Posted by Julie Gruenbaum Fax
The culture clash – or mesh – was everywhere at the Grove in Los Angeles the Sunday before Christmas and Chanukah.
Not only did the Christmas quartet serenade a shopping Chasidic family with rounds of the Chanukah standard Mi Yamalel in front of Santa’s House, but the well-crafted Chanukah display was inadvertantly placed to evoke the holiday’s original culture clash.
Ezra, my 13-year-old son, noticed that the 7-foot-high Menorah and presents stood right in front of the restaurant, Greek Meze Cuisine.
It was of course the attempts of the Seleucid rulers to impose Greek culture in the Holy Land that led Judah Maccabee to revolt. Little did Judah know that the symbol of his fight against assimilation would be served up some 1,800 years later with a side of feta and grape leaves.
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December 18, 2011 | 11:17 pm
Posted Jewish Journal
Here’s a shout out to HEEB for spotting the full-on matzoh display at the Whole Foods on Fairfax today, with a sign blasting “Share Hanukkah Favorites”...an invite to share your favorite Chanukah recipes using….matzoh meal? Where’s the grease?
Thank, Heeb, you could almost have invented this one—cool as it is, set in the frum-adjascent neighborhood, couldn’t you?!
December 15, 2011 | 8:36 am
Posted by JewishJournal.com
The reggae pop star Matisyahu sent a Twitter message to his followers Tuesday morning announcing that he has shaved his beard. The video below shows a smooth-cheeked Matisyahu, explaining to New York’s WYNC radio station why he decided to shave his beard.
December 14, 2011 | 11:44 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
The Six-Day War in 1967 was a brilliant military victory, a turning point in Israel’s history and if the U.S. had scored a similar triumph, there would have been half a dozen movies with John Wayne single-handedly wiping out the Arab armies.
Yet, the Israeli film industry has never made a feature movie on this dramatic event, but now two American producers have come forward to remedy the omission.
Their film, tentatively titled “Jerusalem ’67.” Is based on the authoritative book “The Battle for Jerusalem, June 5-7” by veteran Jerusalem Post reporter Abraham Rabinovich, who left the United States to cover the war.
Two New York lawyers are the driving force behind the project. One is Joseph Schick, an ardent history buff, who started the ball rolling 18 months ago after devouring Rabinovich’s eyewitness account, anchored in interviews with 300 participants.
Schick enlisted fellow Columbia Law School graduate Jacob Septimus, who has produced and directed a number of TV shows and documentaries for national networks.
Together, Schick and Septimus flew to Israel, arrived at a deal to buy the film rights to the book, and visited some of the main sites of the 1967 war.
After interviewing a number of scriptwriters, they chose the English and Hebrew bilingual Lior Geller, 32, raised in New Jersey and a graduate of the Tel Aviv University film school.
For his graduate project, Geller wrote and directed “Roads,” set in a drug-infested Arab neighborhood of Lod. The short student film has won 24 international awards, including an Oscar nomination.
He recently completed a screenplay about Israeli spy Eli Cohen for the upcoming movie “Alone in Damascus,” and has also finished the script for the action-thriller “Run from the Devil,” to be produced by Oasis Media Group.
During a visit to my home, Septimus and Geller discussed the “Jerusalem ‘67” movie, with Schick adding his observations in a phone call from New York.
Schick noted that in a sense the city of Jerusalem itself will be the protagonist, with the capital’s mood chronicled from one month before the outbreak of fighting to its aftermath until the end of the year.
The film will be in English, with an international cast. Although leading historical figures, like Generals Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, and Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek will be portrayed, the emphasis will on the action and attitudes of ordinary soldiers and citizens, Septimus said.
“Our characters will be based on real people – including an attractive female ambulance driver,” Geller added.
At this point in time, Geller has finished his first draft of the screenplay. No director or actors have been selected, but the film will be shot entirely in Israel.
The anticipated budget of the movie is around $5 million, a hefty sum in Israel though modest by Hollywood standards.
The two producers expect to raise one-third of the sum from Jewish individuals and organizations in the United States, one-third from Israel sources, and one-third from production companies.
Actor Mel Gibson, not otherwise noted for his philo-Semitism but who is reportedly interested on helming a film on the ancient Maccabees, may want to invest in the project, Septimus suggested.
If all goes well, “Jerusalem ‘67” will be released for public viewing in 2013, or possibly 2014.
“We will not make a hasbara, or propaganda, film,” Schick emphasized, “but it will favor the Israeli perspective.”
December 14, 2011 | 3:52 am
Posted by Ryan Torok
Local rabbis, cantors, Los Angeles City Council members, community members and many others came together and celebrated Hanukkah early this year at Los Angeles City Hall.
Approximately 125 people turned out for the Board of Rabbis of Southern California’s third annual Hanukkah celebration at City Hall, taking place on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 13.
“This was bigger and better than ever,” said Rabbi Mark Diamond, executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis.
For the past three years, the Board of Rabbis, a transdenominational organization with over 300 rabbis as members, has held a free and open-to-the-public Hanukkah party at City Hall as a way to bring together the intrafaith Jewish community and local leaders both Jewish and non-Jewish. The party is held with the Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
This year’s one-hour event took place in the City Hall rotunda room. A Menorah, with nine light bulbs, stood on the stage and an even bigger Christmas tree - not apart of the celebration - decorated the center of the room. Villarigosa was not in attendance, as he is in China.
Rabbis and local officials delivered speeches one at a time while taking turns lighting candles on the menorah (well, actually, twisting a bulb on the menorah). Attendees enjoyed live music – courtesy of OurSpace, Temple Aliyah’s special needs children’s and young adult choir and Temple Beth Hillel’s choir - and free sufganiyot and Coffee Bean coffee.
City council members couldn’t participate to the full extent that the event organizers had hoped, as council was in session at the same time of the party and voting on an issue – much like a minyan, city council votes require ten members, and since there were only 11 city council members present on the day of the party, one at a time came out to the party in the rotunda room and either lit a candle or briefly danced.
“It was a great little festival to kick off Hanukkah, said Councilmember Tom LaBonge, speaking after the party in an interview.
“I came to dance and said, ‘Happy Hanuukah to everyone,’” he said.
Watch post-party video interviews with attendees:
City Council President Eric Garcetti lit one of the candles at the party; City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, City Controller Wendy Gruel, Assemblymember Mike Feuer were among the attendees.
Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian, Jose Huizar and Bill Rosendahl and Jan Perry dropped by as well, as did Andrew Cushnir, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and David Siegel, Israel’s consul general for the southwestern United States.
Appointed to the position of consul general at the end this past summer, the event was Siegel’s first Hanukkah celebration at City Hall.
Participating clergy included Rabbi Judith HaLevy (Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue), Rabbi Sarah Hronsky (Temple Beth Hillel), Rabbi Joshua Hoffman (Valley Beth Shalom), Rabbi Gilbert Kollin (Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center), Rabbi Sarah Bassin (NewGround, a Jewish-Muslim bridge-building organization); and Cantors Marcelo Gindlin and Mike Stein.
In addition to music and food, the event featured plenty of expressions of solidarity.
“One of the best things that this event brings out is the ability of [L.A.] City Council to speak and to share their thoughts, and they all share their affiliation and their appreciation for the Jewish community,” Hoffman said. “They all talk about the underlying values that Hanukkah is all about and they really attach them to what the mission of the city is and the work that they do.”
Hanukkah doesn’t start until December 20, but the Board of Rabbis held the party early to accommodate the vacation schedules of city council members.
Diamond said that he and other clergy used to take issue with a Hanukkah celebration in a public space, but he no longer feels that way. “I think it’s a wonderful reflection of the joy of Hanukkah,” he said.
Hronsky, who served as master of ceremonies and co-chaired the event with Hoffman, emphasized the diverse crowd the event attracts, “To have all of these communities join together to celebrate freedom of religions as well as the dedication of the temple is a beautiful thing,” she said.
“Truly a gift,” she added. Perhaps it was the perfect one for Hanukkah.
December 13, 2011 | 10:39 am
Posted by Jay Firestone
Justin Bieber meets McLovin…Chanukah-style.
Sporting child-sized pin-striped fedoras and decked out in NFL attire, the B-Boyz (a.k.a. Ben, Jake and Max Borenstein) rock out to their latest YouTube hit, “Menorah Hearts,” a holiday-themed parody of “Stereo Hearts” by Adam Levine and Gym Class Heroes.
Of course, with all different Chanukah videos online now, what differentiates these kids from everyone else?
I’d have to say the thuggish demeanor that only the innocence of a Jewish child can truly grasp. Enjoy.
B-Boyz hit song last year was another “Dynamite” parody that would’ve given the Maccabeats a run for their money (For the record the B-Boyz version, was posted a full 4 days before the Maccabeats’ version.).
December 9, 2011 | 4:40 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
[UPDATE, MONDAY, DEC. 12]
Immigration authorities won’t be deporting Israeli Adi Zinder of Woodland Hills just yet.
Zinder has been residing illegally in the United States since the age of 10 and last week, he was almost deported back to Israel before a last minute request from his lawyer stopped the deportation process.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began the process of deporting Zinder last week, moving him from Mira Loma Detention Center in W. Lancaster, CA to a processing center in El Paso, Texas, preparing for his removal out of the country aboard an ICE charter flight. ICE’s made the decision to deport Zinder after receiving a travel document from the Israeli government last November. The document allows for the admissibility of Zinder, who is 32-years-old and worked around Los Angeles as a truck driver, back into Israel.
The latest update about Zinder - provided to the Journal via email by an ICE spokesperson around 2:30 p.m. on Monday - is that he is returning to California. Late last Friday, ICE granted Zinder a stay of removal, a request that “prevents the Department of Homeland Security from executing an order of removal, deportation, or exclusion” of aliens, according to ICE spokesperson Virgina Kice. Zinder’s lawyer requested the stay of removal.
The stay of removal was granted in the nick of time, approved the week that ICE moved Zinder to El Paso, Texas, with the intention of deporting him.
The stay of removal will keep Zinder in the U.S. for six months, Kice said. His fate afterwards is unknown. Meanwhile, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will review Zinder’s petition for a green card, which Zinder filed on the basis that he has an immediate relative (his wife) who is an American citizen.
For now, Zinder will remain in custody while USCIS reviews his petition for a green card. However, his sister-in-law, in an interview with the Journal, mentioned the possibility of the family posting bail to free him.
For more than a year, Zinder was in custody at Mira Loma, a detention center under contact by ICE that holds illegal immigrants until their cases are resolved.
ICE arrested Zinder in September 2010. Officers came for him in the middle of the night, relying on the element of surprise to ensure his cooperation, said his sister-in-law, Carolina Landazuri.
Read previous post below for insight on how the story has developed.
Yesterday, Israeli native Adi Zinder, 32, who has been living in the U.S. illegally since the age of 10, was possibly on his way to being deported (read my story here, and the L.A. Weekly story here).
Today, his family received word that his
and that he will return to California. This breakthrough follows his recent removal to a holding facility in El Paso, Texas. [CORRECTION, DEC. 12, 10:36 A.M.]: Zinder’s lawyer filed a stay of removal, effectively halting the deportation, and ICE is currently reviewing the stay of removal request while keeping Zinder in custody in the United States. His petition for legal residency is also under review by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). ICE and USCIS are Department of Homeland Security agencies.
Zinder, who is married to an American woman, isn’t coming home yet -
. A detention facility in W. Lancaster, CA holding him since he was taken from his house in Woodland Hills by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. [CORRECTION, DEC. 12, 10:48 A.M.] Zinder will remain in ICE custody for the time being. ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice declined to disclose Zinder’s current location, speaking to the Journal Monday morning.
[UPDATE: DEC. 12, 10:53 A.M.] Zinder’s family offered details about Zinder’s future. He will be returned to the Mira Loma Detention Facility in W. Lancaster, CA, where he will begin the process of applying for his green card, his sister-in-law, Carolina Landazuri said. He will be fingerprinted for at least the second time, she said.
Landazuri said she felt “a nervous happiness” upon learning that Zinder’s lawyers’ stay of removal request stopped Linder’s deportation.
“We won’t be completely comfortable until he’s not in a detention center and he’s back home with his family,” she said.
Zinder was living in Woodland Hills before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided his home last fall and took him into custody. Zinder is in custody in an El Paso Processing Center, according to the ICE website. ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley could not confirm if Zinder was being returned to California.
On the night of Sept. 24, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers (ICE) took Zinder from his Woodland Hills home, Landazuri said. From then until last week, Zinder was held in Mira Loma and moved twice to a detention facility in downtown Los Angeles, she said.
Zinder took a long time to apply for legal residency because he figured that since he was married, it wasn’t so urgent, Landazuri said. Zinder works professionally as a truck driver.
On Tuesday of this week, ICE transported Zinder to El Paso, Landazuri said, and he was en route to New Orleans when his petition was approved. As of the publication of this article, the ICE website confirms that Zinder is in custody at an El Paso processing center.
The Journal was unable to confirm with ICE that Zinder was in the midst of being relocated to New Orleans when his petition for legal status was approved, nor would they confirm that he is coming back to California. ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley declined to comment on the specifics of Zinder’s case, citing her agency’s policy to not provide details about individual cases. However, there is a possibility the agency will release an official statement about Zinder, Haley said.
L.A. Weekly broke the story about Zinder yesterday, after Zinder’s family took the advice of an immigration advocacy group and went to L.A. Weekly yesterday to bring more exposure to Zinder’s situation. Landazuri says she believes there’s a connection between L.A. Weekly running the story, which you can read here, and Zinder’s petition getting approved.
Landazuri, who is married to Zinder’s brother, has been receiving updates about her brother via his immigration lawyer, who the family obtained for Ziner the day after he was taken by ICE. She declined to provide the lawyer’s name. Landazuri has been speaking on behalf of Zinder’s family - his mother, nieces and nephews and his brother - to media and respective agencies that have interest in Zinder’s case.
ICE is trying to return Zinder to Mira Loma by early next week, Landazuri said.
December 9, 2011 | 2:54 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
At the Republican Jewish Coalition forum, Jews commemorate the miracle of incredibly religious Christian presidential candidates fighting over who loves Jews more.