Archive | October, 2008

Shabos Zmiros – Yehuda Glantz

Truly amazing stuff. This man, Yehuda Glantz, is forever married to my Shabat playlist.

via YouTube – Yehuda Glantz on charango playing Adon Olam

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If you live anywhere in this vicinity…

IMPORTANT UPDATE at the bottom.

You should go to Limmud NY. It’s a long weekend of pluralistic Jewish learning, friends and fun over MLK weekend in January. If I sound like a brochure, that’s probably because I’m their intern. But I’d be posting about this anyway even if I weren’t. I went last year and had absolutely the best time I’ve ever had a Jewish conference.

It’s a very down-to-earth event in that even though there are some really big name presenters there, none of their badges or their program listings tell you “Rabbi so and such” or “Dr. blah blah blah.” People are just people, first and last name.

To give you an idea of the type of people that go to Limmud, let me list for you, the options on the “denomination” drop-down menu on the registration page: Conservadox, Conservative, Culturally Jewish, Hassidic, Just Jewish, Multi-Denominational, Non-Denominational, Orthodox, Post-Denominational, Reconstructionist, Reform, Renewal, Secular, Secular Humanist, and Not Jewish. And it’s that crazy mix of people that makes the event so good!

So you should go, if you live in the NY area. Cost should not be an issue. Limmud NY has a lot of scholarship money to give out. If you’re a student, you can get a student fellowship, which means the whole shabang is practically free in exchange for a couple hours of volunteering during the conference. If you’re and adult from the greater NY area and you need scholarship money, you can probably get that too. And if you work part-time for Camp Limmud, their program for all the registrants’ children, you can go for free!

So there’s really no reason not to go register for Limmud NY.

Their home page is here and price info is here. And if you don’t go, I swear you will regret it. I even know people that are coming in from Chicago for this . They know. They get it.

Seeya there.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The scholarship application deadline is November 2 and the student fellowship application deadline is November 14.

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Shabos Zmiros – Y-Love raps in Aramaic!

He raps in English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic. He’s Y-Love.

As Daniel “Mobius” Sieradski put it, “With each word he spits in the tongue of the Talmud, Y-Love breathes new life into Hasidism, and hip-hop, one beat at a time.”

YouTube – Introducing Y-Love

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Yom huledet sameach, JBC!

Excellent convert blog Jews By Choice notes today that it recently reached one year of age and that by the end of the month, it will probably reach 100,000 page views. Mazal tov, JBC!

Spin the wheel! Spin the wheel! Spin the wheel!

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Batman pals around with criminals

I have thus far managed to keep the campaign out of this blog entirely. That is not my focus or my topic here. Yet, this is just too good not to post here. I won’t comment too much on the video, except to point out that the parallels are right there for you to draw yourselves. Enjoy.

YouTube – Batman vs. The Penguin: The Debate

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Shabos Zmiros – Chana Rothman “We Can Rise”

This week’s Shabos Zmiros comes from former Kutz songleader Chana Rothman. Chana’s CD, “We Can Rise” is a fun combination of Judaism and reggae. The song take many of it’s cues from the psalm “Esa einai el heharim.”

YouTube – ORCA Media Moments “Chana Rothman”

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I put together my own Lulav! (kind of)

This year, intoxicated by the coolness of the videos at this post at Jewlicious, I decided that I wanted to not only get my own Lulav and Etrog, but that I wanted to assemble the Lulav myself. Jonathan Golden, a professor here at Drew and our wonderful Hillel adivsor, had his brother, a Sephardic rabbi, pick up the parts for me in Brooklyn while he was picking up several other peoples’ sets of Sukot magic rain stick wand things.


Demonstrating a zealous Lulav-shaking technique.

Demonstrating a zealous Lulav-shaking technique.


The Rabbi put it together Sephardic-style. This involved a single-cradle handle thing. The Ashkenazic version that we see most often in the US, has three parts that hold the palm, willow, and myrtle seperately. The Sephardic version has a single-compratment braided handle that all three plants go in together. He’d also put it together with three rings of palm, holding the palm branch together, as it’s supposed to be. The rings, however, were also put together in a different Sephardic way. I, still excited from the video at Jewlicious, decided to do my own Asheknazic rings, as the video instructs.

It was tons of fun. Thanks to Jonathan Golden and his brother for gettin the stuff to me. Thanks also to housemate Chris Damujian (christian) for letting me use his camera and to housemate Mays Zubair (muslim) for taking some of the pictures. Also thanks to Kate Noland (pagan) and Sarah Maple (catholic) for listening to me ramble about the purpose of my big rain stick. Now that’s ecumenical!

For the details on my assembly fun, check out this Facebook photo album. Though it is on Facebook, it is accessible to the public. Chag Sameach!

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“Our Pagan Yom Kippur” from FailedMessiah

Over at the excellent blog, a whistle-blowing blog out to expose far right wing orthodox Judaism as a harmful force in the world (by covering stuff like child molestation and Agriprocessors), there’s a really interesting post about the ancient Mesopotamian holiday of Kapuru, held in the Babylonian month of Tashritu. Sound familiar? It’s a cool post. Here’s an excerpt:

Our ancestors borrowed a great deal from a towering, imperial Mesopotamian culture that for centuries dominated the Fertile Crescent. That we used Babylonian calendar names is widely known. Semitic peoples had used the lunar calendar from time immemorial, but named their months differently. What the (Hebrew-speaking) Canaanites called Aviv, Ziv, Eytanim and Bul, the practical-minded Hebrews first renamed months One, Two, Seven and Eight. The Babylonians called them Nisanu, Ayaru, Tashritu and Archasamnu. In time, our ancestors replaced their numerals with the Babylonian names, many of which are named in honor of Mesopotamian gods.

One of the comments on the post, from Rachel Batya, captures my feelings exactly:

Whether we borrowed from the pagans or they borrowed from us (and probably some of both happened), this kind of information is fascinating to me and enriches my understanding of Judaism. It doesn’t detract from it. It reminds me that Judaism has not always been the hermetically sealed culture that some of our more fanatical members seek to make it, but a living, breathing entity capable of co-existing with other cultures while retaining its deepest insights and values.

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Or maybe this is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen

This. It’s an article posted at the Palestine Think Tank, a site billing itself as “Free minds for a free Palestine.” Part of it uses an rather old post of mine from when I was in Israel in high school, when this blog was called “Live from Israel: David Says Things.” The author goes about dissecting my post and attempting to use it to discredit a variety of notions about Jewish nationalism and Israeli identity.

I find it humorous that the article quotes me extensively alongside a far more scholarly article about Jewish identity as though I’m sort of actual expert to be quoted at length. It strokes my ego a tad, but mostly I’m a little upset at its misuse of me.

Shabat Shalom.

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This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen

This. Really, URJ? Facebook I kind of understood, but why, oh why, is the Union twittering?

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