Posted by JewishJournal
Jack Black will sing, dance, and do whatever you need to believe he’s qualified for Hebrew school.
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April 24, 2012 | 2:19 pm
“The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart has been the site of some controversies lately, and this week it was the host himself who was caught in a furor.
First, Ricky Gervais cracked some Anne Frank jokes on the show, then had to explain himself and his “intentionally ignorant” comedy. This week it was Stewart himself who found himself under fire from the Catholic League for suggesting that women use “vagina mangers” to call attention to threats to female reproductive freedom.
Stewart has criticized Fox News for using the term “war on ...” from Christmas to salt, yet holding back from saying “war on women” in reference to recent abortion and birth control debates. To catch Fox News’ attention, Stewart advised women to put “vagina mangers” over their genitalia to catch the media’s attention. His suggestion came with a graphic that featured the manger as the Nativity scene.
That upset the Catholic League, which launched a campaign to boycott Stewart and Comedy Central. The league’s president, Bill Donohue, was scheduled to appear on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Tuesday to discuss the boycott campaign.
April 22, 2012 | 10:32 pm
Posted by JewishJournal
Two brothers who were accused of beating a black teenager while patrolling an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Baltimore are set to go on trial Monday. The case is similar to that of Trayvon Martin according to Yahoo.com.
The brothers, who are white and Jewish, have claimed self-defense, saying the teen was holding a nail-studded board. Local civil rights activists hope the Martin case will draw more attention to what they believe was racial profiling by neighborhood watch vigilantes.
Eliyahu and Avi Werdesheim are accused of beating a 15-year-old boy who was walking through a Baltimore neighborhood in November 2010. The brothers pulled up next to the teen in a vehicle, then got out and “surrounded him,” according to charging documents. The passenger threw the teen to the ground and the driver hit him in the head with a hand-held radio and patted him down.
The teen remembered the driver yelling, “You wanna (mess) with us, you don’t belong around here, get outta here!” according to court documents, which do not identify which brother was driving.
Read more at Yahoo.com.
April 19, 2012 | 12:13 pm
Posted by JewishJournal
West Virginian Senate candidate John Raese compared a local smoking ban to the Nazi’s use of the Star of David during World War II, the Huffington Post reports.
Speaking in Hurricane, W.Va., last Thursday at the Putnam County Lincoln Day Dinner, Raese turned to Monongalia County’s recently enacted smoking ban as an example of government overreach.
“But in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say this is a smoke-free environment. This is brought to you by the government of Monongalia County. Okay?” he said. “Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that? Same thing.”
Read more at HuffingtonPost.com.
April 12, 2012 | 3:42 pm
Posted by Elan Rodman
Running out of ideas on how to use left-over matzah? How about a matzah pizza? In the past you probably baked matzah pizza at home. You spread the cheese and sauce on your matzah and you threw it in the oven.
But now, someone can do it all for you. Fresh Brothers pizza is offering an opportunity for Jews to eat Italian out for once during Passover.
During Passover “Aren’t we always looking for something to use matzah with?” said Fresh Brothers pizza founder and CEO Adam Goldberg, who with his brothers helps operate the small chain, which serves his family’s rendition of the traditional Passover classic.
On a crisp spring day, I headed down to the Manhattan Beach location and discovered the feast for myself. As I walked through the door, the smell of pizza hit me, and on this Passover day, I realized I need a piece.
“We have six stores in areas with considerable Jewish Communities,” said Adam Goldberg. “The service aspect of making the pizza is that we are giving people a place to go and eat out, during a time when Jews normally don’t,” he added.
As I sat down, I noticed the promotion for the matzah pizza. Every napkin-holder had a colorful ad with the phrase: “Lotsa Matzoh”, with an image of a matzah pizza. It was refreshing to see Passover and Jewish food culture on colorful display. In a Hallmark world full of holiday branding and over-saturation, Adam and his Brothers’ marketing strategy nuanced a non-kosher pizza joint into a joyful Passover celebration.
The unusual idea of eating out during Passover stirred me to try his rendition. I wanted to find out what was different about his take on matzah pizza.
“We use a part skim milk cheese, which isn’t greasy and yet very moist”, said Goldberg.
After my first bite, I noticed the difference the cheese made. Also, the matzah had a nice firmness to it and featured charred edges, which left an enjoyable tempered smokiness while playing off by the moist cheese.
Who makes up the market for matzah pizza shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“You can’t identify who is a Jew is, but you can when they order a matzah pizza this week,” said Goldberg.
Yes, it probably was sacrilegious to eat in a Non-Kosher restaurant during Passover, but we live in a different world now. Jews’ ideological views about kashrut stretch beyond our traditional reform, conservative or orthodox conceptions of food. For the average Jew, who’s Passover dinning out habits include removing grilled meat off a tortilla or ordering a sandwich with bread on the side, having a prepared dish with matzah can be as welcoming as any comfort food.
Think about making matzah pizza at home? Here’s a family recipe with a new age Neapolitan twist that will leave you asking for more.
Neapolitan Matzah Pizza
1. In a frying pan, brown onions until they caramelize.
2. Apply pizza sauce to matzah. Spread pizza sauce evenly over matzah.
3. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over pizza. Bake in oven at 400 degrees. Watch carefully, when pizza is done, the cheese will be melted and bubbly.
4. When done cooking, remove from oven and apply arugula
April 11, 2012 | 3:32 pm
Posted by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
My rabbinic colleagues often remark to me how much they care about and even love their congregants. In particular, they appreciate the compliment-giver, volunteer-giver, and the humble servant. The compliment-giver feels deep appreciation for all the community provides and likes to express this gratitude. The volunteer-giver does not just make suggestions for improvements but jumps at the opportunity to contribute to improve the community. The humble servant is rarely seen in public leadership but is consistently contributing behind the scenes to ensure that things operate smoothly. Serving these individuals makes the strenuous work of rabbis an utter delight.
One of the most common complaints I hear from rabbinic colleagues, on the other hand, is not the long hours, stressful counseling sessions, or the difficulty of attracting new members. Indeed, worse than low numbers is the appearance of a challenging congregant. Just as there is almost always a student in the class holding a group back with constant jokes, there are often a handful of shul members who strain the emotional patience of the rabbi and other congregational leaders.
There are three types of tough congregants: the kvetcher (complainer), the schnorer (beggar), and the mazik (troublemaker). The kvetcher is irritated by everything – the custom should always be different, and everything is offensive. The schnorer always wants something – worst of all, they take your time even when there is no question or task to address. The most draining, however, is the mazik. This individual feeds off of conflict and tension, and always needs to be the center of attention. Anyone else, especially those in leadership, is subject to attack at any moment. The mazik alienates other congregants, frustrates spiritual leadership, and makes the congregation an unsafe and unhealthy place. Because of these individuals, well-meaning people searching for spiritual succor instead dread going to the synagogue, beit midrash, or community program. One rabbinic colleague recently shared with me that he quit leading his pulpit he loved after many years of service because of a small handful of these individuals who drained all of his spiritual energy.
Of course, these challenging congregants must be shown respect and love (and on occasion encouraged to seek psychiatric treatment), but we also need defined boundaries for the preservation of the community. After all, it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch. The sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yokhai tells this story: “A man in a boat began to bore a hole under his seat. His fellow passengers protested. ‘What concern is it of yours,’ he responded, ‘I am making a hole under my seat, not yours.’ They replied, ‘That is so, but when the water enters and the boat sinks, we too will drown’” (Leviticus Rabbah 4:6).
Spiritual leaders commit to serving all congregants regardless of their moral character, but it is the job of the congregational staff, board, and lay leaders to shield spiritual leaders when this goes overboard. Most abuse goes unseen: 3 AM phone calls on issues that could wait until the morning, 5-page emails with 20 questions, and complaints about the potato chip brand served at Kiddush.
In extreme cases, a farbisener hunt (mean, bitter person) can threaten to turn our warm spiritual homes into dreary and toxic places. Thus, when they speak gossip, complain left and right, and abuse community privileges, everyone should work cooperatively to address the problem. Fortunately, the kvetcher, schnorer, and mazik are exceptions. The majority of congregants are wonderful, and they enrich and enjoy each other’s company. They make the tireless rabbi’s toil worth the effort.
We can all pause to ask ourselves: what type of congregant am I? Where do I operate as the compliment-giver, volunteer-giver, and the humble servant? Where do I operate as the kvetcher, schnorer, and mazik? Am I adding positive energy to the congregation or am I draining the community? Am I defending congregational leaders and congregants who are being drained? Sometimes we have to inquire of others what role we play as we may have blind spots.
Spiritual homes should prioritize inclusivity so that all feel welcome but this does not mean that everything goes. To ensure that a community is inclusive, warm, and safe, there need to be limits and practices that are identified as harmful to one or all.
Congregations are not places where we seek to be served but holy sanctuaries where we learn the art of giving to actualize our potentials.
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek, the Director of Jewish Life & the Senior Jewish Educator at the UCLA Hillel and a 6th year doctoral candidate at Columbia University in Moral Psychology & Epistemology. Rav Shmuly’s book “Jewish Ethics & Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century” is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
April 10, 2012 | 6:42 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
“Politcial gadfly” Michael Carreon, a resident of Los Angeles’ 14th council district objected to the rules of decorum at a City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 10, accusing Councilman Tom LaBonge, chair of the meeting, of being dictatorial, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.
Carreon, a regular commenter at such meetings, reportedly said: “The city’s going to hell in a handbasket, and you’re going to sit up there and dictate,” according to The Times. “Now I’m confused on where I’ve got to go, I’m upset, so I guess I’ll just salute you.” Then he raised his hand and said “Heil Hitler.”
Councilman Paul Koretz, who is Jewish, threatened to have Carreon evicted, but no such action was taken.
April 10, 2012 | 2:30 pm
Posted by Six Degrees (No Bacon), JTA
Drake released his newest music video this week, titled “HYFR” (Hell Yeah F***ing Right). It features a lot of swearing, dancing women in minimal clothing and fellow rapper Lil’ Wayne.
What makes this video different from all other music videos?
Well, for one thing, the entire video is set in a synagogue, where Drake gets re-bar mitzvah’d. The provocative clip opens with actual footage of young Drake (then Aubrey Graham) saying “Mazel tov” to the camera and dancing at a bar mitzvah. He is also seen reading from the Torah (and later destroying a Torah-like cake). With all the cursing and scantily clad women, this is one bar mitzvah to which you wouldn’t want to invite your grandfather.