“A memo to like minded Jewish folks in the class of 2014, wherever you may be: Don’t wait for permission or approval to make change. This business of Judaism is yours for the taking.”—Orientation | Jewschool
“There is nothing in the Torah that says you can’t be black and Jewish at the same time,” she said. “I think it gives my Judaism flavor. I think that my foods, my music, my dance, my struggles — everything that makes me a black woman also make me a beautiful black Jewish woman. There is no difference between the two for me. I am what God made me, and everything about me is beautiful because of that.”—
In yeshivas, they are sometimes taunted as “monkeys” or with the Yiddish epithet for blacks. At synagogues and kosher restaurants, they engender blank stares. And dating can be awkward: their numbers are so small, friends will often share at least some romantic history with the same man or woman, and matchmakers always pair them with people with whom they have little in common beyond skin color.
They are African-Americans and Orthodox Jews, a rare cross-cultural hybrid that seems quintessentially Brooklyn, but received little notice until last week, after Yoseph Robinson, a Jamaican-born convert, was killed during a robbery attempt at the kosher liquor store where he worked.
I just made the last payment on my student loan. Though there is still house buying and renovation debt to take care of it feels good to have a financial burden that I’ve been packing around for a long time taken care of.
I desperately want both an iPad and a new iPhone but fiscal responsibility won out over toy lust. That’s a good thing I think.
Louisville has had more days above-normal temperatures than any other city in the country since June 1, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
There had been a total of 80 days with above average temperatures through Tuesday — 29 in June; 27 in July; and every day so far this month — said Mike Crow, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
he Rosh Hashanah service was held in a packed little chapel. We sat in the anteroom on folding chairs. I couldn’t see the rabbi, but I heard the shofar. As I’d heard the soft friction of the heron wings beating, for the city was so quiet that morning, God was whispering.
We were in the first lines of Genesis: light, darkness, and the first winged creatures.
We roamed the empty streets in the days of awe. Amid shuttered shops, an open one sold ice cream—in one, exquisite flavor: “violet.” I spoke to a policeman who had waded through hell; we were all survivors. I spoke to everybody; there were no divides. Post-Katrina we were all like Jews who share a common history of catastrophe. Every conversation started with the same question: How did you make it through the storm?
But more than that, even when people show up, the nature of many outreach programs leads me to wonder whether we aren’t operating under a misguided definition of “success.” If people go to an event featuring a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model from Israel and leave tipsy but untransformed Jewishly, is that a success? Will attending a kosher karaoke night make people more moral, kinder, more in touch with themselves, with the Divine, with a stronger sense of meaning to their lives? Will it quench their thirst for the living Torah — the Torah that speaks to their lives, their struggles, their romances and ethical questions, to their financial woes and existential fears?
I would posit that getting butts in chairs — even the butts of a highly desirable demographic — is not the point. Our job, as rabbis, as Conservative Jews, as Jews in general, is to offer opportunities for our constituents to have meaningful connections to other people, to the Jewish tradition, to Torah, to the world as a whole, to themselves and to God. And as it happens, 20-somethings — like folks in other age groups — crave substance and depth.
“What do you want to talk about?” I ask him as we sip together. “The Ten Commandments,” Lev suggests. “A good subject,” I nod admiringly. “What do you want to say about the Ten Commandments?” “That Mommy’s silly and makes up a whole bunch of weird commandments that aren’t there,” Lev says. “What commandments, for instance, did she make up?” I ask. “You mustn’t kill,” Lev says. “But she’s right,” I tell Lev. “There really is a commandment like that.” “Daddy’s silly too,” Lev giggles. “There’s no commandment like that.” “Sure there is,” I insist. “It’s the most important one.” “Then how come” Lev asks, still smiling condescendingly, “every time we turn on the TV, they’re always talking about people killing each other?”—
A woman spoke with me after her double mastectomy. She couldn’t accept her body. We sought a new metaphor. Your chest is a sacred altar, and your breasts, the paschal lambs. “I look at myself now,” she later said, “and feel that I am sacred.”
I believe to begin again one has to search for a new, personal metaphor.
Start slow. What is comparable to the skin you wear every day? To what would you liken its color and landscape? Is it sand, vanilla wafer, maple syrup, wheat, parchment? Are you a mysterious, flaking scroll? Are age spots floating lily pads on the rippled lake of your skin? Do you have silver eel scars, bouquets of creases? If you were sand, which sand? Tide-washed Bermuda pink? Glittering Hawaiian black? Gray and moist? The blue veins inside your wrist, are they not the rivers of Eden? And your hair, is it glacial run-off? Mink? Straw? Fusilli?
Start slow with metaphor and then move up. Is your home a jungle, a gingerbread house, a jewel box, a cookie tray after the cookies have been scraped off?
Move up and then expand…Fear is a cricket in a warehouse, siren-loud but entirely squashable. Anger is acne clogging up love. Unforgiving is a slow, intimate poison. Loneliness is a fiercely protective beast. Self-pity is a lead shoe. Egocentricity is a hall of mirrors. A strong self-image is perfect lighting and a little airbrush.
Keep practicing with metaphor, and one day, you will be walking along, and it will grab you: the metaphor that is yours and only yours. You will catch your breath, and know a very high, private truth.
This metaphor will become your secret name, and by it you will know yourself, live in poetry, and begin again.
Efforts to protect net neutrality that involve government regulation have always faced one fundamental obstacle: the substantial danger that the regulators will cause more harm than good for the Internet. The worst case scenario would be that, in allowing the FCC to regulate the Internet, we open the door for big business, Hollywood and the indecency police to exert even more influence on the Net than they do now.
On Monday, Google and Verizon proposed a new legislative framework for net neutrality. Reaction to the proposal has been swift and, for the most part, highly critical. While we agree with many aspects of that criticism, we are interested in the framework’s attempt to grapple with the Trojan Horse problem. The proposed solution: a narrow grant of power to the FCC to enforce neutrality within carefully specified parameters. While this solution is not without its own substantial dangers, we think it deserves to be considered further if Congress decides to legislate.
Unfortunately, the same document that proposed this intriguing idea also included some really terrible ideas. It carves out exemptions from neutrality requirements for so-called “unlawful” content, for wireless services, and for very vaguely-defined “additional online services.” The definition of “reasonable network management” is also problematically vague. As many, many, many have alrea
“Everyone asks if he’s bitter about the judicial system. They don’t know what to say when he quietly insists: “The judicial system freed me.” He says he forgives the woman on roller skates and his accusers and the jury. He forgives everyone. People wait for some explosion of anger, but it never comes. Wallowing in self-pity and resentment didn’t work in prison, so he’s not going to start now. While everyone in the free world makes decisions based on an assumed payoff in the future, Ray ditched that approach a long time ago.”—
That this man could lose so much of his life to a wrongful conviction and come out on the other side with kindness and forgiveness in his heart is incredible. If he can give forgive the people that took away his freedom surely the rest of us can forgive a whole lot of small, petty stuff.
“During her five years with BMI — on trips to Texas, Ohio, Florida, Washington — Baker has learned a lot: managers of adult clubs tend to be polite. People who run coffee shops tend to be difficult. Skating rinks are a pain – they have the longest outgoing messages in the world. Casinos owned by Indian tribes are tough. Every decision goes to the tribal council, and it can take forever. Arts and crafts festivals, forget it; creative types never have any money. (“You’d think they’d get it,” Baker said, “But … .” She waved her hand.) The most important rule of the road, however, is never — Baker looked me in the eye — eat in the venue, even if they invite you. Because God only knows what they might put in your food.”—The Music-Copyright Enforcers - NYTimes.com
"While I firmly believe that a business climate conducive to growth is critical to our future, I realize our decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry," Steinhafel wrote.
He added, “The diversity of our team is an important aspect of our unique culture and our success as a company, and we did not mean to disappoint you, our team or our valued guests.”
"When I am in a community for a time, people stop thinking, ‘She’s the Asian rabbi’ and just think of me as the rabbi, or the cantor. When I was younger, people questioned me more. Now they think of it as a point of pride. People have more diverse friends and that is just normal and good." When a person’s Jewish identity stems from culture—like humor or food—instead of religion, says Buchdahl, a differing cultural identity can be disconcerting. "People with the most ambivalence about their own Jewish identities are often the ones who challenge me the most."
2:23 PM: Chris Roberts reports that “it’s an absolute scrum” at the City Clerk’s office, where Vanessa Judipli and Maria Ydril have been issued a marriage license.
Roberts reports that Supervisor Bevan Dufty is on scene to perform the ceremony “before anything happens with the stay” (that is, the request made by supporters of Proposition 8 to prevent any same sex marriages from taking place until their appeal is heard).
The fashion house currently only sells its collections in smaller sizes but is working on expanding its range to include garments for fuller-figured women. Marc’s business partner Robert Duffy is concerned by the pressure put on women to be thin, and hopes stocking bigger sizes will show them it is OK to be bigger.
"Interest in Plus sizes? Women are dying for fashion. Need to get the message out. We gotta do larger sizes. I’m with you. As soon as I get back to NY. I’m on it! It will take me about a year. But stay with us (sic)," Robert wrote on the Marc Jacobs twitter page.
“Surely it isn’t irrelevant that the mayor and the borough president (Scott Stringer) are both Jewish? Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the macher behind the Islamic center (which is explicitly modeled on Jewish Community Centers), doesn’t think so: “I express my heartfelt appreciation for the gestures of goodwill and support from our Jewish friends and colleagues,” he said yesterday. “Your support is a reflection of the great history of mutual cooperation and understanding that Jewish and Muslim civilizations have shared in the past, and remains a testament to the enduring success of our continuing dialogue and dedication to upholding religious freedom, tolerance and cooperation among us all as Americans.”—New York, America, and Jews At Their Finest - by Marc Tracy > Tablet Magazine - A New Read on Jewish Life