Prison Politics

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A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that Florida must join thirty-five other states and the federal Bureau of Prisons in providing something for their Jewish and Muslim (and some Seventh-day Adventist) inmates.  Read the Washington Jewish Week article linked below to find out what it is and why it must be offered to inmates of those three faiths.

http://washingtonjewishweek.com/32420/florida-prisons-ordered-to-offer-kosher-meals/news/national-news/

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July 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Another Type of Know-Nothing Party

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In the Jewish Week article linked below, Leora Eisenberg, an incoming freshman at Princeton University, criticizes what she believes to be a common practice—bar (or bat) mitzvahing young men and women who have minimal knowledge of Judaism—and explains why it is vital that people continue to study their faith long after they enter adulthood through this important rite of passage. 

http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/opinion/connecting-young-people-jewish-wisdom

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July 27, 2016 at 8:23 pm

Another Great Short From the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

The 14-minute film Spielzeugland (German for “Toyland”) is about a Gentile woman in Nazi Germany who shows tremendous courage when she risks her life to save her young son’s Jewish friend as he is about to be transported via train to a concentration camp with his parents.  You may need to view the film twice to “get” what happens because much of the story is told through flashbacks, but the half-hour will be time well-spent.

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July 23, 2016 at 6:44 am

Another Sports First For Israel

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Last month, Dean Kremer became the first Israeli to sign an MLB contract. Next month, Laetitia Beck will become the first Israeli golfer to compete in the Olympic Games. Read the ESPNW article below to learn more about this highly talented (and highly confident!) athlete who has spent much of her life in America.

http://espn.go.com/espnw/sports/article/16673814/laetitia-beck-hopes-make-name-israel-olympic-golf

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July 18, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Yon Kippah

Have you ever seen someone donning a kippah (or a yarmulke) with a sports logo and wondered if it was a violation of Jewish law? 

If you’d like to learn a bit about the significance of the kippah, see numerous examples of the diverse logos—sports and otherwise—found on them, and hear several informed perspectives on this relatively new trend, watch the film Reverence, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s “Short of the Month” for September 2015.  It’s well worth the twelve minutes.

 

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July 15, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Death at Dawn

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If, with the recent passing of Elie Wiesel, you find yourself inclined to read something of his, you might consider the novel Dawn.  It is the second book in his famous trilogy which also includes Night (the most well-known of the three) and Day.  

The novel takes place one night in Palestine sometime between the years 1945 and 1948, after World War II but before the creation of the state of Israel. Its protagonist, Elisha, an eighteen-year-old Holocaust survivor and member of the Resistance (called “the Movement” in the book), a Jewish terrorist organization whose mission it is to rid Palestine of British rule, has been ordered to execute a British officer at dawn the following morning in retaliation for one of their own being condemned to die at the same time.  Elisha does not know this man he is scheduled to kill, nor has he ever seen him, and as the night dwindles and dawn approaches, he tries to prepare himself to commit what he believes to be murder.

If you’re interested in the internal conflict someone in Elisha’s situation might experience in the few short hours before the dawn and/or what might transpire between executioner and condemned as they sit alone for the hour leading up to the shooting, this book may be for you. Just be prepared for some mystical occurrences (such as ghostly visits from people of Elisha’s past, including his deceased parents and even himself as a child) and what some may consider melodramatic, or even nonsensical, language (e.g., “Death…is a being without arms or legs or mouth or head; it is all eyes.  If ever you meet a creature with eyes everywhere, you can be sure that it is death.”).

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July 13, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Ya Schmendrick!

It seems that our Canadian neighbors, Jews and Gentiles alike, are not immune to the “male crisis” that the U.S. has been experiencing for decades now. In the Yidlife Crisis episode entitled “Double Date,” Leizer meets Chia for a blind date (yes, in a Chinese restaurant) that quickly turns into a rapid-fire interview in which Chia, who wants to live a traditional Jewish life, tries to determine as quickly as possible if Leizer is indeed a viable marriage candidate for her.  Things start off awkwardly when the apparently driven and successful Chia (a neurosurgeon) learns that Leizer does “freelance” work, and turn to the ridiculous when she discovers that he has brought his friend Chaime along on the date.

This six-minute film is definitely worth watching not only for its humor, but because it introduces the viewer to the Yiddish word schmendrick, a colorful addition to anybody’s repertoire of insults!

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July 11, 2016 at 9:22 pm

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