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Passover Album of 5766

socalledCross-posted from Jewlicious.com

What are you going to put on the stereo to make cleaning for Passover joyous? Something with a beat to keep you moving, something to inspire you in this ancient ritual of destroying chometz, something to get you in the Seder mood. The Rabbi’s pick for Passover Album of 5766 is… the re-mastered The So Called Seder: A Hip Hop Haggadah.

Hip-Hop Hagadah is a stereophonic journey, a creative and wonderful tribute to the festival of Freedom. Using an endless array of samples from older Passover recordings, original lyrics in English and Yiddish, unstoppable beats and rhythms, Hip Hop Hagaddah is an essential part of the contemporary musical celebration of being Jewish. One note of caution: parental discretion is advised on some tracks. This is not an Uncle Moishe and the Hip Hop Seder.

From the producers:

THE SO CALLED SEDER: A HIP HOP HAGGADAH, it’s newly produced, recorded and mastered in NYC. Features cameos by Wu Tang Clan’s Killah Priest, Matisyahu, Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn, Montreal’s queen of country Katie Moore, David Krakauer, Susan and Elaine Hoffman Watts, and more.

Eliyahu Hanavi has not been sung with this much soul since Yossel Rosenblatt crooned in Warsaw.

I cannot claim to have done a survey of all the Passover albums out there. I browsed through some of the titles at the JCC Passover Store and was shocked by the sticker price. So I went over to iTunes and did a search for Passover and found a surprising paucity of new Passover music.

So honorable mention goes out to two albums: Reeboot Stereophonic has issued an EP titled Passover Re-mix, where Gershon Kingsley mixes it up with a Irving Fields Trio album. Debbie Friedman has another album Mayan Hagadah in Music, very much sticking to her unique sound. But nothing got my toes taping like So Called.

Come to think of it, if some companies had given us some advanced

copies, well I am sure that we could have reviewed all the albums in their entirety. And that goes for new Jewish books too. And of course, new Jewish travel destinations and cruises. I mean, I am sure that we would find the time from amongst our esteemed blogging conglomerate to test out Jewish destinations. One of our crew has already done one of these adventures and lets hope more is on the way.

And did I mentioned cookbooks? There were definitely as many new cookbooks on the shelves as there were new Hagadahs. Hagadah choice of the year? Hold your matzahs…

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May the best “bentch” win

I wonder if Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan and Rabbi Yonah Schiller have discussed the halachik implications of the March madness final tonight, but both have a lot to gain from this game. The OU put out a nice piece about the matchup. Both schools are home to the  Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus,  a cooperative effort of the OU, Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and the Torah Mitzion organization.  The UCLA Bruins may have an advatage off the "bentch," because of a Jordan Farmar, who is Jewish and had a bar mitzvah.

Seems that either the JLIC of UCLA or the JLIC or UF will celebrate winning the NCAA. May the best "bentch" win.


The Manifesto of 12

muslimrefusnikThanks to Ray Duran for directing me to muslim-refusnik.com, home of Irshad Manji's activist work. She published the following manifesto on the website, and while I am not optimistic about its effectiveness—it will most likely be ignored—I feel obliged also to promote it. Salman Rushdie, Bernard-Henri Lévy and others have signed the manifesto. The Trouble With Islam, Manji's best-selling book, is a good read for anyone who wants to understand Islam today.



Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism.

We — writers, journalists and public intellectuals — call for resistance to religious totalitarianism.

Instead, we call for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values worldwide.

Read more


Rachel Bookstein, Beach Hillel’s Dynamic Director

Rachel Bookstein Being the most courageous and cutting edge Hillel Director in the country has not gotten too much press. But now, in an article about Jewlicious@TheBeach.2, Rachel gets a nice mention.

Then she [Sasha] met some younger, progressive rebbetzins, like Rachel Bookstein, executive director of the Long Beach Hillel.

Lets give it up for Rachel.

Jewlicious@TheBeach.2 was more of a celebration and festival than any Hillel in the country has put together in recent memory. And this coming from a small one-woman operation. Thats right. Hillel has only one full time employee and that is none other than Rachel Bookstein. In addition to an amazing husband 🙂 Rachel manages three kids, a Hillel budget, and some of the best Shabbat Feasts on the West Coast.