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...
You're Herodotus! Father of history, father of lies, and the first author of historical fiction. Born in Halicarnassus in Asia Minor in the early Fifth Century BCE, you wrote about the Persian Wars -- why Persia and Greece came into conflict in the first place, and why the Greeks won. You also wrote about anything else that piqued your interest and are famous for collecting odd stories ... some of which were pooh-poohed for years but have since been shown to be more accurate than your detractors claimed. You're not half as bad a historian as you're made out to be. Your most famous stylistic quirk is the "legomena," or "They say...."

What famous ancient historian are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
(thanks to paleojudaica)

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 9:39 PM |

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  

NJJewishNews story on Allan Nadler, the author of the Forward's Lakewood book story, mouthing off.

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.
“Regrets? No!” Allen Nadler exclaimed into the telephone from Boston, where he was attending a conference. “Not only don’t I regret writing the piece, I wish it had been harder-hitting and more critical about what’s going on in the Orthodox community.”
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.”
Although he does not address the charge that Grama describes gentiles as “completely evil,” Zwiebel denies Nadler’s contention that Grama considers Jews “genetically” different from and superior to gentiles.
“The implication is that Grama holds that Jews are some sort of master race with their own identifiable DNA,” writes Zweibel. However, “the inherent distinctions he draws between Jew and non-Jew are spiritual in nature, not genetic or otherwise physiological. What he seems to be saying is that Jews have a ‘ruchniyus’ [spiritual] dimension that is part of their essential makeup and that renders them inherently distinct and superior.”
But even as he shared Zweibel’s memo with NJJN, Kotler insisted, “Zwiebel’s review has no impact on our utter and complete disavowal of and disassociation with the ideas and theories ascribed and alleged to Grama.”
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 which
failed to include the kalah’s (bride’s) name in an item about a young man`s engagement to "the daughter" of the Williamsburg Vishnitzer Rav.
I found Mr. Koppel’s comment very interesting, as I have made similar observations upon reading engagement notices in certain weekly publications (no, not The Jewish Press) where, except for details on the kalah`s yichus (pedigree), she is never dignified with a mention of her name. While it is important to maintain a high level of tzinius (modesty), it does seem a stretch to think that modesty is being violated if anything about her, including her name, is mentioned.
Your readers may have noticed that in some chassidish or “heimish" publications, the faces of women are blurred or blacked out. I leave it to the editors of those publications to determine how far one should go to insure tzinius. I don`t, however, think a mention of a bride’s name violates anyone`s standard, especially since she was probably named for an important and righteous relative (who, because of this practice of not including the bride’s name, also remains anonymous).
I 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,
We are pleased to be able to provide you with an opportunity to view an extraordinary conference on the thought of R. Soloveitchik, ZTZ'L, via the web.
The conference is sponsored by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, 43 Jabotinsky Street, Jerusalem, and will take place from from Monday, Dec. 29 through Wednesday, Dec. 31. For those unable to be present in person, it will be webcast live. The program will feature Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein as well as many scholars of the first rank, a number of whom have appeared at Edah's own conferences in Israel and the US, such as Dr. Avi Ravitzky, Dr. Shalom Rosenberg, Tova Ilan, Rabbi Dr. Naftali Rothenberg, Rabbi Dr. Alan Brill, Rabbi Dr. David Hartman, Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Rackman, Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, and many others.
In addition to the live webcast, which will begin at 9:30 AM Israel Standard Time on Monday, December 29, recordings of all sessions will be posted shortly after the conference.
You can view the entire conference program as well as view the webcast at
Edah is pleased to be able to provide you with this opportunity through our relationship with the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.

Looks like fun.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 2:28 PM |

9:30 a.m. -- Members of Temple Beth-El synagogue help out at North Shore University Hospital
Which 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.
The topic is not often discussed openly. But it is part of the social grease that keeps society working smoothly in New York, a city of hurly-burly diversity, where Jews account for roughly 12 percent of the population. The practice keeps people away from arguments over crèches, crosses and menorahs in public places and puts some meat in the bland ecumenical phrase "happy holidays."
(Thanks, Josh)

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:27 PM |

Understanding the mathematics of the holiday season. (via A&LDaily)

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 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.
Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now. Same goes for the raindeer. Merry X-Mas, Gentiles.

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?
SIW: I read some of it online...
'Rents: They listed your Protocols Blogspot this time, you know, in the website list...
SIW: Oh, in Jason Maoz's column, yeah, I looked last night but I guess it wasn't up yet.
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.
According to our spy, who saw the show last Saturday night, the skit imagines a press conference with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Among the reporters asking the governor questions is the political reporter for the national Jewish weekly, the Forward, Mr. E.J. Kessler, who wears a yarmulke.
We're flattered that the troupe pays enough attention to bylines to recognize ours and write it into their sketch. But it's been many years since the default sex for reporters has been male, children. For the record, we don't cover our head except in synagogue, where we wear not a yarmulke, but a velvet beret.

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 |

Doug Rushkoff on Channuka

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?
I wonder. I don't mean to start any arguments, here, (heh) but was Judaism's great golden age during those early Greek centuries, when non-Jews lined up outside our Beit Midrashes (houses of study) in order to read Talmud and argue theology with our rabbis? If Judaism had merged with Greek culture then and there, would we have gotten the Enlightenment 15 hundred years earlier? Would we have gotten out of the next 1800 years of persecution?
Or would the world be a darker place?
Just a thought, on Hannukah.

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.
“This is really about The Hampton Synagogue,” Marc says.
Unaffiliated Jews who had been “floundering ” have come to consider the 13-year-old Long Island congregation their “spiritual home.” But they don’t spend winters in Westhampton, and now that they’ve been lured back to the fold, they need a congregation in Manhattan. Marc is duplicating the Hamptons’ format, not Park East’s — there will be the same gifted cantor, and the same “separate but equal” seating for men and women.
“I’m proud of Marc,” Arthur says. “If he can use his creative approach to attract some of the many unaffiliated, I wish him every success. The more synagogues the merrier. If this was a small town, there would be a problem, but this is New York City.”
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
OY...: BC says that it'll be a guest host, not Brian Lehrer, and that he'll be on with Josh Neuman, editor of Heeb...well, let's hope that good wins over evil.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:36 AM |

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 wacky it's true.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 8:18 AM |

Tuesday, December 23, 2003  

The requisite Jew in America Holiday Feeling Article courtesy of

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.
The lesson I take away is how important it is not just to create ritual but to make it captivating. When a well-meaning salesperson asks Molly, 'Are you excited about Santa this year?' (which happened last week), I don't want her to feel embarrassed to say, 'Actually, Santa's not our guy.' Not because I aim to be virtuous or tribal, but because I want her to feel genuinely enchanted by her own story, her own festival.

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.
6 p.m. -- Christian and Jewish leaders gather in show support of St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church, which was recently robbed; St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Parkway and Utica Avenue, Brooklyn
7:15 p.m. -- Gov. George Pataki participates in a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony; Young Israel of Scarsdale

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. Elizabeth Wurtzel really as attractive as this picture seems to imply?

Oh, and for those who didn't read Prozac Nation, you'll find it interesting that she won the Brochos Bee on some large level despite a completely non-observant upbringing, owing only to attendance at Manhattan Day School.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:07 PM |

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 |

Banned From the Bible

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 |

Chinese workers can't sleep with Israelis:

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.
According to the document, male workers cannot come into contact with Israeli women - including prostitutes - become their lovers or marry them, spokesman Rafi Yaffe said.
The spokesman said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and no investigation had been opened against the company.
The labourers are also forbidden in the contract from engaging in any religious or political activity. Those who violate the agreement will be sent back to China at their own expense.
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.
What was Zuckerman thinking -- that he could convince Primedia that he shouldn't have to pay retail? Underbidding by $10 million...yeah, that won't reinforce any stereotypes.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 12:01 PM |

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:

Ethical Issues in Dating
Sponsored by EndTheMadness
Monday, December 22, 8:00 PM
Weissberg Commons
Join students, faculty, and special guests for an informal discussion on the following important issues:
« How should one go about breaking up at various stages of a relationship?
« Is it ever appropriate to date more than one person at a time?
« When should one divulge sensitive personal information?
« Is it ever okay to lie about one's age or one's past?
« Should one ask out a girl in person at the conclusion of a date?
« When and in what fashion should genetic testing be performed?
The discussions will take place in small groups, and will be facilitated by the following moderators (in alphabetical order):
Rabbi Yosef Blau, Mashgiach Ruchani, Yeshiva University
Michael Feldstein, Board of Directors of Edah and the Halachic Organ Donor Society
Dr. Scott Goldberg, Professor, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration
Rabbi Robert Hirt, Assistant to the President of RIETS, Coordinator of Orthodox Forum
Abby Lerner, Teacher and Director of Admissions and Recruitment, YU High School for Girls
Judi Steinig, Director, Women's Division of the National Council of Young Israel, and Rebbetzin,Young Israel of Bayside
Rabbi Jeremy Wieder, Rosh Yeshiva, RIETS
Here 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 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"
Wild...and then there's this quote:

Bush was non-commital about Sharon's speech, saying that he would wait to see what happened on the ground.
"Speeches are good things, but they are words. I am waiting for action," he was quoted as saying.
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 Center

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 9:27 AM |

Sunday, December 21, 2003  

Yuter's been busy with some good serious blogging since he's gotten back from UC. Check out this post on Structuralism and Brisk and this one on Theorizing Judaism. Really, really solid material.

posted by Voice From The Hinterlands | 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.
But upon closer review, this turns out to be a case of she said he said he said the Pope said: Noonan never actually spoke to the pope or the buddy, Msgr. Stanislaw Dziwisz, with whom he supposedly watched the film. Instead she got the "It is as it was" -- that's only two times for me -- from the co-producer of "The Passion," Steve McEveety.
Noonan is right to argue that a strong endorsement from the pope, given his praiseworthy history on Jewish issues, would probably go along way toward rebutting claims that the film is antisemitic. Her column, however, hardly constitutes a papal declaration. Maybe she still speaks for Ronald Reagan, but I'm waiting for something more official from the pope.
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 |
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