Protocols A group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
This comes to us thanks to roving reporter Chaim Amalek from the New York Bureau:
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
A rite of paws-age
BY AMY SACKS
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Friday, July 23rd, 2004
He didn't get to read from the Torah.
But Simon, donning a prayer shawl and yarmulke, was surrounded by family, furry friends and platters of bagels as the Coton de Tulear recently celebrated his "bark" mitzvah.
"It's just another one of those things New York City dog owners do," said Simon's owner Beth Aronson, 27, a Manhattan sales executive. "He's a very socialized dog, and for him it was a happy occasion."
Religious-themed pooch celebrations are becoming increasingly popular around the city, even though they're not accepted in traditional circles.
"This is shtick," said Rabbi Andy Bachman of New York University's Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life.
It's not that Bachman, an animal lover himself, doubts that pets are God's creatures. "I'm just not quite sure they need or want a bar mitzvah," he said.
The ceremony doesn't quite match the real thing.
The dog of honor usually feasts on bone-shaped, all-natural cake and plays with stuffed toy dreidels and menorahs, while the humans light candles or share stories.
Jane Wallace from Syndey, Australia, writes to the Bangkok Post: "Almost half the adult population in Australia is single and the birth rate is declining to zero.
We seem to have a huge surplus of extroverted, professional, social, party-loving females with huge amounts of money and a huge surplus of shy, introverted anti-social, unemployed males without any money. How can anyone pair off extroverted social females with introverted shy males? Is Australia creating it's own death?"
Fred writes: This is a testament to the great truth that women everywhere whine about the local males. Every Australian male I ever met seemed like a fairly
entertaining fellow. Who the hell would marry the harpie who wrote this letter?
Chaim Amalek writes: The same situation holds for Japan, Italy, and (with respect to its shrinking white, Christian population) France and, I suspect, the rest of western europe. I blame lots of things, but let's start with higher education. It is a well known demographic fact that the better educated a woman, the fewer the children she is apt to have in her lifetime. Time spent in a classroom is time not spend fornicating and making babies. Women are at their peak of fertility the very
years we pack them off to school to read Chomsky. Perhaps smart women should be granted tuition free university education - to begin after they have had three children.
That, and the state should act decisively to make television a less appealing form of entertainment. No more than three channels of entertainment, all to end broadcasting at 11 PM with the message "It is eleven o'clock; time for all patriotic people of european descent to begin reproductive fornication." Then there need to be ad slogans: "Ask your neighbor - What were YOU doing last night?" People should be encouraged to wear buttons boasting "I fornicated last night, and didn't use birth control. How about you?"
Those of you who know me know that I could go on and on and on about this.
(By the way, all of these problems will vanish along with our numbers once the muslim population gets the upper hand and the code of Sharia is established over
Alana Newhouse writes in with her list of hot new Jewish authors:
Rebecca Goldstein ("The Mind-Body Complex"!! Please read!!!)
Also, look out for Nicole Krauss. She's unbelievably good.
OK, here's my Jewish Lit syllabus. The list is a combination of work that I personally love -- Grade, Yezierska, P. Roth, Goldstein -- and work that I think is important Jewish fiction.
I.L. Peretz, "Between Two Mountains"
S.Y. Abramovitsch, "Fishke the Lame"
Sholem Aleichem, "Hodel" and "Chava"
Henry Roth, "Call It Sleep"
Abraham Cahan, "The Rise of David Levinsky" ***
Anzia Yezierska, "Hungry Hearts" (TOTALLY UNDERRATED!)
Michael Gold, "Jews Without Money"
Chaim Grade, "Rabbis & Wives" or "The Yeshiva"
I.B. Singer, "Satan in Goray"
Bernard Malamud, "The Assistant"
Saul Bellow, "Augie March"
Philip Roth -- "Goodbye, Columbus," "The Counterlife," "Sabbath's Theater"
Cynthia Ozick, "Envy; or Yiddish in America"
Mordecai Richler, "Barney's Version"
Michael Chabon, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay"
Jonathan Rosen, "Eve's Apple"
Rebecca Goldstein, "The Mind-Body Complex"
Nathan Englander, "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges"
Gary Shteyngart, "The Russian Debutante's Handbook" (for a great essay, see
David Bezmozgis, "Minyan" from his short-story collection "Natasha"
Dr. Edward Alexander, English professor at the University of Washington, and Orthodox Jew, and former contributor to Commentary, writes:
Here are a few very fragmentary jottings. I am, by the way, reluctantly,
against publicizing private problems of Jewish leaders.
TIKKUN: came into existence as a kind of anti-Commentary, a journal whose motto might be "nothing antisemitic is alien to us." It also affords a relatively harmless outlet for the untidy passions of its founder and editor, the buffoonish Michael (of Meaning) Lerner.
FORWARD: I ceased subscribing to this shortly after Lipsky was dumped for his deviations from orthodox Jewish liberalism and replaced by Goldberg. There is something outrageous about a Jewish newspaper that employs as a regular columnist someone (Leonard Fein) whose great moment in life was being fed breakfast by Yasser Arafat. People do sometimes send me good things in the paper--the occasional piece by Cynthia Ozick or Ruth Wisse or Alan Nadler--but for the most part the Forward seems a Jewish-accented version of NYTimes fundamentalism, evident in its assumption that homosexuality and abortion are the great Jewish desiderata and that Judaism follows an arrow-straight course from Sinai to the left wing of the Democr. Party.
Another irritating feature of the Forward is its beggar-like gratitude for any public demonstration of, or even allusion to, Jewishness by celebrities, especially Hollywood airheads.
COMMENTARY remains indispensable, though I preferred it before I had become persona non grata there. It is the most potent and articulate voice for Israel, which certainly can use such voices, and for Jewish tradition.
JEWISH VOICE AND OPINION (of Englewood, New Jersey): Although graphically hideous, this paper provides a remarkable amount of useful material in nearly every issue, and its editor also has a winning sense of humor.
Dear Alana, I have a final theological question for you. How many inches above the knee would a dress have to be before you would consider the wearing of such in the Forward office to be a sin?
Alana Newhouse (pictured on top of the Forward office) replies: "A skirt more than four inches above my knee might make the people I work with uncomfortable and, as such, I'd avoid it. Not because I believe it's a sin against God -- I don't think God is scandalized by my thighs -- but because it's a sin against fellow human beings."
Mea Shearim West: Ashore, islanders dress modestly and expect tourists to do the same. (Women are advised to cover their shoulders and wear a long skirt or pants, although a colorful length of cloth wrapped around your waist and covering your knees – Polynesian pareu style – should suffice.) Tongan law, in fact, even prohibits men from walking around topless! . . .
Have you ever had a nightmare in which you accidentally turn on a radio on the Sabbath? I know I have.
My other nightmare is that I am having sex with my wife and it turns out she is having her period. Then I race to the mikvah to purify myself and there's a pig swimming in it, wearing slutty clothes. The pig then talks to me, and tells me it will all be okay. What does it mean? What does it mean?
I just finished the biography "Sam Spiegel," who produced the movies The African Queen, On The Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. I could not get enthused about the book because the lead character was so despicable (liar, cheat, manipulator, selfish, extreme womanizer, lousy parent and friend).
I don't like to read (or watch movies or plays) about bad people unless they are terrific writers.
Yet, I find my adrenalin running highest when I'm writing on bad people. I get the most excited when I capture the human condition as its most despicable.
Do Jewish institutions have lower moral standards for accepting money than politicians? Apparently according to this Jewish Week article: "New Jersey Sen. Jon Corzine wasted no time returning more than $80,000 of the billionaire developer’s campaign contributions. His New York colleague, Charles Schumer, gave some $4,000 of Kushner cash to charity, according to press reports.
"Kushner, who is known to write seven-figure checks to charity as easily as most people pay their phone bills, is unlikely to see one returned or uncashed in the near future, said Mark Charendoff, president of the Jewish Funders Network, which provides support services for grant makers."
Miriam writes: "If you one day woke up and discovered that by some strange turn of events, you weren't actually Jewish, would you convert back to Judaism? Much to my surprise, the majority said no, and the more religious they were, the more likely they were to say no."
Steven I. Weiss writes: Nice Jewish girls like sex, especially after marriage, so long as it doesn't happen too often, and is always for reproductive purposes.
Nice Jewish girls like sex, except when it involves intercourse, or any oral or manual stimulation.
Nice Jewish girls like sex, so long as they're not Jewish.
Nice Jewish girls like sex, or at least the ones who'd wince at being referred to as "nice Jewish girls" do.
Nice Jewish girls like sex, if by "sex" you mean: diamond rings they can be seen with and tell their friends about; flowers; candies; babies; fluffy pillows; teddy bears.
Nice Jewish girls like sex, except they don't.
A reporter at a network affiliate TV station in Los Angeles read something I wrote about my first-hand experience with the recreational use of viagra and wanted to interview me. As I have never been married, I fear that if I give such an interview, it will desecrate the name of G-d in front of the goyim. On the other hand, it could be funny as hell, increase my dating prospects, and help me peddle some books. How does one weigh up an averah vs some shekels and shiksas? I need your guidance.
BTW, I used the viagra all alone and in a manner that transgressed no Torah laws. I was just scientifically curious.
"The leaders of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation-Council who were sometimes derided by Brin as machers or big shots responded by converting its monthly house organ, the Jewish Community Bulletin, into a subsidized weekly newspaper in competition with the independently-owned Jewish press of Los Angeles. The Bulletin's successor, the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, still requires an annual subsidy of more than $2 million in charity money."
I email Rob Eshman, editor of the Jewish Journal, about this. He replies: "We don't receive a subsidy from the Federation, not for two dollars, and not for two million.
"The Federation buys a dwindling number of subscriptions from us -- about 5K next year. The rest of our circulation (50-65 K) is distributed through other subs (including shuls and other orgs that also buy subs for donors or members) and free distribution."
Rob replies: "Do we expect writers and editors to familiarize themselves with Jewish institutions and sources, including the Federation, and use them to inform particular stories when appropriate? Uh, yes. Do we have some training agreement or understanding with the Federation? No. Do we train writers to be skeptical and verify and balance information any Jewish institution or source offers, and supplement their interviews with independent research and analysis, rather than just parrot every accusation or statement? Yes."
Dave Deutsch writes: Luke, your question about the elevators on shabbos reminds me of my army days, when after explaining the whole split hooves/cud chewing rule to my fellow Screaming Eagles (I wasn't keeping kosher, but I did not eat the flesh of the swine), they would sometimes ponder it for a moment, then exclaim triumphantly "Wait a minute, chickens don't have split hooves!" thinking that they'd figured out the flaw in the system that would bring the whole thing crashing down. Just as there was an explanation for that (different rules for poultry), there is one for your elevator conundrum.
There is a different between "using" and "making use." You may not turn on a light on shabbos, but you may enjoy the benefits of a light that is already turned on. Similarly, you may not push an elevator button, but if there is a shabbos elevator, which, prior to shabbos, is automatically set to stop on every floor, you may use it. Not all elevators, incidentally, are the same. Some elevators apply different levels of energy depending on the weight that they are carrying, in which case they can't serve as shabbos elevators because you're actually causing the energy to be expended (same principle with walking through an electronically opened automatic door on shabbos, you're not flipping a switch, but your presence is working it). From what I hear of your fluctuating weight problems, at any rate, you should probably just take the stairs.
As always, I'm happy to supplement your moral authority with the halachic authority afforded me by my Orthodox Day School education. Gut Shabbos, and if I don't communicate to you before Tuesday, have an easy fast.
Over the past few months, both Europe and many Muslim countries have claimed the moral highground over Iraq. They've attacked America for 'abusing' human rights, being anti-Muslim, interfering in another country's internal politics and being interested only in oil. So where are they all now, when it comes to Sudan?
Has anyone heard the European leaders stand up for these victims of Arab militias? Where are the Arab and African states, defending Muslim villagers who are being systematically raped and driven out of their homes?
As the London Timesconcludes,
It has been left to Washington to voice the world’s outrage and warn Sudan to halt its brutalities. Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, has made clear America’s readiness to back moves in the United Nations to use military force to halt the attacks. Washington has called for a global arms embargo against the Janjawid and their allies, and would be ready to support calls by Human Rights Watch for sanctions against all Sudanese officials supporting the militias.
I hope the Americans take action, fast. I wouldn't rely on those European and Muslim hypocrites.
Cathy Seipp profiles the husband-and-wife team behind snopes.com, a website devoted to debunking urban legends.
I checked out their religion section, and was pretty disappointed to find out that geologists in Siberia have not managed to drill down to hell, that marking 'Jedi' as your religion on census forms will not force your government to grant it official status, and that the physician who once placed dying patients upon a scale in order to measure the weight of the human soul never existed. No, hold on, that one is apparently true.
OpinionJournal, by the way, picks up on another part of Seipp's article, in which she talks to folklore professor Jan Harold Brunvand about the media's role in spreading such urban legends.
"Brunvand, whose latest book is Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Book of Scary Urban Legends (out in October), said that actually the media have been pretty good about correcting these tales.
"But Brunvand added that 'Reuters is especially prone to circulating doubtful stories, especially those that have shown up in newspapers in faraway places. The Reuters story will just say, 'as reported in the such-and-such,' which is true enough, but they apparently make no attempt to verify or investigate the item.'
Does the Palestinian Authority qualify as 'faraway places'?
Carmen O - captain of frumsex - writes: There have been some well-meaning folks who joined up and exhorted everyone to teshuva, but they were roundly castigated by the general membership. And after all, why did they join to begin with? What are they doing searching for frum sex on the internet?
There was one fella who intimated that brooklyn- or williamsburg-based tznius police were tracking members and planning raids and beatings, but I don't think anything came of it. I wasn't scared.
If someone wants to wade into the source and header codes and pull IP addresses and trace them individually, he or she could gather some identifying info and attempt to blow the whistle on us. But few yeshivish people have those skills, and even fewer are in the employ of batei din. It's batei din, by the way, not beitei dinot.
Lastly, what would a beis din do? Approve divorces? Cancel shidduchim? Frumsex is all about discussions, anyway. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Dennis Prager calls this the darkest Charles Krauthammer column ever: "Israel will rightly ignore the decision. The United States, acting honorably in a world of utter dishonor regarding Israel, will support that position. It must be noted that one of the signatories of this attempt to force Israel to tear down its most effective means of preventing the slaughter of innocent Jews was the judge from Germany. The work continues."
I had a chat with my friend Cathy Seipp about the meaning of clothing. I said that a person's clothing sets the tone for his behavior. Someone who dresses like a gangster is more likely to act that way than someone who dresses in a suit and tie.
The way someone keeps their house, office and car, as far as organization and neatness, reflects their psyche, their state of mind.
Well, everybody, it's been fun. In the future, I'm going to do the bulk of my posting at sourkraut.blogspot.com (sorry, couldn't get the link to work) . I'm still working on recruiting a couple more contributors and on some formatting and other issues, but the site is up. Eventually - soon, I hope - I'll put up some sort of post describing what the focus of the site will be, but I'll probly have to figure that out before I can tell other people about it.
Anyway, best of luck, Luke.
p.s. Apparently, the newest halakhic controversy - following the wigs and the water - is whether or not it is ok to launder money during the 9 days. (Seems to me, "no," which is probably why so many yeshivos are closed until Elul).
Actually I was still at the Connecticut Jewish Ledger at the time of the big dustup between the Exponent and JJ. I ran the column there. As far as JJ being a victim of a political purge, you should remember that he has his current job specifically because another independent journalist -- Seth Lipsky -- lost that post because of his politics.
LF: "I also hear from those left of center that you read people in your community out of your paper if they are Peace Now types, such as Hilda Silverman (now at Harvard?)"
Actually, there was a blacklist of people who were considered personna non gratta by the Federation before I got here. One of the policy changes I instituted was to get rid of the black list. All those on it -- Arthur Waskow, Ted Mann, Ian Lustig were mentioned -- have since been published in our paper as well as having articles written about them. In the five years I've been editor, no one is out of bounds. I don't know Hilda Silverman and never heard of her being mentioned as someone who was banned in the old days.
As for your writing a book about Jewish journalism, good luck. But, unlike many of the people who comment on it, I would hope you would thoroughly research your topic and read the newspapers rather than generalize about them.
To further the cause of good Jewish journalism, I suggest that all those who write on anything remotely Jewish (including bloggers and novelists) be forced to take Khmer Rouge-style Federation bootcamps to sensitize themselves to "use Federation as a resource and seek out its perspective on important stories." Only then can we hope to follow in the footsteps of that Pulitzer-Prize winning paper, The Jewish Week of New York.
Writers who fail to become sufficiently sensitive to taking direction from Big Brother Federation, writers who fail to love Big Brother Federation as they should, should be kept in said bootcamps until the correst result is attained. Those who refuse to act with proper deference to the Federation must be placed in North Korean-style concentration camps until they love or die.
I sent this after the lunch meeting. While it may state the obvious, we seem to be drifting into an "assumption" that the communal "Nirvana" would be no payment of any kind from UJA-Federation to the Week. From their point of view, this would be simply crazy and they should not go around hinting to us or anyone else in the discussion that this is the real goal.
From: Lawrence A. Kobrin
To: Ms. Louise Greilsheimer; Dr. Stephen Solender
Re: Communications, community, and continuity
At our meeting earlier this week concerning Jewish Week, there was some discussion of the long term financial plan for the relationship of UJA-Federation to the publication. In fact, a "blue ribbon" committee is now scheduled to explore the matter, although there seems to be an expectation or assumption that its final conclusion will be elimination of financial "subsidy" from UJA-Federation to the Week. From the point of view of the Week, that may be an acceptable long range conclusion about which the principal concern is one of timing or schedule. From the point of view of UJA-Federation, however, it wouldbe a terrible mistake which would undermine the very things we are mandated to do under our strategic plan and ultimately create a financial disaster for UJA-Federation. Several of us around the table were both directors of the Week and of UJA-Federation. It is from the latter perspective that I write a caution.
If one were to fantasize that the Week had suddenly achieved a large paid subscription base outside of the mailing list of UJA-Federation and was thus able to eliminate any financial relationship with UJA-Federation, the theory under which we appear to proceed would be that the best next steps would be for UJA-FEderation to eliminate any financial payment, to advise its donors that there was no further subscriptions although they were free to subscribe on their own. Based on our experience with the Long Island survey, in which the majority of those surveyed did not bother to respond and a substantial portion of those who simply did not [want] any Jewish publication sent to them, I would venture the guess that the vast majority of our donors, at all levels, would simply stop the Week and not receive any substitute (unless you consider The New York Times a source of Jewish news information).
As I said at the lunch meeting, our greatest problem is indifference and inattention to any Jewish information (beyond that contained in the Times or the Journal). If we do not force our way into the mailbox, for most of our donor population, and certainly the segment that is unaffiliated with synagogue life, there will be no contact or communication.
It is not clear to me how the opponents of the relationship of UJA-Federation to the Week propose to deal with this problem. Are we to rely on voluntary subscriptions to reach our prospective donor base, the Jewish community at large? Why will the marginally interested subscribe to anything? The Forward has been unable to attract a large reader base in New York. The World is similarly unable to do so. The Sentinel has become a joke with most of its "distribution boxes" abandoned or used for other publications. The Jerusalem Report, a slick and well written publication, has yet to hit big numbers in the New York area. The various national magazines have had similar difficulty. The Hebrew language HaDoar is in desperate condition and the scholarly journals have a limited subscription base which reach the scholars and few beyond.
Thus, once "independence" of the two institutions is achieved, UJA-Federation would have to proceed to consider what means to use to reach its donor base and hopefully beyond. The only means avaialble to do would be through the kind of publication that the Week now is. Anything more limited in scope or content would be viewed by most recipients as a house organ "throw away" and treated accordingly. Presumably, there would then be a negoations over the "discount rate" subscription price to be imposed for large direct mailings. I suspect that we would then be exactly back where we started except that the payment involved would be listed in a different way on the UJA-Federation administrative budget.
Perhaps I have missed something, but I fail to understand, from the point of view of a director of UJA-Federation, how all the rhetoric about "freedom of the press" and "playing fields" changes any of this analysis or projection. What the exploration of the strategic plan process, the several successive continuity studies, and our own experience at UJA-Federation should have taught us is that the greatest enemy is a complete indifference (particularly in the younger generation of non-traditional Jews) to all things that conern our organization. If we do not communicate with that group, we will ultimately have no Jewish agencies to which to allocate any budget or funds. That would be a disaster of unimaginable proportions.
I would hope that the study now to be made would keep this need in focus as the real goal and not simply the current pressures from specific communities or individuals or the need to find some extra savings in the administrative budget.
To: Jewish Week Board of Directors
From: Louise Greilsheimer, Stephen D. Solender
Date: April 7, 1997
Re: Strengthening the UJA Federation/Jewish Week Relationship
While we recognize and take great pride in our longstanding and generally positive relationship with Jewish Week, we also acknowledge that there is a need to improve it. Indeed, at times, the relationship between UJA-Federation and Jewish Week has been a difficult and ambiguous one. We wish to clarify and strengthen it by each of us committing to our shared long-term goal of providing the Jewish community with news about it and the work of UJA-Federation, its campaigns and agencies.
To that end, UJA-Federation will continue to make its donor list available to Jewish Week for subscriptions so long as Jewish Week provides UJA-Federation with the regular "presence" it needs.
While we recognize Jewish Week as a quality paper in which we can all take pride, we believe it can maintain its quality while also fulfilling UJA-Federation's need for presence.
We are suggesting that a joint group of UJA-Federation and Jewish Week leadership be formed to regularly monitor the agreed upon goals and execute the plan as detailed in this memorandum.
As was stated in the UJA-Federation Board of Directors resolution of February, 1994:
"WHEREAS, a fundamental principle governing UJA-Federation's consideration is that it remains committed to having a Jewish newspaper reach all of our donors so that issues concerning the Jewish community, including the message of UJA-Federation's campaign and the story of our agencies, is told and a sense of commitment and community is developed among our donors at the lowest possible cost..."
We are committed to assuring that this resolution be realized through our strengthened relationship.
RECOMMENDATION: To clarify UJA-Federation's realtionship with Jewish Week, we recommend that the following statement be included in the paper's staff box: "Jewish Week is an independent community newspaper. UJA-Federation buys subscriptions for its donors to assure that they are informed of news of the Jewish community. UJA-Federation bears no responsibility for the news or editorial material contained herein. Any positions reflected are solely those of the Jewish Week."
The Executive Committee of UJA-Federation recommends the following changes to increase coverage and give UJA-Federation presence both graphically and editorially.
* Priority changes proposed by UJA-Federation's executive committee.
* EDITORIAL: Train and sensitize Jewish Week reporters and editors to UJA-Federation as a resource and seek out its perspective on important stories. (EXAMPLE: The December 27th issue, UP CLOSE section, "Target Practice." We would have preferred more opportunity to help shape the piece, as well as provide more balance through either a sidebar or column.)
* UJA-Federation's role should be integrated into any featured story concerning one of its agencies. Encourage reporters to use UJA-Federation professional staff as key resources to help shape agency-based stories from our perspective, with our insights.
* Develop one UJA-Federation cover story per month in all editions (12 a year).
* LEADERSHIP COLUMN: Arrange for a monthly column by a broad representation of UJA-Federation leadership. Columbs would be assigned to appropriate leadership and scheduled to address timely and important organizational efforts/issues.
* ADVERTISING: UJA-Federation should be the first full-page ad; UJA-Federation should develop an ad to conform with the space of the inside front cover page.
* Greater sensitivity of all UJA-Federation ad placements that should emphasize not only which page the ad appears but what sections its appears in (i.e. Israel Experience ad should have appeared opposite Israel page).
* OTHER PROPOSED CHANGES: In addition to the above stated priorities we recommend the following changes be made to assure UJA-Federation's presence in the Jewish Week.
* EDITORIAL: Use the first 15 to 20 pages in the general N.Y. section (in all editions)to find ways to feature UJA-Federation programs and events (as done in the Dec. 20th issue). Also, in those pages, provide greater UJA-Federation presence in headlines or kickers - including our name whenever possible.
* Use cover-page teasers to UJA-Federation stories, including the UJA-Federation name whenever possible.
* Wherever possible or appropriate, augment Jewish Week human-interest stories with a UJA-Federation perspective (via box or sidebar of our programs). Encourage Jewish Week to share with UJA-Federation professional staff on a weekly basis stories that they are working on. This weekly story development list would provide UJA-Federation the opportunity to assure that its perspective be included in more stories.
* Seek ways to incorporate UJA-Federation role in the first three to five pages of the paper, "In the Beginning" section (see Dec. 20th issue, page four -- New World Symphony photo, NYANA, with no mention of UJA-Federation).
* Create special UJA-Federation mission calendar in travel section, update quarterly.
* Major post-event UJA-Federation stories should be covered, whether through a story or photo, in all editions, not limited to the calendar pages of one edition (Lawyers Division dinner photo in Dec. 20th issue deserved better placement, and its relevancy transcended the borders or the Manhattan edition where it appeared).
[From, Richard L. Hirsch, president of The Jewish Week, Morton A. Kornreich, Chairman]
Dear Billie and Larry:
We understand that Gary Rosenblatt has contacted you in an effort to resolve any misunderstandings that may have been created in the wake of the publication of his column titled "Where There's Smoke" in the August 18th issue of The Jewish Week. We would liek to add emphatically that the mention of the Tisch family name in this editorial context was not meant to detract from the magnitude of your philanthropic acts, which are legendary. Rather, its purpose was to sound a plea on behalf of the younger generation for the help which certain of the most powerful members of the Jewish community are uniquely positioned to provide. Unfortunately, the tone of the column was perceived as more critical than intended, and Gary and we regret that.
The Jewish Week strives to achieve journalistic balance in its coverage of the New York-area Jewish community. However, insofar as concerns the Tisch family, striking this balance would require that every paragraph of criticism be followed by pages of praise for your many acts of generosity. We are all mindful of your leading and multi-facted philanthropic role and for that you have earned the gratitude and respect of many, including us.
[From Richard L. Hirsch, president, cc'd to Gary Rosenblatt, Richard Waloff]
As part of my responsibilities as president of the Board, I wanted to bring you up to date on some important matters.
By now, most of the Board members are probably aware of the controversy that erupted following publication of Gary's column "Where There's Smoke" in our August 18th issue. The Tisch family and Lester Pollack took umbrage at the criticism leveled therein and, not surprisingly, UJA took up the cause in defnese of their honor as major philanthropists. On August 24th, a meeting between representatives of The Jewish Week and UJA was held, yielding two outcomes:
1. An oversight had occured and the Board expressed regret along with unwavering support of The Jewish Week staff. Gary on the one hand, and MOrt and I on the other, would send the Tisch family and Lester Pollack conciliatory letters to smooth over any offense that might have been taken.
2. This relatively small controversy -- which for the most part has been resolved -- has further galvanized UJA's desire to dissolve its formal association and financial ties with The Jewish Week over a shorter time period than previously agreed upon.
The second point above is the larger issue which we at The Jewish Week need to focus on. The Board has courted this matter over the years but the time has come to address it proactively.
With that in mind, The Jewish Week and UJA have agreed to form a joint ad hoc committee to study options and opportunities, and to recommend a path for accelerating the amicable and mutually-beneficial separation of the two organizations. I suggest that The Jewish Week delegation comprise Stuart Himmelfarb, Larry Kobrin, Gary Rosenblatt, Rich Waloff and myself.
I believe that we must tread cautiously in these discussions, but at the same time be sensitive to the position of UJA. The Jewish Week has a terrific staff and an excellent product and we must protect not only our financial investment but, most importantly, the Week's raison d'etre.
From Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The Jewish Week:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. [Lawrence] Tisch [of Rye, NY 10580]:
I have been told that you were hurt by my column in last week's issue of The Jewish Week and for this I sincerely apologize.
My intention was not to cause you embarrassment but to highlight some of the complex issues involved regarding Jewish views on smoking.
This unfortunate incident reminds me of the moral of a story my late father, who was a rabbi in Annapolis, MD, for 40 years, used to tell. [Man, Hasidic rabbi, gathering feathers for lashon hara.]
I am particularly mindful of that lesson now, and if I had it do over again, I would have tried to express my views in the column without bringing specific names into it.
In writing columns and editorials in Jewish community newspapers for more than 20 years, I have always tried to be sensitive to those I write about. But in these last few days I have come to appreciate that I can never be too attuned to people's feelings and I will strive to be more diligent in the future.
Perhaps I had come to think of your family as an institution rather than consisting of real people with real feelings. In any case, please know that I have the greatest respect for you and your good works and hope that in that spirit you will understand, if not forgive, my words from last week.
C'mon, Luke. You're being too harsh. If not for Jewish journalism, where would we get a priceless tidbit like this one? After commenting that Phil Rosenthal - creator of TV's Everybody Loves Raymond - bases ELR on experiences from his own life, Eric Schleier of the Jewish Week provides the following caveat:
"But, Rosenthal, 44, adds, the well is running dry."
Excellent, sentence, dude. In Schleier's defense, though, he might have been overcompensating for the ridiculous bunching of letters - four consecutive consonants, followed by three consecutive vowels - in his last name.
Here's one test I have for if Jewish journalism is any good. If a non-Jew can pick it up and read it with interest. If you are telling a good story, it's a good story, even if it is about Jews.
Few Jews who don't have to pick up a Jewish paper (because of their commitment to Jewish life or their employment therein) do pick up a Jewish paper. Ergo, Jewish journalism, in the immortal words of Benyamin Cohen of Jewsweek, "sucks."
Gail J. Hyman
Group Vice President
Marketing & Communications
To: Mr. Gary Rosenblatt
New York, NY 10036
I wanted to put in writing our growing concern over the continuing lack of presence for UJA-Federation we feel in the page of Jewish Week.
Despite several regional pieces that ran last week on agency activities and the Joint Passover story on page 44, it is still difficult to locate UJA-Federation's name or communal role in the paper. Only a thorough read of all editions of the paper uncovers our identity; there remains no visible presence for us organizationally.
I bring this perspective to your attention because our leadership's increasing frustration and dissatisfaction with Jewish Week is at an all time high. Coverage of UJA-Federation, even as we engage in dialogue with you to change the situation, remains inconsistent. It is no longer sufficient to tell our leadership we are making progress when the newspaper demonstrates otherwise. It would seem that unless improvement in coverage of UJA-Federation is immediately forthcoming, meetings with the new subcommittee will not be of any use.
Gary, it would seem that based on the paper's track record in recent weeks, your commitment to assuring a consistent presence for UJA-Federation is in question.
I know that you are out of twon over the Passover holiday. I do hope that you will call me as soon as you return so that Steve, you and I can meet to discuss the seriousness of this situation and try to help avoid continuing on a course that could ultimately be very detrimental to Jewish Week.
(If any of the following offends you, my yetzer hora, Chaim Amalek, wrote it against my wishes. I mean it.)
So I was thinking that I need to use my ample leisure time to expand my mind, and that one way of doing this would be to learn a new language, but which one? I thought of going for yiddish, but that seems to be to be the language of people who are pretty ignorant about such things as fire and electricity. Besides, the women who speak that dead tongue have shaved heads. (And it just occurs to me that Hitler shaved the heads of Jewish women, so was he acting out of concern for their modesty? Maybe the rabbinate that supports the sheitel industry can chew this one over.) I was going to study spanish, but my friend Cathy has convinced me that it is the language of my social inferiors, to the extent that I have any. I don't need to learn to communicate with a guy holding a leaf blower any better than I already can. French? That's not me. The French are going Arab on us, so if I wanted to communicate with these people, I'd study Arabic. Which is a possibility. German? Lots of smart people speak it, and their women are well, not that hot. Maybe Swedish or Norwegian? My friend Chaim tells me that Norwegian women are the hottest women on the planet, and who can disagree with Chaim? Chinese, perhaps? I don't know - don't they eat dogs, cats, and rats? Dear gentle readers, please counsel me as to which foreign language I ought to learn to read.
This shabbos, instead of reading the usual self-help book during sabbath prayers, I decided to make a study of 20th century chemistry (this book by Linus Pauling) and physics (Feyman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 2), and guess what I discovered! Electricity is NOT fire! Yes, as incredible as this would appear to be, the rabbenim of 19th century Poland who held otherwise were wrong! Whether this was because their knowledge of Faraday was lacking, or because the theory of combustion and the chemical bond had not yet been perfected I cannot say. But what is certain today is that combustion (the general term for fire, which the torah forbids) and electricity are no more related than are fire and water. And yet today orthodox jews do not "use" electricity, unless some goy can be found to use it for them. I ask you, where's the sense in that? Almost as stupid as telling a woman she needs to cut off her hair since having the stuff that God gave her is immodest, and then encouraging her to replace it with a sexy wig made of human hair. But that does not mean I'm giving up on orthodoxy, oh no - in your prayers Rabbis, in your prayers.
The Yupitzer Rav writes: Don't get all apikores-ish on me with that electricity blog.
Everyone knows that electricity is different from old-fashioned combustion. The (20th century) rabbis who declared its operation by a Jew on Shabbos to be forbidden concluded that in its effects it is similar enough to combustion to warrant halachic comparison. Actually, it was some 19th century rabbis who permitted it, based on unclear explanations as to what it was.
When electricity produces neither heat nor light, the prohibition becomes far more tenuous.
Shmarya writes: For years, Chabad has taken credit for the banning of electricity. The Rebbe when he came from Europe in the early 1940s led a campaign to ban the Shabbos use of microphones. He used his position as a 'Sorbonne graduate' Electrical Egnineer to enforce the ban. Problem is, the Rebbe never attended or graduated from the Sorbonne (the Sorbonne did not even offer E.E. or science classes at that time, and they deny the Rebbe's 'enrollment' ever took place). The Rebbe did attend a small technical college in Paris. His grades were poor, and he was threatened with expulsion because of that. But, nonetheless, he and Chabad used his status as a Sorbonne-educated 'scientist' and an Electrical Engineer to propogate the ban, and to embarrass the rabbis who wouldn't go along with it. (As for the Rebbe's alleged work for the Brooklyn Naval Yards during WWII, there is no evidence to support it. According to the Feds, he never worked there.)
So, you want to know why you can't use a telephone to check on an elderly parent (non-pekuakh nefesh situation) on Shabbos? R. Mendel Schneerson.
Why no microphone in large shuls? R. Mendel Schneerson.
Why no audio broadcasts of davening for the homebound? R. Mendel Schneerson.
Why no electric carts or trams for the elderly or disabled to get to shul on Shabbos? R. Mendel Schneerson.
A rabbi-friend of mine told me in the name of Rav S.Z. Auerbach that electricity was probably in the catagory of Chamei Teveria, but what can we do? In other words, the halakha had already gone to chumra, and there was no turning back. Perhaps if Rav Auerbach had known that the major basis for the strict opinion was someone who was wrong about the science involved and whose own academic credentials are questionable, he would have worked to find a way out of the ban.
The Rebbe's 'expert testimony' was not expert after all.
It has been asked of me if I even remember Eve Kessler's reporting on religion.
Yes I do. I was only a little Seventh Day Adventist boy, but a precocious one, and my family would gather around the fire on Friday night, and we would read passages of her stories to each other and hug.
I just spent 80 minutes over the phone with JJ Goldberg. He said he fired Steven Weiss because the Forward did not have the resources to transform him from a blogger to a journalist. JJ said Steven will be a great journalist one day and he's very sorry his budgetary constraints prevent him from giving Steven and his copy the attention they need.
I'm exchanging email with Winston Pickett, a PhD in Bible who's worked extensively as a Jewish journalist. He now works at a thinktank in London.
My dad left journalism at age 16 when he became religious. He thought journalists to be an immoral bunch. My dad went on to get two PhDs, one in Bible at Manchester University.
Are there any other Jewish journalists with PhDs in Bible? Did your knowledge of Higher Criticism help you with your journalism?
I'm serious. As an amateur student of the HC, I find it helps me greatly in my journalism in life.
I'm skeptical of things people tell me unless they go against the tendenz (the propaganda and vision of themselves they push). As George Orwell put it, the only parts of an autobiography you should believe are the the shameful.
I constantly ask: Who said this? When was it said? Who was the primary audience?
I love the work of popularizer Hyam Maccoby (who wrote books giving a Jewish view of the origins of Christianity in Hellenic paganism).
How can I believe in Higher Criticism and in Orthodox Judaism? I acknowledge they are mutually exclusive.
I study Higher Criticism without giving veto power to the tenets of my religion. I practice my religion as though there was no secular scholarship that challenged its truths.
This is not so radical. A famous 19th Century rebbe said you should be an atheist when it comes to helping the needy, you should help as if there were no God to help.
Roman Catholic Bill Cork writes to the Forward: I'm disappointed to hear that you have fired Steven Weiss. I had read "The Forward" from time to time (usually when friends referred me to specific articles), but Steven's blog made my visits to your webpage much more frequent. Blogging is here to stay, and Steven is one of the best. Your decision to add his blog was forward-thinking – your firing of him is a step backwards.
I won't translate this because I don't want the goyim to understand it. I don't want a shanda.
From FrumSex: My friend Chaim Oizer wasn't the first of my friends to get married. I had a brocha under the chupah at Yisroel Meir's chassunah and Boruch Ber's chassunah before I was asked to say a brocha under Chaim Oizer's wedding too. People say it's a segulah for a shidduch
to participate in a chasunah so lets hope I'm zoicha to meet my bashert, bezras hashem.
: Well, the chasuhan went off without a hitch and the seudas mitzvah was going fine. I had already danced with the chosson, who was having a rakida with the Rosh Hayeshiva. Now, it was time to do the horah, and it wasn't what it's all about for me, so I sat it out. I was strolling amongst the yungerleit and I noticed Chaim Oizer's cousin Gitty, who was trying to keep her eight kids, all under the age of
10, from tripping people while running around like mishugoyim.
Gitty's husband, Zev Laib, was across the room talking with the mashgiach, not paying any attention to them. As is the custom in Lakewood, it's not pahst for a kollel yungerman to be oisek in vaibisha zachin, so he ignored the whole thing.I walked over to shmooze with her because she seemed like she needed an adult to talk
: "Nu, Gitty, vus hertach?" I asked politely.
: "Well, I'm mamesh tzefloigen with the kinderluch. Kindurluch, go to Tatty and Geb Sholom to the mashigiach." They ran across the room and played tag running around and through their tatty's legs. Annoyed he shot a glance at Gitty. How dare she cause him to be bitul toirah? Couldn't she see the mashgiach was saying over a gevaldika vort?
She smiled and waved at him, then continued to talk with me.
: "They need to spend more time with him anyway, He spends all day in Kollel then comes home at night and chazzers over the sugia, then he leaves for shachris to daven with the neitz, so they never see him, nebuch" she confided.
: "I hear" I said, glancing at Zev Laib.
: "And I don't think he even wants to spend time with them either, he holds its bitul zman. Kindurluch are great, wait till you get married."
: I laughed, "I've been on a thousand shidduch dates and I can't find my bashert, I mamesh farshtered."
: "Really? A ben toirah with yichus like you can't find a shidduch,? That's mamesh not shiach," she said.
: "Well, I guess I haven't met the right girl yet." We walked together to a less noisy place where there were only a few people having conversations.
: "Yeah, the last girl I went out with told the shadchun she thought I wanted to work. The next girl wanted to go to college, rachmunah l'tzlun and the girl before that's father didn't have money to support me in kollel." I explained.
: "Zev Laib and I haven't had biah since Tovah was born. She's six months now, that's a long time. It's not that I don't want it, I just gave it up when he didn't ask me about going to the mikvah for three months straight. He's too busy in kollel and I guess I just got fat and ugly," We continued walking. I was shocked. How could a bas yisroel talk like this? She was an ohr ainikle of a well known Godol! But, given the fact that the only biah I'd had in life had been with another bochur in Telz-Cleveland, I got a hirhur avairah just from her speaking with such a prustkeit.
: "Well, maybe with all those kinderluch you just remind him of his mother. That would dampen his chaishik a lot. You don't remind me of my mother, you're look shtotty," I laughed.
I went to an ATID 20's and 30s singles dinner at Temple Sinai (C) Friday night to hand out "We want Moshiach now" fliers and give divrei Torah.
We met before the onset of Shabbos. We each had to write down a favorite saying to pin to our clothing as a conversation starter. I chose, "You shall burn the evil out of your midst." Most other comments were pop culture references, which flew past the mind of this Torah sage.
Half the group were cool but there were a lot of clueless nerds. One guy kept touching girls inappropriately. This was the first event where that guy was not me.
I got to sit by new hire Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei who's headed for Las Vegas and Yosemite for his vacation. I let him know which activities and shows in Sin City were kosher (few) and advised him to carry a gemara with him at all times.
If only all of Israel were as strong as me, the Moshiach would come!
It was a long lonely walk home as I followed the path of the righteous.
As part of my observance of the nine days, I am not going to make any funny posts, unintentional or otherwise, during this mournful time. I will be heartfelt and unironic in everything I say and do.
If I go on a date, I will only have a bad time.
More learned Jews than I, am I allowed to date during this time? To the Museum of Tolerance and such? What if it is a case of Pirkuah Nefesh? I will die if I don't date for the next nine days? So long as we avoid touching each other or having a good time, would it be so wrong? We could go to shiurim and only crappy kosher restaurants and visit people we don't like?
JTA.org reporter JOE BERKOFSKY has moved to UJA New York.
From his JTA bio: "A JTA staff writer based in New York, covers education, Jewish identity issues, philanthropy and the religious movements. He has been a reporter for the technology network TechTV in San Francisco, daily newspapers in the greater Boston area, and a contributing writer to The Jerusalem Report, The San Jose Mercury News, B'nai B'rith's International Jewish Monthly and other publications. He was also an editor at the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California and at other weekly newspapers."
How many reporters for Jewish papers have gone to work for the people they used to cover? David Twersky (now at United Jewish Congress), Matt Dorff (formerly with JTA, now a lobbyist), Brian Mono (from Jewish Exponent to the Federation in Philadelphia)...
Should someone comb over Berkofsky's work on his new employer over the past year to see if he has been smooching someone who's going to give him a job?
Unless one absolutely has to move from journalism to such work, I just can't respect leaving the craft of journalism to become a publicist (paid liar), hack, etc... To go from purporting to cover people journalistically, to taking their money in some cushy job rubs me the wrong way.
Let's face it -- the editorials are consistently the worst part of the Forward each week. Remember that howler about the Forward telling Roman Catholics how they should operate their religion with respect to abortion and to not giving communion to Catholics such as John Kerry who publicly oppose the teachings of the Church?
Why does the Forward run a front page story each week critical of the Bush administration when it has nothing to do with the Jewish community?
Original reporting makes the Forward great. Predictable liberal editorializing makes it suck.
Under editor JJ Goldberg and national editor Ami Eden, much of the paper each week reads like it is being made safe for their liberal friends and board.
FBI Tells a Lurid Tale
By John Shiffman
Inquirer Staff Writer
Jul. 18, 2004
http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/breaking_news/9179433.htm (registration required)
The mystery package addressed to Esther Schulder bore an Upstate New York postmark.
Inside, she found a videotape of her 52-year-old husband, William, having sex with a young blonde woman in a one-star motel room. There were photographs, too.
Esther and William Schulder of West Orange, N.J., did not need a blackmail note to speculate about who would do such a thing. For years, they had feuded with her brother, real estate mogul and fund-raiser Charles Kushner, who helped craft Gov. McGreevey's political rise.
For the previous 15 months, the Schulders had been helping the FBI and IRS investigate Kushner for alleged election and tax fraud.
The husband and wife took the sex tape to the feds.
"Our jaws dropped," one official said.
Contact staff writer John Shiffman at 856-779-3857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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