4/06/2011

News and Notes

  1. Some parts of Israel - mainly in the north, around the Kinneret, have now received above-average quantities of rainfall, and some have even exceeded the average for the entire season. The rain is expected to continue at least through the weekend, so more sites will probably pass that threshold. Considering that it didn't really start to rain until December, this is really good news. Israel's meteorological service has a good interactive website here, so you can follow it on your own. This is what you do in a country with a dearth of good sports teams.
  2. Regarding the whole Goldstone business, I think it's a marvelous coincidence that the story broke during the parshiyot of Tazria and Metzora. Here you have a man who, in a manner of speaking, spoke "lashon ha-ra" and was consequently cast "mi-chutz la-machaneh." As Rashi points out in Vayikra 14:4, tzara'at is caused by hubris and cured by contrition. I've written before about the "descent" of the tza'ra'at patient from being a person of stature - "adam ki yihyeh be-or besaro" - to being completely identified with his flaw, a metzora, but that this identification is the basis for his purification. It doesn't exactly parallel Goldstone, but if I was giving a drasha this Shabbat, I'd definitely work it in.
  3. Speaking of Goldstone, in last year's Purim Shpiel we had a bit where an Emily Litella-type character called for a boycott of Coldstone Creamery in response to the Goldstone Report. Most people didn't get it, but those who did were ROTFL.
  4. I can't help but find the Naama Shafir story inspiring. I sympathize with some of the ambivalence raised in this Jewish Press article from 2009, and I'm not sure how I would counsel someone in a similar situation.
  5. Apparently, R. Hershel Schachter approves soft matza for Ashkenazim.
  6. In this article about Spain's new museums of Jewish heritage, it is asserted that "the effort has left some Jews feeling that Spain is exploiting a history that rightfully belongs to contemporary Spanish Jews, and in the process is relegating a living culture to a museum piece." Who are these offended contemporary Spanish Jews? The local Chabad rabbi, for one. Why does the history belong to him more than a museum? Why does he think what he practices is part of the "living culture" of classical Spanish Jewry?
  7. Rabbi Mintz introduced a line of Rabbi Mints. First of all, it's just not all that funny. Good for a Purim shpiel, lame for a product line. Second of all, I'll bet that kiddush club membership in his shul triples this week. Just pop a Rabbi Mint and you can deny, deny, deny.
  8. This guy gets his britches in a twist trying to figure out what kind of insanity must be gripping the Russian-American-Jewish community to make them vote Republican. Never mind that Russians are also the most consistently right-wing voters in Israel (a fact that is completely ignored in the article, which asserts that in America they vote Republican because they've got a stronger attachment to Israel; is that also why Russian-Israelis vote for Lieberman, or is this guy just plain missing the boat?) 
  9. Go O's.
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