Rose Bowl Rabbinic Rivalry

When Oregon and Ohio State take the field tomorrow in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl, there will be more going on than meets the eye.

Enter Rabbi Drew Kaplan, newly appointed head of Jewish Student Services and SoCal Campus Rabbi at Long Beach State, and across Orange County. Rabbi Drew is loves Torah, his family, and Buckeye Football. A native of Ohio Drew will be praying for a Bucks victory at the Rose Bowl.

Then there is me, past head of Jewish Student Services and a SoCal Campus Rabbi, and now Director at JConnect. I love Torah, my family, and Duck Football. I am a native of Michigan, and will be praying for a Ducks victory in Pasedena.

Now both of us being Shabbat observant Jews, our passion for our respective college football teams could not help but be tempered by the reality that we cannot watch any of these games live. The only times I seem to ever see the Ducks play football is in a Bowl Game. And this is a big deal — Ohio State (10-2) hasn’t played in the Rose Bowl since 1997, while Oregon (10-2) hasn’t made it since 1995.

If measured in Jewish students, Ohio State has a clear edge. With 3,200 Jewish students approximately, it is the 16th largest concentration of Jewish students at a public university in the country. Oregon, has perhaps 1,000 Jewish students, and doesn’t even rank in the top 30.

The Ducks have a famous Jewish alum who plays now for Dallas, Igor Olshansky. Ohio State has John Frank, who also was part of the Israeli Bobsled team!

We were going to set out and go together to the game. The moment that this matchup was announced, we realized the monumental nature of this contest, and the ramifications for Jewish life in California and beyond.

I had dreams of a kosher tailgate party, where Jews from both sides of this contest, could break bread together, and enjoy harmony before the war of roses.

I imagined the scene of praying mincha at half-time, one part of the minyan in Duck colors, the other in Buckeye colors. Jews, divided by geography, and allegiances, could lay down their vocal weapons and for a moment give thanks to the almighty. I imagined a harmonious moment that could usher in the Messianic age.

But then we realized that this game was being played on Erev Shabbat. I frantically contacted Drew and we began thinking of plans. We could try to get rooms (unlikely) staying at a hotel near the stadium, in cas

e the game was still going on when Shababt arrived. We contemplated making a Shabbat Tent in the Rose Bowl parking lot, but management doesn’t allow overnights.

This once-in-a-life-time contest would have to be watched from the comfort and affordability of home. When the dust settles on the field, we will get back to planning Jewlicious Festival.

Go Ducks, Go Buckeys, Go Shabbos!
A side note — both teams are staying in five-star hotels down the street from our offices on Avenue of the Stars. They arrived on Monday from the airport with police escorts in four large tour buses.

Don’t Forgive Carter

It was widely reported in the press, that Carter asked for forgiveness from the Jews, and I don’t forgive him. The former president, and master of distortions, wrote to JTA:  “As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.”

In order to seek forgiveness, one has to acknowledge the mistakes that one made and resolve to repair the damage caused. If we Jews don’t forgive Carter, God certainly never will. As our tradition teaches — God will only forgive one who has made peace with those that they wronged. And Jimmy, you have a long, long way to go.

Carter’s admission that he has caused the Jewish community harm might work in confession, but doesn’t work with on Yom Kippur, and it doesn’t work with me.

Carter admitted no specific mistakes. He offered no way of repairing the damage caused by his irresponsible accusations.

I personally heard Carter tell an audience of 3k students at UC Irvine, to the applause of the administration and students, that the US Congress was “in the pocket” of the Jews.

How many other college student audiences around the country heard the same accusations? How many books did he publish accusing Israel of things that have no basis in fact? How many times has he appeared on TV demonizing Israel and backing Hamas?

In order for me to forgive Carter he has to admit to his distortions and lies and publicly renounce his books and speeches. Carter needs to return money to anti-Semitic Middle Eastern countries that back his center. He needs to replace Habitat for Humanity with Hadassah. He needs to go on Birthright Israel. He needs to listen to Matisyahu. He needs to watch G-d Cast, read The Forward, spend the winter in Miami. He needs to study Judaism with Rabbi Telushkin, and volunteer for Challah for Hunger. We need to see Jimmy Carter crusading against the humanitarian track record of Hizbollah, Hamas, and Fatah, and doing brunch at Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage on Pico. While he is on this apology tour, he needs to appear at every campus where he defamed Israel, and give speeches urging that Muslim extremist recruiting groups like the MSU and MSA be banned permanently. He needs to learn Hebrew, spend Shabbat at Beit Jewlicious, and sit at David Abitbol’s feet and learn about the expulsion of North African Jews, Sephardic Jewish culture, and eat chumous. And that is just for starters.

There is a perfect venue for this rapprochement to begin with the Jewish community;  the perfect place for Carter to ask forgiveness, renounce his former ways, and promise to live a life free from anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel —Jewlicious Festival 6.0.

Friday Night at Jewlicious Jimmy, stand up in front of hundreds and hundreds of young Jews, ask forgiveness, break bread with us, and tell us how you will attempt to undo the vast damage you have wrought.

MATISYAHU New Acoustic “One Day” Video

Honika Electronica Launch Party – DEC 12 – LA

JConnectLA Official Honika Electronica Launch Party

Music by: Smooth-E, DIWON, SoulSpeak, DJ Eric Rosen, Cajami

Special Modern Tribe No Limit Texas Dreidel Tournament

Party benefits the ‘Fed Up with Hunger’ Initiative
Doors open @ 9 PM, A Cow Jumped Over the Moon
421 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

$10 presale/$15 @ the door
$5 off door price with 2 cans of kosher food

Sponsored by : Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI)
Co-Sponsors: Birthright Israel Next, Chai Center, ModernTribe, Shemspeed, Jewlicious Festival