A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
Push for peace
Secretary of State John Kerry made a call for more peace talks while addressing the American Jewish Committee this week. "We are running out of time," Kerry said. "We are running out of possibilities." How'd that go over? "The substance of John Kerry's speech was that he had learned absolutely nothing from the past and that everyone else should join him in not learning anything from the past. That optimistic ignorance is not a luxury that either America or Israel can afford," said Daniel Greenfield at Right Side News. "Unfortunately, wishful thinking is a poor guide to navigate the treacherous waters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What Kerry lacks is a dose of cold realism," wrote Leo Rennert at American Thinker.
Alice Walker wrote an open letter urging Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming concert in Israel, which sparked outrage. "Of all the self-important and patently stupid characters Alice Walker has written, she’s finally given us the grandest of them all: herself," wrote Liel Leibovitz at Tablet. For her part, Keys said she won't back out of the show: “I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show," she told the New York Times.
One hundred and one Yeshivah of Flatbush students and their eight chaperones were removed from an AirTran flight this week after they allegedly misbehaved and wouldn't shut down their electronic devices before takeoff. “They treated us like we were terrorists,” student Jonathan Zehavi told CNN. “I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn’t have dared to kick them off.” Terry Maxon at the Dallas Morning News joked, "We hope none in the group called the flight attendants “stewardesses” on board the flight." News spread quickly about the incident. "With 101 students kicked off the flight, this is likely not the last we will hear from both groups regarding the matter," said James Johnson at The Inquistr.
The New York Times ran a story on Tuesday about "Whisky Jewbilee," a on enight event in New York City, on the eve of WhiskyFest. It's popular among Orthodox Jews who wouldn't be able to attend the annual festivities at WhiskeyFest since they coincide with the Sabbath. "The article posits that Jews have traditionally loved whiskey," and sip it at synagogue events, wrote a Heeb blogger. "What the article doesn’t mention is that whiskey is delicious and it gets you good and ripped, which is, I suppose, the only way some of us could make it through a synagogue event in the first place."
Arvind Mahankali may have won last week's Scripps National Spelling Bee, but the debate went on long after the final word. He correctly spelled the Yiddish word “knaidel,” to tak home the top prize, but some argued that the word doesn't really have one proper spelling to it. "Like Helen of Troy with her ships, knaidel seems to be 2013’s food that launched a thousand complaints," said Ally Bruschi at The Daily Meal. "But type it, and a red line appears underneath it. That was a theme of the evening. Nearly every time one of the indefatigable 11 finalists would spell a word, Microsoft Word would insist that the word did not exist. Of the 57 words in the finals, spell check was adamant that 48 were not actual words," pointed out Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post.