A group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere.

Saturday, August 21, 2004  

The cover story of the latest issue of the Jewish Journal is on the threat posed by Iran.

Come on. If it wanted to, the Journal could provide superior coverage of Los Angeles Jewish life. It does not have the resources to provide unique national and international coverage. This cover story does not give anything new on Iran, nothing that I haven't read before in superior publications such as The New York Times.

Now, I understand why the Journal has these delusions of grandeur. It feels so much better to do some national and international cover stories. You feel like you are a big time journalist and a big time editor of a big time paper. But it is a delusion. You have nothing unique to contribute. When editor Rob Eshman and managing editor Amy Klein write about religious, political, national and international issues, I yawn and drop out of their columns after a paragraph or two. Why would I care what they have to say on these matters? They have little more expertise here than I do. I care what Daniel Pipes or some specialist has to say, not some local journeyman journalist who wants to pontificate on Middle East affairs.

When Rob and Amy write about their love life or some other subject they know well, they are interesting.

I am by no means immune to these delusions of grandeur. When I worked for a small AM radio station in Auburn, KAHI 950, I wanted to do stories about international economics (my major at college). But my bosses wouldn't let me get away with that crap. I had to cover city council meetings and the San Francisco 49er summer training camp at Sierra College.

The Journal covers religion fairly, but in a dull pedestrian plodding manner. Latest example: "New Prayer Communities Seek Spiritual High"

Puff pieces on three new minyanim. Not a surprising word. Writer Jane Ulmann doesn't even mention that two of these new minyanim are breakaways from Ohr Ha Torah -- Ikar and Ahavat Torah. An interesting angle, says Larry Yudelson, would be to look at the type of person who stayed and the type of person who broke away. I know someone at Ikar who goes there simply because his friends go there.

Rob Eshman has friends at these new minyanim who could provide interesting insights but to be interesting would be to go outside of the Journal's approach to religion.

posted by LukeFord | 11:58 PM |

Friday, August 20, 2004  

LA Press Club party for me. It was a frightening mixture of my opposing worlds. Normally I like to keep things separated. Thursday night, all my friends, outlaws and frumies, mixed together. It was a success.

posted by LukeFord | 10:56 AM |

From JPost: " . . . any true sports fan can quickly tick off the names of Jews who have excelled in nearly every sport: in cricket it's one-time South African captain Ali Bacher . . .[and Herschel Shachter, YU's great all-rounder.]"

posted by LukeFord | 10:02 AM |

Breslov movie in JPost

posted by LukeFord | 10:01 AM |

From The Jerusalem Post: IT'S MIDNIGHT Thursday at "Baguette Marciano," a sandwich joint in northern Jerusalem. At this time, once a week, the hot item at Marciano isn't shawarma in a pita but a steaming bowl of cholent. After the Thursday night seder, the longest day in the yeshiva week, dozens of students flock to eat the Jewish answer to chilli con carne with a coke and cigarettes. The origins of this tradition is in the students' desire to enter Shabbat a day early.

While they sit around, their cellphones emit ringtones of the latest pop songs; friends are phoning to find out if there's any cholent left.

Some finish eating and return to the yeshiva, others hang around for another couple of hours. In a society with limited nightlife options, even a bowl of stew is an excitement.

For the young haredim, fast food isn't just about food. It's a chance to evade the rabbis' eagle eyes for a short while. Some of the more savvy pizzeria and sandwich bar owners in Jerusalem have placed TVs in their shops, and groups of haredi boys can be seen every evening lolling in front of the screen, nursing for hours a single slice of pizza with a soft drink. The most popular evenings are when there's a major sports event.

"Life in yeshiva is like a pressure cooker," says "Aharon," a student at Ateret Cohanim. "We need to go out, to breathe a little; there's no religious problem with that and now it's become normal that we go out to eat. Our parents never did these things, it wasn't accepted then but now there's more openness."

posted by LukeFord | 10:01 AM |

From The Jerusalem Post: If in the past, working in a company with secular colleagues, studying law at university, going out at night for a pizza or a movie, and of course joining the army, were all one-way tickets out of the haredi world, more and more haredim are doing all these things without being ostracized by their families. True, many rabbis view them as "second-rate" haredim, but they don't care so much about what their rabbis think anymore.

The haredi community was never as monolithic as outsiders saw them but they are becoming more diverse than ever. Before our eyes, two types of ultra-orthodoxy are forming. One consisting of those who still steadfastedly refuse to have anything to do with the Zionist state and modernity, out of fear that even the smallest crack will bring the walls tumbling down. Another one will be made up of those willing to play a productive role in the workplace and take part in deciding on the country's future, without inferiority complexes and proud of their haredi heritage. The merging of the haredim into the mainstream is a victory for the vitality of Israeli society. That doesn't mean "the rest of us" should gloat. Rather we should be thinking of ways of welcoming them into the fold and harnessing their considerable energies and qualities to the common good.

posted by LukeFord | 10:00 AM |

Shmarya: Perhaps the most provocative piece on Chabad yet published:

"Ha'aretz has published a detailed and explosive article on the connection between Chabad, the Hebron Massacre and Messianism."

posted by LukeFord | 9:59 AM |

Village Idiots: What the Jewish community needs. Rabbis who are less involved with the community, all so that women have more opportunities in the rabbinate.

posted by LukeFord | 9:56 AM |

Thursday, August 19, 2004  

Lisa On Your Face writes: "I'll let the "chick" thing go if you put me on your blogroll. You could make room for my URL by getting rid of some of those dead links."

Anything for you. Everything I do is for you.

posted by LukeFord | 11:30 AM |

Andy Carroll gave me this pull quote for the front of my book: "I don't think there is an editor in the country, at any newspaper or media outlet, who doesn't weigh the platonic ideals of the journalist's profession against what he sees as the appetites of his community of readers."

I told him that I'd prefer, "If you publish this book, I will ---- you for the rest of your life."

He replies: "Hey, I live in New Jersey. We don't make promises like that until we actually meet in person -- preferably on a mission to Israel."

posted by LukeFord | 11:27 AM |

The Forward on the Communist Neturei Karta

Drinking from the cup of genocide.

posted by LukeFord | 10:40 AM |

I think I've settled on this title for my Jewish journalism book: Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside The Small World Of American Jewish Journalism

posted by LukeFord | 3:48 AM |

When a gunshot rang out at midday Sunday in Southeast Washington, an Israeli immigrant lost his best buddy, another Israeli national.

posted by LukeFord | 1:47 AM |

Wednesday, August 18, 2004  

From my Yossi Abramowitz interview:

"Which major papers which you would've expected to have run the [JNF] series, did not?"

"I was deeply disappointed by... I brought the story to Gary Rosenblatt's operation. You would think that would be the place. Instead, without naming a name, it wasn't Gary, a senior person [who had his marching orders from above] there... I came with a wheelie. Those luggage wheelies. With four binders packed with all of my sources. Everything to back it up. They had read the story the day before. I came in. I was chewed out for an hour about all sorts of terrible things. Why I was wrong. Who put you on the story? What axe are you trying to grind? Do you have a sister who worked there? It was unbelievable.

"They then had to assign their top investigative journalist, Larry Cohler-Esses, to do his own story, which confirmed what I did. Ever year for the past few years, Gary Rosenblatt has told me that he won't publish me. And he won't talk about why. We know why. I unearthed probably the biggest Jewish organization scandal. They [The Jewish Week] were wrong about it.

"After I left the story, everyone was forced to write about it. JTA did a series. Our numbers were different. They said that 20% of the money went to Israel [also reported by The Jewish Week]. My numbers in 1995 said 3.5%.

"When [JNF CEO at the time of Yossi's investigation] Samuel Cohen died [in 1999]... I do not believe he was a thief. The Jewish Week did the obit. Without naming me, they said a journalist brought him down. I felt that for them, it was a confession.

"I was greatly hurt and surprised that to this day, The Jewish Week and Gary did that."

"Did you have a history with Gary before this?"

"I wrote for him occasionally. My writing partner [Alan Grosman] and I did a story for him on the Jews who were left behind in Ethiopia."

"Was part of The Jewish Week's problem with your JNF story was that they are a Federation paper?"

"They are several steps removed from the fundraising. The Jewish Week is still one of the top three Jewish newspapers in the country. They still break a lot of stories and the writing is excellent, comparatively. There were Federation people who were implicated. The treasurer of JNF was a big NY Federation person. Whether or not they carried my story is immaterial, but how I was raked over the coals and chewed out and discounted, that I didn't respect.

"Because I am a combination activist and journalist, people assume my journalism is Yahoo searches. They forget about Columbia. I took my training seriously. I apply my highest standards. The community is not used to that. History has now vindicated me on a number of major stories. I don't write that often. You can't make a living as a freelance journalist."

"Tell me about the smear campaign."

"Call Mark Cohen. He was the JNF spokesman. They had to bring me down. They had to question... They called me names. They said I was in league with... It was beyond people's comprehension, therefore it had to be negative aspirations? I said, what do you mean? Every week my kids go to school and put in their 25c into the JNF cans. Less than a penny of that goes to Israel. It's fraud. I have planted trees and done all that stuff. It's fraud against the Jewish people. They have smeared the good name of the Jewish National Fund, for which they have to redeem themselves by their actions. I'm sorry to be the messenger, guys. I was the messenger long after people tried making changes internally and tried getting it out in the news.

"It was terrible. I was trying to start a Jewish parenting magazine at the time and I was boycotted, and still am, by some people [for fund raising] because I had smeared publicly the good name of a Jewish institution.

"You asked about the obstacles to doing compelling Jewish journalism. It's impossible to make a living doing the kind of stuff I was doing for several years. I was living off my credit cards. It needs to be supported in another way.

"I'll give you another example of censorship and retribution. I was trying to raise money for the Jewish Family and Life (JFA). I was told that if I did an investigative story on this other Jewish organization [which has donated to the JFA], they were going to kill my money. I did the story and they killed my money."

"Which story?"

"If I tell you, then you'll figure out the name of the institution."

"They need to be held accountable."

"I did an official interview with the head of the institution. I asked for permission to tape. They also taped it at the same time. The interview ended. I put the tape recorder in my pocket without turning it off, just to make some small talk. Instead, I got called to a room and basically got raked over and threatened. I have it on tape."

"I've spoken to 50 Jewish journalists and editors and you are the only one who is willing to criticize Gary Rosenblatt on the record. Are you surprised?"

"So first there was God. Then there was Israel. Then Jewish institutions. Then Jewish leaders. Then people who control mind share and some resources."

"Now Gary Rosenblatt. "

"I'm not dependent on Gary for anything."

"Everybody wants to be his friend."

"Of course. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer for his piece on the Simon Wiesenthal Center for the Baltimore Jewish Times."

"He's the Dean of Jewish Journalism. The epitome of Jewish Ethics. Mr. Investigative Journalism. All in one."

"They are one of the top three newspapers in the country. They have broken many stories."

Almost every Jewish journalist I interview tells me that The Jewish Week has broken many stories. Then I ask them what I ask Yossi now:

"Can you name any of them, aside from Baruch Lanner?"

Long silence. "I don't know. Nothing of that magnitude. Larry Cohler was on a roll. I just don't remember what they were. Larry was paid by Gary."

"He also had his balls cut off by Gary."

"That's a separate thing I'm not free to comment on.

"Gary was very frank. He said he was not going to publish me. I guess I have less to lose.

"How old is he?"

About 60.

"I'm 40. Please God, I'll be doing the stuff for another 25 years. I have a different trajectory than other people.

"I'm sorry to hear that [about lack of public criticism of Gary]. Not because of Gary Rosenblatt. Because if journalists are going to be the prophets, the independent thinkers, self-censorship, even within our own realm, is sad."

posted by LukeFord | 11:31 PM |

Cathy Seipp: Hello, Facts of Life; Goodbye, Columbus

posted by LukeFord | 11:30 PM |

Chakira on Jonathan Rosenbloom, and the cancer controversy.

posted by LukeFord | 11:25 PM |

The Forward article on the sex abusing Orthodox rabbi is not coming out until next week. They need to do more fact checking. J.J. Goldberg and co are more meticulous and responsible than their predecessors.

posted by LukeFord | 7:49 PM |

Explosive Golan Cipel interview with Haaretz

Miriam Shaviv on Cipel

Charles Kushner pleads guilty

posted by LukeFord | 6:42 PM |

In today's issue of Star magazine: rumor that Jaron Lowenstein is dating Lara Flynn Boyle.

posted by Steven I. Weiss | 2:43 PM |

Adam Ragil has started a new Jewish blog.

posted by LukeFord | 1:22 PM |

Many years later we figured out I had a strange condition called scrupulosity, a religion-focused form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The disease hit me when I was 12 and plagued me, off and on, throughout my teens, making every day a surprising and mortifying adventure.

posted by LukeFord | 1:20 PM |

"But when Yachad, an important Jewish organization which organizes tours and social groups including both disabled and abled youth, called and asked if two counselors and two campers could stay with us for Shabbos, we had to overcome our habitual impulse towards privacy."

posted by LukeFord | 2:06 AM |

What's the bracha you say when you sigh with relief that an Orthodox rabbi has been diddling a woman not his wife rather than a male?

posted by LukeFord | 1:58 AM |

Haredi columnist Jonathan Rosenbloom writes: Last Monday a new volume of the teshuvos of HaRav HaGaon Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv went on sale. Already by Wednesday, Maariv had a headline on the new volume: "Rav Elyashiv proclaims: cancer is a punishment for leaving religion."

posted by LukeFord | 1:51 AM |

Chabanik Velvel posts: The difference is that The Rebbe, MHM, aggressively encouraged us not only to believe he was Moshiach , he likewise encouraged us to encourage others to do so.

Rebbe Akiva made a mistake about somebody else. He felt that Bar Kochba met certain criterion. The Rebbe, MHM, either knew he was Moshiach or he did not know. The fact that he spoke about us being m’kabeil (accepting) his Moshiachship means he KNEW he was/is Moshiach.

A tzadik and Nasi HaDor does not make a mistake about something like that. It’s not like giving a wrong pasuk (verse number) in a shiur (public discourse). Being Moshiach would mean Hashem Yisbarach (G-d) TOLD The Rebbe he was The One. Otherwise, he made it up and he ruined my life and hundreds of thousands of others. There is no middle ground here. It’s not about being “polite”. It’s about intentions and leadership or being a rasha.

Are you REALLY asking me to believe The Rebbe did this to us?

posted by LukeFord | 1:16 AM |

From my interview with Yosef Abramowitz:

YA: "The Jewish press has totally failed to do a deep enterprising story about what Madonna has been studying, how deep does the stuff go. Everyone reduces this to shtick and kitsch. The secular press is only going to go to a certain level. This is an entertainment story to them, not a religion story. The Jewish press has missed a historic opportunity to go five levels down on this thing. It's not seen as Jewish journalism.

"I went to the reinvention tour. Within that tour and the messages are revolutionary seeds for the world and Jewish life. She gets the meaning of kabbala..."

LF: "What kind of kabbalistic message was sent when she had writhing people simulating sex on stage at her concert?"

YA: "I saw her concert three years ago. It was god awful. I didn't want to be there. She was trying to provoke. I saw her Reinvention tour. I could've taken my two daughters aged 11 and 9. And I'm a bigtime censor [to protect their innocence]. She kept her clothing on. She was hitting major messages that I would want anybody who was concerned about social change to hit. It was a deeply Jewish experience that was filled with integrity and made amends for her concerts three years ago and indicate a certain maturation in her own path. If I had the time, I'd be writing that one."

LF: "I've never heard anyone voice that."

"I'm independent. I have an essay unwritten in my brain about this but I can't do it now."

LF: "I only hear the pat put-downs."

"Of course. The Jewish establishment has to do that. Anybody who sees himself as a Jewish religious or organization leader has to discount this because saying otherwise would be taking a risk, and reducing their own claim to leadership. She knows something that they don't about reaching children. She knows something they don't about aspirations of Judaism. She knows something they don't about how to unite people and bring the world together. That's really dangerous. Heaven forbid that she should have any legitimacy. But their kids fall for her stuff."

posted by LukeFord | 12:04 AM |

Tuesday, August 17, 2004  

Keruv blog: Yonasan Rosenblum decries journalists' skewed representation of statements made by leading rabbinical figures. Excerpt (somewhat loosely translated): "There's hardly a subject that boils the blood of the populace more than statements made by the religious, specifically when they pertain to insights into calamities and their divinve ramifications. Concomitantly, while the secular rage at these statements, the religious are troubled by a perceived disregard by the secular to the basic tenets of Judaism and the notion that they can 'bring Him down to earth.'

posted by LukeFord | 11:42 PM |

Agree or disagree: The more egalitarian the synagogue, the more gay. Please discuss in comments.

posted by LukeFord | 10:30 PM |

Golan's Gal Pal. She will be my date to my party.

posted by LukeFord | 9:55 PM |

I am a heterosexual American.

As such, I've found another Israeli journalist chick to replace my spurned Chayyei Sarah: Lisa On Your Face. I admit I was intrigued by her name, but even more by her writing: "I was born and raised in Canada, but haven't lived there for many years. New York is where I got an education and became an adult (sort of), India is where I came to my definition of happiness, Tokyo is where I learned that working too hard is not a good thing, and Tel Aviv is where I found that place called home. To find out how I chose the name for this blog, read my first post."

posted by LukeFord | 9:52 PM |

I'm Having a Party, and Some of You are Invited

As many of you know, I recently came out with two new books: XXX-Communicated and The Producers.

A party is going to be held in my honor at a very swanky locale here in Los Angeles in a few days, and you are invited. Well, some of you. If you are a hot looking woman, or someone who works at sufficiently high a level in the entertainment business to offer me a job, you're in. Just forward a recent photo (if you are a chick) or some resume-type info to my official screener, Rabbi Gadol at RABBIGADOL@YAHOO.COM, who will pass it on to me for my final approval. Trust me, if you are a hot chick or a Hollywood Gadol who can help out me or my friends, you don't want to miss this party. There are going to be some very special people there, about which I am sworn to secrecy. Let's just say that "Page Six" would want an invite, if only they knew.

The following appeared in a family newspaper, The New York Times, this past Sunday, and concerns a certain politician who stands a mere 5'6" tall and who is gay:

"Mr. McGreevey's aides said that in a series of conversations outside different events, the governor emphatically denied all of Mr. Cipel's claims that their sexual encounters had been coerced. But it is impossible to evaluate those statements because neither side will reveal precisely what charges were discussed, nor would they name the people who Mr. Cipel's lawyers said witnessed the encounters. Two people involved in the negotiations — one on each side — said, however, that the most serious allegation was that Mr. McGreevey forcibly performed oral sex on Mr. Cipel. But Mr. McGreevey's lawyers said the sex was consensual."

Now, the party that I am having is going to get pretty wild, but I don't want there to be any oral sex forcibly performed on me by any of you.

posted by LukeFord | 9:45 PM |

I go every couple of months to the library to check out books. I saw this nice Vietnamese girl. I thought she was cute. I had enough courage after the third time checking out books to ask her for a date. Now she's my assistant on Protocols. She's fitting right in.

We frumies take things for granted. We're so desensitized.

I had a bunch of gemaras in my trunk. Black ones. White ones. Big huge ones. I think we'd gotten back from the yeshiva and I needed them for a blog.

I forgot I had them. They'd been there a couple days. I open the car. She sees all these things. I don't think she knew what they were but they definitely looked Jewish. I said, honey, let's have dinner. I've got to tell you what I do.

At first, I told her I blog on Protocols. That kinda breaks you in. I didn't mention that I was a moral leader at Bais Yaakov. Then she looked at me and long pause. Six out of ten girls would walk. She thought about it. Then she ordered dessert. She was cool about it.

She was very practical. She knew I didn't do drugs. I come from a good family. She said, you don't kill anybody. You're trying to make money. I'm up for that.

posted by LukeFord | 5:47 PM |

Allison Kaplan Sommer has a ton of good stuff.

posted by LukeFord | 4:40 PM |

The best Catholic fiction is always written by the worst Catholics. Not the saints in all their virtue—and especially not the heretics, who are willing to undo the whole of Christianity if only their vices can be redefined as secret virtues—but the sinners in all their sin are the ones who are able to create a genuine story. The best Catholic novels seem to be written by those who know, no matter how far they've fallen in faith and morals, that above them or outside them or beyond them lies a truth they did not make and cannot change.

“What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story,” the narrating Cecilia declares in The Last Tycoon. And it was exactly shame that Fitzgerald knew.


I think this is also true of Jewish writing. The best stuff comes from the sinners.

Rodger Jacobs writes: "The point of the essay I just sent you is that a writer’s view of the world, morality, ethics, and all that jazz, is informed by the religious doctrine one adheres to, whether one later eschews it or continues to cling to it for faith. The idea is you can never escape your religion."

posted by LukeFord | 4:34 PM |

Chayyei Sarah has obtained a restraining order against me from the Hague. I can no longer link to her posts. I will have to give my love to All I wanted to do was build a virtual wall to keep us safe. But there is something in international courts that doesn't love a wall.

Chayyei says good fences make good neighbors.

posted by LukeFord | 2:34 PM |

Ma'ariv lists 20 most influential rabbis (link thanks to Chakira).

posted by LukeFord | 1:48 PM |

Smarya writes: Only in Israel would a noted academic, politician and brother of the vice-PM be in large-scale debt to cab drivers.

posted by LukeFord | 1:22 PM |

The 'I am a gay American' defense by Dennis Prager.

posted by LukeFord | 12:40 PM |

John the Baptist's cave found. My dad went to yeshiva with him. Said he was an eccentric. Always liked to dunk people in the pool until the lifeguards threw him out.

posted by LukeFord | 12:37 PM |

Shmarya writes: "The official city memorial to Jerusalem's #2 Bus Bombing victims segregates the names of the victims. How? By gender? Nope. By Jews and non-Jews. And, oh yeah, the non-Jew's name has already been defaced."

A big reason that I publish Shmarya so often is that he sends me links to his best postings. If other bloggers would do the same, I would link to them. Email me at lukeford at comcast dot net.

My rebbe only allows me to blog for an hour a day. The read of my time I spend studying gemara at the LA Kollel and teaching midot at Bais Yaakov. They don't pay me much at Bais Yaakov but they let me date the hottest girls.

posted by LukeFord | 12:35 PM |

There's a full blown love affair breaking out between Protocols and Jewlicious.

Post: Are Israeli civilians legitimate military targets?

posted by LukeFord | 12:05 PM |

Chayyei Sarah writes: "Lately, a certain other blog has been "advertising" mine, and the readers from that blog-- who tend to be more contentious..."

posted by LukeFord | 11:51 AM |

My personal view on Chabad... I think they do some good things and some bad things. I think the good outweighs the bad. I do not believe the Rebbe is the moshiach. I do not adore them. They're a mixed bag. I do not relate to kabbala. I'd agree with most of Adin Steinsaltz's critiques of Chabad... that they are frequently masters of posing as more learned and pious than they are. I think their shlichim tend to be impressive but I've met a few who have their positions through nepotism and do not deserve them. They parcel out territories and when there are monopolies, there are bad results. I side neither with liberals who say Chabadniks are dirty nor with those who adore Chabad. I do believe that Chabad is outside of normative Judaism (with their messianism etc), but not as much as Jews for Jesus.

posted by LukeFord | 1:01 AM |

Monday, August 16, 2004  

Steven I. Weiss reports: "Word on the street is that the Forward is preparing to expose an abusive rabbi this week."

Gaon writes: "I heard about this last week. If it is who I've been told, this is very big. And it is a rabbi who has been in the forefront of women's rights in the Orthodox world (and who is quite unpopular among other rabbis)."

Me writes: "Are they finally going to deal with Rabbi Mordechai T.? If the rumours are true as to the focus of the story it is but one of several major stories that Rosenblatt has sat on for years (as I reported in my comments months ago)."

posted by LukeFord | 10:43 PM |

I nominate The Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt for a prestigious Rockower "Most Overrated" Award. Not one journalist for a Jewish publication has been willing to criticize Gary on-the-record to me. Gary holds too much power, and too many purse strings, and is just too nice a guy. All they want to tell me is that he is the Dean of Jewish Journalism. This is how Neil Rubin puts it:

"The current editor of that paper, Gary Rosenblatt, is widely seen as the profession's dean of ethics and fearless of reporting whatever the news may happen to be."

Now, either Gary Rosenblatt is a god like figure unworthy of criticism, or the Jewish journalists I spoke to are cowardly.

Anyway, today things changed. I spoke to Yossi Abramowitz, the first guy with the balls to put his criticisms of Gary on the record.

Yossi brought Gary his JNF expose in 1996 and Gary told him to get lost, and subsequently blackballed him from the paper. The series was nominated for a Pulitzer and led to a complete overhaul in how the JNF did business. It lost $12 million in donations that year. Twelve Jewish papers ran Yossi's JNF story but not The Jewish Week (though they did put their top investigative reporter on the story, Larry Cohler-Esses).

posted by LukeFord | 10:08 PM |

How much tolerance do we have? How many museums do we need?

posted by LukeFord | 9:18 PM |

Shmarya writes: Simon Jacobson wrote a book on the Rebbe's teachings that was widely promoted by Chabad (Toward a Meaningful Life). It was published during the height of the Oslo peace frenzy. In it he intentionally misrepresents the Rebbe's teachings on Land for Peace, and the conflict in Eretz Yisrael. He makes the Rebbe seem almost like a dove. Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth.

He spoke in Minnesota and I asked him for his sources. He promised to give me a list of the Rebbe's talks with his references. That was about 7 or 8 years ago. He still has not done so. I asked the local Chabad leaders about these misrepresentations. The gist of their response was that the book made them look good and promoted the Rebbe and his work. So, even with these clear misrepresentations, the book was useful to them. I'm sure it was; Chabad used it as a fundraising tool for many years until Sue Fishkoff gave them something fresher and more useful.

By all means, interview him. But read his book first and note the misrepresentations. Then ask him about them.

posted by LukeFord | 8:55 PM |

Here's the challenge I put to those who read Marvin Schick's article, cited by Luke below.

Can someone give me some examples of how "Jewish people worldwide have benefited" by the strong religious character of YU? Alumni contributions to philanthropy, intellectual discourse, the nexus of science and religion, arts, culture, perhaps breakthrough ideas in diplomacy or political science, esp. regarding Israel? I'm not being obnoxious, I'd really like to see his claim fleshed out. Because if you said the same thing about secularity of the first half of the century, you'd find it quite easy to make a similar claim. The Jewish people worldwide certainly benefited from secular Zionism; the genius of the IDF,Mossad and Shin Bet; from the federation movement, again predominately secular;from the storming of academia and culture; from the creation of new industries and of parallel industries, in law and finance, to name two, that allowed Jews to flourish economically and build a vast religious and political infrastructure; and from their contributions in the sciences, which brought a raft of Nobel prizes, benefited humanity and shed favorable light on the Jews for their contributions. Seriously, I research this topic, and would love to be able to make a countervailing -- or complementary -- case for frumkeit.
I got these responses. Any others?

posted by Silow-Carroll | 3:19 PM |

More on journalist Gershon Jacobson.

posted by LukeFord | 12:01 PM |

I had my first IM ever with Cathy Seipp today. We've now hit for the cycle and done just about everything a man and woman can do together without violating Torah law.

Miss Seipp: Fascinating IM exchange with me for all to see!
Luzdedos1: :)
Luzdedos1: This is so hot
Luzdedos1: Let's talk Torah
Miss Seipp: No emoticons!
Luzdedos1: ROFLMAO
Miss Seipp: No emoticons in Torah!
Luzdedos1: Depends on the translation.
Luzdedos1: How was your day, honey?
Miss Seipp: Well, dear, it was actually not bad. Finished a story... Then had anchovie pizza.
Luzdedos1: I can feel the excitement building towards a shuddering climax Thursday night.
Miss Seipp: Wow. You need to get out more.
Luzdedos1: I am rewatching State of Play, the BBC series we saw
Luzdedos1: I am honing my Jewish journalism book to a fine climax
Miss Seipp: Another several hours of pleasure you owe to ME!!!
Miss Seipp: State of Play, I mean, not Jewish journalism book.
Luzdedos1: Who else have you IM'd with today? Isn't this fun?
Miss Seipp: Just one other compulsive person.
Miss Seipp: I mean obsessive person.
Luzdedos1: What are you wearing right now?
Miss Seipp: Shorts and a tank top. V. exciting!
Luzdedos1: V.
Miss Seipp: And my fake tattoo of course.
Luzdedos1: Anyone get offended by this LAPC party for me?
Miss Seipp: Not that I know of, but then you know I never care who I offend.
Luzdedos1: Read any books lately?
Miss Seipp: Yeah David Sedaris's new book, "Killed," and I gotta finish the K Starr one for the WSJ. OK, gotta go!

posted by LukeFord | 1:32 AM |

Sunday, August 15, 2004  

American Apparel’s Dov Charney sees how far his knit empire will stretch.

posted by LukeFord | 8:50 PM |

Jewlicious is a great site. Here's an article on JDate withdrawn IPO.

posted by LukeFord | 8:49 PM |

I'm putting together the best quotes I heard while researching Jewish journalism and placing them at the front of my book. I estimate that I am a month away from going to press.

“Yesterday’s news tomorrow.” Yori Yanover’s description of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

“If you publish this, I will fuck you for the rest of your life.” Malcolm Hoenlein (Vice-Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations) to journalist Walter Ruby

“I guess it’s new for a journalist to go in and treat a congregation journalistically.” Stephen Fried, The New Rabbi

“If you beat believed in a God and a Final Judgment, would you have written the book the same way?” Rabbi Bradley Sharvit Artson, Rosh Yeshivah of the University of Judaism, to Stephen Fried

“Dear Mr. Ford: I do not wish to be included in your book. If there is anything negative about me or my family in your book you will hear from my attorney." Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, former president of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion

“I am the moderator of the AJPA listserv and I will be sending out an e-mail to all the editors later today to tell them of my unprofessional and discourteous experience with you.” Benyamin Cohen,

"I don't understand what you are doing here. Who's your publisher?" Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Kosher Sex

“We're all kinda mediocre.” Eve Kessler, Deputy Manager Editor of the Forward

“Larry [Cohler] was essentially driven out. He found out that Gary [Rosenblatt] was without balls. Larry may sometimes be without brains but he is never without balls. Gary tends to be tame and timid.” Dr. Michael Berenbaum, former director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute

“Of course Gary lacks balls. He's the editor of a Federation paper. If you want to keep these kind of jobs, especially long-term, lacking balls is a requirement.” Jewish journalist

“The Jews who look to Jewish journalism tend to want to be anesthetized.” J.J. Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief of the Forward

“I can do a better French manicure than any French manicurist you can get in Manhattan. I can put lipliner on in a dark cab. I'm a well-honed JAP." Alana Newhouse, Arts and Culture Editor of the Forward

“Why is it important to know the private lives of Jewish leaders? Would that make better Jewish journalism? What is Jewish journalism? Does it have a commitment not only to truth but also lashon harah?" Yossi Klein Halevi, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist

"You want to be involved with Israel because it is a sexier, crookeder, funnier, nastier, more backstabbing, more backbiting, crazier, more psychotic place than Hollywood.” Larry Yudelson, formerly of the JTA

"You don't want Jewish journalism. You want an orgasm." Tom Tugend, JTA

"I felt like this was the junk bond of the Jewish community.” Rob Eshman, Editor of the Jewish Journal

“I don't plant bombs but ideas.” Rabbi Avi Shafran, Public Affairs Director for Agudath Israel

"The main problem with Jewish journalism is one organization runs almost the entire show. Almost an entire ethnic media is subservient to one organization.” Steven I. Weiss, formerly of the Forward

posted by LukeFord | 7:55 PM |

Who are the Special Olympians at Athens? I'll give you a hint - the ones with the boobs. Well, except for the gymnasts. And the swimmers. Ah, forget it, here's my argument:

The Olympics thoroughly empowers a physically disadvantaged minority – whose constituents are neither the world’s fastest, strongest, nor best – and affords its members the legitimacy of worldwide athletic acclaim. The disadvantaged minority members being referred to, of course, are Athens’ female athletes.

It's long, you are warned.

posted by Deranged GOT Fan | 4:54 PM |


posted by LukeFord | 12:21 PM |

Tzemach Atlas says it is time to reinstall Judaism

posted by LukeFord | 11:23 AM |

I chat August 9, 2004 with Gustav Niebuhr, the former religion correspondent at The New York Times, and now an associate professor in Religion & the Media at Syracuse.

posted by LukeFord | 10:50 AM |
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