Kosher wines have always enjoyed a healthy cottage industry, but true wine snobs have considered them subpar until now: A little Jewish winery called Covenant in the Napa Valley wants to run with the big dogs with their 2003 kosher Cabernet. Covenant owner Jeff Morgan discusses the challenge of producing a wine that adheres to the mevushal process but doesn’t taste like old socks; a noted wine critic calls the finished product “rich, opulent, medium to full-bodied, concentrated and tasty.”
Covenant Cabernet is “200% kosher,” according to Morgan, but at $85 a bottleand count four glasses a bottle, four glasses for each person at the sederwe’ll have to stick to the Manischewitz this Passover.
MSNBC reports that test audiences were so irked that Kabbalah boy Ashton Kutcher wore a red string in Guess Who that the producers spent “something like” $100,000 to digitally remove it. It was Ashton’s idea to make his character Jewish to add some laughs, but director Kevin Sullivan nixed all tribal references at the last minute because bringing racism and religious issues to the table was just too darn complicated for said test audiences. The movie, a modern reversal on the racially provocative 60’s film Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner starring Sidney Poitier, casts Ashton as a white (religiously ambiguous) dude courting the daughter of Bernie Mac. Sounds funny enough, but we’ll wait for the DVD release, but cinemaphiles can post their reviews here.
A small article in London’s Jewish Chronicle (registration required) reports that a teacher was fired after conducting a lesson about Judaism at Carlisle’s Trinity School. Why? She assigned a class of 12 year-olds to draw a picture of a circumcised penis. Headmaster Robert Birtwell said that the lesson was not “within the scheme of work set out for religious studies,” and the teacher faces a lifetime classroom ban. However, she might consider buying a Sharpie to conduct her curriculum of doodling dicks, snipped or not, in the boys’ bathroom.
Just in time for Passover, Appleseed Records has released “Let My People Go! A Jewish & African American Celebration of Freedom,” a collection of Hebrew Haggadah prayers, traditional gospel, spoken word, snatches of speeches from the Civil Rights movement and a bit of klezmer. The theme of freedom and overcoming adversity ties it all together as African American folk team Kim and Reggie Harris and Rabbi Jonathan Kligler welcome a host of famous socially-active musicians on the CD. A modern, relevant choice for pre-seder musical entertainment. Available at Appleseed.
Whew! We sure missed y’all last week, though we appreciated the extra time to put into our Purim costumes. Speaking of Queen Esther, Madonna chose to celebrate the salvation of the Jews by dressing as a nun for a London Kabbalah party next to her hubbie Guy Ritchie, who partied as the (pre-stroke, presumably) Pope. When Catholic groups protested (you know they’ve reserved a special circle of hell for their former anti-morality poster girl,) Madonna, never one to appreciate irony, replied that “she was happy that the pictures of her are out there because her father would be so proud. She said that when she was a girl she wanted to be a nun and she guesses that she’s still a nun at heart.”
Stay tuned as she finances the very first Kabbalah convent.
We apologize again for our slow posting this week; our new server should be up and running next week and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program of good news and good times. Speaking of good times, we were the proud guardians of our local JCC’s only gender-bending Queen Esther this morning and plan to carry out this new family tradition by dressing as Haman at tonight’s chavarah festivities (enter groger noise here!) Purim isn’t only fun for the kiddies; check out Aish’s hilarious short Flash movie, especially for Jews who like to poke fun at themselves. So Shabbat Shalom and chag sameach – We’re off to hit the holiday-sanctioned Manischewitz!
Give us a “V” for “Victory”: Athens, GA will soon be rid of Marilou Braswell, the cheerleading coach whose case we have been following ever since she tried to intimidate a Jewish cheerleader into “mandatory” Bible study to qualify for the varsity cheer squad at the University of Georgia. Braswell has claimed that she never did anything wrong, but after being fired and losing her appeal against the school (whose officials say she owes $300,000 for camps she hosted), she’s finally got it through her airhead that she should take her Christian-only pep rally crap elsewhere. Surely, there is some small Bible college in Eastern Kentucky who will appreciate it. In the meantime, we think it’d be really cool to hire a cantor for her vacant position. Who better to fire up a crowd?