Meyer Lansky was an infamous and ruthless gangster -- albeit one so personally charming that his life is chronicled in a book called But He Was Good to His Mother -- and no friend of New York State Judge Nathan Perlman; nevertheless, as the Nazi-supporting German-American Bund staged more and more toxic rallies in New York City, Perlman quietly asked Meyer to form a squad of Jewish gangsters to disrupt their meetings.
Read the rest
As the United States continues to head down a dark, dark road more bomb threats have been phoned in against Jewish community centers across America.
Read the rest
Jewish community centers around the country were again targeted with bomb threats Wednesday morning, a week after a spate of similar threats against many centers.
In Miami, police responded to reports of a bomb threat at the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center. Threats were called in at the same center a week ago.
Police in Newton, Massachusetts, responded after a suspicious phone call prompted an evacuation Wednesday morning at a local JCC.
Jewish community centers in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and two in Connecticut, one at the JCC of Greater New Haven in Woodbridge and another at The Mandell JCC West Hartford, reported receiving bomb threats.
Threats were made to at least seven JCCs in Florida, New Jersey, Delaware, Tennessee and North Carolina last week.
A JCC building in Marin County, California, was also evacuated as a precaution after a threat.
Apparently some Ashkenazi Jews of central or eastern European heritage consider cannabis to be in the category of food that's prohibited during Passover, the festival that begins tonight. However Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a recognized leader in Orthodox Judaism, ruled that it's actually fine to use weed for medical purposes during Passover. Reminds of the time many years ago when we used a bud to represent the "bitter herb" on the Seder Plate. From The Independent:
Among Ashkenazi Jews, who are of usually of Central and Eastern European descent, the drug would be considered to be a member of the kitniyot – a group of legumes and grains which are forbidden during the festival of Passover, including rice, peas and lentils....
The 88-year-old rabbi, who lives in Bnei Brak, an Israeli city east of Tel Aviv, can be seen with another prominent rabbi in a video uploaded to YouTube by pro-legalisation group Cannabis Israel in which they are presented with cannabis leaves and partake in the leaves being blessed.
Read the rest
Mechanical engineering students from The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology built this fantastic Rube Goldberg machine last year to tell the story of Passover, the Jewish holiday starting the evening of April 22 that celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites' exodus from slavery in Egypt. Of course my favorite part of the story, and this video, is the Ten Plagues.
(Thanks, Candy Mabry!)
And here's a behind-the-scenes video:
Read the rest
A robotic Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year!) from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology! Read the rest
is a fascinating effort from BB contributor Tanya Schevitz and my pals at Reboot where you sign up to receive one provocative "big" life question each day
via email for ten days. The project was inspired by the Jewish High Holidays, a traditional period of personal reflection, but 10Q
is not just for Jewish people and the questions aren't about religion. Read the rest
Photo: ICE HSI. Click to enlarge.
In Washington today, US officials and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum representatives announced the seizure of a long-lost diary maintained by a close confidant of Adolf Hitler.
The recovery of this historical document was the result of an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The author of the so-called "Rosenberg Diary" was Alfred Rosenberg, a leading member of the Third Reich and of the Nazi Party during World War II.
Rosenberg was one of the intellectual authors behind key Nazi beliefs, including persecution of Jewish people, expansionist “lebensraum” (living space) ideology, the "master race" theory, and the rejection of modern art as "degenerate." He was tried at Nuremberg, sentenced to death, and hanged on October 16, 1946, after having been convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The diary will eventually be displayed in the Holocaust Museum. More photos, video from the press conference where the seizure was announced, video of Rosenberg speaking, and more of the story behind this important historic artifact are below.
Read the rest
Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik creates exquisite paper cuts from recycled comic books. Much of his work incorporates Jewish mystical and cultural themes. Above, "Live Long and Prosper" (20" x 16", mixed media). Of course, Leonard Nimoy based the iconic "Vulcan Salute" on an ancient blessing gesture performed by Jewish high priests. If I had known Brynjegard-Bialik's work when I got married, I would have commissioned him to make our ketubah! Brynjegard-Bialik's solo exhibition, titled "You Did What To My Comics?," is up at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City, California until March 19. Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik (via @nicejewishartist Instagram feed) Read the rest
Cancer survivor Lani Horn, who helped me through some painful times during my cancer treatment, writes in a piece for kveller.com about anger, justice, and the search for deeper meaning in the Jewish holy days. She talks about a moment of clarity during a workshop for survivors, where she witnessed much talk about "making meaning out of the cancer experience, deepening our gratitude for the ordinary, becoming more compassionate." Snip:
After losing my brother, two breasts, and almost three years of my life to illness and hospitals, I was over these platitudes. I stood up to speak. “This is all fine. I get it. But my problem is that I am mad at God.” I even talked about the Unetanah Tokef, which had been a grueling part of the High Holiday liturgy since Jeremy died. Who shall live and who shall die?
A surge went through the room. I had uttered the unspeakable. Afterwards people came up to thank me for my honesty. One was a hospice chaplain, himself a cancer survivor.
“Remember,” he said, “there is a such thing as holy anger. Think of the prophets. Anger can be a spiritual feeling.”
For the first time, I did not feel like my anger separated me from God. It was an honest description of my relationship.
Yes, I was angry. Who shall live and who shall die? Why him and not me? And why him at all?
Read the rest: Rethinking Who Shall Live & Who Shall Die (Raising Kvell)
(Image: Dad's Grave's Broken Headstone at the Jewish Cemetery in Mumbai, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from Avi Solomon's photostream. Read the rest
Update: The whole thing sounds like a weird disinfo job. But, by whom and to what end? The AP has outed "Sam Bacile" as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian who claims the film supports the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims. On The Media notes that there's something fishy about the film dialogue. And Gawker has spoken to one of the actresses in the film, who says she had no idea what the film was really about.
The Associated Press identifies Sam Bacile as an Israeli filmmaker based in California who made an independently produced and financed anti-Muslim movie that's sort of "Birth of a Nation" meets "Bed Intruder." The YouTube trailer is embedded above, and it unapologetically attacks Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Bacile has no known prior history as a filmmaker.
His D-grade web trailer inspired (or, alternately, was used as cover for) attacks by ultra-conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya. J Christopher Stevens, America's ambassador to Libya, and three American members of his staff were killed today in resulting violence.
From the Associated Press:
Read the rest
Speaking by phone Tuesday from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that the 56-year-old intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion. Protesters angered over Bacile’s film opened fire on and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Libyan officials said Wednesday that Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob firing machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.
Filmmaker Dan Cohen is the guy behind "An Article of Hope," a feature film project seven years in the making. The documentary is done, but Dan's got a Kickstarter to raise funds to get it on television and into schools. Below, some words from Dan for Boing Boing readers about the film:
Read the rest
What could space shuttle Astronauts and the Holocaust possibly have in common? When I began my research into my documentary An Article of Hope, I thought I was making a film about a Holocaust story. But I soon unraveled a story that was much more than that. It is a story that crosses generations woven by the lives of three men, born at a different time, but brought together by a twist of fate.
At the center of the story were the Astronauts of the Space Shuttle Columbia. All from different backgrounds from around the world, magnificently diverse, yet threaded by a moment from the Holocaust, a horrific attempt to stamp out diversity.
Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon was a hero fighter pilot, a man who had the ability to rise to the moment. By the time he launched into space he was more than that, he was the representative of his country, his faith, and in his eyes perhaps, humanity. He searched for a symbol of this responsibility, and found a little Torah scroll given to a boy in a secret Bar Mitzvah in a Nazi concentration camp.
A monkey sculpture is pictured on a pick-up truck before it is placed in an exhibition at Hiriya recycling park, built on the site of a former garbage dump near Tel Aviv. The Coca-Cola Recycled Safari featuring animals made of recycled Coca Cola packages will be open to the public during the Passover holiday.
More images of other critter creations from the recycling project, below. (REUTERS/Nir Elia)
Read the rest