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Monday, June 30, 2003

Saddam's Jews: There are 34 Jews left in Iraq -- enough to make a minyan now, but those numbers are quickly dwindling. MSNBC reports that, " Since U.S. troops toppled Saddam in April and Iraq cascaded into lawlessness, they have taken refuge behind high walls and closed their house of prayer. One Muslim cleric has made death threats against them and they say they fear for their future."

Perhaps it's time to move.
posted by Benyamin | 9:08 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Pant police: Rabbi Ephraim Goldberg literally got caught with his pants down. The 41-year-old Boca Raton rabbi was charged with one misdemeanor count of exposure of sexual organs and issued a notice to appear in court on July 8. According to The Sun-Sentinel, the Young Israel spiritual leader "made eye contact with an undercover officer while at Sears and both men walked into the store restroom, according to police reports. Goldberg followed the officer into a handicapped stall and asked the officer, 'Is it safe?' police said. Goldberg, who has no prior arrests in Florida, then exposed himself to the officer. After the officer said he didn't think it was "safe" anymore, Goldberg reportedly asked the officer if he lived alone and whether the two could meet later, according to police reports.

Hey, let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was asking him over to study Torah.
posted by Benyamin | 5:43 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Moving on up: The Orthodox families of Queens, New York should be smiling a bit more with news that a new apartment complex is being built with them in mind. Aside from other features designed to lower the costs, relative to the area, the truly observant Jews will likely be more interested in the Shabbat elevators, Sukkah accommodating rooftops, and ovens that stay on by themselves during that holy seventh day. Kitchens will also be outfitted with double sinks and stainless steel ovens, that can be made kosher simply by running the hot-water cycle twice.

And yes, if that wasn’t enough for the Orthodox among us, the bedrooms are big enough to allow for husbands and wives to separate when she’s considered niddah and the dining rooms are designed to accommodate large Shabbat crowds.
posted by Bradford | 3:22 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Mazal tov: Who says Yiddish is a dying language? The word "Oy" has finally made it into the new 11th edition of the classic Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary which hits stores this week. The new edition contains 10,000 new words since the last version which was published 10 years ago. It's a good start, but it's not mamash a peleh.

The dictionary is not the only place where Yiddish is getting its second wind. According to an article in this week's Atlanta Jewish Times (which the newspaper does not put up on their Web site), Emory University is trying to raise $2 million with the hope of being the first non-Northern college to offer a Yiddish program next year. We wish them well, but they're going to need a bissel mazel for it to come to fruition.

posted by Benyamin | 10:54 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Jewish Dates for singles and couples alike: Sick of explaining to goyim why the Jewish holidays hardly ever fall on the same date from year to year? Looking for evidence to blame the brits for enforcing the Gregorian calandar on our country? The JCAL-Jewish Calendar Software company provides a clearly outlined History and Rules of the Jewish Calendar. Other resources include looking up a Gregorian date for looking up yahrzeits, birthdays, and anniversaries, Torah readings, Shabbat candle lighting times, or to simply convert any date, you can use the automatic Hebrew Date Converter. Finally, if you would like to download a shareware Jewish calendar for your use, check out Calendar Maven's Hebrew Calendar.

Thanks to Anagraztov at JewSchool for bringing us this juicy tidbit.
posted by Benyamin | 12:37 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Sunday, June 29, 2003

'Safe' pro-Israel message: When UC-San Diego students used condoms emblazoned with the words, "Israel: It's still safe to come," it raised plenty of media attention and more than a few eyebrows. Still you couldn't say it didn't get the pro-Israel message out, err... up, eh... whatever. That's why the fine students behind the promotion are making their message available commercially. Now you can purchase the infamous condoms along with clever T-shirts.

You'll have to buy at least fifty condoms, but the T-shirts come in male and female versions and a portion of the proceeds will go to Israeli charities. So at the very least, you'll be able to help out the Jewish state symbolically as well as financially, all while keeping those pesky STDs and unwanted pregnancies at bay. In the Arab-Israeli conflict, at least, it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Let's get it on."
posted by Bradford | 3:32 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Vatican vaults online: The Vatican has made it easier for the rest of us to see their massive collection of art by putting the collection online. The Catholic Church has long held some of the world's most priceless artistic items, even if it did come into possession of some of it through less than savory means. Now you can peruse those masterpieces from the comfort of your home.

Of course, if you were interested in the secret archives the Vatican keeps including materials about its role during World War II, you'll have to wait. The Pope's loyal curators assure us their working on putting that online eventually - say around the time of the armageddon?
posted by Bradford | 4:27 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Nazi gold: Apparently, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Some guy just coughed up more than $36 million for a townscape by the Austrian expressionist artist Egon Schiele auctioned off at Sotheby's this week. Why so much money? The painting in question was looted by the Nazis in 1938 and was finally returned to its owner earlier this year. Oh, those Nazis.
posted by Benyamin | 2:39 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Weekly Madonna installment: It seems our favorite Material Girl is getting more spiritual. In an interview with a San Francisco radio station, the musician-turned-kaballist gave some high props to the Lord Almighty. According to MSNBC, "the singer was asked if she could think of anyone who was more famous than her. 'God,' she replied. The DJ asked what she could do to overtake him. Replied the newly Spiritual Girl: 'Nothing. We’re teaming up.' "
posted by Benyamin | 9:23 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Last comic standing: Much has been written about in the last few days about the unwelcomed guest at Prince William's 21st birthday. Perhaps, for the best, little has been said that comedian Aaron Barschak, who works in his father's London real estate business when the comedy business is slow, is Jewish. I'm sure the Jewish fathers of comedy would be proud.
posted by Benyamin | 4:33 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Return of the Aryans: Those pesky Aryans just won't go away, despite proclamations of their demise. Apparently they've regrouped out in Idaho and allied themselves with other groups like the KKK in a bid to regain their former glory. Thus far, it's a paltry attempt. Down from the hundreds they used to draw, a recent pow wow featured no more than 75 people, making the affair look more like a low-key family reunion. You know, the kind with swastikas and Nazi salutes.

Still that hasn't stopped them from declaring a new leader-to-be... again, or planning to raise funds for the purchase of an all new compound to replace the one they lost after being bankrupted by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Now all we need is for them to assault somebody again, so they can be sued almost out of existence one more time.
posted by Bradford | 12:32 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Rabble rousing rabbis: I guess President Bush didn't consult with these guys. Israel Insider reports that a group of rabbis known as the Rabbis' Union for the People and Land of Israel in Jerusalem (aka RUPLIJ) declared on Monday that the roadmap peace initiaticve is antithetical to the Torah and is, therefore, forbidden. Maybe we should've consulted with them before we went to war with Iraq.
posted by Benyamin | 9:26 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Monday, June 23, 2003

The oy of sex: HBO's popular Sex and the City is back for its final season and it seems Judaism plays part of a major storyline. Picking up where it left off last season, classic WASP Charlotte York is dating her self-deprecating Jewish attorney Harry Goldenblatt. (Hey, where's the stereotype police when you need them?). In the season's first episode, the following banter ensues after Harry, who will only marry a Jewish woman, orders pork at a restaurant:

"I'm not kosher," Harry tries to explain. "I'm conservative."

"I'm conservative, too!" Charlotte reminds him.

"Yeah, well," says Harry, "MY conservative doesn't have anything to do with wearing pearls."

However, the best line of the night came when Harry said that one of the reasons he wants to marry a Jewess is because his mother suffered in the Holocaust. Charlotte's response? "Well, now I can't say anything because you brought up the Holocaust. This is not the first time Charlotte has been interested in a Yid. In the series' first season, she had a brief affair with a Chassidic artist from Brooklyn. And inside sources tell Jewsweek that next week's episode will feature Charlotte consulting rabbis about conversion.

Hmmm, even with Charlotte's possible conversion, it appears New York's Jewish population is shrinking. Go figure.
posted by Benyamin | 10:49 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Big daddy: It looks like Adam Sandler is finally growing up. The actor/producer/comedian got married this weekend in a celebrity-packed Malibu ceremony. It's the first marriage for the 36-year-old Sandler and the 28-year-old model-turned-actress Jackie Titone. I wonder if he sang at his own wedding.

P.S. - If only I had a beautiful woman to put my kippah on everyday. If I did, I wouldn't put it onm y dog's head, like Adam did.
posted by Benyamin | 9:35 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, June 19, 2003

Return of the pagans: Wouldn’t you know it, all the talk about a boy named Potter and a vampire-slaying teen contributing to witchcraft among kids may be true after all, in Britain anyways. A recent MSNBC report claims paganism is on the rise in the UK and even the pagans themselves are thanking the Harry Potter books along with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even Sabrina the Teenager Witch.

Of course, those pesky evangelical Christians aren’t particularly pleased about it. The Evangelical Alliance is calling on the Brits to regulate paganism out of the popular media, but there’s little chance such efforts will succeed. Everybody knows those three chicks from Charmed used their powers to trash any efforts at censorship, and really, can Jesus compete with that?

In other news, scientists are planning on researching how the squeakily annoying Melissa Joan Hart, of Sabrina fame, could actually make people want to be witches.
posted by Bradford | 5:00 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

More Madonna: It appears that our favorite Yada blog personality is making news again this week. The Times of India reports that Madonna will be making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where she will be shooting her latest music video. The pop diva is following in the hallowed foosteps of Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, and Richard Gere, who have all made recent trips to Israel.

The new song called Nothing Fails, from her American Life CD, is, not surprisingly, about Kaballah and makes reference to the Holy Land.
posted by Benyamin | 3:30 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

You've got moolah!: ...enough to buy off God, apparently. In a Washington Post profile of America Online bigwigs, we learn that AOL's former president for business affairs, David M. Colburn, was Jewish. Not only that, but he apparently got three rabbis to pray for AOL stock to rise in exchange for $1 million each to a Jewish cause, assuming God listened. The rabbis, ever insightful fellows, countered that he'd need to attend synagogue as well. He did, the stock rose, the rabbis got their cash. Is that kosher?

The exceedingly rich Colburn also paid another million out to rent N'Sync for his daughters bat mitzvah party. When another daughter's big event came up, he rented Washington's Union Station and got the Dave Matthews Band to play the gig. So the question of the day? How much money does it take to buy off God and two very spoiled daughters at the same time?
posted by Bradford | 12:16 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Monday, June 16, 2003

Got milchig?: Apparently, 60% of Jewish Americans are lactose intolerant and that's exactly the target audience of a wacky new ad campaign. The Forward reports in its latest issue that "the ad, which first appeared in the June issues of Hadassah and Reform Judaism magazines, features a picture of a woman with dotted lines on her upper lip — the place where her milk mustache should be. In the top right-hand corner, the ad inquires, 'Miss Milk?' Below, the ad mentions the percentage of Jewish Americans who allegedly suffer from lactose intolerance and claims that Lactaid milk can help those with the disorder enjoy milk products without pain and discomfort."

Well, um, it's good to know I'm not alone.
posted by Benyamin | 9:59 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Sunday, June 15, 2003

German Jew shills for Coke: The best-known Jewish leader in Germany is sparking controversy again, but for new reasons. Michel Friedman, the vice president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, has allegedly been indulging in a little cocaine habit. Who knows why? Maybe the lines of supporters weren’t enough, so he turned to lines of a different sort, but either way he’s in legal hot water. German police have taken a hair sample to test for cocaine after finding traces of the illicit drug in his law office and home. Meanwhile the president of the Jewish council has been trying to distance himself from the whole debacle. Maybe he’s a Pepsi fan.
posted by Bradford | 10:28 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Oh, Canada: It seems even SARS can't stop the Toronto Jewish community from procreating. According to a recent National Demographic Study undertaken for UIA Federations Canada, Toronto's Jewish community has almost doubled in size to 179,100 in 2001 from 97,000 in 1971.

Maybe Michael Moore can put this in his next pro-Canada movie.
posted by Benyamin | 9:04 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Holocaust fatigue: Is there such a thing as too much of a bad thing? The New York Times thinks so. The, um, newspaper of record, devotes the front page of it's Arts & Leisure section this week to an interesting look at Holocaust Documentaries. Author Barry Gewen poses an obvious question: "Are too many Holocaust documentaries now being made? Has supply outstripped demand?"

He parades the usual reason in front of the reader: Will too many films desensitize us to the real evil of the Holocaust?

But the piece poses more questions than it does answers. In what can only be called chutzpah, Gewen says that filmmakers should pander to the tastes of their target audiences, diminishing the relevance of atrocities of the Holocaust to mere market research. He writes: " Most movie audiences want to be entertained; they don't want to dwell on the sealed boxcars, extermination camps and mounds of corpses that are the staples of the Holocaust narrative. There has been a tendency of late among documentary filmmakers to concentrate on the more "positive" side — gentiles who opposed Hitler or rescued victims; Jewish resisters in the Warsaw Ghetto and elsewhere; and of course the survivors themselves. These individuals are often presented as inspirational (although, with the millions of victims who are not here to go before the camera, there is nothing inspirational about the Holocaust)."

The fact that Holocaust survivors are a dying breed is one of the greatest challenges facing the next generationof American Jews. In such an environment, there's no such thing as too many reminders.
posted by Benyamin | 3:45 PM | Link | (0) comments |

A Jewish Williamsburg near Tel Aviv?: Earlier this month in Rishon Lezion, near Tel Aviv, construction began on the world's first open-air shtetl theme park. Can a Disneyfied shtetl accurately portray the complex realities of that vanished world? Project director and noted Holocaust historian Yaffa Eliach, commented: "The shtetl represents the greatness of Jewish life." Eliach is a Holocaust suvivor who emigrated to Israel in 1946, later moving to New York and getting her PhD from City College in New York and later teaching at Brooklyn College. Eliach also founded the first Center for Holocaust Studies in the US, the precursor to the Museum of Jewish Heritage, located in Battery Park City in downtown Manhattan.

Thanks to Anagraztov at JewSchool for bringing us this juicy tidbit.
posted by Benyamin | 3:02 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Chew on this: Jaffa Candies (which sounds like a Jewish company) is manufacturing gum with an extremely interesting prize inside for the kiddies. No, it's not a pack of baseball cards or even florescent whatchamagig. It's a temporary tattoo. Now that in and of itself would not be so bad. It's the picture on the tattoo that has parents up in arms -- a drawing of a KKK member. What was going on at that meeting.

Chairman: "We need to come up with a good gimmick to help sell more of our bubble gum Anyone have a good ideas?"

Intern: "Hey, why don't we give kids a tattoo of a Klansman?"

Chairman: "Um, anyone else?" (long pause) Ok, Klansman it is."

Thanks to Avraham at the Protocols blog for bringing this matter to our attention.
posted by Benyamin | 12:52 PM | Link | (0) comments |

More Mel: Mel Gibson is striking back. Last week, we reported that the actor/director was under fire for his upcopming film The Passion which details the last 12 hours of Jesus' life. Christian and Jewish leaders alike claimed that not only was the movie's portrayal innacurate, but that it would incite anti-Semitism for the role the Jewish community played in Jesus' crucifixion. Now, it seems Gibson, a staunch Catholic, is striking back. In a prepared statement, Gibson said: “Neither I nor my film are anti-Semitic ... Nor do I hate anybody — certainly not the Jews. They are my friends and associates ... Anti-Semitism is not only contrary to my personal beliefs, it is also contrary to the core message of my movie.”

The statement made Friday also claims that the Roman Catholic Church is helping Gibson find the "deep throat" who leaked the film's script to an ad hoc group fo Christian and Jewish leaders.

In the end, this film may have the same half life as the recent CBS mini-series Hitler: The Rise of Evil. At first, people were appalled. Then they actually saw the film and said it was not only good, but educational. Then, in the end, nobody ended up watching the movie anyway.
posted by Benyamin | 12:33 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Friday, June 13, 2003

Caption contest: When we first received this picture from Edward Lozzi & Associates our first thought was, "Huh?". The caption read as follows: NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neil wears his official police uniform with gun & badge at the 34th Annual International Association of Airport & Seaport Police Black Tie Gala at the Westin Hotel at LAX this month. Rabbi Shimon Kashani, Director of The Southern California Jewish Center in Westwood, is seen congratulating Shaquille for being honored this evening for being on the front lines of policing Los Angeles Airports and Seaports. Kashani was recently seen this year on national television for bringing 26 Israeli Terrorist victims to the United States for awards, rest, fun, and medical attention. In September, Kashani will produce the second gala fundraiser in Beverly Hills and bring over many more terrorist victims. (From Left to Right): Mrs.Vered Kashani, Officer Shaquille O'Neil, Rabbi Shimon Kashani, Arthur M. Kassel, Executive Producer of the Airport/Seaport Gala.

Ok, so that didn't help us much. We thought Shaq was a basketball player, not a cop. Maybe that's what he does during the off season.

In any event, we thought we'd put it to you, our readers, to come up with a funny caption for this photo. Send your suggestions to and we'll post the funniest ones.
posted by Benyamin | 12:48 PM | Link | (0) comments |

A victory for porn, a defeat for holiness: To update you on a previous Yada blog news item, we're, um, happy to announce that Israel has allowed Playboy TV to go back on the air. Ha'aretz Daily reports: "The significance of the decision is that the committee no longer regards the content of the Playboy channel as pornography, which is banned from TV broadcasts under the Communications Law. The controversy over the interpretation of the law revolved around the question of whether Playboy was depicting women as sex objects." Seems reasonable that Israelies are allowed this guilty pleasure considering the recent increase of terrorists attacks in the country.

So, is this what the Torah meant when it said be a "light unto the other nations"?
posted by Benyamin | 12:30 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Jesus fights back: Mel Gibson is mad -- and we're not referring to Mad Max. The actor/director, apparently, is preparing to sue the Anti-Defamation League for bad-mouthing his upcoming Jesus biopic entitled The Passion. We don't know why the ADL is making such a big deal about the movie. It's not like anyone is actually going to understand it. The film, which wrapped shooting in Rome last month, will be entirely in Latin and Aramaic -- without subtitles.

As well, an ad hoc committee of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs issued an 18-page report last month criticizing the script of the movie. The ad hoc scholar's group that produced the report was assembled by Eugene Fisher of the bishops' conference and Rabbi Eugene Korn of the Anti-Defamation League, and comprised a mix of nine Jewish and Christian academics -- only two of which were named Eugene. One of the signers, Amy-Jill Levine of Vanderbilt University describes herself as "a Yankee Jewish feminist ... with a commitment to exposing and expunging anti-Jewish, sexist and heterosexist theologies." The group's report criticized everything from the size of the cross used for the crucifixion scene, to the languages spoken, to poor character development. The document's central complaint, however, is that "a graphic movie presentation of the crucifixion could reawaken the very anti-Semitic attitudes that we have devoted our careers to combating."

Hmmm, you think the ADL will go after the producers of Bruce Almighty for having Jim Carrey portray God?

Thanks to Avraham at the Protocols blog for bringing this matter to our attention.
posted by Benyamin | 5:31 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Martha Stewart's chaver: ImClone Systems founder Sam Waksal was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison this week for an insider-trading scandal that ensnared his family and threatens Martha Stewart and her home decorating empire. For those of you who were not avid readers of Jewsweek Magazine a year ago, we ran a cover profile on Waksal which detailed the rise and fall of the Jewish CEO. In it, we discuss his Holocaust survivor parents, Waksal's Jewish coin collection, and his overall desire to change the world for the better. Here's looking at you, Sam.
posted by Benyamin | 4:54 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Mystic Moore: It looks like Madonna may have a new pew partner at her next Kabbalah class. MSNBC reports that actress Demi Moore (Ghost, Indecent Proposal, Disclosure) thinks Kabbalah (the ancient Jewish study of mysticism) is all the rave. According to a "source", the site reports that Moore was trying to spread the good word about Kabbalah recently to those on the set of her new film, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. "She was singing the praises of [Kabbalah] to anyone who would listen -- and some who wouldn't," says the source. "She was encouraging people to take classes and read up on it." Maybe Madonna could be her chevrusa.

We have just one question: How come none of these women showed up to our high school Talmud class?
posted by Benyamin | 9:37 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Monday, June 09, 2003

Talk about irony: Eric Robert Rudolph, the accused Olympic bomber portrayed over the years as a rabid hater of Jews, now finds himself represented by a Jewish lawyer who says he's seen no evidence of anti-Semitism from his client. In an interview Thursday on NBC's Today show, court-appointed defense lawyer Richard Jaffe said he knew all about Rudolph's supposed beliefs but said his client didn't have a problem with his Jewish faith. "There's been a public perception painted of Eric Rudolph that's far from accurate," said Jaffe, who specializes in death penalty cases and has helped get three Alabama inmates off death row.
posted by Benyamin | 6:03 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Day of rest ... not: Beginning this week, the Israeli government will start to sell its 97% share of El Al airlines in stock and options. What does that mean for you, the consumer? The airline hopes that, soon after the privitization, they will start to authorize flights on Shabbat. El Al hopes that the addition of one more workday will help recoup some of their $23.7 million in losses last year and more than $900 in debt.

Doesn't the Torah teach us that we will never make money from work done on Shabbat?
posted by Benyamin | 5:56 PM | Link | (0) comments |

And the award goes to ... who?: The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, an advocate for Jewish cultural creativity and preservation in America, presented the 14th annual Jewish Cultural Achievement Awards in five categories -- Patron of the Arts, Media Arts, Performing Arts, Literary Arts and Visual Arts -- during a gala ceremony last week at the Plaza Hotel in New York hosted by Tony Award-winning actor Ron Leibman. The event raised more than $500,000 for the Fund For Jewish Documentary Filmmaking. The 2003 recipients were Leonard Nimoy, actor, author and photographer (Performing Arts); Lynn Korda Kroll, philanthropist and chairman of the board of the NFJC (Patron of the Arts); Adrienne Rich, author, poet and educator (Literary Arts); Mierle Laderman Ukeles, conceptual and installation artist (Visual Arts); David Isay, radio producer (Media Arts).

Besides Nimoy, has anyone ever heard of these people?
posted by Benyamin | 5:35 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Prozac from the Promised Land: Hoping to tackle the ever-increasing costs of prescription medications, a new company is now offering cheap drugs from Israel. "While significant savings remain the key reason for purchasing medication abroad, there are several good reasons to buy medication from Israel,” says Beth and Shai Gold, the Florida staff of IsraMeds. Purchasing your prescriptions from IsraMeds, they claim, helps the Israeli economy. Additionally, IsraMeds can supply observant Jews with kosher medication (gelatin based "gel-caps" are typically made from animal fat, while in Israel gelatin for gel-caps is made from fish fat). Maybe there should be a clause about this in the new roadmap for peace.
posted by Benyamin | 5:30 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Jail house schlock: David Duke certainly has chutzpah. An article in the latest issue of the Forward reveals that the former Klansman is soliciting funds from inside his Texas jail cell. He's collecting money to help promote his new anti-Semitic book entitled Jewish Supremacism. Duke, a former presidential candidate and card-carrying member of the KKK, is currently serving a 15-month sentence for mail and tax fraud.
posted by Benyamin | 11:11 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Wednesday, June 04, 2003

I want my MTV: Who says MTV is all about music videos and The Osbournes? Just posted to their site is a profile of none other than Ariel Sharon. Go figure.
posted by Benyamin | 12:47 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Bouncing checks: In what is being called the largest counterfeit check scheme in the history of greater Kansas City, 28 people have been more than charged in 18 cities in Missouri and Kansas have screwed area businesses out of half a billion dollars. The Kansas City Jewish Community Center had $26,000 worth of fraudulent checks issued from one of its payroll accounts. Authorities don't know how the ring obtained account and payroll information from their victims.

It makes you wonder: Does the JCC give an adult-ed class on how to manage your finances?
posted by Benyamin | 10:18 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Can you say, "Ouch!": Famed Jewish crooner Barry Manilow needs to keep his eyes open when he's walking. Apparently, the 56-year-old singer walked straight into his bedroom wall in the middle of the night and was passed out for hours. "I veered to the left instead of the right and slammed right into the wall,'' Manilow said. "I may have to have my nose fixed and, with this nose, it's going to require major surgery.''

There's a Jewish shnozze joke somewhere in here. We'll let you find it.
posted by Benyamin | 9:42 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Sorry, no cholent here: The Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) just announced that their annual "Vegetarian Shabbat" will take place this year on Shabbat Parshat Beha'alotcha (June 20-21, 2003). The Torah portion read that week relates the infamous story of the Jewish people crying out for meat and God punishing them with the plague of quail. If you recall from Sunday school, many of the Children of Israel died from ingesting the foul fowl. According to a press release, "JVNA is urging synagogues and other Jewish institutions to have events during the Vegetarian Shabbat, including sermons, divrei Torah, debates, panel discussions, and vegetarian kiddushes and meals".

I wonder what the Cambridge Cholent society thinks.
posted by Benyamin | 12:21 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Worshipping at the altar of Yoda: An astonishing 20,000 Canadians declared themselves followers of the religion of Jedi, the guardians of peace and justice in the "Star Wars" movies, Statistics Canada reported last month in its final installment of data culled from the 2001 census. Observers agree that declaring Jedi as a faith was a way for many Canadians to thumb their nose at what they felt was an intrusive or inappropriate question. "My religion is my issue, not the government's," said Denis Dion, a 44-year-old produce manager from just outside Vancouver who circulated an e-mail urging anyone who wanted to have fun with Canada's census to identify his or her religion as Jedi. Canadian Press reports the Jedi gag is the latest in a global census trend that has left some statisticians red-faced as the number of Jedis has eclipsed some centuries-old religions. In the United Kingdom, for example, there are more Jedis than Jews. Nearly 400,000 people identified themselves as Jedi in the 2001 census. Only 260,000 said they were Jewish. Just last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that more than 70,000 people named Jedi as their faith. As Yoda would say, "May the force be with you".
posted by Benyamin | 12:11 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, June 03, 2003

They said it: From our quote department: "I'm sorry I'm not gay or Jewish, so I don't have a special interest group of journalists that support me." -- Filmmaker Vincent Gallo at the recent Cannes Film Festival trying to explain why people didn't like his strangely erotic sports drama, Brown Bunny.
posted by Benyamin | 9:21 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Write stuff: It wouldn't be a normal week here at the Yada blog without something about Madonna. After much hyped discussion, the material girl will actually be releasing her first chidren's Kaballah book. The book, which will be titled The English Roses, will be released on Sepotember 15th. According to, in a recent interview Madonna said that children's stories are: "Just all about princesses and like the beautiful prince arrives and he takes her for his wife and nothing happens, no efforts are made. Nobody asks her what her opinion is, or I didn't see anybody struggling for things. There's like no books about anything."
posted by Benyamin | 8:54 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Monday, June 02, 2003

Good news? Talk about putting a good spin on the situation. You can always count on the Israel Ministry of Tourism to turn that frown upside down on Israel's troubled tourist industry. Tourism to Israel was up 17% in April, says Rami Levi, Tourism Ambassador of Israel to North and South America. “This news is extremely encouraging,” commented Levi, “because it comes after several months of increases. It demonstrates that the optimistic environment in the wake of the war in Iraq is not just a one-time phenomenon, but an ongoing trend. It underscores that we've turned the corner.”

If that's true, then why are all the tourist shops closing down due to lack of business?
posted by Benyamin | 4:23 PM | Link | (0) comments |

And Gere makes two: Straight off the heels of Whitney Houston's spiritual journey to Israel, it seems yet another high profile celeb is trekking to the Holy Land. Richard Gere (An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, and, most recently, the Academy Award-winning Chicago) arrived in Israel on Sunday to follow in the footsteps of his peace-loving mentor, the Dalai Lama. Unlike the media craving Houston, Gere has asked the Israeli press not to cover his three-day trip, part of a peacemaking mission as the guest of Spirit of Peace, the Israeli chapter of the International Peacemaking Community -- a global, multi-faith peace organization

We have just one question: If the whole point of hiring a celebrity to be the face of your organization is to promote public awareness, why would Gere ask that the press not cover his trip?
posted by Benyamin | 8:41 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Sunday, June 01, 2003

Sherlock to the rescue: Our posting problems have been solved!
posted by Benyamin | 2:48 PM | Link | (0) comments |
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