Our kidhood summertimes overflow with Jewish memories: dressing in all white for Shabbat, learning Torah under the eucaplyptus trees, being tongue-slimed by the weird kid with braces during a game of “Kissing Rugby”…seriously, we loved camp, and our parents loved having us live elsewhere for three or four weeks at a time. But these days who can afford to ship the kids of to a Jewish Shangri-La? It can cost upwards of $3000 per kid for the same three or four weeks of Israeli dancing, Havdalah under the stars and living ten to a cabin with spotty hot water heaters.
Mossad, Israel’s super secret intelligence service, has launched a not-so-secret Web site. If you read Hebrew, seek intrigue and like to wear black, maybe you’ve got what it takes to become an Israeli spy. The English version of the site doesn’t list the exciting job openings reported in Jpost, but if you’re truly secret agent material, you’ll figure out a way to find them using nothing but a paper clip and piece of gum.
Okay, we’re not sold on John Kerry for Prez and but we know given four more years in the White House, Baby Bush will make a bigger mess than a four year-old alone in a room with a crate of lasagna. We don’t trust political endorsements anyway, but we’re nuts about clever t-shirts.
Jpost editor and celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach weighs in on the sorry state of world affairs, starting off with Korea’s Kim Jong Il‘s rotten hostessing skills. He moves on to the persnickety rules of where the hair on an Orthodox Jewish woman’s wig should come from, a controversy that clogged the frum blogs when a few bored rabbis dictated that hair shouldn’t come from India since it may or may not have used in “idolatrous ceremonies” (what, a golden calf wore the wig first? With alligator shoes?)
Cranky Shmuley ends up blasting American Jews and calling Kabbalah poster woman Madonna “a slut”:
“You know your religion is up a creek when your people are facing mortal danger but your religious leaders are obsessed with Indian hair, and the most famous representative of your mystical tradition is simulating lesbian sex with scantily clad pregnant dancers.”
Oooh, sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of his newsfeeds this morning!
The U.S. Navy seeks a few ordained men and women to attend to the religious needs of Jewish sailors. You don’t see a whole lot of Jews joining the Navy but apparently, the demand for Torah runs high on the Seven Seas. Know any unemployed rabbis who aren’t prone to seasickness? All that rollicking ocean action should make davening look like the macarena.
A circulating JTA story reports on an independent poll that concludes in spite of the spaz surrounding Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” the film has actually changed gentile attitudes towards Jews’ historical role for the better. San Francisco-based Jewish & Community Research found that people were “less likely” to blame the Jews for Jesus’ crucifixion than previous polls by ABC and Gallup. Whew, that’s relief. Now if Mel would make a movie about the supposed Jewish domination of the entertainment industry, we could blame somebody else for the schlock coming out of Hollywood.
Awww, Kirk Douglas and his German-born wife, Anne, reaffirmed their marraige vows under a chuppah last weekend after half a century of kids, careers, illness and infidelity. Douglas began taking his Jewish roots more seriously after a helicopter and then a stroke left him incapacitated some years back, and what better time to find religion when you’ve already commited every sin under the sun? (see his best-selling autobiography, The Ragman’s Son for steamy details.) But the Almighty Upstairs is forgiving and apparently, so is Kirk’s wife. Here’s to fifty more years of mazel to the happy couple.
The ceremony was attended by former first Lady Nancy Reagan, Theodore Bikel and hairdressing mangate Vidal Sassoon (Douglas, though something of a relic these days, still has an amazing coiffure.)
As children watching Rudolph and Frosty at X-Mas time, we dreamed of having some claymation of our own. Well, Josh Bass must have read our minds- not only did he make a claymation movie, it incorporates two of our favorite things here at Jmerica: mohels and ninjas! Click on the article title above to see the movie in Quicktime or catch it in Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Animation Festival.
So, apparently Judaism isn’t just some passing fad to be tattooed on one’s neck for Britney Spears. She’s now adopted a kosher diet, shunning her former Atkins’ meat-meat-meat-with-a-glass-of-lard food philosophy, inspired by Madonna’s devotion to kashrut. Spears began following the complex dietary laws handed down from on high as a result of coming under media scrutiny for packing a little more junk in tha’ trunk than a pop star should. How very holy of her.
Shavuot celebrations caused folks to get crazy with the cheese today. Tradition deems that only dairy foods should be eaten during this harvest festival, just as the Israelites had to when the laws of kashrut were handed down with the Ten Commandents and no one had any idea where to find a kosher deli. Ha’artez reports that the demand for cheesecake increases as much as fifty percent during the holiday, and some enterprising sweet tooths in Haifa constructed the world’s largest cheesecake. The confection was three meters wide and one meter high (that’s roughly 9’x3′ in public school language) before being eaten with shovels and washed down with buckets of cappucinos.