Posted JTA Staff
Michael Diamond (Mike D.) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), the two surviving Beastie Boys, have signed a deal with Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, to write a book about their careers.
According to The New York Times, the Jewish rappers plan on being as out of the box in their writing as they were with their music.
“The first words out of Mike’s mouth were, ‘I don’t want to do a straight memoir,’ ” said Luke Janklow, the group’s agent.
Instead the book will be “a multidimensional experience,” said Julie Grau of Spiegel & Grau. ”There is a kaleidoscopic frame of reference, and it asks a reader to keep up.”
The book, which will be edited by hip-hop journalist Sacha Jenkins and is slated for the fall of 2015, will include images as well as passages by other writers. Per Grau and Janklow, fans can expect something similar in style to Grand Royal, the irreverent magazine put out by the Beasties in the '90s.
Adam Yauch (MCA), the third member of the group, died last year at age 47 of cancer of the salivary gland.
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April 25, 2013 | 4:47 pm
Posted by JewishJournal.com
There's an email going around with the headline, "Norway's last 819 jews are now leaving the country."
Bottom line: it's false.
The Jewish Journal has received multiple copies in the past month, with urgent requests to act. In fact, the rumor has been circulating for over a year. Meanwhile, here's what the Anti-Defamation League has to say about it:
Alarmist E-Mail Claims Norway is 'Judenrein'
November 6, 2012
An e-mail rumor, with a subject line "Europe again becoming 'Judenfrei' and soon 'Judenrein,'" claims that "the last 819 Jews still living in Norway are now leaving the country due to the rise of anti-Semitism."
The e-mail goes on to cite a litany of attacks by Muslims against Jewish communities in Norway and elsewhere in Europe, and warns that "history is repeating itself."
Much of the information in this e-mail message is alarmist and outright false.
ADL is in close contact with the leadership of the Norwegian Jewish community. The community has assured us there is absolutely no truth to the claim that all 819 Norwegian Jews have left. The Jewish population of Norway is approximately 1,700 and there has not been any significant emigration.
So: There has been no significant emigration of Jews from Norway, and the population is twice what the email claims is it. Meanwhile this email has been posted on numerous Jewish web sites, and pased around as fact.
There are anti-semitic undercurrents and actions in Norwegian society, and a study in 2010 found anti-semitism among the country's Muslim community. But the Jewish community there does not see these as representative of Norway as a whole, or as portending greater danger.
For more information click here.
And yes, the photo is of a Norwegian Jew, from the web site of the "Jewish Journal" of Norway.
April 25, 2013 | 11:57 am
Posted by Tom Tugend
Burton Levin, an 88-year old Sherman Oaks resident, apparently shot himself Tuesday morning, shortly after phoning relatives to tell them that he had just given a lethal dose of medication to his 85-year old wife Lenore.
The report from www.shermanoaks.patch.com cited an assessment by Los Angeles police detectives that the couple’s deaths were motivated by despondency over their declining health.
Police examining the Levin home in the 3500 block of Weslin Ave. found a firearm and medication. No other details are available at this time.
April 24, 2013 | 3:15 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
So, 17-year-old Milken Community High School senior Jake Davidson won’t be putting a corsage on Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton’s wrist, after all.
On April 24, Davidson told the Journal that the American model and actress has turned down the invitation to his high school prom – this despite the viral success of Davidson’s March 17 YouTube video where he asked Upton to go out with him (the video has racked up more than 2.5 million views to date), Upton’s tweet on March 19, "you can call me Katie if you want! How could I turn down that video! I'll check my schedule ” and a March 20 “The Today Show” episode where Upton phoned in unannounced to tell Davidson, “I absolutely loved the video” and led Davidson--and everyone watching--to believe that she might actually go with him.
Davidson is taking the rejection like a good sport.
“While I would have loved for Kate to come to my prom, I understand she is a very busy and in demand professional and I am so grateful for Kate responding at all," he said in an email.
Upton’s camp could not be reached immediately on Wednesday afternoon for comment.
The Los Angeles Times reported on March 26 that Upton turned down Davidson’s request due to her schedule being booked, but, speaking to the Journal three days later, Davidson said her official reply remained a maybe. Well, now we know for sure it’s not happening.
In related news, Los Angeles actress Jessica Rachel’s parody of Davidson’s video is getting some buzz.
“I know I may not be a famous swimsuit model, but I do look pretty terrific in a bikini,” Rachel says in “Kate Upton Says No - Bikini Babe says ‘Yes Jake Davidson.'" (Warning: Rachel's video contains some sexual images.)
Even if he didnt get the prom date he'd hoped for, Davidson still adores Upton.
"I appreciate everything she did as it made my senior year really surreal," he said. "She really is awesome!”
April 23, 2013 | 2:18 pm
Posted JTA Staff
After a horrible week in their city, one Bostonians surely want to forget, singer Neil Diamond brought them a memorable moment.
Diamond came to Fenway Park on Saturday, when the Red Sox played their first home game following the Boston Marathon bombing five days earlier. It was also less than a day after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the bombing, was captured following a manhunt that included a shootout with police and a lockdown on Boston and other area towns. Tsarnaev's brother, considered the leader in the bombing plot, was killed in the gunfire.
In the eighth inning, Diamond came on the field to perform his "Sweet Caroline," which since the early 2000s has been sung at least once a game by the Fenway faithful to a Diamond recording.
According to MLB.com’s Jason Mastrodonato, Diamond decided to fly to Boston from Los Angeles on Friday night and arrived an hour before the afternoon game. Then he called the people at Fenway and said, “Hey, I’m here. Can I come sing?”
Of course, he put on a great show, and everyone sang along with the “pa pa pa!” part.
A night after the marathon bombing, the rival New York Yankees had played "Sweet Caroline," without Diamond, when they squared off against the Sox at Yankee Stadium.
April 23, 2013 | 1:45 am
Posted Jewish Journal
Did Tamarlan Tsarnaev kill three of his Jewish friends?
The Boston Globe is reporting that the former friends of the man assumed responsible for the Boston marathon bombings now wonder if Tamarlan Tsarnaev, who died after the bombings in a shootout with police, was the perpetrator in a grisly unsolved murder that took place in 2011.
On September 12, 2011, Brendan Mess, Raphael Teken, 37, and Erik Weissman, 31 were found stabbed to death in an apartment in nearby Waltham. The men had deep wounds to their necks, their bodies were strewn with thousands of dollars worth of marijuana, and police recovered $5,000 in cash at the scene. There was no sign of forced entry. Police said they believe the murders were "targeted and not a random act of violence."
Mess, who was Jewish, was a close friend of Tsarnaev. So friends thought it was especially strange when Tsarnaev did not show up at Mess's funeral.
"Tam wasn't there at the memorial service, he wasn't at the funeral, he wasn't around at all," a friend of the murdered men told the Globe. "And he was really close with Brendan. That's why it's so weird when he said, 'I don't have any American friends.'"
"He was somebody who was in contact with Brendan on a daily basis. Anybody like that, you would think they would have been around," Ray said.
Mess and Tsarnaev met at a Jiu Jitsu gym, and trained together regularly.
According to multple reports, Mess, Teken and Weissman were Jewish. Teken had attended Brandeis University, and Weissman took a active role in his synagogue. The murder took place about two and a half miles from the Brandeis campus.
Their murder, which a Waltham police officer called, "the worst bloodbath I have ever seen in a long law enforcement career," came on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 World Trade Center terror attack by Muslim extremists.
The Boston Globe first reported that police are now reinvestigating the case, which has so far gone unsolved. Former friends of the deceased say once they heard Tsarnaev's name mentioned in conjunction with the Marathon bombings, their suspicion grew.
"A few of my friends, without even speaking about it beforehand, have all been thinking this," said one former acquaintance.
The online newspaper WickedLocal.com carried more detailed news of the murdered men after their brutal deaths sent shockwaves through the community. According to the website:
Former CRLS teacher Larry Aaronson who attended the Mess and Weissman funeral services this week said hundreds of friends, neighbors and classmatesturned out to pay tribute.
“For me the greatest pain and deepest grief of these ghastly murders is the tragic mystery of why and how these two gifted and talented social geniuses, intellectsthat engendered so much love and generated so much generosity, nevertheless made certain choices that led to this death trap,” he said.
Weissman was Aaronson’s student in the now defunct The Pilot School at CRLS, where he enjoyed the vibrant culture but failed to grow academically, Aaronson said. Weissman enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the urban nightlife, he said, but was also a “ voracious reader” with a “creative mind” that he used to “challenge conventional wisdom.”
Despite its tragic and mysterious nature, the homicide of the three young men received little national attention. That's clearly about to change.
April 16, 2013 | 4:32 pm
Posted JTA Staff
Justin Bieber, no stranger to controversy, stirred another one with his visit to the Anne Frank House.
Bieber, visiting the Netherlands over the weekend for a concert in Arnhem, visited the landmark on Friday night for two hours. Afterward he wrote in the guestbook, “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
Of course, the comment made the Internet explode, since so many online already are dedicated to either loving or hating Bieber. Here was one comment: ”I just can’t believe that he would turn something that important into a publicity platform for himself. What a dirtbag.” That was just the tip of the iceberg.
True Beliebers (who did not spend their childhood hiding in the attic from Nazis) said in his defense that he is “just a human” and that it was “ironic that all of you are spewing hate. Isn’t this why Anne Frank and countless others had to go into hiding?”
Missing the point a little, but a good thought.
The authority on offensiveness, the ADL's Abraham Foxman, said Frank was a fan of celebrities and pop culture, so he doesn’t ”see anything wrong” with what Bieber wrote. At least Biebs dodged that bullet.
April 12, 2013 | 9:03 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS) has rejected accusations that the organization or any member of its staff attempted to shield a known pedophile from law enforcement.
Responding to reports that first appeared on April 10 in the Sydney Morning Herald, a respected Australian newspaper, the 157-year-old L.A.-based social services agency released a statement reaffirming its commitment to following “all mandated reporting laws to the letter.”
The statement also defended its former staff member, Debbie Fox, who until October 2012 was the director of children and family services at JFS, and who also served as director of the Aleinu Family Resource Center, an arm of JFS that serves the local Orthodox community.
“At no time did Aleinu staff ever shield a suspect from local or international law enforcement in any way whatsoever, nor would they ever do so,” JFS’ statement read. “Rather, Aleinu staff follows all mandated reporting laws to the letter, working closely with local law enforcement, without exception.”
The original report in the Herald, just one of a string of stories coming out about abuse within the Australian Jewish community, is connected to the case of a single unnamed alleged Jewish child abuser from Australia who later made his home in Los Angeles. That individual is, according to the Herald, under investigation by detectives in Australia. In 2011, the man’s case was brought to Fox’s attention by an unnamed accuser, who alleged that he had been molested by this individual in Australia.
According to JFS CEO Paul Castro, the alleged victim approached Fox hoping to “find a way to get the powers that be, within the Orthodox community, to pay attention to this individual that she identified as an alleged perpetrator.”
“He didn’t give us particulars, he didn’t give us details,” Castro said of the alleged victim. “He said it was something that occurred many years ago in a different community.”
As a result, Castro said, Fox never opened a file about the case, but she did bring the matter to the attention of a council of Orthodox rabbis that consults with Aleinu on matters where legal action is not possible but where the community’s interests may require that some protective action be taken.
“From our perspective and Debbie’s,” Castro told the Journal, “it was about how to connect the person who was making the allegations and the alleged perpetrator to resources within the Orthodox community.”
Fox contacted the Journal on April 12 but said she could not speak immediately with a reporter. She agreed to be interviewed within the coming days.
Rabbi Avrohom Union, the rabbinic administrator of the Rabbinical Council of California, is a member of Aleinu’s Halachic Advisory Board. Although he could not recall the details of the case, he said he did remember Fox bringing the case to the group’s attention.
But, Union said, as a matter of course, the rabbis on the board were not consulted about whether to report cases where the law clearly required it; Fox, Aleinu staff and JFS as an agency are all mandated reporters under California law.
Rather, Union said, “The matters that were brought to us were where there was no legal remedy, and we considered what additional steps could be taken to provide protection where there was a concern for the community.”
The Herald story, which ran under the headline “Jewish welfare group knows it is sheltering a paedophile,” focused on what JFS and Fox knew and did in 2011 after the unnamed alleged victim warned Fox about the unnamed alleged abuser. The article quoted from e-mails reportedly written by Fox and “obtained from U.S. sources” that suggest Fox was protecting a known abuser.
“I have no idea how anyone found out — but calls are coming daily from many sources,” Fox reportedly wrote in an e-mail that the Herald report claimed Fox had sent to the alleged abuser. “So far, we've been protecting you.''
But according to Nancy Volpert, JFS’ director of public policy and media relations, no one from JFS was contacted by the Sydney Morning Herald either before the publication of the story or since.
“They did not attempt to reach us through any of the media channels or through our main contacts,” Volpert told the Journal on April 12.
Castro said he had spoken with Fox in the days since the Herald’s article was published. In the original article, the Herald reported that “Ms. Fox did not respond to questions,” but Castro said Fox told him that she had not been contacted by any member of the Herald staff either.
Reached by phone in Melbourne, Richard Baker, one of the reporters who wrote the original story for the Herald, told the Journal on Friday that he had sent two emails to Fox's email address at JFS and received no response.
As of Friday morning, Fox was still listed as an active member of the JFS staff; by the afternoon her name and email adddress had been removed from the page.
Asked if JFS had looked at any of Fox’s e-mails dealing with the matter, Castro said that he had not, and was placing trust in Fox’s assertions.
“At this point, we have not done that,” Castro said. “Debbie is a long-standing employee with a tremendous reputation for ethics.”
For more on this developing story, visit jewishjournal.com.