqi region, they have much to worry about -- the least of which is staying alive. But with upcoming Passover festival, they'll have one more thing to worry about -- finding macaroons and other kosher for Passover food items in the Iraqi desert. To help those soldiers the Rockland Jewish Federation has created operation Matzo Meals which will provide all Jewish military personnel involved with the war effort to have a seder meal and enough kosher for passover food to last them all eight days of the festival. For more information, send an e-mail to MatzoMeals@aol.com.
posted by Benyamin | 12:17 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Static confusion: Israelis may finally be able to get something they've been waiting a year for -- the return of softcore porn giant Playboy TV. It seems that since March 2002, Israeli cable systems have taken off the porn channel -- which was subscribed to by a whopping 60% of cable viewers in Israel. Last week the President of the High Court of Justice, Justice Aharon Barak, ruled that a panel of 11 justices, headed by himself, would hear the petition of Play TV and its CEO, Yair Hasson, Playboy's representative in Israel, for the return of the channel's broadcasts via the Yes satellite TV company. Playboy TV staples Sexcetera and Sex Court may finally be returning to the holy land.
posted by Benyamin | 10:06 AM | Link | (0) comments |
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