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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Bigger audience, less sex: TBS will start airing reurns of Sex and the City next summer. The episodes will obviously be edited for nudity and sexual content (what will be left?) and will also be shortened to allow for commerical breaks. I guess that means we won't be seeing Kristin Davis infamous dipping in the mikvah episode anytime soon. Thank God for the DVD.
posted by Benyamin | 6:27 PM | Link | (1) comments |

We now return to our regularly scheduled program: ABC's soap opera One Life to Live took a break from its normal storylines of backstabbing and adultery to bask in the spiritual glory of Rosh Hashanah. On Monday's episode, the show Nora (Hillary B. Smith) and her son Matthew (played by Eddie Alderson) celebrated Rosh Hashanah and look forward to the start of the new year. They talked about having cast off their sins as bread crumbs into the river, and light candles and say Kaddish for loved ones who have died. During the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, Matthew confesses to Nora that he tried to get her back together with his father Bo Buchanan (played by Robert S. Woods). Besides the fact we don't recite Kaddish for loved ones on Rosh Hashanah -- it's called Yizkor and it's recited on Yom Kippur -- we're wondering what a kid named Matthew is doing at Rosh Hashanah services.
posted by Benyamin | 6:02 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Kedem helps your cholesterol. Seriously: Speaking of kosher alcoholic beverages, sit down, cuz we have some fabulous news to report. Kedem Grape Juice, that Shabbat table staple, is now certified by the American Heart Association. According to Kedem, their receiving the certification has to do with antioxidants and something called "flavonoids". Well, congrats Kedem, and let's raise a glass.
posted by Benyamin | 5:53 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Calling Colin Farrell: According to a press release we received, interest is so great for Briscoes Irish Country Liqueur that the company is flying in a limited number of cases from Ireland so that stores will have Briscoes in time for the festival of Sukkot, which begins next week. ďThe initial reaction to Briscoes from retailers and other members of the trade has been remarkable; in fact, it has been overwhelmingly greater than we ever expected,Ē commented Howard Wang, Royalís Vice President of Metro Marketing. The press release also noted the fact that the drink was made with a non-dairy substitute so you can imbibe it with a meat meal. Whew. We were getting a little worried there. Now, if it were only kosher for Passover.
posted by Benyamin | 5:47 PM | Link | (0) comments |

The resurrection will start there: If you were looking for a particularly special place to be buried, the city of Safed in Israel would like to recommend their humble cemetary. A recently e-mailed advertisement began by reminding us, "The resurrection will start here," which we assume means you will get first dibs on the new life if you're resting underneath Safed. If that wasn't enough of a selling point, one need only remember that many of the greatest sages and rabbis of history are camping out underground in the holy city of Safed. But for a limited time only, there's more! "In the Talmud, it is promised that a man who buys a burial plot in the Holy Land of Israel during his lifetime will be rewarded with a long and fruitful life." So, I guess the argument is buy a burial plot so you'll live longer.

Oh we couldn't help but poke a little fun, but if you are interested in Safed as a final resting place, their "Just Trust God" Web site is ready to serve you. Once there you can buy a plot, get a blessing to find your soul mate in a year, and enjoy a free reading of Psalms in your name. The New York Times even wrote about them.
posted by Bradford | 2:53 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Hurricane halachot: Because, when natural disaster strikes, it's important to think first of what halachah says about saving your derriere, the Orthodox Union has kindly provided a handbook. The release comes in the wake of Hurricane Isabel, and features guidance on holding a minyan ("If a hurricane is happening on Shabbat, stay home!" Ed. Note: Really?), electrical use, what to do when your eruv has been blown down, etc. Not to belittle the project, but did we need a Rosh Yeshiva from Yeshiva University and an OU panel of rabbis to make sure we understood that staying home during a hurricane would be preferable to walking to shul? Better yet, if a hurricane is happening, why are you still at home? There is a little thing called evacuation.

Just in case those thoughts didn't occur to you, the Orthodox Union has you covered at their Web site, assuming your Internet connection didn't go with the storm.
posted by Bradford | 2:45 PM | Link | (0) comments |

King David would not be amused: We have absolutely no idea if King David would appreciate people drinking from his loins, but that is exactly what two corporate crooks had going on at a $2.1 million birthday party. More specifically, party-goers drank vodka that flowed from the nether-regions of an ice sculpture based on Michelangelo's "David," which was itself based on the biblical David. The party in question was a birthday party for the wife of Dennis Koslowski, who is being charged with bilking $600 million from Tyco International.

But we have more interesting questions than financial figures. Was the vodka watered down by the melting ice? Who wants to drink watery vodka, much less watery vodka that has just flowed from... there. Would such an exercise be considered tzniut? Might King David be offended at his edible mockery? Might he be more offended at his juxtaposition with a giant cake, topped with a pair of exploding breasts? Why would one want breasts to explode?

"Defense lawyers are concerned that video footage of the party could prejudice the jury against their clients." No kidding.
posted by Bradford | 2:37 PM | Link | (0) comments |

The most pressing Biblical questions: There are any number of pressing Biblical questions. Among them, who was Jesus' fisherman? How did Paul turn a rag-tag Jewish sect into a major world religion? Did the walls of Jericho really fall, and should the residents have sued the contractor for shoddy work? Then there's always the jovial conversation starter: "Who killed Jesus?" But never fear, for the Discovery Channel, in cooperation with the always Judeophile BBC, is taking on these and other questions. In a 10-part series beginning Wednesday, we'll learn about the real Mary Magdalene and how Joseph rose to the heights of Egyptian power. Questions sadly left unaddressed: What effect did the Great Flood have on soil erosion? After the Nile turned back into water, where did all the blood go? Was there an Egyptian equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency checking for water contaminate levels?
posted by Bradford | 2:26 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, September 25, 2003

Anti-Semitism on Ice: Those pesky Jew-haters turn up in the oddest of places, or in this case the coldest. Alina Sivorinovsky, author of a couple of books on ice skating, is voicing serious concerns over anti-Semitism in the sport. As proof, Sivorinovsky points to the bronze medal won by Israel in the 2002 World Figure Skating Championships. A Lithuanian team accused the Israelis of "buying" the medal, sparking a cloud of controversy over whether the third place finish was legit. The Lithuanians proof? They'd beaten the Israeli pair before so... well of course they beat them again.

One of the Israelis asked Israeli Sakhnovsky, "How much did it cost you to buy that medal?" Another skater told the press, "There is big money involved with the Israeli couple and you cannot fight against that. What other explanation can there be for them finishing third?" Actually, the Israelis are cash-strapped. Sivorinovsky wants to help though. She's donating proceeds of her newest book, "Murder on Ice" (written under her pen name), to the Israel Ice Skating Foundation.
posted by Bradford | 11:34 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Matzah man moves on: Bernard Manischewitz, the last in a matzah dynasty, has passed on to the world where it's Passover all year round. "The grandson of an Ohio rabbi who opened a factory in 1888, Manischewitz oversaw the company's growth into an empire selling wine, borscht, and Tam Tams," writes are friends at "Manischewitz, who sold the business in 1991, once said its kosher products freed people from "the compulsory obsession with the problems of cooking." In his memory, let's raise a glass -- of Manischewitz.
posted by Benyamin | 5:21 PM | Link | (0) comments |

The Onion's competition: The Onion is a funny site, but there's always been the possibility of something funnier. Why not write fake news about all things Jewish. Sure it's more of a niche thing, but we're a funny people. Make funnies is what we do. Why not fake it? Well, the Knish is in it to do just that. The brainchild of Chaim Y. and Martin Bodek, the site features such headlines as: "Brooklyn is the center of the universe," apparently confirmed by NASA and "Riots after dreidel championship," which we all know must be true.

Or you could just take the word of Rav Gershon Hankler, Vaad Harabonim of Ocean Parkway: "I hold that is glatt enough for public consumption, also, it's mamesh very funny, oy, my bachel was hurting from gelechter." We probably could've said it better, but we wouldn't try.
posted by Bradford | 4:39 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Time to stop whining about the Passion: Steven Waldman, the editor-in-chief of Beliefnet, has taken to the digital pages of Slate magazine to scathingly criticize all the critics of Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion." "You probably won't find many Jews conceding the point that, biblically speaking, Jewish leaders were complicit in the death of Jesus," he writes. That's sure to rile a few Jewish groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League, who've taken considerable pains to challenge that assertion. Waldman's point is the debate over who killed Jesus is ridiculousness run amok. "Who cares? Theologically, the answer is irrelevant, which means Christians can stop blaming Jews and Jews can stop being defensive. And people of both faiths can get back to disagreeing about more important things like whether you get more presents at Hanukkah or Christmas."

Not for nothing, but we'd like to point out that we get more presents. Take that Mel Gibson!
posted by Bradford | 4:31 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Madonna the cult author?: As is our weekly wont, Madonna is back in the news on the backs of critics who complain her new book, "The English Roses," is actually a covert attempt to convert impressionable kids to kabbalah. The British press, as is their wont, is sensationalizing the non-story. "Star Launches Kidsí Book Based on the Kabbalah Cult," read one headline. "As Madonna Pens Childrenís book on Kabbalah, Is the Sect Exploiting Her Devotion to It," read another. We're still trying to figure out the secret. Madonna has publically said her kabbalah practice prompted her to write the book. Proselytizing or not, it's hardly covert, but you know that Material Girl. Controversy is her wont.
posted by Bradford | 4:27 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Catholics crack down: In response to some less than acceptable innovations in the Catholic mass, the Vatican is preparing a directive that will crack down on applause and dancing in the aisles as well as altar girls and a litany of other practices. The issue of altar girls is apparently due to priest recruitment. Traditionalists complain the inclusion of altar girls waters down a standard arena for training new priests as well as opens the door to female priesthood. Applause and dancing, well that's just obvious. What are they? Pentacostals?

We'd gladly invite the Pope to an Orthodox shul. It won't change his views on altar girls, but he might lighten up on the moving in the aisles bit.
posted by Bradford | 4:03 PM | Link | (0) comments |

That's Ugandan for Jews: The Hallmark channel will be giving us a Yom Kippur offering in the form of "Moving Heaven and Earth," airing on October 5 at noon EST. The documentary tells the story of the Abayudaya, a group of Ugandan Jews who survived Idi Amin's dictatorship and eventually engaged in a mass conversion in order to be welcomed by the world Jewish community. The documentary shows the lives of various members of the Abayudaya as well as their mass conversion. So if you need something to watch before Yom Kippur, it may be the only time something worthwhile shows up on the Hallmark channel.
posted by Bradford | 3:55 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Clark the Jew?: We've said it before. We'll say it again. Enough with the politicians finding their Jewish roots and using them for political capital! The newest entry into the Democratic line-up of would-be presidents, General Wesley Clark, is apparently the son of an Orthodox lawyer. Said Orthodox man died when Clark was 5, and the mother soon remarried a Baptist back in native Arkansas. According to the JTA, Clark used his Jewish roots in a stump speech at a Brooklyn yeshiva as far back as 1999, but it's our good friends at the Protocols blog that asks the best question of all:

"The obvious question here is how his father could be both Orthodox and married to this woman at the same time."
posted by Bradford | 3:42 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Crow not so 'Passion'-ate: Russell Crowe is from Australia, but he's not an Aussie after Mel Gibson's own heart. Gibson, also from down under, is drawing controversy for his film The Passion which depicts the death of Jesus and has been criticized as anti-Semitic. Crowe, when recently asked about the dust-up took the opportunity to poke fun at Gibson and the film, imploring Mel to "get off the glue." Of the plans to do the whole movie in ancient languages without subtitles, "Whatís the point of making a movie where people canít understand whatís going on? I don't understand that."

Something else we don't understand, a quote from Crowe: "Well if what Iíve heard about it is fair dinkum..." Dinkum?
posted by Bradford | 3:35 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Bat Mitzvah or Other Activities: For parents who'd like to scare themselves witless about what their teenage daughters just might be engaging in, go see 13. The film was co-written by director Catherine Hardwicke and the age 13 Nikki Reed (now 15, also starring in the film). Reed, who's Jewish, wrote a screenplay filled with exploits of drugs, highly illicit sex, and teen angst on a Viagra and steroids cocktail. Then she got to act it all out on screen, and she does so realistically enough to make you flinch. It's hard to imagine that the life of most 13-year-olds is quite this... worrisome, but it's also hard to not believe this well-crafted film. Just a few things to think about during your little girls bat mitzvah. As for the film, it was released at the end of August.
posted by Bradford | 3:28 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Cartier for Wiesenthal: We've written in the past on the high cost of being Jewish, and lest we forget that burden, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has thought of an even more expensive way to celebrate the holidays. Courtesy of Cartier, yes that famous designer of jewelry and other accessories, you can now get ornate gift cards for Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah. That is to say if you weren't already inundated with the High Holidays, you can spend exorbitantly to plan ahead to Chanukah.

Just how pricey are these lovely little cards, you ask? Ten of the Rosh Hashanah cards will cost you $60, with 100 going for a paltry $695. Believe it or not, the Chanukah cards cost more, adorned with a gold menorah. It'll cost you $70 for ten and $750 for 100. Don't worry, the envelopes are free. Nonetheless, as ridiculously expensive as it may be, it is going to the good cause of supporting the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Fighting bigotry, celebrating the holidays, and draining your pocket book -- all for some custom made cards.
posted by Bradford | 3:06 PM | Link | (0) comments |

And the Emmy Goes To...: The Jews, lots of them. Aaron Sorkin's beloved "The West Wing," picked up the top nod for Best Drama Series, but Hebrew actors and actresses abounded in other categories. Debra Messing was named Best Actress in a Comedy Series, with Brad Garrett and Doris Roberts picking up Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively for their work in "Everybody Loves Raymond." Hollywood uber-heavyweight Steven Spielberg yanked the miniseries award for his sci-fi "Taken," showing he dominates the miniseries genre after previous hit "Band of Brothers."

Then of course, there's Jon Stewart. God bless Jon Stewart. Not only did the funniest tribesman in show biz today help out with the hosting duties, delivering some of the best zingers of the night, he took home two Emmy's. One was for Best Variety, Music or Comedy Series. Another was for writing in that category.

Just in case that wasn't enough Jews, there's always Edie Falco (Best Actress in a Drama Series). No, she's not actually Jewish, but she played the wife of an Orthodox rabbi in A Price Above Rubies. That's gotta count for something.
posted by Bradford | 2:53 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Jewish 'Star' Power: When Darren Star got his bar mitzvah money, he used some of it to buy a subscription to Variety magazine. It's no surprise the Jewish boy with his eye on Hollywood success way back then has made it big, having created and executive produced "Beverly Hills 90210," "Melrose Place," and "Sex and the City." His newest project is "Miss Match," which debuts this fall with Alicia Silverstone in the starring role. Now, he's being honored with the Tisch Industry Leadership Award courtesy of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

We would make a joke about trashy TV being awarded for its cultural influence, but we just couldn't. Star is actually a serious mensch, whether its adapting the memoirs of Deborah Copaken, a Jewish photojournalist, into a film for Dreamworks or recently pow-wowing on Jewish images in Hollywood. So we say mazel tov to the man who lived up to his name.
posted by Bradford | 2:31 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Peyos in prison: We all know that most sitcom writers and producers are Jewish, but Mitch Hurwitz is pushing the limit. In the upcoming FOX comedy Arrested Development features a father (Jeffrey Tambor) as a wealthy white-collar criminal who goes to jail for some crafty accounting. While incarcerated he will become a popular inmate when he embraces religion. "I want to make Judaism the next big thing to sweep through the prison system," Hurwitz tells Entertainment Weekly. Look, with the unflattering results of the recent Jewish population survey, we'll take them anywhere we can get em.
posted by Benyamin | 8:49 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Sunday, September 21, 2003

Israel Goes Hollywood: Actually, vice-versa. Israeli-American actress Mili Avital (known for starring in Stargate and the miniseries Uprising) along with Jon Voight (known for starring as Angelina Jolie's dad) both recently signed a pledge to visit the Jewish State in 2004. The same pledge will be distributed in synagogues across America during the High Holidays, asking the Jewish community to state: "I Care. And Iím Going."

Poor grammar aside, it's a fine cause and you can get more information on the pledge and travelling to Israel here and here.
posted by Bradford | 7:05 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, September 18, 2003

Golda goes back to Israel: Actress Tovah Feldshuh, set to open on Broadway on October 3 as Golda Meir, just wrapped-up a one-week visit to Israel. Feldshuh flew directly from Israel to Los Angeles to participate in the Emmy Awards, for which she was nominated for her role in TVís Law and Order. Feldshuh -- who, in full stage make-up, creates a startling resemblance to the late Golda Meir -- came to Israel to see the sights (including Jerusalem's Western Wall, pictured), as well as to research locations associated with the life and work of Golda Meir.
posted by Benyamin | 4:30 PM | Link | (0) comments |


Damn! Sounds like my last trip to B&H!*
This and other great spoofs on Apple's new iPod campaign at

*For the non New Yorker, B&H is the city's most notorious pro-audio/video & camera store, which is owned and operated by Satmar chasidim.
posted by Mobius1ski | 4:14 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Nazi Crop Circles: Believe it or not, German police discovered a swastika trampled into a cornfield, just like a crop circle might look. As of yet, nobody knows who perpetrated the crime (it's illegal to display the symbol in the land of the Deutsch), but police quickly got in touch with the farm owner and trampled the symbol unrecognizable. Whoever did it, they deserve credit for breaking the law with gusto, but they don't deserve that much credit -- they got the swastika backwards.
posted by Bradford | 4:55 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Israel Mourns Johnny Cash: From the Israeli Consulate in NY:
The State of Israel would like to express its condolences to the family of the late Johnny Cash, an American icon and true friend of Israel.

In 1968, Johnny Cash produced "The Holy Land," an album about his travels in Israel.

He returned in 1973 to film a documentary about the life of Jesus called "The Gospel Road" with his wife, June Carter Cash.

A frequent guest, Johnny Cash was loved by Israelis and his music will live on in the pubs, cafes and hearts of a grateful nation.

Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, who visited Israel on many occasions, are shown here at Ben Gurion Airport in the company of El Al officials.
Shout it cross the mountain shout it cross the sea
We have been delivered Israel is free
Come to the Wailing Wall...

Bring the lost ones homeward lead them to this shore
The city gates are open heaven's blessing o'er
Come to the Wailing Wall...

—"Come to the Wailing Wall" by Johnny Cash
posted by Mobius1ski | 9:52 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, September 11, 2003

Talk about Jewish outreach: According to the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, kabbalah has become the new Church of Scientology in Hollywood. "These days, it seems like every celeb looking to add meaning to his or her glittering but empty life of fame and fortune is joining the red-string-wearing, holy-water-selling, quasi-Jewish group," Gaby Wenig writes. We knew Demi Moore was hooked by friend Madonna, but not it seems Moore's beau, Ashton Kutcher, is also a new kabbalist. According to the New York Post and several other media outlets, Kutcher and Moore were spotted shopping at the Hollywood Kabbalah Center recently, where they emerged with a $78 Kabbalah poster. (A $78 Kabbalah poster?) In a related story, MSNBC reports that Madonna's "Director of Development" role for the Kabbalically-inclined has now reached Britney Spears. Guess that kiss had more meaning than we thought.
posted by Benyamin | 10:24 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Chabad's celebrity soiree: What do Martin Sheen, Regis Philbin, Serena Williams, Magic Johnson, Howie Mandel, Spy Kids' Darryl Sabara, and the cast of Friends all have in common? They will all be making appearances on the 23rd annual Chabad telethon this Sunday. The telethon, broadcast from Los Angeles and watched by a reported 20 million people, usually brings in about $5 million a year in donations and is considered to be Chabad's biggest fundraiser. For an organization that is raising so much money, you think they could spend five bucks and update their news section so it's not touting who will be hosting and appearing at last year's telethon. Hey, Chabad, give us a call. We'll see what we can work out for you.
posted by Benyamin | 10:07 AM | Link | (0) comments |

I write the songs: It was announced this week that Barry Manilow's Holocaust-themed musical will finally be making its debut on Broadway. "Without a doubt, this is the one piece of work that I want to be remembered for," he told Jewsweek last year. "Despite what happened, the story is uplifting. The tragic part of their story moves me because I'm Jewish and because my relatives went through the Holocaust. There are moments in the script that we refer to traditional Jewish rituals, such as the wedding scene when the groom breaks the wine glass, that I was moved to tears." A Broadway premiere is planned for 2004.
posted by Benyamin | 9:52 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Hello dolly: Now you can own your very own bobblehead Moses for the low price of only $14.99. We're not kidding. Andy Dabney and Darren Foote have created Bible Bobbleheads ranging from Noah to Samson to Moses. And if those are successful, they plans on creating Queen Esther and Daniel bobbleheads as well. "We should be celebrating Bible heroes as much as we celebrate sports heroes," says Foote, a 43-year-old Christian cartoonist. Kobe, are you listening?
posted by Benyamin | 9:26 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Madonna's book bonanza: Madonna's children's kabbalah book -- entitled "The English Roses" -- is being published simultaneously next Monday in more than 100 countries and 30 languages. "We have languages as varied as Chinese and Czech, Thai and Turkish, Hebrew and Hungarian," said Nicholas Callaway, President of the New York-based Callaway Editions, the originating publisher, who has co-ordinated the global release. The Czech Republic, you have been warned.
posted by Benyamin | 7:22 PM | Link | (0) comments |

The case of the kidnapped Haggadah: It took us almost half of a millenium to do it, but by golly we did it. What, you ask? We rescued a kidnapped Haggadah. Actually, David Stern, the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Jewish Studies program did. The long-lost book was apparently commissioned by a wealthy Jew around 1450, but it eventually ended up in the hands of a particularly anti-Semitic monk.

The apparently very well educated monk, fluent in Hebrew, took the book and wrote a treatise on the text, which was then added as the Haggadah's prologue. The problem with this Christian's attempt at commentary is that it's filled with typical anti-Semitic nonsense, such as a discussion of how Jews prepare "six matzahs before the rest in a very special way with the blood of Christian infants." The book is in the progress of being fully translated and explored now, but honestly, who ever heard of kidnapping a book? Don't monks have anything better to do with their time?
posted by Bradford | 6:10 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Barbie's overnight conversion: Talk about having Shiksappeal. The Saudi Arabian government has declared two things -- one we already knew and one which shocked us. The thing we already knew? Barbie dolls are hot. The thing we didn't know? The six-inch blond bombshell is Jewish. According to the religious police's Web site, the "Jewish" doll is a threat to all things moral. "Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West. Let us beware of her dangers and be careful," said a poster on the site.

Wait, Barbie is Jewish? Man, there go the hormone-riddled adolescent fantasies of every Bar Mitzvah-age boy in America.
posted by Benyamin | 5:36 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Winona Ryder, the devil?: Woody Allen's next film will have one less Jew in it. Actors Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder have dropped out dropped out of the Woodman's forthcoming film because, well, insurance for the two convicts would be too expensive. Seriously. It doesn't matter. Ryder is busy anyway working on anotehr movie called West Memphis Three about a trio of devil-worshippers on death row in Tennessee for the 1993 murder of a young boy in a Satanic ritual. Again, seriously.
posted by Benyamin | 4:44 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Happy anniversary, Jews: Apparently, we are just one year away from the 350th anniversary of Jewish life in America when a small group of Jews from Recife, Brazil landed on the shores of New York. In anticipation of the big day, a group called Celebrate 350: Jewish Life in America 1654-2004 has formed to help us prepare for the day. According to the organization, there will be an "outpouring of activities scheduled during the program year" beginning in a few months. When we called a handful of JCC's and synagogues to see how they were preparing, we got just about the same answer from everybody: Huh?
posted by Benyamin | 4:36 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Radio shock: Stop the presses. The FCC has ruled that jewish shock jock Howard Stern is, in fact, a real newsman. Film at 11.
posted by Benyamin | 4:13 PM | Link | (0) comments |

From the how far we have fallen department: You've probably heard the story of Joseph and his technicolor coat more times than you can count, but we guarantee you've never seen the tale told from the digitally animated point of view of a big green cucumber. From the people that brought us Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie comes a retelling of the Biblical story of Joseph and his brothers -- with the lead role being played by Larry the Cucumber. The brothers seethe with jealously when Little Joe receives a colorful vest for his birthday from their pa, who always gives them mittens. It grows worse when Little Joe shares a dream that the brothers will one day bow down to him. Led by Jude, they sell him to desperados, who take Little Joe to Dodge Ball City where he's bought by the owner of the Rootin' Tootin' Pizza Place.
posted by Benyamin | 11:41 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

German whines about Nazi wines: Italy has gotten a reputation for stirring up the European pot of late, with government ministers taking pot shots at German leaders and what-not, but putting out Nazi wine? Believe it or not, a new line of Italian wines depicts Nazi figures like Hitler and Goering alongside slogans such as "Sieg Hiel!" The makers of the wine have admitted the product is meant for the German market, and that's prompted the German Justice Minister to ask the Italian government to intervene.

As weird as all of this may be, nothing beats the explanation from the wine manufacturers: "[they're meant to] remind us of the lives of celebrated personages of Italian and world political history such as Che Guevara, Churchill...Hitler, Marx, Mussolini, Napoleon." Celebrated personages?
posted by Bradford | 11:05 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Escape from the ghetto: Two teenage Chasidishe girls from Boro Park enjoyed one hell of an adventure trying to flee the shtetel and make for the Southwest. A manhunt ensued ending in the girls' eventual return to Brooklyn. "We're okay," one told the police, "we just don't want to live in the community. We don't want to live in those rules anymore."
posted by Mobius1ski | 10:57 PM | Link | (0) comments |
Thursday, September 04, 2003

Einstein chic: Apparently, Albert Einstein is one hot dude. Who would've thought the Jewish scientist who came up with E=Mc2 would grace the cover of a swimsuit issue?

posted by Benyamin | 12:54 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Sam Waksal's book club: Convicted ImClone CEO Sam Waksal is, apparently, reading other things than his friend Martha Stewart's magazine. According to a hilarious story in The New Yorker the Jewish businessman is spending his jail time reading a slew of Jewish-themed books. The publication looked at Waksal's wish list (both here and here) to find out that he would like to read the following books in prison: Hannah Arendt and the Jewish Question by Richard J. Bernstein; Studies in Medieval Jewish History and Literature III edited by Isadore Twersky and Jay M. Harris; Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Anti-Semitism by Robert Chazan; Judeophobia: Attitudes Toward the Jews in the Ancient World by Peter Schafer; A People Apart: A Political History of the Jews in Europe 1789-1939 by David Vital; and The Legends of the Jews, Notes for Volumes Three and Four: From Moses to Esther by Louis Ginzberg. Also on Waksal's wish list are four Kabbalah commentaries and seven volumes of Adin Steinsaltz's translation and interpretation of the Talmud.

Guess being locked up for seven years for committing securities fraud with Martha Stewart is enough to make anyone do some serious repentance.
posted by Benyamin | 12:51 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Lip locked: It was the kiss seen round the world. On last week's MTV Video Music Awards broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, the opening musical number shocked just about everybody. Britney Spears, dressed in a low cut, skin tight wedding gown sang "Like a Virgin". Minutes later, Madonna, dressed as the groom, came onto the stage and gave Britney an open-mouthed tounges-wagging beautiful kiss. Ah, so what does any of this have to do with Judaism? The next morning, the Today Show's Matt Lauer put the perfect exclamation point on the whole episode: "I think I'm gonna start joining a kabbalah class," he said." We're right behind you Matt.
posted by Benyamin | 12:51 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Just phone it in: Ever wish you could just stay at home on Shabbat and send someone to synagogue in your place? No? Well, some of us at the Jewsweek office have and a cellular company in India has the perfect solution. Bombay-based BPL Mobile is offering its subscribers the opportunity to pray for them. For the small fee of $1.10, pus additional charges for air time, subscribers can phone in their prayers to the BPL operators who will, in turn, recite prayers for them at the city's most popular temlpe. After the prayer, the temple sends the BPL customer a receipt, special offerings and a portrait of the elephant-headed god Ganesh.

Surprisingly, this concept is not entirely foreign to the Jewish faith. On sites like, Web surfers can have Aish staffers place personal prayer notes into the crevices of the Western Wall.

Ah, the beauty of using technology just the way God intended.
posted by Benyamin | 10:58 AM | Link | (0) comments |

The Golden child: If you're visiting Nepal this week (and we don't know why you would be, but bare with us), you will likely not see Kathmandu's living child goddess because the prepubescent princess is refusing to greet foreigners at her historic three-story temple. Why? Money, folks. She wants a cut of the profits that the city is charging tourists to see her. Which leads to the inevitable question: Does the rabbi charge for office visits?
posted by Benyamin | 10:49 AM | Link | (0) comments |

This ain't your daddy's wardrobe: The Jewschool blog has created a series of shirts and other assorted swag for Jews with attitude. The collection of print-on-demand items features a gun-slinging Chasid inviting you to "Make [his] Shabbos," a tribute to John Goodman's character in The Big Lebowski ("I don't roll on Shabbos"), and even a Jewschool-branded thong labled "Really, Really Not Tznius." The designs are fresh and entertaining -- definitely an attention getter, if not a conversation starter. So, nu, do you feel lucky, punk?
posted by Benyamin | 10:36 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Two Shylocks, one Shakespeare: Shylock is not a box office opiate. So says director Michael Radford, who is shooting an adaptation of The Merchant of Venice this fall in Prague with Al Pacino. "There is a market for Shakespeare but it is not like the market for a film like Matrix Reloaded," Radford told the London Telegraph. Meanwhile, Star Trek's Patrick Stewart is working on bringing a modern-day adaptation of the famous play, about a financial agreement between two long-standing enemies -- Antonio, the merchant, and Shylock, a Jewish moneylender -- to the big screen.

Thanks to our friends at Nextbook for bringing this to our attention.
posted by Benyamin | 10:26 AM | Link | (0) comments |

It's all about the 'Image': Sex and the City producer Darren Star and award-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein will be honored at the third annual Jewish Image Awards in Film and Television, to be held Sept. 22 in Beverly Hills. If you win, don't forget to thank the little people -- like us.
posted by Benyamin | 9:58 AM | Link | (0) comments |

Hair necessities: A Malaysian teenager was given a forced haircut by Muslim authorities who deemed his punk-style "Mohican" un-Islamic. What, you don't see Chassidim velcroing peyot on their kids?
posted by Benyamin | 9:56 AM | Link | (0) comments |
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Thou shalt not steal: And what about the Old Testament? That's getting a workout too as the dean of an Egyptian law school is contemplating filing suit against the Jews for household items stolen during the Exodus ... which is appropriate, since we've got a rather expensive 5,300-pound monument in Alabama we'd just love to get rid of.
posted by Benyamin | 7:45 PM | Link | (0) comments |

Marie Claire goes biblical: While the Protocols blog is always on top of Jewish culture, the hippest transformation to Christianity is coming in the form of Revolve, a translation of the New Testament that reaches out to the teenage girl in you. Readers will learn "100+ Ways to Apply Your Faith," and not, apparently, ways to apply their makeup. And New Testament-types aren't the only ones reaching out to teenage youngsters. Remember that "Get your hands off our God" guy? He's in a house video that the rave crowd can love.
posted by Benyamin | 7:41 PM | Link | (0) comments |

That's awful, eating run-over Muppet:
O: Why do you think there are so many Jews in comedy?

MIB: Because big noses are funny.

DW: Also, a lot of Jews have sort of thin, spindly fingers they use to take money out of cash registers. That's very funny.

MS: If you prick them, do they not bleed?

Stella in The Onion
If you were a fan of The State, MTV's classic sketch comedy show, you'll love Stella, the new comedy troupe composed of the leftover members of The State that aren't, incidentally, on Reno 911.

The group, which features Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black (aka Michael Ian Schwartz "which I changed because I'm ashamed of being Jewish"), and David Wain, also recently appeared in the film Wet Hot American Summer, which only two years after its initial release, enjoys a major cult status. The film had its first-ever midnight screening this past Friday (sigh) and again Saturday at the AMC on 42nd Street, with appearances by Wain & Showalter, live performances by Peter Salett & Mr. Blue, and even a character-costume contest in which dozens of hipsters and weirdos donned their 80's best. An enjoyable performance, to be sure.

Don't forget to check out Stella's interview in The Onion last month. It's a riot.
posted by Mobius1ski | 1:16 AM | Link | (0) comments |
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