A group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere.
Saturday, December 27, 2003
I know that at least two regular readers would be glad to know, if they already don't, that the latest issue of Slayage has an article on Vampires and Representations of ‘Blackness’ and ‘Jewishness’ in the Buffy/Angelverse. Buffy/Angel and Jewish all in one neat package, with numbered paragraphs to boot. You know who you are.posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 10:22 PM |
This shouldn't come as a great surprise to regular readers there, but I took the "What famous ancient historian are you" quiz and, well...
The Jewish Week's story on the JWW Greasy Latke Awards is here. So far as I can tell, the pulling of their ad from the paper isn't mentioned in this article or anywhere within the issue, something the Forward at least did.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 6:04 PM |
Sure, we're only #49 on Yahoo searches for protocols of the elders of zion, but we're #2 when searching for protocols of the elder of zion (with "elder" in the singular)!posted by Steven I. Weiss | 5:31 PM |
Friday, December 26, 2003
As a scandal over a Lakewood rabbi’s book describing gentiles as an “evil” species continues to simmer inside Jewish circles, the Drew University scholar who broke the explosive story says that he has no regrets about bringing the matter to light.This can't help the credibility of the Forward story, so it's an interestingly gutsy move for the NJJN to move ahead with it.
The interesting part of the story:
At least one ultra-Orthodox spokesman has challenged Nadler’s reading of the Grama book. In a memo to Kotler, Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president for government and public affairs at Agudath Israel of America, writes that “Nadler’s article is false and misleading in several critical respects.”So what's going on here? Is the Aguda siding with Grama, and does it feel that Lakewood left him out to dry? This memo is on some level a challenge of R' Aryeh Malkiel Kotler's rejection of his endorsement in the book that ran in the Forward article.
The book was already withdrawn -- by the author himself or someone posing as him -- and repudiated by Lakewood's establishment. So what's the Aguda doing? posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:08 PM |
After a careful perusal of the Jewish Press Letters Section, it is my determination that no one single letter reaches the level needed to enter the pantheon of Stupid Letters Of the Week. Even the letters that I disagreed with (and there are always those) were not particularly outlandish, with no rediculous turns of phrase or anything. I smiled when I read this letter by Shlomo Kleinbart:
Reader Barry Koppel last week complained about a recent "Machberes" column whichI just wonder if he actually named the publications in his original letter (Yated? Hamodea?) and was edited for diplomacy's sake or not. Also, I'd like to say that I want to see the Machberes column online sometime soon, as well as all of the family section and the Im Yirtza Hashem By You column.
The last interesting point was Yisroel Friedman's letter which came out of the blue, demanding that Orthodox Rabbis who take non-Orthodox puplits have their ordinations revoked. Its an interesting point, and I can see both sides. For example, in Bayswater, NY, the last Rabbi of the local Conservative establishment (which has an average age the AARP would be proud of) was a Chabad computer programmer who davened at the Young Israel's early minyan before showing up to coordinate services and deliver a sermon. Mostly, he did funerals. The congregants were never going to become Orthodox anyway, but for awhile they had someone who was able to explain to them what tashlich was all about. It was clear that he never endorsed conservative practive or ideology, but he felt it was important to reach out in the name of education and helping them maintain their conenctions. Should he have lost his semikha? I honestly don't think so. I think that each case needs to be evaluated individually, which could be why, as Friedman mentions, R. Soloveitchik consulted with all of his students before they accepted a puplit as opposed to just laying down dogmatic rules about things. posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 10:41 AM |
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Dear Edah Supporter,
9:30 a.m. -- Members of Temple Beth-El synagogue help out at North Shore University HospitalWhich leads us into the NYT's story earlier this week, "Off on Yom Kippur? It's Probably Time to Work a Holiday". And there's a great dig at the French:
With jobs to be filled on Dec. 24 and 25, Jews are volunteering and, in some cases, being volunteered for duty. Under a silent bargain, Christians will fill in for them on their holidays.(Thanks, Josh) posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:27 PM |
2:22 PM |
David Druce, Scrooge:
The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:20 PM |
Yuter takes on Rushkoff's Open Source Judaism. Coming from the perspective of a Rabbi/Programmer, he does so rather well.posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 1:08 PM |
Talking with my parents on the phone:
'Rents: Did you see the Jewish Press?It is now. We kind of have to assume that ours is one of the, "couple that made the cut in spite of some real differences — political and stylistic — between the Monitor’s worldview and theirs." Well, we'll talk weltanschaaungs with Maoz over some eggnog later, but thanks for mentioning us.
It'll be interesting to see how many hits this generates. While you might think that Protocols getting promoted in newspapers does a lot for our traffic, stats analysis seems to show otherwise.
Prior to Maoz's column, there'd been an article I'd written for each of the Forward and The Jewish Press that had included a link to Protocols in the author bio; the Forward story generated a total of 10-15 direct link hits, and the JP story seemed to generate a handful, if that, of direct link hits, and traffic generally seemed to show no out-of-the-ordinary increase and we got no e-mails or comments indicating readers had found us via those articles.
In the reverse, I've done a little bit of tracking of how much traffic a single link from Protocols will tend to generate, and it seems to be an average of about 100 in the first 24 hours.
So what, you ask? Well, every Jewsweek article we write generates significantly more hits -- even though so many Jewsweek readers have seen so many of our articles by now.
So Protocols generates a lot of hits, and Jewsweek generates a lots of hits, relative to the Forward and the Jewish Press (and, even moreso, the Jewish Journal North of Boston and the New Jersey Jewish News).
This tells me pretty clearly that people reading blogs and Web publications are more fluid in their reading, more capable of jumping from one publication to the next, and more likely to take a recommendation of another publication seriously. The implication of this is obvious: content producers moving to the Web have to be willing to engage that fluidity in order to succeed. Jeff Jarvis had a post on this regarding AOL the other day, basically saying that publications have to be willing to lose readers momentarily if they hope to keep them in the long term; they basically have to be willing to trust their readers with others' content.
This looks to be a particularly agonizing move for many of the J-weeklies, which tend to have a fierce distrust of -- and disdain for -- each other. I've been talking with editors at a number of J-weeklies about their possibly, could be, maybe, might be, if they really want, publication blogs. I'll have a lot more about this in an upcoming article at Jewsweek, but it's worth noting here that the Jewish Press, among all J-weeklies, has really been stepping forward in recommending other publications and in adding hyperlinks to its articles. Now, sure, their first list of recommended websites pretty glaringly excluded Protocols -- and I thought then and think now that that was a pretty wimpy move. I think adding Protocols to the list now -- even with the caveat -- took more guts than some of the other J-weeklies are willing to utilize. It's interesting that the Jewish Press is the paper stepping ahead in this regard, as it is disdained -- and I mean thoroughly, unabashedly, meanly disdained -- by employees of pretty much every other J-paper.
And while linking doesn't really do much to change their content, their willingness to engage in the process is a plus for them that, at least temporarily, will grant them a certain credibility with younger, Internet readers. While it'll remain to be seen whether their actual content will lure and keep those readers, for now it'll set them apart. This is pretty much like the Howard Dean campaign -- where he's getting a lot of credit from the Internet crowd, and rightly so, for his smartness in engaging the process; his actual policies haven't panned out quite as well, and the Internet is just as capable of dumping him for that as it was to uphold him for his methodology in the first place. For now, and until the other J-papers catch on, the Jewish Press can expect a similar grant of credibility; whether it'll maintain that if/when the other papers better establish their Internet resumes will be fun to watch. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:42 PM |
Catch it while it's hot. Thanks to everyone and their mother for IMing me a link to OnlySimchas on the birth of Jesus. This one actually might last longer than those other OnlySimchas "hacks" because, let's face it, chances are the operators aren't really working on the site on Christmas day.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:45 AM |
Daniel Pipes has a post with pretty much everything you'll need to know about Khalil al-Nawara, the Bethlehem Church occupier who was offered asylum by Belgium and just recently arrested there for plotting robberies.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:44 AM |
The Campaign Confidential post re: Kessler in improv I alluded to last week is here:
Improv Asylum, a Boston comedy troupe based at a downtown club of the same name, has been featuring a skit that savvy Forward readers will find amusing -- but not for the intended reasons.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 4:26 AM |
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Frumteens is back. For those who care...posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 6:24 PM |
What if the Hannukah wars had never happened? What if Judaism were absorbed into Greek culture? Would the Greeks have incorporated more Jewish ideas, or would the Judaic idea - the notion that people can make the world a better place - have perished?posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:49 PM |
What a difference a few weeks and a different publication make. The issue is Rabbi Marc Schneier opening his Hampton Synagogue, Manhatten flavor in his father's Upper East Side turf. According to the Jewish Week, the week before this all started:
Neither son nor father is sure what the fuss is about.According to Haaretz right now (thanks to Jewschool's EphShap):
Rabbis we spoke to say the Park East Synagogue stands to lose the most from the new synagogue's activity. Established in 1890, this was the first Orthodox Synagogue in North America with an English-speaking rabbi. Today it is considered one of the most prestigious synagogues in the United States, boasting 600 member families. Arthur Schneier, Park East Synagogue's rabbi for more than 40 years, is Marc Schneier's father. The relations between father and son are tense. Rabbis say Arthur Schneier's calm reaction to his son's initiative is merely a facade. In private conversations, he reportedly speaks of it with anger and feels hurt and threatened.FunFun. The Upper East Side meets Flatbush, and the stakes are high. posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:29 PM |
Is there any significance to the fact that the YU Channuka chaggiga is going to be held tonight, which means that all the tables, chairs, and privately owned books are going to be moved out of the Main Beit Midrash today to make room, effectively canceling night seder on Christmas Eve?posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:10 PM |
Nifty. Benyamin Cohen's going to be interviewed on NPR in New York, Brian Lehrer's show, somewhere in 10:40-11:00 AM, and you can listen in here. Atlanta editor gets interviewed in NYC...fun.
Ami Eden's forthcoming editorial on the JWW ad controversy is up at his blog. I didn't get to attend the JWW event, and Ami refused to give me details until he posted this...so wacky it's true.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 8:18 AM |
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
As I continue to interview Jews who have lived public lives and rarely defined themselves by their Jewishness, I've noticed a recurring sentiment in nearly every exchange -- whether I'm talking to Justice Stephen Breyer, Sarah Jessica Parker or Kenneth Cole: that Jewishness is felt most acutely in the flashes of ritual. A menorah here, a matzo ball there, a Sabbath blessing -- the memory, if not the practice of it. Almost uniformly, there is also a staunch sense of pride in a people's survival. So the Jewish identity described by most of the people I've spoken to is not found in the Torah (few have opened it), nor in any synagogue (most call it boring), or even in their visits to the Red Sea. It's in the history of endurance and in the small customs that manage to reanimate childhood. Yet despite how the customs resonate for people, few recall any particular Hanukkah fanfare. 'We lit candles,' most say, and that's about it.posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 8:47 PM |
Shmuley Boteach, on whether Brett Favre dishonored his father by playing last night. He thinks Farve should not have played, appealing to the Jewish idea of Shiva, both in terms of respect for the dead and providing healing time for the living. On the other hand, there is something to be said about providing a public tribute to his father in front of a national audience. I remember a similar situation 2 years ago when Bono's father died in the middle of a U2 tour. Bono performed that night, and on subsequent nights, in tribute to his father.posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 7:48 PM |
5:30 p.m. -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg lights the ``world's largest menorah''; Grand Army Plaza, 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:43 PM |
TalTours is spamming with an invite to a trip of Israel with Shmuley Boteach and Elizabeth Wurtzel. The reason for the tag team, I guess, is for the company to get refunds on return-trip tickets; if one doesn't make you want to jump off Masada, surely the other will. It's the ultimate suicide adventure.
Meredith is turning her blog into a niche-blog on "dating hijacks and opinions on dating theory in general." Brace Yourselves.posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:28 PM |
When Jesus was a boy, did he kill another child? Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute -- or an apostle? Did Cain commit incest? Will there be an apocalypse or is this God's trick to scare us? The answers to these questions aren't found in the Bible as we know it, but they exist in scriptures banned when powerful leaders deemed them unacceptable for reasons both political and religious. BANNED FROM THE BIBLE reveals some of these alternative tales and examines why they were "too hot for Christianity." The two-hour world premiere BANNED FROM THE BIBLE airs on Christmas, Thursday, December 25 at 9 pm ET/PT.Beyond all the breathless sensationalism, this seems like a pretty vanilla, although interesting issue. A good deal of the books they're gonna be talking about (The Life of Adam and Eve, The Book of Enoch, The Book of Jubilees) were left out of Judaism as well -- see Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways Between Qumran and Enochic Judaism for more on that. On the other hand, this seems like much more fun History Channel Christmas programming than another Historical Jesus movie. posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 12:22 PM |
An Israeli company has required thousands of Chinese workers to sign a contract promising not to have sex with Israelis or try to convert them, a police spokesman said today.Via Laurence Simon, who notes:
I agree that it is a social time bomb and a potential dead-end for Jewish society. After all, once you've had Chinese, you're just left hungry an hour later.I can't beat that. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:11 PM |
Quick thought: If Mort Zuckerman can be so severely outplayed in what was basically a straight-up auction, why do we want him as President of the Conference of Presidents? Bring on Bruce Wasserstein and let him start some backhanded dealing in Gaza, I say.
Monday, December 22, 2003
Why can't Wesley Clark win the Jewish vote? His namesake doesn't appear to be kosher. Change that, and he'll be a victor (assuming it tastes good, of course).posted by Steven I. Weiss | 11:26 PM |
End The Madness is hosting an event tonight, for which the following e-mail was sent out:
THE ENTIRE YU/STERN COMMUNITY IS INVITED TO AN INFORMAL DISCUSSION ONHere at Protocols, we're generally supportive of ETM's efforts, but I find this event a tad objectionable. Objection the first is to wonder why this event only wants to focus on the "ethical" issues -- and thus have only "ethical" experts -- instead of incorporating the idea that these deal with emotional issues and could use emotional experts.
Objection the second:
Should one ask out a girl in person at the conclusion of a date?It's not often that one word can reference two sexist meanings at once. Both the term "girl" versus whatever grown-up word you'll choose and the seeming implication that "asking out" can go in only one direction. Sad. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 7:41 PM |
My blogging and writing have taken a hit in recent weeks as I've had enough medical appointments to make me feel like a hypochondriac, but part of it was actually for cosmetic reasons. This doesn't really have anything to do with the Jewish-interest nature of this blog, but I spent more than half my life in orthodontia of some sort...so here I present Steven I. Weiss without braces.posted by Steven I. Weiss | 3:56 PM |
Nice job by the Indepenentprofiling Geza Vermes, one of my very favorite scholars.posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 1:54 PM |
Bush Declares: "We must get rid of Arafat"
Bush was non-commital about Sharon's speech, saying that he would wait to see what happened on the ground.So Sharon's speech doesn't satisfy the president until he sees the man actually do it...sounds very different from what Scott McClellan was saying last week. posted by Steven I. Weiss | 10:01 AM |
1 p.m. -- Brooklyn seniors play dreidel spin-a-thon at the MJHS Adult Day Health Centerposted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:27 AM |
Sunday, December 21, 2003 5:07 PM |
Reader Meredith points out that Protocols get two of the five Google results for a search for "shiddukh, prison." I guess all those posts on Dating Theory paid off. To be fair, though, this assumes the slightly off-the-beaten-track, academic spelling of "shiddukh." If you try it with the more conventional "shidduch," the results are very different.posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 10:07 AM |
We've been hearing about the Pope's supposed endorsement of The Passion, but Ami Eden says it doesn't pass his bullshit meter:
Peggy Noonan certainly caught people's attention with her column claiming that Pope John Paul II has endorsed Mel Gibson's "The Passion." Five times she quotes the pontiff as saying "It is as it was," in reference to the cinematic depiction of the last hours of the life of Jesus.I dunno, Peggy, maybe the WSJ has been buying some of whatever the NYT's been drinking, but using a producer who wasn't even present as the sole source for a quotation of the Pope without independent confirmation...sounds so "new-age" journalism to me. Of course, that it took the WSJ this long to sink to the more popular journalism standards indicates just how stodgy and conservative it really is. Needless to say, we can now declare sketchy journalism so totally over and move on to a new day of honest journalism, in a trend moving from the alternative weeklies upward. Or maybe not.
UPDATE: Reader LP in the comments points us to this seemingly better-sourced story. I know a helluva lot less about covering the Vatican than Ami does, so what do you think R' Eden? posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:07 AM |