Jewish Journal

This week in power: DNC, Berlin, Yiddish curses, Fill the Void

by Danny Groner

September 6, 2012 | 3:29 am

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Jerusalem mention
The Democratic National Convention started off without reference to the struggles in Israel, which upset some party constituents. In particular, they insisted that Democrats acknowledge Jerusalem as the country's capital. "In the simple assertion—one to which Israel’s leaders have formally agreed—that the status of Jerusalem will be determined through negotiations, the DNC has made a modest but significant contribution to creating political breathing space needed to conduct a frank discussion, even (and, perhaps, especially) during an election campaign," said Daniel Seidemann at The Daily Beast. But for some the issue doesn't even resonate. "I’ll take another four years of Mr. Obama’s steadfast support over Mr. Romney’s sweet nothings," said Haim Saban in The New York Times.

Yarmulke fears
After a rabbi in Germany was attacked last week by a group of Arab kids, local leaders are suggesting that Jews be careful about appearing to be Jewish in the public streets, lest they be targeted. However, some are fighting back through public displays of solidarity. "We are not going to accept that people will be attacked on our streets because they can be visibly recognized as being Jewish," organizers of a flash mob protest of yarmulke-wearers on Saturday wrote online. Local celebrities, including the city’s mayor, joined in to show that the city won't be overtaken by fear.

HR 35
The California Assembly passed resolution HR 35 that designates anti-Semitism on state university campuses as far as "legitimate political activities in opposition to Israeli government policies," according to reports. Some have called the resolution an attack on free speech. "We're certainly looking forward to seeing a resolution early next session that will reassure college students of their First Amendment rights, especially those with dissenting opinions on critical topics such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," one opponent said. Others went even further.

Yiddish + election season
A new site has delighted people across the political divide. It's called YiddishCursesForRepublicanJews.com and it's filled up with thousands of curses that has driven hundreds of thousands to the site over its first week. “The intention has been to effect some kind of political discourse within families, hopefully for the better,” said Ben Abramowitz, who created the site with his wife. It's not all laughs for his wife, Rachel Shukert. "he GOP platform unveiled to the party faithful this week is so draconian in its policies toward the sick and underprivileged; so regressive in its attitudes toward women, gays, and hard science; so shamelessly tilted in favor of the supremely wealthy and disdainful of everyone else, that the greatest curse you can offer anyone is to hope it all comes true, leaving them to suffer the consequences," she wrote in Tablet.

Tel Aviv movie
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Tel Aviv hits the big screen in the new movie, “Fill the Void," at the Venice festival. It "offers a rare glimpse into the Orthodox way of life, its rigid customs and traditions, but also deals with the wider themes of relationships and family pressures," said one report. "Sure to generate hours of post-cinema discussion, "Void" will fill seats at fests and targeted arthouses," said Jay Weissberg at Variety. Not everyone was so high on it. "The comedy is often charming, and far more successful than the more somber, slightly inelegantly-written melodrama, but it’s the way the two butt together that really sinks the picture – the laughs come at the expense of the stakes of the drama, and the more serious moments makes it tougher to laugh at the comedy," said Oliver Lytlleton at IndieWire. Still, there's enough there, critics say, to give the film a shot.

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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