Posted by JewishJournal.com
The three-day fashion week which began on Monday is the first fashion week to be held in Israel since the 1980s
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November 22, 2011 | 5:23 pm
Posted by Julie Gruenbaum Fax
Thanksgiving inevitably brings out a wave of gratitude for the religious freedom Jews enjoy in America, but the whereabouts of one of the earliest symbols of that freedom is now causing some consternation among the Jewish community.
George Washington’s 1790 “Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island” is one of the earliest and most significant declarations of religious freedom in the New World.
In it, Washington affirms that “the Government of the United States ... gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”
But that letter has been out of the public eye since 2002.
As Dan Merica reports on CNN’s Belief Blog, the letter resided with the original addressee, Touro Synagogue in Newport, until the early 19th century, when the struggling synagogue shipped most of its artifacts to New York’s Shearith Israel—but the letter was not included.
The letter didn’t resurface until the early 20th century, when philanthropist Morris Morgenstern revealed that he had purchased the letter. Morgenstern and his PR agent, Howard Rubenstein, arranged for showings starting in the 1950s, and lent the letter to B’nai Brith’s Klutznik Museum in Washington D.C., in 1957. But when that museum closed in 2002, the letter went into condition-controlled storage, and so far the Morgenstern Foundation—Morris Morgenstern died in 1969 – has refused to loan it out for public display.
According to CNN, it even denied a request from the Library of Congress. Merica writes:
Since the letter went into storage in 2002, a number of prominent libraries and museums have asked to display it for B’nai B’rith and the Morris Morgenstern Foundation.
Among them was the Library of Congress, which asked to display the letter during a 2004 exhibit celebrating the 350th anniversary of Jewish life in America. Jennifer Gavin, director of communications at the Library of Congress, said the letter was requested but not obtained.
[Jonathan Sarna, professor at Brandeis University and a pre-eminent scholar on Jewish-American history], helped advise the Library of Congress’ celebration of Jewish life. He said the people he worked with were astonished by the rejection.
“Usually people would die just to be invited to display their property,” Sarna said. “If the Library of Congress wanted something of mine, they would have it the next day with insured mail.”
November 22, 2011 | 2:42 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
Ryan Joseph Braun, left fielder for the Milwaukee Bewers has been named this year’s Most Valuable Player. The Granada Hills native is the son of Joe Braun, who was born in Israel and lost most of his family in the Holocaust. His mother is Catholic, but the baseball player identifies as Jewish.
“I am Jewish,’’ Braun told USA TODAY last year. “It’s something I’m really proud of. But I don’t want to make it into something more than what it is. I didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah. I don’t want to pretend that I did. I didn’t celebrate the holidays.
“It’s a touchy subject because I don’t want to offend anybody, and I don’t want groups claiming me now because I’m having success. But I do consider myself definitely Jewish. And I’m extremely proud to be a role model for young Jewish kids.’‘
November 21, 2011 | 3:27 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
Last night three local news channels carried segments on a special early Thanksgiving feast at Hope Street Family Center in downtown Los Angeles. The TV stations—KNBC, KCBS and Univision—were all on hand to capture the moment, but only Univision, the Spanish-language station, got the full story.
Hope Street helps families and women in need find employment and social services. It serves a predominantly poor, Latino, Catholic population in and around downtown Los Angeles.
For the past seven years, Nashuva, a Jewish congregation, has provided a Thanksgiving feast for the Hope Street residents, usually one or two weeks before the actual holiday.
Nashuva is a Jewish outreach congregation led by Rabbi Naomi Levy. The congregation holds services the first Friday of each month at the Brentwood Presbyterian Church, and holds a social service project the third Sunday of each month around Los Angeles.
“It’s service that leads to service,” reads the group’s web site.
Social service coordinators Julie Drucker and Carol Taubman have worked with Hope Street to coordinate the annual feast. Some 80 Nashuva volunteers cooked and served kosher turkeys, stuffing, sweet potatoes, salad and desserts. Other volunteers conducted games and crafts for the many Hope Street children, while others prepared gift baskets to take home.
The idea, Drucker told Univision, is for two groups of Angelenos to celebrate the holiday together, and to share the bounty of the holiday with those who may not have as much.
To get involved in Hope Street Family Center click here.
To read more about Nashuva, click here.
All photos by Scott Tansey
November 17, 2011 | 6:53 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
“Scroll through L.A.’s top porn agency sites and you’ll find hundreds of pouty women ready to drop to their knees, but just a few dozen men available to have sex with them,” GOOD Lifestyle Editor Amanda Hess writes in her flat-out amazing interview with James Deen, a 25-year-old Jewish porn star. “These guys all have a familiar look—neck chains, frosted tips, unreasonable biceps, tribal tattoos. Deen looks like he was plucked from a particularly intellectual frat house.”
Could she be talking about ZBT? In the world of pornography, Deen has distinguished himself by being very well endowed, sure, but also because he looks, in the words of a fan, “almost like a guy that you would just hang out with at Hebrew school.”
Yup, Deen is apparently Jewish, and not afraid to flaunt it in an interview.
“Here comes my skinny little Jewish ass,” Deen said, describing to Hess his debut in porn. “Everyone’s like, ‘Huh, he stands out.’”
The entire story is here, and is, if you’re at all curious about the weird world of porn, well worth a read.
(h/t Fishbowl LA)
November 17, 2011 | 11:00 am
Posted by Ryan Torok
In this month’s issue of Rolling Stone, author and Rolling Stone contribute editor Matt Taibbi writes that at first he thought Occupy Wall Street’s energy was impressive, but that movement wouldn’t “be taken very seriously by the Citibanks and the Goldman Sachs of the world.” Then he realized that Occupy Wall Street is about more than something against “big banks and finance.” It’s a “forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street, but everything.”
Another choice quote: “People want to go someplace for at least give minutes where no one is trying to bleed you or sell you something. [Occupy Wall Street] may not be a real model for anything, but it’s at least a place where people are free to dream of some other way for human beings to get along…”
Taibbi comes to the conclusion that Occupy Wall Street is “about dropping out, if only for a moment, and trying something new.”
Read the full article, “How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Protests.”
November 16, 2011 | 4:51 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Ignoring a recent call by the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee for American Jewish organizations to avoid using Israel as a political wedge issue, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is taking a firm hold of the Israel political football, and using it against the Republican presidential candidates.
In an email that is, according to Politico, about to be sent out to the Obama campaign and DNC email lists, Wasserman Schultz slams Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry for saying at Saturday’s Republican debate that they’d start “everything at zero” when it comes to foreign aid—including foreign aid to Israel.
So much for “unity” on Israel.
(Update: As Arie Lipnick of the Republican Jewish Coalition pointed out to me in an email this evening, Wasserman Schultz’s decision to use Israel as a partisan issue appears to fly in the face of her comments to this year’s JFNA General Assembly earlier this month, where she said, according to JTA, “Israel should never be used as a political football.”)
The text of the email is below.
“Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry raced each other to the extremes of Tea Party isolationism, saying they’d “start everything at zero” in the foreign aid budget and force Israel and every other ally to make their case for receiving American assistance.
It’s outrageous and dangerous—and it shows a critical ignorance of how a president needs to act. It is never responsible to raise doubts about our commitment to the security of a key ally like Israel.
Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates have spent a lot of time lately saying how much they support Israel—and openly questioning President Obama’s commitment to the Jewish state.
But a stance like this tells us two really important things:
1) These guys are so eager to please the most extreme elements of their Tea Party base that they’d forget about one of the most loyal allies our country has.
2) They fundamentally don’t understand our current foreign policy agreements, like the commitments we’ve made to Israel that establish certain levels of aid for years to come.
At the end of the day, foreign aid is a tiny fraction of the federal budget—less than one percent—that goes a long way to support our national security and economic goals abroad. The cuts these candidates propose wouldn’t make a dent in the deficit, but they would wreak absolute havoc on our foreign policy and America’s standing in the world.
In typical fashion, the Romney campaign tried to say two different things to two different audiences, releasing a statement to try to walk back his words—saying he was referring only to Pakistan. But one look at the transcript shows otherwise: “One of the things we have to do with our foreign aid commitments, the ongoing foreign aid commitments, I agree with Governor Perry. You start everything at zero.”
November 15, 2011 | 10:42 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
In light of the unannounced clearing of Occupy Wall Street from its place in Zuccotti Park in Downtown New York early Tuesday morning, I thought it would be a good day to take a look at how Occupy L.A. was doing, forty-some-odd days into its occupation.
Everything is still there—including this familiar-looking temporary structure.