It’s a mega-webisode of Morning Jew! Michele Bachmann chastising Jews, ultra-Orthodox protesting mandatory Israeli military service and what’s with the low on-screen, on-stage Jewish quotient at the Oscars, despite Idina and Bette. Plus Rep Alan Grayson, and why some scandals are more scandalous than others.
“I was horrified at what I assumed at that time was a very unusual situation. I thought it was an aberration. Only later did I realize how typical his case was. But so many aspects of what made his case problematic are emblematic of our death penalty system and our criminal justice system.” –Jen Marlowe on writing “I Am Troy Davis”
I was the victim of hate speech. I will never forget the day. It was nothing if not shocking. I am openly gay, a Jewish man — a rabbi — who wears a yarmulke in public. Amidst a crowd of people, from all walks of life, I was told to leave.
A t this point I probably should say that the establishment where this hate speech took place was a gay bar. And the man who insisted I leave was gay. And also Jewish.
On this week’s Morning Jew, comedians Katie Halper and Heather Gold chime in on the connection between racist Tea Baggers like Ted Nugent and paranoid Jews, the “Nazi” Pope’s return, and pay tribute to the irreplaceable mensch Harold Ramis, master of caring comedy: “Just because it’s broad doesn’t mean it has to be shallow.”
This past Wednesday was a trifecta for the LGBT rights community.
The Republican Arizona governor vetoed a bill allowing refusal of services to gays and lesbians, hopefully setting a precedent for similar bills being considered in several other states. And the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released a major new survey on a decade of changes in attitudes on LGBT-related issues. The research revealed a 21-point jump in support for same-sex marriage from 2003, when one-third (32%) of Americans supported same-sex marriage, to 2013, when a majority (53%) of Americans do.
I didn’t set out to become a social justice rabbi. I didn’t grow up in an activist family or do a lot of community service in high school, and my Judaism is not all about tikkun olam.
“I’m looking for an internship in lobbying,” I said to my high school guidance counselor toward the end of junior year.
“Ok. Lobbying for whom?”
“I don’t care — could be the NRA, could be Planned Parenthood. I just want to learn how this lobbying thing works.”
The Week in Review with Morning Jew: this week, comics Heather Gold and Katie Halper tackle new anti-gay Jim Crow style laws, crypto-Jews in New Mexico and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir’s new Jewish husband. Plus a new feature debuts: Mishpokke Messages. (Send us yours!)
Earlier this month, a few brave Jews made a trek to the middle of Brooklyn. I know what you’re thinking, what’s so brave about Jews in Brooklyn? They were brave not only to venture outside during an ice storm, but also because they knew they would be spending the evening talking about privilege and race in the Jewish community at the Jewish Multiracial Network (JMN) Parlor Meeting. The question: Am I racist?
In the new Morning Jew, Heather Gold and Katie Halper weigh in on Natalie Portman, Woody Allen, a bubbe’s heartfelt warning to a gay grandson not to go to Sochi. Plus, a nomination to take the place of the ADL’s Abe Foxman, who’s stepping down. Watch now to find out who the “new face, new head of hair,” younger, sexier ADL head should be.
“It would be good for the Jews to not have Woody Allen represent us anymore. I still want jokes, but they can be less self-loathing, and they can be jokes that aren’t based on misogyny.”
In this week’s morning Jew, Heather Gold and Katie Halper weigh in on which of the week’s headlines are good for the Jews. Dylan Farrow, David Wildstein, talmudic hate mail, and more.
Dear Leftist Ethicist, I have a distant family member who has turned from a C-list to an A-list celebrity because of a role on a popular TV show. We hardly know each other. I am a passionate employee of a grassroots organization and would like to ask him to support us. He is apolitical as far as I know, but probably leans conservative. What is the best way to approach him without being creepy? Or is it even worth reaching out since we’re pretty removed?
Will a Business Improvement District in Queens deprive new immigrants of the opportunities that helped so many Jewish families secure a successful footing for their families in the United States?
Like a lot of Jewish kids, I grew up hearing about the ways my family first experienced life in America. In 1902, my great-grandparents Solomon and Sarah Stein journeyed from Poland to Ellis Island, and the following year they had their first child. The family started out on Allen Street — now renamed “Avenue of the Immigrants” — until they crossed the Williamsburg Bridge, rented a place in Bushwick, and eventually settled in Midwood. With limited English and education, Solomon and Sarah did what they could to provide for their kids. Sarah sewed clothing at home; they couldn’t afford a storefront, so Solomon would sell the clothes in the street, going door to door building a customer base. They raised a family of five children, all of whom went to college.
President Obama’s State of the Union this week is breathing life – and hope – into the conversation around raising the minimum wage. And it reminds us how local organizing can lay the groundwork for national economic justice issues. As the president put it: “It is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.” Consider this: In December, Washington DC and two neighboring counties in Maryland raised their minimum wages at the same time, the first time jurisdictions aligned their strategic efforts across state lines.
The Jewish community was at the heart of this victory. Here’s what we learned.
In this week’s Morning Jew, comics Heather Gold and Katie Halper ask if this week’s news is good for the Jews — from billionaire, Kristillnacht-fantasizing Ted Perkins to Grammy marriage equality moment with Macklemore, Queen Latifah and Madonna, and Warsaw Ghetto hero Irving Milchberg and Sweden and Denmark’s ban on circumcision. Good for the Jews? Laugh. Weigh in. Share.
This year’s State of the Union wasn’t a game-changer, with mainly expected positions on a checklist of issues, punctuated by a few standout, super-tweetable lines: “Give America a raise” and “Time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.” On the other hand, I couldn’t help but be pleased by a few flourishes, like hearing the shutdown condemned in the first two minutes, and a clear dig in the president’s call for Washington to “focus on creating jobs, not crises.” I reached out to Abby Levine of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable for her take, as someone who works everyday with American Jews to leverage their social justice efforts.
Most of us grow up in homes where a mix of historical and recent family photos preserve the family’s collective memory, linking present to past, and serving as a tangible way to honor and safeguard the memories of loved ones no longer with us physically. Yet our displays — like our memories — are selective.
Even as a little kid, I felt drawn most to the photos that didn’t make the cut. These, my mother kept relegated to a large, plastic bin in the upstairs closet. As soon as I could climb a ladder, I’d spend hours poring over the contents. I loved examining the faces of people I knew, witnessing their different hairstyles and dress choices over time.
There is a deep commitment in the American Jewish community toward ending racial injustice in our country. Jews have a long and proud history of fighting against racial discrimination in its many forms from the civil rights movement through today. As a whole, however, the American Jewish community does not share the same commitment to an overhaul of the economic systems of our country and “the radical redistribution of economic power” King advocated. What gets in our way?
Around this time every year we memorialize the Martin Luther King who was a peacemaker, a conciliator, a lover and not a hater. In reality, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr was the master of the thunderous cadences of righteous rage. The Jewish community is rightfully proud of the picture of Abraham Joshua Heschel marching with Martin Luther King and thousands of others into and through the forces of evil in Selma, Alabama.
We must, however, ask ourselves: “What have we done to earn that legacy?”
In the new episode of Morning Jew, Heather wonders if Bridgegate may actually be the best thing for Jews since sliced challah, and the two funny ladies dig into why the New York Times’ Bill Keller feels the need to tell a woman with cancer to shut up already. Plus, Chelsea Handler, and the origins of Ashkenazi names.
Watch. Laugh. Share.
What does Tu B’Shvat mean when life on our planet feels so palpably fragile, asks Rabbi Rachel Barenblat. Her answer? We who are blessed with good soil and healthy roots have an obligation to send sustenance to those on the thin, treacherous margins.
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