May 11, 2006
My Yiddische Mama
What if famous people had Jewish mothers?
That's the subject of a one-minute Internet film from Aish.com, the Web site of Aish Hatorah, the religious outreach organization based in Israel with branch offices around the world, including Los Angeles.
The one minute "film" -- it's basically pictures with captions -- was written for Purim, but is more in tune with Mother's Day. It presents historical characters and conjectures what their mothers might have said to them -- if they had been Jewish mothers.
Take the message from the "Jewish mom" of Christopher Columbus: "I don't care what you have discovered, you still should have written."
Mrs. Michaelangelo would whine about the Sistine Chapel: "Why can't you draw on walls like other children -- do you know how hard it is to get schmutz off the ceiling?"
The Beatles' proud mother reminded the Fab 4 that she'd promised cousin Harold that he could play cello in their band. And Tiger Woods' mom complained that golf "just isn't our sport." How about bingo?
Aish's "Jewish Mothers" video is among a dozen or so mostly serious videos available at Aish.com. Most of the offerings provoke questions about life, spirituality and religion. The films are sent out to a mailing list of 170,000, according to the Web site.
Actually some of the chosen subjects did have Jewish mothers. So it's actually possible that Einstein's real Jewish mother was not amused by that wild-haired genius look: "But it's your senior photograph, couldn't you have done something with your hair?" -- Amy Klein, Religion Editor
Real Estate Magnate Ready to Play Ball
A group of investors led by real estate magnate Ted Lerner and his family has purchased the Washington Nationals baseball team. Lerner and Major League Baseball wrapped up details of the $450 million purchase Tuesday night following a yearlong competition over ownership. Lerner, 80, was raised in an observant Orthodox Jewish family. One of the largest beneficiaries of his philanthropic work is his Conservative congregation, Ohr Kodesh in Chevy Chase, Md., to which he contributed $505,000 in 2003. The Lerners are partnered with former Atlanta Braves President Stan Kasten, the son of Holocaust survivors. The bid beat one by Fred Malek, a Nixon administration official who carried out an order from the president to purge the Department of Labor of Jewish statisticians.
Revved Up for Paper Clips
It's not always a cause for concern when a platoon of bikers pulls up in front of your school. Some 400 Jewish motorcyclists turned up recently at the Tennessee school where students collected millions of paper clips to commemorate the Holocaust (the Academy Award-nominated documentary titled "Paper Clips" was made about the project). Members of the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance visited the Whitwell Middle School to see the display of paper clips, which is housed inside a German railroad car once used to transport Jews to concentration camps during World War II.