Posted by Julie Bien
With the American Studies Association's resolution this week to boycott of Israeli academies aligned with the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) movement, the debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reignited on campus colleges and beyond.The resolution has also reignited a flame war about what words to use to describe the situation.
Before I move on, I'd like to point out that President Mahmoud Abbas, of the Palestinian Authority, has officially called for a boycott of settlements, but not Israel as whole.
That is an exceptionally powerful statement coming from the head of the PA. And it's one of very few international voices (and one that should be listened to) that has tried to make it clear that there is a difference between Israel and the settlements.
Once again, if the president of the West Bank says this, his is a voice that should have some merit in this discussion.
However, let's get back to the verbiage being used to describe Israel. The current word du jour is, "apartheid."
As much as my politics don't always align with Israel's policies, Israel, as a state, is not an apartheid state.
Definitions are really important when using words that bring to mind such a horrific level of brutal violence and oppression.
Israel, the state, does not resemble Apartheid South Africa. Anyone who says so is sorely in need of a history lesson.
The settlements are a problematic obstacle to peace in their current state. There are examples of terrible things happening in the settlements and surrounding cities in the West Bank. But once again, even Abbas recognizes these as a separate problem (and entity) than Israel.
Recently, Orit Arfa, one of our bloggers, hit the mediasphere with a parody of Miley Cyrus's video "We Can't Stop"--execept Arfa's is called "Jews Can't Stop."
It is an anthem of the immature, "This is miiiiiiine, not youurrrrs," tantrum of many of the settlers. It does not futher their cause, but rather deligitimizes any inkling of truth about their situation. It makes settlers, and therefore, Israelis, and by extension, Jews, look really, really bad.
But there is another video making the rounds that puts together a more cogent argument for the state of Israel and things like the border fence on the West Bank.
Ari Lesser, an American musician, managed to squeeze a huge amount of history into a six minute rap called, "Israel Apartheid."
In it, Lesser makes clear why Israel and Apartheid are not the same thing.
Unfortunately, he doesn't address the issue of the settlements in this video, but perhaps there just wasn't enough time to make that argument in this particular song.
What Lesser successfully does is make a mature, well-researched, well thought-out argument as to why the current framework for discussion is skewed. And unlike Arfa's words of incitement, Lesser's words are food for thought.
12.18.13 at 12:05 pm | With the American Studies Association's boycott. . .
12.16.13 at 2:26 pm | Jewish Journal blogger, and American settler,. . .
12.16.13 at 1:23 pm | Four countries have entered movies in the Oscar. . .
12.16.13 at 9:58 am | Politifact.com's 'Lie of the Year Award'. . .
12.6.13 at 12:35 am | In June 1990, Nelson Mandela and Natan Sharansky,. . .
11.25.13 at 2:23 pm | My aversion to Hanukkah streetlights,. . .
12.16.13 at 2:26 pm | Jewish Journal blogger, and American settler,. . . (262)
10.12.09 at 4:49 pm | Is it time to claim the explorer as an MOT? (242)
4.27.11 at 3:21 pm | Just because neither the bride nor groom are. . . (227)
December 16, 2013 | 2:26 pm
Posted by Julie Bien
Jewish Journal blogger, and American settler and Director of Communications and Visitor Services at Ariel Development Fund, Orit Arfa, is raising eyebrows here and abroad with her controversial music video, "Jews Can't Stop," a re-write of Miley Cyrus's party anthem, "We Can't Stop," and part of a recent blog post on our website.
Arfa, who lives in Ariel, has been very vocal in defending her cause throughout the years--writing countless blogs and articles trying to set the record straight on why she (and many others) are doing what they're doing.
In her music video, between shots of pole dancing on Israeli signs and seductively writhing on rocks, Arfa addresses the continuous meddling of the US (specifically Secretary of State, John Kerry) in West Bank politics.
Arfa's lyrics point to the political dilemna at hand. She writes:
“It’s our land, we do what we want.
This is our home, this is our rules.
Can’t you see it’s we who own the land, can’t you see it’s we who take a stand.
And everyone in line to make peace, trying to get a Nobel for peace. We all so fed up here, getting fed up here, yeah, yeah.
We build things, things don’t build we. Don’t take nothing from John Kerry.”
According to an interview Arfa did with The Times of Israel, "Political leaders 'torpedo normalized relations between Jews and Arabs in the West Bank,' and that left alone, the two national groups would figure out how to live and prosper together."
Arfa added that, “Jews are especially concerned with how they are perceived and being politically correct. I think what many people need to get over is the fear of what other people think.”
Another point Arfa made in that interview was that she doesn't care what government she's living under--Palestinian or Israeli. All that matters to her is that she can live in the West Bank with the same freedom as anyone else--although she currently thinks that only Israel is capable of providing that freedom and safety.
Whether or not you agree with Arfa, it's clear from the video that she's got chutzpah (and with over 100,00 views on YouTube, she's got an audience as well.)
December 16, 2013 | 1:23 pm
Posted by Tom Tugend
Producers and directors in 76 countries will be biting their nails when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the Oscar nominees for best foreign language film.
Besides providing a test of cinematic skills in countries ranging from Afghanistan to Venezuela, the entries also serve as a rough indicator of themes of interest to international filmmakers, and, presumably, to the audiences in their countries.
By that measure – and regular somber predictions by pundits notwithstanding -- films on Jewish themes, including the Holocaust and the Middle East conflict, are not passé, as shown by challenging submissions from four countries.
Both the Israeli and Palestinian entries this year reflect the intensity of their continuing conflict, but preoccupation with this theme is not a given. Israel’s previous two choices, for instance, were “Footnote,” which dealt with academic rivalries, and last year’s “Fill the Void,” about life and love among the ultra-Orthodox.
Israel’s current hopes rest with “Bethlehem,” which pits the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, against diverse Palestinian factions eager to blow up the Jewish state.
In Hollywood’s hands, such a plotline would be a no-brainer, with the guys in the white hats mopping up the floor with the bad guys.
However, as the film’s producer Talia Kleinhandler notes, “What I think is important about this story is that it never attempts to give a clear answer about right and wrong. All the characters in ‘Bethlehem’ are flawed, all are vulnerable. There is no black and white in the film, only painful shades of gray – like the reality we all live in here.”
If this assessment makes it sound like a namby-pamby movie, full of on-the-one-hand-but-on-on-the-other-hand agonizing, “Bethlehem,” named for the West Bank city where the action unfolds, is anything but.
Co-written by Yuval Adler, an Israeli Jew who served in an army intelligence unit, and Ali Waked, a Palestinian Muslim and journalist, “Bethlehem” is a nail-biting thriller with enough intrigue and bullets to keep the most demanding action fan satisfied.
The film’s time and setting is the second intifada, from roughly 2000 to 2005, and in the opening scene, Palestinian suicide bombers have struck in the heart of Jerusalem, with scores of dead and wounded.
The central protagonists are Razi, a veteran Shin Bet (or Shabak) agent, and Sanfur, a 17-year old Palestinian recruited by Razi as an informer two years earlier.
But Sanfur isn’t just any kid with a hankering for American jeans. He is the younger brother of Ibrahim, the local leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, whom Razi has been hunting for over a year.
Like almost everything in the movie, and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it depicts, the connection between the seasoned Israeli agent and the teenage Palestinian boy is complex and often contradictory, ultimately developing into a wary father-son relationship.
While the movie’s Palestinian militants hate Israel, they dislike their internal rivals with equal intensity. The secular al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, affiliated with Fatah, contemptuously refers to the fervently Islamic Hamas as the “beards,” who in turn loathe the corrupt bureaucrats of the Palestinian Authority.
Another remarkable aspect of “Bethlehem” is that almost everyone involved in making the movie is pretty much of a novice.
The strong acting lineup, foremost Shadi Mar’i as Sanfur and Tsahi Halevy as Razi, consists almost entirely of first-time actors. Furthermore, for both Adler and Waked, “Bethlehem” is their first feature film.
Adler, 44, said in an interview at a Hollywood hotel that his film debut as director and co-writer is a major hit in its home country, and won a fistful of awards, including best picture, at the Israeli equivalent of the Academy Awards.
Hany Abu-Assad, director of the Palestinian entry “Omar,” won critical praise for two previous films, “Paradise Now” and “Rana’s Wedding.” In these pictures, the protagonists did not hide their antagonism toward Israel, but still the latter were portrayed as recognizable human beings, not Nazi-like monsters.
Actually, there were times when Israelis shown in Palestinian films were often more likeable than in such self-lacerating Tel Aviv productions as “Life According to Agfa” and “What a Wonderful Country.”
Abu-Assad foregoes such balance in “Omar,” in which the title character and the beautiful Nadja pine for each other on opposite side of the Separation Wall, in Israeli terminology, or the isolation Wall in the Palestinian dictionary.
In the process of jumping the wall and participating in the shooting of an Israeli soldier, Omar (Adam Bakri) is caught by Israeli undercover agents, who first torture him and then try to turn him into a collaborator.
Distrusted by the Israelis and reviled as a traitor by his own people, Omar is driven to one last desperate act.
Argentina’s Oscar hope, “The German Doctor,” is set in the post-World War II decades, when the South American nation became a haven for Nazi war criminals, sheltered by the Argentinian military government and the long-established German colonies.
The German doctor of the title is Dr. Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz “Angel of Death,” whose cold-blooded medical experiments put him high on the Allied and Israeli list of fugitive war criminals.
Feeling safe in the southern Argentinian city of Bariloche, Mengele resumes his experiments to “improve” the species, initially on livestock. After a local family befriends him, he transfers his ministrations to spur the growth of the undersized daughter, and then resumes his earlier “research” on newborn twins.
Almost as unsettling are the open Nazi sympathies of the local German community, whose school starts classes with the lusty singing of the German national anthem, and an openly advertised fiesta annually celebrates the Fuhrer’s birthday.
When the news break that Mossad agents have captured Adolf Eichmann to bring him to trial in Jerusalem, the German underground spirits Mengele to Paraguay.
Alex Brendemuhl as the poker-faced Mengele heads a generally capable, though not particularly brilliant, cast, directed by Lucia Puenzo.
The most surprising of the cited four Oscar contenders is the Philippines’ “Transit,” which probes the precarious existence of some of the 40,000 Filipinos working in Israel, mainly as caretakers of the elderly.
Initially given relative freedom to work and raise their children in Israel, the Filipino migrants were hit hard by a 2010 residency law, triggered by the government’s determination to preserve the Jewish character and demography of Israel.
The primary target of the law was the growing number of Africans entering the country legally and illegally, but the Filipinos were the collateral victim of a measure under which non-Jewish children who had spent less than five years in Israel could be deported to their parents’ home country.
That meant that kids born in Israel, who spoke only Hebrew among themselves and felt as Israelis, suddenly faced the prospect of separation from their parents and exile to a strange land. Eventually, the Israeli Supreme Court invalidates some of the harshest aspects of the law.
“Transit,” directed and co-written by Filipina filmmaker Hannah Espia, is told from the individual perspectives of two nuclear families living together – single mother Janet and rebellious teenage daughter Yael, and the mother’s brother Moises, a caretaker and single father of four-year old Joshua.
The dilemma facing these four people, and to a greater extent some 10 million Filipinos working outside their home country, is handled with sensitivity and without Israel bashing.
Israelis, especially the elderly employers of the migrant workers, are generally shown as sympathetic to the plight of the Filipinos. Police and government officials enforcing the anti-immigrant laws do so without humiliating the migrants, but neither do they question the government orders.
In Hollywood, the annual game of predicting likely Oscar nominees and winners is now in full swing, though doing so for foreign-language movies is particularly hazardous.
In past years, the choices of the selection committee have been loudly criticized as highly erratic and labyrinthine regulations have led to the disqualification of highly regarded submissions, a fate that this year befell France’s much discussed “Blue Is the Warmest Color.”
Current prognostications favor Iran’s “The Past” by director Asghar Farhadi, wo won the Oscar two years ago with “A Separation.”
Also winning early plaudits are Denmark’s “The Hunt” and Hong Kong’s “The Grandmaster,” while there is some sentimental support for “Wadja,” the first ever Saudi Arabian submission, with the added boost that is was diected by a woman, Haifaa Al Mansour.
Israel’s “Bethlehem” is frequently listed in the second tier of contenders, and in a good position to make it into the top ranks, while the Philippines’ “Transit “has drawn favorable mentions.
By one of the quirks of the Academy calendar, a shortlist of nine foreign-language nominees will be announced this Friday (Dec. 20), and a winnowed down list of five nominees on Jan. 16. The final winners will raise their trophies on Oscar Sunday, March 2, in Hollywood.
December 16, 2013 | 9:58 am
Posted Chris Stuke
Every year Politifact.com awards one unlucky schmuck the not-so-prestigious Lie of the Year Award. This year’s recipient was our very own commander in chief Barack Obama. Now as far as I’m concerned politicians should just be exempt from this whole thing because every last one of them lies or at the very least stretches the truth further than Octomom’s waistline when she’s carrying a litter of 8.
Suffice to say, every year that they’ve been presenting this award it’s gone to a politician. It really is an unfair advantage, especially in regard to those of us busting our butts everyday to come up with the ultimate Teflon lie.
At any rate, the lie that nominated and ultimately awarded Mr. Obama was his repeated statement in regard to people’s insurance coverage and his Affordable Care Act. Specifically this one line; “If you’re happy with your health care plan, you can keep it.”
The catch is, under the ACA’s new guidelines, a lot of people’s (4 million to be exact) health plans didn’t qualify, thus they were canceled and Obama was by default, a liar.
Let’s keep in mind that even though 4 million seems like a lot, it only accounted for around 2% of the insured population. That’s not to say that there weren’t a lot of folks who were royally pissed upon finding out that their plans had been canceled. But in retrospect, the new plans they’d received were more comprehensive and after subsidies and credits were applied the cost was just a little higher than their original plans but covered them a lot more.
None of this really matters though in the age of the repetitive sound bite. Conservatives have been screaming at the top of their self-righteous lungs about this and absolutely no one is surprised. As irony would have it, the 3 runners up this year were Ted Cruz, Ann Coulter & Michele Bachmann, all for their lies about the ACA.
Regardless of that though Fox News is gonna be all over this Lie of the Year Award quicker than Rush Limbaugh is at an all you can eat buffet on dollar night with complimentary pain killers, no limit.
But do any of us really care what Fox News has to say? Because anybody with a 5th grader’s wisdom knows that Fox News is on par with any given trashy reality TV show. It’s lowest common denominator entertainment.
Truth be told, Obama wasn’t forthcoming with all the information he was privy to. But who the hell is completely honest when talking about a sensitive subject? Men and women of all creeds, social and financial backgrounds know when to say just enough but not divulge the entire truth lest they want their asses handed to them.
In the Babylonian Talmud, there's a story about a town named "Kushtah" (which means 'truth' in Aramaic.) Basically, the point of the story is that there is no such thing as 100% truth--there are times, specifically when trying to keep the peace, pursuing a mitzvah, or just trying to maintain some modesty and kindness, that people bend the truth to avoid an all-out war. See? Even God understands that sometimes it's best to skirt the issue delicately.
Here’s a very relatable example: “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?”
Now if it does and you know it and you say it, the only thing that will come of it is a fat lip. So the correct response is: “Baby, if you’re happy with that dress, you can keep it.”
In retrospect, we could all learn a thing or two from our President and his award.
December 6, 2013 | 12:35 am
Posted by Tom Tugend
My only encounter with Nelson Mandela was on June 29, 1990 at the Biltmore Hotel, and the initial impression was more comical than awe-inspiring.
The reserved, soft-spoken Mandela, released only four months earlier after 27 years in South African prisons, stood next to the bouncy Sharansky, towering over the former refusenik by a good foot, while a battery of photographers tried to get the two men’s faces into the same closeup frame.
It wasn’t certain, until the last minute, that the meeting would come off. Mandela had less that 24 hours in Los Angeles, part of a 10-day
tour of the United States, and everybody wanted a piece of the international celebrity.
In addition, though he was allied with many South African Jews throughout his struggle, Mandela had shown little sympathy for the Jewish state in recent statements.
One of the first international visitors to embrace Mandela after his prison release was Yasser Arafat, another short guy and head of the Palestine Liberation Organization,
On this and earlier occasions, Mandela compared the struggle of his African National Congress (ANC) to the Palestinian fight for self-determination against the Israeli occupiers.
To emphasize the point, Mandela had also praised Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and Cuba’s Fidel Castro as “comrades in arms.”
However, the Jewish community and Israeli diplomats hoped that a meeting between Mandela and Sharansky, both ex-prisoners of conscience, might mellow the South African leader’s attitude.
After prolonged negotiations, spearheaded the Anti-Defamation League, Mandela consented. Sharansky, who is now chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, caught a plane from New York to Los Angeles.
The meeting between the two men was closed to the press, but Sharansky let it be known that his arguments, including a reminder that Israel had been among the first nations to denounce apartheid, had not changed Mandela’s basic position.
I was covering the press conference for a now defunct Jewish weekly, Heritage, but couldn’t find a copy of the story I filed at the time. Fortunately, an article on the event by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency refreshed my recollections.
At a City Hall reception earlier in the day, Mandela had chatted with Rabbi Harvey Fields in his capacity as chairman of the Black-Jewish Clergy Alliance of Los Angeles.
When Fields noted that the Reform movement’s rabbinical arm had just reaffirmed its support of the ANC and of Mandela personally, the latter responded, “Your support means a great deal, more than you can possibly imagine.”
During the brief photo session, Mandela jokingly apologized for having to look down on his short friend. Sharansky responded that thanks to his diminutive stature, he was able to wrap the oversized prison clothes around his body during the cold Russian winters.
“Where I was, it was very hot,” was Mandela’s comeback.
Mandela left right after the photo session to prepare for an early evening rally at the Coliseum, with 70,000 admirers.
Sharansky stayed on for a short while, then looked at his watch. “I have to leave,” he said. “Shabbat starts in 20 minutes and I don’t want to go by foot for two hours.”
November 25, 2013 | 2:23 pm
Posted Rivkah Ben-Yisrael
My aversion to Hanukkah streetlights, national-religious pride and surprising similarities between different light festivals- all explored here.
The lights put up in Israel around the time of the winter festival of Hanukkah evoke mixed feelings for me. You probably think that's strange- why would those neon blue 'hannukiahs' and garish yellow strings of lights do anything but fill my heart with festive cheer?!
Jewish in a Christian Country
Let me explain- I grew up in the cold country of England in a religious Jewish family, in a religious Jewish neighborhood and went to religious Jewish schools. Jewish beliefs were instilled in me from a young age and I grew up proud of my religion and happy to be a part of the Jewish community. However, beyond my home, neighborhood and school was a multi-cultural world that I interacted with on a daily basis. Multi-cultural as the country is, Christianity is the most widely declared and practiced religion in England and this was felt strongly around the autumn-winter time when Christmas decorations would start appearing everywhere. And this, my friends, is the root of my sinking heart that is combined with the smile on my face as I see the Hanukkah decorations adorning the streets in Israel.
You see, the Hanukkah decorations are made using the very same kind of lights that were used to decorate the English streets with festive Christmas scenes. So, on the one hand I have a surge of pride in seeing these Jewish decorations adorning the streets of the Jewish homeland in anticipation of the eight-day festival of Hanukkah. On the other hand, it makes me a tiny bit sad that those decorations will always be associated, in my mind, with Christian festivals. I look forward to raising children here who will know only to associate those lights with Jewish holidays.
Why I Believe Jewish People Should Grow Up in the Jewish Country
No, I'm not anti multiculturalism and growing up with an awareness of other cultures and religions. But I do believe that Jewish children should be growing up in the Jewish homeland, surrounded by Jewish decorations, signs and people. My religious identity is very strongly tied to my national identity and as much as I will always be thankful for the freedom granted to the Jewish people in England to live their lives as Jewish people, I firmly believe that Jewish people should be living and growing in their most natural of places- in the land of Israel that according to Jewish ancient sources was promised to us centuries ago and is the place where the Jewish people can most fully recognize their destiny.
Hanukkah in a Nutshell
Well, now that I've got my mixed-feelings about Hanukkah street lights off my chest I can concentrate on the beauty of the festival and its messages. The eight-day festival is a simple one to celebrate and is therefore embraced quite whole-heartedly by Jewish people of various religious levels. All that needs to be done is to light a nine-branched candelabrum in commemoration of the miraculous story of the solitary jug of oil that was large enough to keep the candelabra in the Temple alight for one day yet lasted for eight days after the victory of the Maccabees against the Greek forces in Jerusalem. I possibly just told you the Hanukkah story in one sentence. I invite you to search for more in-depth explanations of the festival thought, it's quite fascinating.
In addition, to lighting the candelabra together with the family in the cold winter month of November/December, depending on when the festival falls (the Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar as opposed to the solar Gregorian calendar and for this reason, its festivals fall out at different times on the Gregorian calendar). There is a wickedly wonderful tradition of eating deep-fried foods (in reference once again to the miracle of the oil), as well as dairy foods (based on rabbinic literature-check this custom out too- also fascinating). We play with a special spinning top called a Dreidel (a story in itself) that comes in all shapes, sizes and materials, light candles, sing songs, eat fried foods with an emphasis on doughnuts and enjoy family time. It's truly as fun as it sounds.
Other Light-Festivals in a Nutshell
While we’re on the subject of Hanukkah, a festival of lights, did you know that there are two other festivals of light? Honestly, I'm not just saying this in order to show how multi-cultural I am, well possibly just a little bit. But, I found it fascinating that just as we have our own wonderful festival of lights, so do those who are adherents to Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism in the form of Diwali and Buddhists in the form of the Tazaungdaing festival.
· A five-day festival celebrated October/November time (they too have a lunisolar calendar)
· One of the most important festivals of the year
· Celebrated by lighting small lights that symbolize the triumph of good over evil
· New clothes are worn, sweets and snacks are shared with family and friends
The Tazaungdaing festival:
· Celebrated in the eighth month of the Burmese calendar
· Marks the end of the rainy season in Burma, where it is a national holiday
· Monk-robe weaving competitions are held for two consecutive nights
· Hot air balloons lit with candles are released in order to drive away evil spirits
· Charity is given
· Concerts and secular festivities are held
Turns out that light festivals of different faiths have quite a bit in common. I wonder how it could be hold a Jewish-Hindu-Buddhist celebration of light- any takers?
Read more from Rivkah Ben-Yisrael at http://www.ajudaica.com/
November 22, 2013 | 1:51 pm
Posted by Julie Bien
Rachel Bloom, 26, and Dan Gregor and Jack Dolgen, both 31, have just released their first Chanukah album, "Suck it, Christmas"--an adult-themed comedic ode to the standard holiday music released en masse this time of year. The Jewish Journal was able to interview the trio of talented East-siders about how the project came to fruition in only two months.
Dan Gregor and Rachel Bloom holding their new album "Suck it, Christmas."
JJ: Could you describe your respective jobs?
Bloom: On this album, we were all the writers and performers to varying degrees.
Outside of the album, I'm a writer for the show "Robot Chicken" and I specialize in musical comedy. My videos have been featured all over the internet and I'm currently developing a musical show for Showtime called "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."
Dan is a writer-producer for "How I Met Your Mother" and is currently developing a pilot for NBC.
Jack is a writer and musician whose songs have been featured all over film and TV. He's also the frequent music producer and collaborator on my videos.
JJ: What inspired you to make "Suck it, Christmas"?
Bloom: Every year, there are so many Christmas albums being released (comedy and non-comedy alike) but rarely any Chanukah albums. So, we decided to make a Chanukah/Jewish- themed album as a subversive twist on the usual 'warm and toasty' Christmas album.
JJ: How would you describe the album in three words?
Bloom: Jews 'love/hate' themselves...we're counting love/hate as one.
JJ: How long did it take to make it?
Bloom: We cranked this sucker out in a little under two months. We realized we wanted to do it in September, so from writing to music production to making the videos it was a ton of work!
We have two more music videos coming out within the next month to promote the album. 'Chanukah Honey' was just the first.
JJ: What's your favorite track on the album? Or at least the one you had the most fun writing?
Bloom: We all really love Judaica. It just brings me such utter joy to hear it.
The inspiration for Judaica: Dan and I were in Paris last December [note: Dan is Bloom's boyfriend], and we were staying in The Marais (the Jewish section of Paris). We were passing all of these Judaica shops and agreeing that, if our parents came here, these shops are where they'd buy their souvenirs because Jews manage to buy Jewish stuff no matter where they go. I had just heard the Britney Spears/Will.i.am song "Scream and Shout" earlier that day (the one where she does that fake British accent) so I started chanting in this techno British monotone "London, Paris, or Milan. Shopping for Judaica." When we came back from Paris and pitched the idea to Jack, he lost his mind.
JJ: Can we expect any live performances in the LA area?
Bloom: Yes! Among some awesome indie comedy shows in the next few weeks, our big album concert is Saturday, December 7th at 8pm. It's at the Nerdmelt Theater at Meltdown Comics. We'll be performing all the songs live and featuring stories from some Jewish special guests!
JJ: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Bloom: Look out for our music video of "Happy Epic Chanukah" that will be released around December 3rd (done with the YouTube channel Nacho Punch) and the music video of "Lonely Night" will be released in mid/late December (done with the YouTube channel Above Average). We hope to do music videos of "Judaica" and "Foreskin Heaven" next year!
Also, our album cover was designed by the amazing Jewish artist ,Will Deutsch. He's just phenomenal.
JJ: And just for the sake of the season, what's your favorite Chanukah food?
Bloom: I love good old fashioned latkes with sour cream and applesauce. Hipster version--the other night, we made some sweet potato latkes with greek yogurt and those were similarly delicious.
You can check out the video for 'Chanukah Honey' here.
November 13, 2013 | 11:33 am
Posted by Julie Bien
The educational book publishing company, Scholastic, has apologized for printing an English-language children's book, "Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt," with a map of the Middle East, sans Israel. Oops.
It's pretty amazing that something like this got through multiple levels of scrutiny. Other countries surrounding Egypt (where the story takes place) are represented, including Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.