De Ja Maradona

Messi is like Maradona 

MADRID, Spain – FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has drawn further comparisons with Diego Maradona by scoring a a near replica of one of the former Argentina captain’s most famous goals.

On Wednesday, Messi emulated Maradona’s winner against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals in scoring Barcelona’s second goal in a 5-2 win over Getafe in the Copa del Rey semifinals.

My fascination with Football began when I was living in Oxford and spent an evening hanging out with Diego Maradona.   We couldn’t talk about anything without an interpreter, but he was a force of nature, a man that kept the world’s attention  for years.   It had once seemed like a sport hardly worth getting excited about. 

Then I began to understand the sport, the intensity, and the important role in played culturally.

Last summer Ezra and I were in London attending Rabbi Mati Kos’s wedding, and we caught the finals of th World Cup.  It was fantastic football.

Notice: No tattoos, grills, or obscene gestures on the field here.  There remains an amazing sportsmanship.  The fans are a different story.

Baseball, though, is still king.

Symposium: Reaching Generation iPod


Long Beach, Ca – April 19, 2007 – Jewish Studies and Beach Hillel will co-host a symposium, “Reaching Generation iPod: Identification and Affiliation among Young American Jews” at The Pointe’s Ukleja Center on Sunday, April 29 from 1-5 p.m. Admission is free.

“Recent surveys have found that while young Jews are proud of their Jewish heritage, they are not interested in denominational institutions. Instead, they are interested in Jewish cultural, spiritual, or social justice issues,” explained symposium co-organizer and Jewish Studies Director Arlene Lazarowitz. “Jewish institutions, therefore, need to be flexible to attract young American Jews, for whom being Jewish is just one aspect of their identity.”

Co-sponsored by Beach Hillel and its executive director Rachel Bookstein, the symposium is supported by a generous grant from the Jewish Foundation of Greater Long Beach and West Orange County.

The creation of this symposium, hot on the heels of the very successful Jewlicious Festival, puts Long Beach and the Jewish Studies Program at forefront of efforts to reach young Jews on the West Coast.

“Beach Hillel is about creating community on new terms, so that young Jews will be connected and empowered Jewishly,” said Rachel Bookstein. “The old formulas are being replaced with new ideas, and this symposium will focus on students and what they are looking for and what they need during their collegiate years.”

Space for the event is limited. For more information please contact us: 562 985 7068 or 562 426 7601 ext 1424, and email

UJC in decline, choose wrong path

The UJC has been in decline for a while.  It merged with its only rival in 1999 to shore up their position and funding.  It hasn’t worked.  Young generations of Jews have no need for a behemoth fund raising machine, some call it an old-boys network, with obvious inefficiencies.  Add to that that many Jews don’t even have strong ties to Israel or their fellow Jews. Oh, and one more thing, the entire Federation system cannot compete with private foundations that are making huge strides in all areas of Jewish and civic life.  In other words, the Feds are out of touch, out of style, and out to lunch just one too many times on the people’s dime.

Today’s news that the UJC will be changing is good. The bad news is they are making the wrong decisions, again.

The dissolution of the organization’s four pillars that until now have defined the group’s areas of focus. This would include the end to the Renewal and Renaissance pillar, whose focus on Jewish identity building and education had became central to the federation system after the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey showed a dramatic increase in the intermarriage rate.

Basically they are going to green pastures of untapped Jewish wealth – israel and Russia. They once were busy telling everyone to donate money to send to Israel and Russia, and now they have turned an about face and will be raising money there.

Instead of realizing that the entire system needs to be dismantled, they are looking for new money – is this not the obvious signs of a desperate creature?

Hugs are Holy

The Free Hugs movement started with Juan Mann.

we were 3 people and hugged 232 people in 3 hours. not only that we weren’t banned by the police, a policeman even almost stopped the car to hug us. in the second hugging day we hugged over 400 people.

This can be done anytime and anyplace. I imagine all kinds of variations, even a modest version for frum communities. We can have men huging men and women and hugging women. We can have mixed hugging for those that want that. We can have kids hugging kids. Hugs are holy.

Footnote: Free Hugs reaches Jaffa