Posted by Tom Tugend
The Los Angeles Dodgers will again underwrite the baseball tournament at the Maccabiah games in Israel, according to an announcement by the Maccabiah Organizing Committee.
Frank McCourt, though occupied with some other minor problems at the moment, commented that “Our sponsorship hugely enhanced the baseball experience at the 18th Maccabiah Games in 2009, and the Dodgers are proud to continue our close association with the Jewish Olympics.
“We are delighted to participate in spreading the baseball message internationally and eagerly look forward with all Jewish and Israeli fans to seeing great ball at the 2013 Maccabiah.”
On the Israeli side, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also put aside a few other concerns and pledged that his government will provide substantial support for the next Maccabiah, scheduled for July 16-30, 2013.
On the local end, a committee of 36 well-heeled Angelenos is again swinging into action, after raising $1.8 million for the 2009 Maccabiah. The money went mainly to subsidize the participation of athletes from smaller Jewish communities around the world.
Steve Soboroff, who organized the Los Angeles efforts, said that, as previously, local supporters have pledged $50,000 each to serve as “consultants” for the 2013 event.
In addition, former Mayor Richard Riordan will again sponsor the Maccabiah chess competition and the Jewish Life Television network will broadcast highlights of the games.
In a related development, the main venue for the next Maccabiah may be Jerusalem’s expanded Teddy Kollek stadium, rather than the traditional Ramat Gan facility near Tel Aviv.
Some 8,000 athletes, among them junior and senior competitors, participated in the 2009 Maccabiah, setting a new attendance record, said Maccabiah executive director Eyal Tiberger during a recent visit to Los Angeles.
They came from 52 countries and organizers hope to add Cuba, Morocco, Burma and Singapore to the 2013 list.
5.22.13 at 9:09 am | Eric Garcetti became the first elected Jewish. . .
5.22.13 at 8:16 am | UPDATE 8:00 am: Eric Garcetti wins the mayoral. . .
5.21.13 at 11:06 am | Using his preternatural smoothness, Justin. . .
5.20.13 at 11:40 am | Proving once again that there isn’t anything he. . .
5.14.13 at 9:59 am | This week on his podcast, Jewish comedian Marc. . .
4.30.13 at 10:58 am | Michael Diamond (Mike D.) and Adam Horovitz. . .
4.24.13 at 3:15 pm | So, 17-year-old Milken Community High School. . . (930)
4.25.13 at 4:47 pm | (520)
5.22.13 at 8:16 am | UPDATE 8:00 am: Eric Garcetti wins the mayoral. . . (389)
May 30, 2011 | 6:52 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
Anthony Weiner is under scrutiny for allegedly sending a lewd photo to a female college student over Twitter, The Washington Post reports.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) has become the latest member of Congress to run into Twitter trouble after a lewd photo was sent from his account on the microblogging site Friday night.
The photo, which was taken from the waist down and shows a man in bulging gray underwear, was first reported early Saturday by BigGovernment.com, the Web site of conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart.
The Web site reported that the message containing a link to the photo was tweeted to the Twitter handle of a woman who is a journalism student in Seattle, and that the student apparently deleted her Twitter and Facebook pages after the incident.
Soon after the photo was posted on Weiner’s Twitter account, it was deleted, BigGovernment.com reported, along with the other photos in the seven-term congressman’s yfrog.com photo account.
In tweets after the photos were deleted, Weiner, 46, said that his account had been hacked and jokingly brushed off the incident.
Read more at washingtonpost.com.
May 27, 2011 | 2:50 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
If you’re witnessing very enthusiastic standing ovations to Bibi’s speech on May 23, it’s not only because the crowd truly appreciated and admired his words—which they obviously did. They wanted to drown out these hecklers who, out of nowhere, started chanting anti-Israel phrases throughout the speech (even as it dealt with Israeli’s achievements in finding cures for diseases. Are they anti-cures-for-cancer?).
In the video below, I was able to catch the faces of two of these hecklers, who appeared to be large middle-aged men who convulsed like raving lunatics as the security men took them out.
The second man who appears five minutes into the video sat in the press section in the back, so I got him from up close. He carried a red banner with the unintelligible: “Denial of The Nakba is Indefensible.” The Nakba refers to “The Catastrophe,” the Arab’s interpretation of Israel’s Independence Day. No rational person denies “The Nakba.” The pro-Israel community perfectly recognizes the event was a Catastrophe for many Arabs—that’s why they’re at an event like AIPAC.
Speaking informally to the Jewish Journal after the event, AIPAC’s new and dynamic spokesperson, Ari Goldberg, explained how invariably anti-Israel protesters manage to buy tickets to attend AIPAC’s gala for the purpose of interrupting the Israeli leaders. Usually, conference organizes can tell by the names and cities of origins if the attendees come for authentic purposes. In the last few years, with the rise of the internet, anti-Israel protesters secure press credentials by inventing fictitious on-line media sources. That’s how the indefensible “Nakba” guy must have entered.
In the end, the only things these hecklers interrupt and humiliate are themselves and their cause.
May 26, 2011 | 10:28 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
Swiss producer Arthur Cohn has won an unprecedented six Oscars and he attributes much of his success to a piece of advice Shakespeare put into the mouth of Polonius, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”
Though speaking more colloquially, Cohn cited the rule as one of his guiding precepts while accepting the plaudits of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on May 19, during an evening devoted to his remarkable body of work.
The occasion marked the 40th anniversary screening of Cohn’s 1971 breakthrough success, “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” the story of an aristocratic Italian-Jewish family that falls victim to Mussolini’s anti-Semitic purge during World War II.
As Bruce Davis, the Academy’s executive director, noted, among more than 100 films about the Holocaust, “Garden” is one of the few that has maintained its power to this day.
Cohn credited the film’s enduring impact to the avoidance of graphic violence and the characters’ shadings, in which the “good” people displayed faults and the “bad” some virtues.
Drawing lessons from a 50-year career as producer, Cohn elaborated on his three guiding principles.
First, follow your own intuition, don’t listen to objections by others, be true to yourself. By way of illustration, after “Garden” was finished, the film was turned down by 31 distributors –- until it unexpectedly won an Oscar as the year’s best foreign film.
“If it hadn’t been for the Academy’s choice, no one would have ever seen the film,” Cohn noted.
His two other guidelines are “always use authentic settings” and “the audience must be able to identify with the actors.”
After being lauded as “the epitome of the independent producer,” Cohn, observing that there is no school for aspiring producers, shared some additional advice about his craft:
An independent producer must constantly look for “scripts so good, he just cannot pass them up. A good script is 60 percent of a film and cannot be ruined by a bad director, but the best director can’t save a bad script.”
Only slightly less in importance is the editing, which can give a floundering film its proper rhythm.
Gracing Cohn’s home in Basel, the city whose rabbi – Cohn’s grandfather – invited Theodor Herzl to hold the first Zionist Congress there, displays six Oscar statuettes.
Three are for his documentary features, “Sky Above and Mud Beneath,” “American Dream” and “One Day in September.” He garnered the three other Oscars as producer of best foreign film winners, “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” (Italy), “Black and
White in Color” (Ivory Coast) and “Dangerous Moves” (Switzerland).
Cohn is currently in production on the German comedy “Russendisko,” based on the short story collection by Wladimar Kaminer.
May 25, 2011 | 4:33 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Under the headline “Government Official Who Makes Perfectly Valid, Well-Reasoned Point Against Israel Forced To Resign,” The Onion, a weekly publication that parodies the style of newspaper writing with often hilarious results, poked fun at the way that Israel’s critics can be left to hang out to dry.
In just 118 words, an uncredited writer for the New York-based comedic paper painted a satirical picture of the fallout that followed a fictional veteran State Department staffer’s “informed, thoughtful analysis” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on CNN.
The piece came out on May 20, the same day President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
According to the Onion, State Department staffer Nelson Milstrand implied “that Israel could perhaps exercise more restraint toward Palestinian moderates in disputed territories,” which led to his forced resignation.
The article included a made-up quote from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton distancing herself from the imaginary official’s comments.
“The United States deeply regrets any harm Mr. Milstrand’s careful, even-tempered, and factually accurate remarks may have caused our democratic partner in the Middle East,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an unequivocal condemnation of the veteran foreign-service officer’s perfectly reasonable statements. “U.S. policy toward Israel continues to be one of unconditional support and fawning sycophancy.”
The fake news piece, which was reportedly mistaken for a true report of an actual event by some news aggregation sites, was welcomed by many left-leaning observers of the region, and particularly those who have drawn attention to what they identify as the outsized power Israel commands in Washington.
“All good satire contains more than a kernel of truth,” wrote Harvard International Affairs Professor Stephen Walt in an email. Walt is co-author of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” “Reasonable people can disagree about whether the lobby’s preferred policies are good for the United States or for Israel, but at least no serious analyst tries to deny that it exists.”
“I love this piece because it captures perfectly how the system works in the U.S. when it comes to talking about Israel,” Walt’s co-author John J. Mearsheimer, a political science professor at University of Chicago, wrote in an email. “Criticize Israel and the lobby will smear you and try to destroy your career, even if your criticism is smart and well-intentioned. While the piece is humorous, it is also a sad commentary on what blind support for Israel is doing to large portions of the American Jewish community.”
This isn’t the first time The Onion has made light of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Bin Laden Sends Belated Threat To Israel For 60th Birthday,” read a headline in a June 2008 issue of the paper.
Another news brief, from January 2009, reported that a New Jersey native was canceling his upcoming trip to Israel that summer because of “unfavorable exchange rates and the entirety of the Jewish nation’s 60-year existence.”
Clinton was also quoted in a news brief that appeared in the Onion in November 2009 about the progress of talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Secretary of State was encouraging the two sides to start with an relatively easy topic: the weather.
“ ‘They may not see eye to eye on every point, of course, ’” Clinton said, according to the Onion, “‘but the most important thing now is for both nations to just sit down and say that, yes, it looks like rain, and that, man, the traffic out there sure was a nightmare this morning, wasn’t it?’”
A media representative from the Onion declined to make a member of the editorial staff available for interview.
May 23, 2011 | 4:46 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
With nothing to do as the crowds gather (well, actually lots to do considering I could surf the web, read the latest news, write, etc), I took a super short clip of the banquet hall at AIPAC. (Exciting, I know). Press sits in the back but they’re not serving us dinner. (If anyone’s out there, please feed me. A glass of wine would be nice, too….)
Bibi is scheduled to speak in about two hours.
(Update at 9:19 pm—they fed me.)
May 23, 2011 | 1:32 am
Posted by Ryan Torok
Standing around a large bonfire on the beach, groups of people sitting on the sand, on blankets, and the sound of bongo drums filling the air, Evyn Charles played his acoustic guitar and led a sing-a-long of songs by Pink Floyd, Jason Mraz and other artists.
Charles was one of hundreds of people, who, last night, Sunday, May 22, went to Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey, to enjoy bonfires and barbequed food in celebration of Lag b’Omer, the 33rd day between Pesach and Shavuot, a day for marking the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
“It’s like an essential thing to be apart of for me,” said Charles, 42, a professional musician, explaining why he went. “I’m not a super observant Jew…but this is more like my speed.”
600 people attended the peaceful event, estimated a Los Angeles Police Department official on the scene, including people of all ages, backgrounds and denominations. Indeed, early during the parties—which started at 6 p.m. and ended around 10 p.m.—guys and girls snuggled and participated in drum circles; girls in their twenties, wearing boots and tight jeans, lined up to buy barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers and a minyan took place nearby, with Orthodox Jews facing away from the ocean and davening.
“It’s very unorganized,” said Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, executive rabbi at JConnect LA, a young professional organization that held one of the bonfire parties, and he meant that as a compliment.
“If somebody has issues with organized religion,” he added, “this is in the place to come. There’s no program. You just come hang out and enjoy yourself at the beach in honor Lag b’Omer.”
Story continues after the jump.
The beach bonfire parties for Lag b’omer are an annual event on Dockweiler Beach, largely because Dockweiler doesn’t require permits to have bonfires, a traditional aspect of Lag b’Omer celebrations.
Around 9 p.m., approximately one dozen of these bonfires raged at once across the sand, lighting up the night. JConnectLA and Haichal Moshe banded together to throw one of those parties, involving three bonfires that drew hundreds of people. The second largest bonfire party was nearby, made up of congregants of Shabazi synagogue, an Israeli-Yemenite congregation in the Pico-Robertson area, and all around, small groups of people gathered next to other bonfires, scattered across the sand, wearing sweatshirts and pants due to the slightly chilly weather.
Though some people were there simply to hang out, for reasons other than to celebrate Lag b’Omer, the majority came out for the holiday, and a large Israeli flag, planted into the sand, marked the occasion.
Debra Chenay, a landlord in the Pico-Robertson area, came with the Shabazi group, and she said it’s important to acknowledge that Lag b‘Omer is about more than partying.
“We’re supposed to party, but we do try to remember what the point is of Lag b’Omer,” Chenay said, “that it’s the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, and it’s the time to remember” bar Yochai and the students of Rabbi Akiva.
On Sunday, parties took place all across Los Angeles to celebrate the holiday, including a Day of Jewish Unity parade organized by Chabad in the afternoon and Lagapalooza 20011, a concert at the Jewish Community Center of Redondo Beach.
At the Dockweiler parties, there were complaints of long waits at the Schnitzel Wagon Food Truck, and airplanes regularly flew low in the sky overhead - LAX is near Dockweiler beach – but as Ida Zarrabi, a marriage family therapist who came out with her two friends, said, the evening was a positive one, focused on Jewish unity. “It’s such a wonderful feeling to see the Israel flag and all the bonfires here and really get together,” she said. “It’s been really nice.”
May 22, 2011 | 6:47 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
The Washington Convention Center is swelling with the AIPAC delegates from all over the US—about 10,000, a record number. The streets of DC are being overrun by people of all ages and Jewish stripes who—at the heart of it all—love Israel. Due to tight security, they are arriving early, and there are about two hours until Obama is scheduled to speak. Press gets box office seats in the back (too bad no popcorn), and we get to observe and take notes with our laptops.
This means I have about two hours to kill before the highly anticipated event. So enjoy some random shots taken with my FlipCam. Feel like you’re here!