January 29, 2009

(Reb Yudel)

The Ultimate Israeli Party

Every election, Israel's parliamentary system encourages the creation of small political parties that never manage to garner enough votes to actually win Knesset seats.

This year, the process has resulted in a party so sublime in its improbable Israeliness that it can never be equaled.

JTA reports:

Perhaps the most unusual alliance in this year's election is between the Green Leaf Party, which has no seats in the Knesset, and the Pensioners' Party, which has six. Renamed the Holocaust Survivors' and Grown-Up Green Leaf Party, the party's prime issues are legalizing marijuana and pensioners' rights, especially...  Read More those of Holocaust survivors. One of the party's TV ads shows party head Gil Kopatch smoking a joint at the grave of Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

Here's another election commercial:

January 28, 2009

(Reb Yudel)

The New York Times discovers The New Jewish Times

The New York Times rediscovers Yossi Klein Halevi's youthful magazine, The New Jewish Times. Unfortunately, and typically, the Times overplays the Sex In The City angle and gives short shrift to the actual content. Some day I might just haul the six rare issues up from the basement and post them online...

Not such a long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, specifically in the downtown Manhattan of 1980 with its punk clubs and squeegee men and loose-joint dealers and $150-a-month sublets, a moment of literary and journalistic kismet was occurring in a factory loft halfway between the East Village and Chelsea.

The loft held the mismatched desks, layout tables and glaring overhead lights that constituted the office of New Jewish Times, a new and precarious monthly magazine. As for the staff, it was a miscellany of gifted malcontents and sundry outsiders — Soviet émigrés, children of survivors, yeshiva rebels, CBGB regulars, “a bunch of slobs with overheated opinions,” in the recollection of one alumnus.

With their very first issue, those opinionated slobs declared their independence from the norms of Jewish journalism, whether sober journals like Commentary and Dissent or the boosterish newspapers sponsored by local Jewish federations. The entire cover consisted of an illustration of a mushroom cloud with the deadpan headline asking, “Next Year in Jerusalem?”

The Times might have noted, for instance, that fear of an Iranian-sponsored mushroom cloud looms large over most of Yossi's reporting these days--and in fact define's contemporary mainstream Jewish journalism. Read the article for yourself.

(Reb Yudel)

The Jewish Bob Dylan (June 15, 1972 radio show)

From The Internet Archive: Bernard Timberg analyzes the songs of Bob Dylan looking for Jewish themes and imagery. He identifies messianic longings in Quinn the Eskimo, references to Jewish burial practices in Masters of War, and finds significance in the fact that the initials of John Wesley Harding can be interpreted as the name of the Jewish God, YHWH. Issues such as social justice and a sense of out-sideness imbue the songs of Dylan as they do the history of the Jewish people. Timberg also interviews a number of people who knew Dylan when he was still Bob Zimmerman in an effort to investigate the Jewish roots of his music, including a woman that was at his Bar Mitzvah and a counselor at a Jewish summer camp Dylan attended as a child. Also explored are a number of myths about Dylan that touch upon his Jewish identity.