Rock Climbing, Reggae & Raving: Jewlicious SummerFest Wrap-Up

It’s tough to describe a weekend of a million memories in just a short post, but here we go.

Jewlicious “SummerFest”, held Aug. 16-19 on the campus of Camp Alonim, and Brandeis Bardin Conference Center in Simi Valley, CA, brought in 250 Jewish young adults from around the country.

We began SummerFest — also referred to as Camp Jewlicious — three years ago, creating a Jewish summer camp themed fest that was part nostalgic summer camp and part inspiring music festival.

Festival-goers had the opportunity to sleep in air-conditioned cottages, ca

mp bunks or to camp out outdoors under the stars. Tent camping was by far the most original and affordable way to have fun. 100 people camped out in tents and RV’s!

Bonfires, and camp-style shabbat experiences mingle with yoga, hikes, meditation, sports, rock climbing, swimming and mountain biking. Arts & crafts this year included Shabbat candle making, batik challah covers, and tie-dying.

Music was a critical component of the weekend’s excitement. Thursday and Sunday featured singer/songwriters Mikey Pauker, Laura Wiley, Rav Shmuel, Natan Winkler, Griffith Clawson, and Martin Starrow all playing acoustic sets. Saturday night’s three hour show featured Pato – whose show I will describe below – and Ari Herstand. And after the concert, festival-goers celebrated until dawn at a rave perched high upon a bluff at the House of the Book, while others jammed on drums and guitars around a bonfire. Read more

MSU Student Viciously Assaulted: Was it an Antisemitic Attack?

The vicious assault on MSU student Zachary Tennen has been plastered across the Internets, HuffingtonPost, and Michigan newspapers. By the victim’s account he was attacked because he was Jewish. He claims they yelled “Heil Hitler” and were skinheads.

The East Lansing Police on the other hand disagree. As they investigate the assault on Zachary the
Police are treating the crime like a regular assault because apparently the witnesses didn’t hear anything anti-Semitic. These are the same witnesses it is claimed by the victim stood by as the assault happened.

The first and obvious question is, how reliable are the witnesses?

However, the Police say that in fact the witnesses to the assault did help Zachary, conflicting his statements, and that they offered him cold packs to apply, and even called a taxi.

Zachary’s account, as relayed it seems by his father, has none of that happening.

Was the attack a vicious antisemitic incident, or just a case of a party gone awry, and a drunk teenager getting the crap beaten out him? Read more

From Burnings to Celebration: Lessons in Learning and Jewish Unity

While I did not have the privilege to join the 90,000+ Jews who filled the MetLife Stadium Wednesday night, this milestone in Jewish life cannot be underestimated.

The Jews have endured countless public burnings of the Talmud over the centuries since the first recorded incident in 1242 when twenty-four wagons of books totaling thousands of volumes were burned in Paris. Centuries of of more burnings ensued. Just 80 years ago, the Nazis collected and burned thousands of copies of Talmud. Many more thousands of copies of the Talmud burned in the synagogues, study halls, and homes during the duration of the Shoah.

Yet, the attempt to eradicate Jewish learning has failed.  It may be that more Jews study the Talmud today than at any time in Jewish history.

Getting Daf Yomi, the daily study of a page (back and front) of Talmud a day, off the ground did not happen overnight. When Rabbi Moshe Shapiro proposed the Daf Yomi at the first World Congress of the World Agudath Israel in Vienna on August 16th 1923, it was greeted warmly, but it went against convention. Pages of Talmud are worlds unto themselves. There are a myriad of commentaries on every page, and deciphering and analyzing each section can take days, weeks, and at times months. Some greeted the fast paced study with skepticism because it was such a radical notion.

But since Daf Yomi was an effort in Jewish unity it ultimately has succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations since Jewish tradition teaches that blessing comes from such efforts. People all over the world are thinking, discussing and struggling with the same text. Read more