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This holiday of redemption

Last days of Pesach. Focusing on the redemption, the crossing of the sea, Miriam and dancing, the Ball Shem Tov meal at the end of this holiday. This holiday where matzah shortages in chain supermarkets in California made the news. This holiday where Obama and Clinton duked it out, with Basketball and Hockey playoffs, and hundreds of religious Jews praying mincha at Disneyland together. This holiday that people speak of in the past tense while it is still going on. As in, “my Passover was great” when they mean the seder, and not the holiday. Or do they mean the holiday. This holiday that converged with Earth Day, meaning you could eat your matzah and represent for the earth – it was the convergence of all things crunchy. This holiday where I explained that the cup of Eliyahu is not really for Eliyahu, but that it represents the fifth cup – not four – that some rabbis in the Talmud believed needed to be included in the seder. The argument was solved by the compromise of the fifth cup. And they wrote that when Eliyahu comes to herald the Messiah and this and other questions will be answered, we will know how many cups we were to drink at the seder. Hence it became Eliyahu’s cup. Not Eliyahu in the some Santa Clause kind of way, swooping down on the Jewish homes to swig some bad kiddush wine. I mean what kind of junk did we teach our kids, and what did they feed us? And this holiday where the Muslim Student Union at UCI unveils another outrageous campaign against Jewish students by proclaiming that there is a Holocaust in Palestine and how can Jewish organizations think this meshugass is going to go away by playing patty-cake with the chancellor – it won’t – its gonna get a whole lot worse before you kick these shmucks off campus. And this Holiday where the Hebrew Hammers powered only by sheer will won 14-6, by not swinging the bat. Where they partied on Matzah Pizzas much like the one pictured here. This holiday where all kinds of clever marketing gimmicks were in the works, but the Matzah Song hit a chord. This holiday where we came to the realization that we are all slaves to high oil prices. This holiday where Amy Winehouse is sitting in jail again. This holiday where the weather is wacky and and the stars of aligned, and the Tigers win four straight games. This holiday where you cling to the hope that you can change the world in some significant way by speaking about it at the Seder Table, but you know, deep down, that talk is cheap, and words cheaper, and that the only thing to do is act. Mitzvah. This holiday is about the act. The act of redemption. This holiday where you come up with wonderful ideas because you are elated and high on life, and that you realize that you’ll never get everything done in your life that you hope to. Happy Passover. Happy Redemption Days. and Shabbat Shalom.
Matzah Pizza courtesy of Ben Perelstein

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Beale Street Shabbat Dinner with Matisyahu

beale street shabbat

Join Maitsyahu and Rabbi Yonah at the Beale Street Music Festival on May 2 4, 2008. Beale Street is one of the premier music festivals in the US —The Black Crowes, Santana, My Chemical Romance, Matisyahu, and many others— with three days of music and street parties in downtown Memphis. It’s a weekend not to miss!

*Matisyahu is headlining Saturday night, and will join festival goers Friday night, May 2 for a free shabbat dinner, just blocks from the festival stages.

*This event is FREE and geared towards Jewish college students and young professionals (ages 18-26)
and sponsored by Jewlicious, Birthright Israel NEXT, and Hillel of Memphis.

*Seating is limited to 150 — registration is strongly recommended.

RSVP For Dinner | Learn More About the Festival | Facebook Event

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Carter forsakes Tibet, Darfer: Should Israel Pay-up?

Perhaps the Chinese have been stuffing Jimmy Carter’s pockets – most likely through donations to his foundation. [Recently we have seen how they stuff the pockets of another former prez – Clinton] Back in 1980, Jimmy Carter led the boycott of the Moscow Olympics in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But when asked if he supported a boycott over Chinese aggression in Tibet, <a href=”http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iAFbTsPx174-gHXsXMee0tY8oo1AD9010TQG0″>he replied</a>:

“That was a totally different experience in 1980, when the Soviet Union had brutally invaded and killed thousands and thousands of people,” he said, rejecting the idea of boycotting the Beijing games to protest China’s crackdown in Tibet. He did not address whether just the opening ceremonies should be boycotted.

It is only totally different only if you are being paid by the Chinese. If you are a true humanitarian, and defender of people’s rights to self-determination, as Carter proclaims ot the world, you know that the results of China’s invasion of Tibet has been much, much worse than anything the Soviets did in Afghanistan.

China invaded Tibet on March 10, 1959. According to Tibetan sources, since then 87,000 people have been died. China has carried out a policy to destroy Tibetan culture through destroying Tibetan cultural/religious centers, transplanting millions of ethnic Chinese there, brutally repressing opposition, and forcing into exile the Tibetan leader.

Remember last year, Carter returned from Darfur proclaiming it was not a genocide by the Sudanese government, but a regional conflict. This is the standard line of the Muslim totalitarian regimes, who stuff millions into the coffers of the Carter Foundation. China is also under fire for major supporter of Sudan, and not doing enough to pressure the Sudanese.

Today, Carter roams around Israel, visits Sderot, gets rebuffed by Israel’s leaders, and ignored by the Shin Bet. Any goodwill created when they inked the Peace deal with Egypt nearly 30 years ago has evaporated. I just have one suggestion for the Israelis – pay up. For a mere 5 million of so, Carter could “re-examine” his views on the subject. He could “have a new understanding” and become more of an ally. We could get a ghost writer from the Shalem Center to whip together a new book too.

As it says in Pirkei Avot, “K’ne l’cha chaver”, “acquire for yourself a friend.” It will do Israel a lot more good to support Jimmy Carter with backsheesh, than to rebuff him.

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Norman Finkelstein Awareness Month

May is coming, and it’s not bringing flowers — its bringing the delusional yet dangerous Storming Norman Finkelstein to a college campus near you. As part of the national Muslim Student Speakers circuit for a while, he always crawls out from his rock in time for May.

Now you may remember that we chimed in during the debate on whether he should get ordained by DePaul and given a real full time job. I offered to teach Norman Hebrew, since he freely admitted that he does not speak Hebrew, nor Arabic. I mentioned that mastery of one or more Semitic languages that are an integral part of the regional conflict would help his chances of getting tenure. He never contacted me for the free lessons and was denied tenure.

We have published too many posts on this nutty professor. Yet, his staying power and his hypocrisy just shout out “blog me!”

Here are some of his upcoming performances:

Brown University— April 15
Boston College — April 16
Grinnell College — April 21 (Passover edition)
University of Southern Maine — April 29
University of Montreal and University of Ottawa — May 3
University of Toronto — May 4
University of Arizona — May 5
University of California, Irvine — May 7
The Evergreen State College, WA — May 8
New College of Florida — May 13

I counted nearly 30 colleges and universities on his published schedule in the US, UK, and Canada from January – May 2008. In other words, since being let go from DePaul he has catapulted to a rarefied status amongst Muslim Students. He is the token Jew, who along side Neturei Karta, say whatever they pay them to say. His performances condemning Israel are being heard by tens of thousands of impressionable young Americans who do not have the requisite knowledge to realize they are being duped. Finkelsteins lectures are often assigned for extra credit or even mandatory by multiple departments, meaning his “lectures” are always well attended.