KassemJEW is on the streets of Westwood to talk to Angelenos about Israel Independence Day. Happy Yom Ha'Atzmaut!
KassemJEW on the streets for Purim. What do you know about Purim?
With Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip scheduled to begin on Aug. 15, escalating right-wing and settler protests threaten to plunge the country into anarchy and could provoke a strong anti-settler backlash.
Protesters last week blocked major highways, poured oil and scattered spikes across a busy road; occupied buildings in Gaza, and threw stones at Palestinians and Israel Defense Forces soldiers. The army and police responded by temporarily declaring the Gaza Strip a closed military zone, ejecting the extremists from occupied buildings and making dozens of arrests.
In an unprecedented spate of interviews and public statements, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned what he called the "hooliganism" of the far right, and vowed that he would not be deterred by it.
However, will authorities be able to maintain law and order in the face of even more extreme protest plans?
When Rabbi Jason Van Leeuwen sat for interviews this spring with the search committee at Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Westchester, he was struck by the questions. Normally, search committees ask rabbi finalists to, for example, name their three great strengths and three great weaknesses, but such standard human resources probing was of little interest to B'nai Tikvah members.
The Israel that Donna Rosenthal depicts in her new book, "The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land" (Free Press) can sound like one very crowded apartment building, filled with interesting, passionate people from many backgrounds, often shouting in the hallways, sitting on the stoop, offering advice out their windows, sharing tragedies. But the tenants don't know much about those neighbors who aren't like them.
After the American Army liberated them, the surviving prisoners looked like walking skeletons.
"President Bush has the best interests of the United States and the world at heart ... if push comes to shove, I would fight with the American Army," said Jacob Proud, a 20-year old freshman in bioethics at the University of Judaism (UJ).
"I question the real motives for this war... I want my country and Israel to be as just and righteous as possible," observed Mark Goodman, 26, a second-year student in the UJ's Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. The opinions, expressed in separate interviews during the first week of the war in Iraq, illustrate an obvious and a more subtle point.
For one, not all students think alike, not even in a university whose students are, by self-selection, dedicated to Judaism. Secondly, even within the UJ, undergraduates and rabbinical students sit largely on opposite sides of the fence.
Welcome to Radio Sawa, the brainchild of Norman J. Pattiz, founder and chairman of the biggest radio network in the United States. Since March of last year, Radio Sawa (which means together in Arabic) has been broadcasting in Arabic around the clock in the Middle East, targeting listeners under 30 years old, who make up 60 percent of the region's population.
Radio Sawa broadcasts a mix of Western and Arabic pop music, interspersed with news updates and analysis, interviews and opinion pieces. Potentially, millions of listeners can access Radio Sawa via AM, FM and shortwave frequencies, as well as on the Internet (www.radiosawa.com) and on digital radio satellite channels.
Julius may have inspired Shakespeare and a pizza chain, but Sid made millions laugh with "Your Show of Shows" and "Caesar's Hour."
It is not easy to evoke a lost era through television footage, but "Yiddish World" largely overcomes the difficulty.