VOLU M E 2 SSU E
December 5, 2006 December 19, 2006
5766 ,28 15D: 5766 ,14 153M
I Like my Tostitos Best with a
Side of BCS Championship
By Derek Bernstein
By Joshua E. Kaller
Photo courtesy of UF student Adam Reichbach and friends who trekked to Atlanta for a rewarding game.
Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today. I want to be a part of it....No, not New York, New York.
I'm talking about the National Championship, baby, and those silly Gators are definitely part of it.
Forget the Sugar Bowl, Bourbon Street just won't do it this year, boys. Glendale, Arizona,'"say hello to
my little friend!"
Just as I predicted, the Gators took it to the Hogs in a game that on paper was much closer than
it was on the field. Just as in games past, the Gators came out like a bat out of hell throwing, running and
tackling anything in their paths. Up 17-0 in the second quarter it looked like the rout was on when, with a
couple of questionable calls and some trick plays, the Razorbacks were right back in it leading 21-17. But
unlike in games past where the offense seemed to stop faster than traffic on Archer Road, the Gators did
what many thought they should have been doing all season long. Led by freshman phenom Percy Harvin's
105 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving, the Gators proved they could keep up with the big boys by post-
ing 38 points on them Hogs from Arkansas.
"The Gators are number two and going to the BCS championship." Last time I heard those words
I was wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt and thought that girls had cooties. Well in ten years a lot has
changed. I found out girls don't have cooties, but one thing remains the same: the Gators will have shot
to prove they belong in college football's elite. Now, don't take it for granted that Florida is on its way to
hoisting another trophy, because in their way stands the best team in the nation.
In practice, quarterbacks wear a red jersey that tells the defense not to hit them. The Gators bet-
ter forget this, start thinking like bulls, and get really serious about hitting the man they call Troy Smith.
Ohio State's senior quarterback is 6'1, 215 pounds of amazing. If the Gators want any shot at having a
chance to win this game, it will rely solely on stopping number 10 in white. Smith, who is an absolute
lock for the Heisman, has thrown for over 2500 yards, while at the same time amassing 30 touchdowns
and a quarterback rating of 167.9. Compare this to UF-God Chris Leak who has a mere 200 more passing
yards but trails Smith in touchdowns by 8, and leads Smith in interceptions by the same number. The key
for The Orange and Blue in stopping Smith will not be easy to discover. In games past it is simple to say:
"get pressure on the quarterback," but with Smith's ability to scramble, the Gators must employ a trap-
ping effect on the Glenville, Ohio native. The effect is to have defensive ends keep containment on Smith,
Didn't want you to leave this
semester without pissing you '
off, without riling your blood, .
without shaking the shit from
sheet. I am going to talk about
something that lives inside our
thoughts, our words, and our
hearts: it is a putrid poison that
escapes from our pores as we
walk through this world with
poise. It is hate. It manifests itself in different shapes,
colors and forms. Sometimes it might take the form of
racism, other times it is dressed up as anti-Semitism, and
it can even take the shape of self-loathing, too.
My relationship with anti-Semitism actually was only
an academic study until this semester. When I moved
into a new apartment, I made sure to do a couple things:
bring my books, bring my sheets, and bring my mezuzah.
I made sure to hammer the little scroll in the company
of my brother and my best friend: we each took turns
pronouncing the blessing as the nail was thrust into the
post. However, I couldn't have expected that my mezuzah
would later be ripped from my door. I had the usual
suspects. I looked to my Confederate flag-wielding,
pick-up truck driving, southern drawl-slinging neighbors
to have committed the crime. I was not going on much more than a
hunch, and I had always provided them with the benefit of the doubt.
(even though my heart knew it was they who had torn my reminder of
God from my doorpost).
The story goes like this: I was coming home this past Thursday
night when a drunken kid hanging outside my neighbors' apartment
waved a friendly hello and a falling beer splashed to the floor. A
moment later an ally neighbor of mine returned from walking his dog.
We stopped and chatted all together: me, my friends, my neighbor,
and the drunken kid who was friends with the haters. It was at this
gathering that I was to confront the perps. After one of the neighbors
had shamefacedly bashed and cursed my apartment number in front
of my face, in his own embarrassment I revealed to him that I was
one of the residents of the apartment he was laying the dirty verbage
to. It was then that I mentioned that "it gets no lower than stealing a
man's mezuzah." I let it be revealed that I was hurt, that the very nails
I had used to place the mezuzah up had struck me in my head and
hurt when it was pulled down.
The night went on. After sharing some beers, sharing some
unwanted racist jokes about blacks and babies, and watching the
dogs play together, I think we came to some unspoken agreement.
Tomorrow, when this article gets printed, I am going to place this
Shpiel in front of their doorstop, if not nailed, and let them know that
they owe me my mezuzah back. Apparently, according to one of the
neighborly sources, it was ripped off in a drunken rage thinking that
it was a thermometer. Well, they were close about one thing: ripping
off that object surely did raise some heat, and it was inside my soul.
I know you have it still. I say this to you, gentlemen, return my
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 12)
Masses of -
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 12)
Page 2 The Shpiel
,.' '-. : :. .-- ':' ....-.. ..
,.n ^ "" '\" ( "
The Only Student-Run Jewish Campus Newspaper i
in the Country j
Right Here at The University of Florida US\ \\\ i' if!
Volume 2 Issue 8\ 1
Table of Contents
The Here and Now:
Talk about toys.
Eyes on the News:
Plus, the UN blames Israel again.
In the Government:
Meet Debbie Wasserman Shultz.
Lead and Cover:
Music review of a local cover band and students who blaze trails.
Hearing from You:
Ho, ho, ho, the Guest Rabbi speaks.
Not All Those Who Wander are Lost:
Blame it on the goats.
Cu-Jews find religion in communist Cuba.
Get out; the game's not till January.
Arts and Sports:
Read on from Page 1 and shop with Priel.
Special thanks to Hillel at the University of Florida
Of course I heard what you said! at else would I be thinking about?!
Of course I heard what you said! What else would I be thinking about?!
The SHPiEL Players
First Mate Executive Advisor
Captain News Editor
Chancellor Executive Managing Editor
Commanding Columns Editor
President Executive Business Director
Ruling Executive Finance Director
Wizard of Executive Distribution
The Eminent Ministers of Public Relations
Chief Executive Photographer
President Executive Israeli Correspondent
Executive Art Design/Layout Specialists
Royal Master of the Web
Rabbi Yonah Schiller
Ori Zalman Lubotsky
S t h e s h p i e
W W W
. 0 r
Story by Lori Finkel
Photos by Jennifer Harnish
J ust like the gen- '
eration before /
me, I often find myself making dull, moralizing -J 'Ji
comments to my young cousins, such as, "You
know, when I was your age, Crayola crayons were '
toxic, but we ate them anyway!" or, "Back in my
day, Easy Bake Ovens didn't even look like real '
So, with the gift-giving season quickly arriving A N*. I
(unlike government aid a year after Katrina), IT '.'.. .
took a trip down to Toys "R" Us for ideas. A'
After some of the male employees recovered i '"
from the rare experience of being approached by a -:_
real live college girl in a toy store, a few of them
showed me around., -
As far as classic board games go, themes -
have modernized with society's changing morals. '
Candy Land, which was based on the adventure of
two blonde-hair blue- eyed Aryan children, now
also has an African American boy, and a little girl
who is an ambiguous blend of Asian and Hispanic.
Cookie Monster has turned in to a health mon-
ster, and Burt and Ernie no longer shack together.
I asked the employees to show me the hottest toys, but as the employees emphati-
cally pointed'out, unless it's a puzzle or a classic board game like Hi Ho Cherry-O, toys
are extremely gendered.
Toys for boys haven't changed much still the same action-packed video games, but
now with better graphics. Ninja Turtles went out like acid-washed jeans and an anime
cartoon called Avatar is the new Dragonball Z.
However, technology has lifted its furry leg and made its mark loud and proud in the
Max, 8, showed me.what he wanted most for Christmas a robotic dog with remote
"It's better than a real dog, because you can control it," Max said, who was doing
some early holiday shopping with his grandparents.
Max also pointed out Robosapien, a 24-inch tall, fully autonomous robot that has
humanoid body movements, can do martial arts, dance, and pick up objects. One of the
features listed on the package said that Robosapien can recognize skin tones perfect
S t h e s h p i e
Page 3 The Shpiel
for fulfilling a child's racial profiling needs.
Do you remember that old cheap spy kit you got, complete with flimsy plastic mag-
nifying glass? Those have gone the path of light-up LA Gears and have walked right out
the motion-censored door toy-store door. Newer high-tech toys appeal to children's voy-
euristic side. SpyGear makes a pair of sunglasses with a built-in digital "spy camera"
..that is downloadable
on to your home
hat these glasses
are only found in the
S boys section, much
less made for kids
Sat all. Stores should
require a label on
the front of the box
May induce court-
The pinks and
purples of the girls
section hits you
like a cupcake to
c w .., the face.
Themes for girls'
toys haven't changed. For every doll you buy, you can also buy her a kitchen set or a
vanity table your choice.
Easy Bake ovens actually look like real ovens, so it no longer feels like you're stick-
ing that tiny chocolate goo-filled baking pan into the side of a microwave.
Disney princesses still preside, but are sold as dimple-kneed, huggable "My Baby
Princess." My Baby Princess Bathtime Cinderella can be taken into the bathtub.
After much controversy, the ever-popular Barbie is now a liberated woman. She has
a "Baby Doctor Office" set, and her figure is even more anatomically correct. Instead
of the tiny twist waist with large, child-bearing hips, she now has a slender, balanced
physique and an indent for a belly button.
However, Barbie is being rapidly upstaged by the new Bratz dolls, which is what
many mother and grandmothers came to buy their little girls.
To compete, Barbie put out Bling Bling Barbie. The concept hasn't changed from
our childhood; those big Barbie mannequins heads that you put makeup on, only.Barbie
has gone garish she's got big hoop earrings, glitter lipstick, and gold hair highlighter
that you can use, too!
Still, there's no competing with the attitude of the Bratz the name says it all. Bratz
dolls come in more than just black and white, featuring different ethnicities such as
SAsian, Latino, Irish-American, African American and white.
"Hey," one of the "Passion 4 Fashion" talking Bratz dolls beckoned when I
pushed her button, "My name is Chloe, (her voice then drops to a lower, more
: seductive tone) but you can call me Angel all my friends do. Have you ever had
a bad hair day?"
Chloe, the. white, blonde-haired Bratz, has huge eyes and humongous col-
lagen-filled lips lined with a dark red pencil and filled in with light pink glittery
lipstick, tight glittery jeans, five inch heels, rhinestones and a fur coat. In essence,
she looks like a street walker. They all do.
I half expected Chloe...er, Angel to go on about her "bad hair day," pitch a
sob story about her parents kicking her out of the house because Bratz Babyz
Boyz doll Harvey knocked her up, left her to work the streets, and by the way, she
needs $5 to catch a bus to the abortion clinic outside of town, could I spare some
I just hope the little girls playing with these dolls never end up having as bad
of a "bad hair day" as Angel.
The other Bratz dolls had names like Yasmin, which is a type of birth control,
and Roxxi, an infantile Bratz Babyz doll dressed up in an S & M leather jacket
with red undies and a baby bottle slung across her chest on a metal chain.
Kids sure do grow up fast these days:
So unless you Want your little loved ones to model themselves after Miami
street walkers, be incapable of loving anything that isn't controllable metal and
plastic, or earn themselves the nickname "Danny Rolling," don't opt for the
X7 hottest toys. For a great gift this year, stick with tried-and-true board games that
- teach traditional capitalistic American values like Monopoly and Life.
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Page 4 The Shpiel
t3QRor3^oo~a^^o^QQRB ~ ~ ooaa 5:~~~~:r'81~'Q~rQ'SQioG
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* Shimon Peres said the Gaza Strip cease-fire could be parlayed into an Israeli-Pales-
tinian peace accord. Israel Radio on Wednesday quoted the vice premier as making his
upbeat diplomatic assessment during an address at Cornell University.
* The Palestinian Authority prime minister and Iranian president, in their first official
meeting, vowed to see Israel eliminated. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, on his first
foreign tour since his faction took power in March, met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
in Qatar over the weekend.
* President Bush said achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace was key to stabilizing the
wider Middle East. "There is no question that if we were able to settle the Israeli-Pal-
estinian issue it would help bring more peace to the Middle East," Bush told reporters
Thursday after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Amman.
* A rabbi who was on the leadership of a national education group and was caught in a
child sex sting was sentenced to more than six years in prison. David Kaye, formerly
a vice president at PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, resigned
last year after he was caught trying to solicit sex from someone he assumed to be a
* The former head of Israel's armed forces denied reports that he fled an arrest warrant
issued against him in New Zealand. Moshe Ya'alon, who was vacationing in the South
Pacific nation, said in a telephone interview with Israel's Army Radio over the week-
end that he had not cut short his visit despite an attempt by .local human rights groups
to have him arrested and tried for alleged war crimes against Palestinians.
* Fans of the Italian soccer team Livorno unfurled Palestinian flags during a match
with Maccabi Haifa. They also bore a banner reading "Free Palestine" written in Ara-
bic at Wednesday night's match, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Israeli forces taking up positions in Lebanon in the midst of the past summer's fighting.
Photo courtesy of JTA.
a UN human rights inquiry into the conflict now says Israel must compensate Lebanon
for damages incurred during the war.
Throughout the war, ignited on July 12 following Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli
soldiers in a cross-border raid, the lives of around 1,200 Lebanese and 150 Israelis were
lost. The UN inquiry says Israel bears the burden of international responsibility for
damages and violations during the conflict.
Itzhak Levanon, Israel's ambassador to the UN, overcoming the irony of his last
name, said the inquiry is one-sided, "rife with imbalances and misrepresentation." He
rejected the inquiry, noting that it failed to assert Lebanon's obligation to disallow hos-
tility and aggression aimed at other countries from groups like Hezbollah within its own
territory. U.S. ambassador Warren Tichenor voiced similar concerns, questioning the
facticity of an inquiry he claims did not examine the actions of both sides.
The members of three-person UN commission that probed questions of unlawful
and disproportional use of force by Israel during the war reject this charge of one-sided-
ness, noting the limits of their mandate prevented them from looking into the actions of
Hezbollah. Their main bone of contention, Haaretz reports, is "excessive use of cluster
bombs which have continued to injure and kill after the war's end."
Cluster bombs and munitions are large mechanisms that emit smaller "bomblets"
onto their targets.The UN, along with organizations like the Red Cross, oppose the use
of such bombs, citing how they disproportionately affect civilians and continue to cause
damage after conflict's end when unexploded bomblets later detonate randomly or from
The commission's inquiry suggested a compensation and reparation program akin
to the one mandated following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in the early 1990s. An official
decision regarding such a program has been left to the UN Human Rights Council, a
body that adopted a resolution in June making review of alleged Israeli human rights
violations a permanent part of each subsequent council session. Israel was the only
country addressed in this manner.
Human Rights Watch, a group dedicated to protecting and emboldening human
rights worldwide, called on the council to "avoid [such] selectivity," reiterating that it
was the same obvious bias and selectivity that lead to the discrediting of its predeces-
sor, the UN Commission on Human Rights. HRW reported in October that Hezbollah
itself fired cluster munitions into civilian areas in Northern Israel during the war. While
'Israel a country with a highly sophisticated and modernized military certainly fired
more rockets into Southern Lebanon than were fired into Israel's north, this revelation
indirectly challenges the legitimacy of the recent UN inquiry.
Indeed, the Commission admittedly did not investigate the actions of Hezbollah. It
did not divide responsibility for the war, its causes, lost lives and injustices. The ques-
tion remains: If Israel is made to compensate Lebanon, who will compensate Israel?
How is Israel expected to repair damages incurred in a war that begaf as a response to
aggression from Hezbollah?
t h e s h -p i e- 1
UN Seeks Israel Compensation
By Josh Fleet
T here has been a recent surge of introspection in Lebanon. Months after this sum-
mer's war with Israel, Lebanese have turned to the arts to convey their feelings
about the situation. "UNacceptable," a play performed by Lebanese college students,
claims that, among other things, "the United Nations is tool of the United States...Israel
is the enemy...the United States is evil," a recent New York Times article reports. Con-
trary to this notion, in an advisement flatly rejected by both Israel and the United States,
W W W
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Page s The Shpiel
A.! c-.f: y C"7~ *1 01 .
By Brittney Davidson
Fall semester has come and gone and the rush to get the "good" classes for
the spring semester has begun. Oh, the drama. What courses do we take?
Where are e o n' in life" Will ,e be cli~anin our inm.ors vet again? Relax.
We bring to
drv ,..i --.. minds a story
m t' p. se. a of change and
Se it perseverance.
i aa time a very
i driven Jewish
:w'ia girl attended the
to become a
a member of
her college days,
"I joined Student
when I got bit by
Official photo of Wasserman Shultz courtesy of her Web site. the political bug."
Yet, even with th
drive of the "political bug," the political arena was no easy track for Wasserman St
While at UF, Shultz ran independently against the popular Greek organization part.
become the president of the student senate. Hard work and heavy campaigning gai
her the university's independent vote. She won.
This ambition continued as Wasserman Shultz graduated and ran for Florida St.
House of Representatives in 1992. She was a 26-year-old Jewish woman running a
way race for the seat. Yet, just as Wasserman Shultz had managed to drum up supp
during her days at UF, she also managed to knock on thousands of doors in the day
leading up to the state election, and won the seat with 53% of the vote.
Again, not too shabby.
"Most of us [in Jewish culture] are raised to believe in hard work and perseven
I was. And that's what you have to have to really make it...you've got to just go fc
Wasserman Shultz advises. "There have been challenges, but I feel that even the m
difficult ones I've been able to overcome...being younger [than most congressmen
women] meant having to prove myself."
And prove herself, she did. Within her next few years in office, Wasserman
Shultz found that one of the main causes of death of young children was drowning
swimming pools. She worked to promote legislation regarding swimming pool saf
addition, she's pushed President George Bush to promote Jewish History Month di
the month of May.
"I felt that if I accomplished nothing else (while in office) I'd want Judaism to
be able to be seen as a religion and as a culture...to reduce anti-Semitism and spre
understanding," Wasserman Shultz says.
Of course, Wasserman Shultz not only has her job as a politician to consider, b
.is also the mother of a pair of seven-year-old twins and a three year old back homc
"I put my family schedule first," says Wasserman Shultz, "My husband has bet
For more information and to REGISTER visit .
or contact us at email@example.com or JE
212-879-9305 x245- NA
r u~t NATI
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* WATER COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SECURITY
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very supportive, and I split up my
week between being with them and being in Washington."
-It's been a long but successful journey for this girl from our own University of
Florida, and it's not over yet. Wasserman Shultz was recently re-elected to her seat in
Congress, and is regarded by many as a rising star for the Democratic Party.
And so, her story goes on. Once upon a time, a young Jewish girl changed her mind
about becoming a veterinarian...and began working to change the world of politics
t h e s h p i e l
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Page 6 The Shpiel
By Giselle Mazur
The stage is black. The crowd pushes
forward, heaving against the speaker
in crazed anticipation. A single chord is
struck on an electric guitar somewhere in .
the darkness. Everyone from screaming I
teenage girls to tattooed tough guys go es
The lights come up, and there on
the small stage in the smoky bar stand
Slash, Tommy Lee, Gene Simmons, Bre
Michaels and Richie Sambora. No, it's
not the greatest hair metal super-band of
all time. It's Raygun, an '80s cover band
from Tallahassee. More popular than most
original bands in the town, Raygun's claun
to small-time fame is a set list consisting
of songs by Bon Jovi, Guns 'n' Roses, Jo.n:,
Jett and many more. Decked out in full
costume with wigs and all, the guys bring
the house down. But what is a cover song.
anyway? And what is it about cover son s.
and bands, that we love so much?
Traditionally, a "cover" is when a band
performs a song already made popular The band Raygun...in
by another band. Duh, right? There ts a
difference, though, between a cover and a
remake. Generally, a cover is made of a recent hit song. Record companies, looking to
make their cut from the song's popularity, buy the rights and find artists to make new
versions. Remember the All-4-One song "I Swear?" It was a hit on the R&B charts
and a favorite for slow dances. But did you know it was a cover of a John Michael
Montgomery country song popular around the same time? Originally called crossovers,
cover songs allow music to cross genre boundaries and expose new audiences to a tune
they may not have otherwise heard. A remake is a song made later on, and is usually
an artist's personal stylistic rendition, or done as a homage to the original performer. A
great example of this would be "Boys of Summer," originally by Don Henley in '84 and
remade by The Ataris in '03 to become a top 40 hit.
A tribute is when an artist or band honors a specific group or performer by doing
only songs by that group or performer. Local group Badfish is a Sublime tribute
band, and can be seen around
town rocking out to"40 oz. of
SFreedom.",A tribute can also
g a be an album of many artists
honoring one group. The
soundtrack to the movie "I Am
Sam" is comprised of many
popular artists' renditions of
songs originally by the Beatles.
The appeal of cover songs
,. .is clear. If a band plays popular
hits they know their audience
will enjoy, it is sure to please.
The crowd can sing along and
come together over a common
interest. New bands use cover
songs to break out into a scene,
hoping the audience will warm
up to them. Established bands use
covers to have fun or to recognize
the talents of another artist.
Sometimes they use covers as a
way to re-introduce music they
enjoyed as kids.
Paul McCartney's "Yesterday"
is the most covered song in music
aracter. Photo courtesy of the band. history. Others include Aretha
Franklin's "Respect," originally an
Otis Redding song; Jimi Hedrix's "All Along the Watchtower," originally a Bob Dylan
song; and "Summertime Blues," which has been a hit for three generations originally
by Eddie Cochran, then The Who, and finally by Alan Jackson. The band Me First and
the Gimme Gimmes is a punk band that only makes thematic cover albums, including
an album of punk renditions of popular show tunes.
For a complete list of the 100 most famous cover songs visit http://www.retrocrush.
Catch Raygun for their first show in over a year at Big Daddy's in Tallahassee
on March 17.
Jew Pow er Student leaders speak about their secular agendas
.. -- -; ~
By Jessica JBrandi
Okay, so maybe we are planning to take over the world. Perhaps Jewish students
can be pegged as a particularly ambitious lot, but we're on the same collegiate
quest as everyone else. We're all searching for that impressive nod to our resumes, for
that perfect social collective, for some way to stand out from the crowd. Around 7,000
well-educated -and motivated Jews wander around our crowded little town; no wonder
so many have managed to work their way to positions of influence on campus. Four of
the past six SGA presidents have been Jewish, and other Jewish students have taken
on leadership roles in a diverse range of secular organizations. We're everywhere from
Model UN to the Florida Players, the Hispanic Student Association, the Pre-Vet Club,
The Women's Leadership Council, and the list continues.
The Jewish community is well represented in campus life, but the question remains,
how well represented are these campus leaders in the Jewish community? There must
be some reason that Jewish students devote so much time to promote every interest and
facet of their lives, besides religion. So we asked them. "How involved ARE you in
At first response came in the form of sheepish grins, nervous laughter, the scratching
of eyebrows, and the running of fingers through signature curls. Eyes lit up at the
mention of their own group's agendas and programs, only to turn dull again as they
recited an obligatory laundry list of temple services and Jewish Student Union (JSU)
events attended in the past year. For some the issue was pure apathy, as in the case
ofLeah Greenblum, an active sophomore on the boards of the Women's Leadership
Council, F.A.C.E, and the Sociology Honor Society. "Judaism just isn't a big part of
my life," she says, contentedly describing the extent of her recent Jewish activities
as "the occasional episode of Seinfeld." For most others, the case is different. All the
students we spoke with were proud of their heritage and completely supportive of
Jewish organizations -just not inclined to be a part of them. Once assured they weren't
about to be scolded by a I
horde of angry rabbis for
their negligence, they began
to consider the why of the
"I never considered it,"
was a common response
when asked about running
for Jewish leadership
offices. Jessica Ponn,
President of Human Rights
Awareness on Campus,
says, "There will always
be Jews who want to fil-
those roles. If I felt there
was a leadership void in
the Jewish community, I '"
would be the first one to
step up and fill it, but there
isn't." She feels she can
better serve her community
by promoting awareness
Photo of Jessica Ponn on
the UF campus by Jennifer
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 7)
h D i e I
w w w t h e s
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Page 7 The Shpiel
4- & .. y'
heart of the "December Dilemma."
On one hand, there seems to be little religious sig-
nificance to a tree covered in lights and ornaments these
days. Even that woman on "Fox and Friends" says so. It
is really more of a cultural thing; something one encoun-
ters in car dealerships and shopping malls and in town
squares. It is a symbol of the season, not of the wood
upon which Jesus died for our sins and of the eternal life
his -alvific blood has purchased for us, right? That may
be what the tree means to Christians, but for us it is just
a decoration. Obviously, the tree isn't 'kosher' for us, but
is it really that bad? Can't we have a tree too? Please?
Can I? Can I?
Heck, I, like many of our tribe, grew up with a Christ-
mas tree. My stepfamily aren't Jews and they celebrated
their holidays just as I did mine. And there are plenty of
people who grew up with one parent of Jewish heritage
and one parent of other origins. For a lot of us, whether
we want it to be or not, a Christmas tree is a childhood
Now, the idea of a "Hainukah Bush" is clever and
seek ju .-
a \\ a\
out. B tlt this \\a out is ini real it cop out. If \ ou ant a
Chi istmas tree, gel omn self a Chi instma- tree. Or a Ne%\
Year Tree as a Rus. ian Iriend calls it. Put a statue of the
Buddha in )your fo.yer if you want. Make him an offering
of Latkes. But just keep it real. Let us not kid oursel\ e-_.
The practice of Jews having trees in their houses
reminds me of the trend among non-Jews having big
parties for their daughters and sons entering puberty.
They call them "Faux Mitzvahs". They dispense with the
pretext of community involvement, spiritual direction
and scholarly achievement and instead focus on the lav-
ish, themed, hundred thousand dollar party.
Just because the majority of people have removed
the spiritual message from rituals and traditions doesn't
mean we should help obliterate deeper meanings. If
anything, we should support those who would like to see
Christmas returned to Christianity and liberated from
servitude to commercialism. If the Jews can't respect
Christmas, who will? We need to set an example by
respecting other people's rituals and holidays. We best do
this by celebrating and maintaining our own.
For that reason alone-the fact that the evergreen tree
-ablaze in light has real and deep meaning to observant
Christians, and to us it is little more than an air freshener
and fire hazard, we should lay off the wood. Better we
should visit the homes of Christian friends and enjoy
their tree with them. Then, go light the
Hannukah nienorah and contemplate
what it means to be JeN ish in a world d
that needs Jews far more than Je%\ need
to be just like e\ er bod\ else.
Send questions for the rabbi and
issues o \ would like to see
-L .*- .t'-~ ~ .
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(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6)
of neglected causes such as Darfur. As part of the
same approach, she encourages her Jewish members
to recognize the connections between this modern
genocide and the Holocaust.
Matthew Schwarz, a sophomore and possibly the
youngest ever president of the University of Florida's
Model United Nations expresses similar reasons
for not being more involved. "I saw model UN was
really struggling when I came here, membership was
down and there were financial problems. I wanted to
"There's only so many hours in the day," he
says "It's not like high school where you can join
everything you're interested in. College organizations
require a lot more commitment and you just have to
choose what is really important to you and stick with
Like Jessica, he keeps his heritage in mind. Model
UN held a debate between NAKBA 48 and the
Florida Israel Project last year. It was so successful
Matthew plans on holding another sometime this
Danny Sharron, production manager and aspiring
president of the student run theater group The
Florida Players, was not alone in describing Jewish
organizations such as JSU as social outlets. "I spend
so much time with the Florida Players they have
become my fraternity; I haven't felt the need to be
involved in anything else," says Danny. Matthew
describes JSU as a "hard social group to break into
if you don't know.enough about it." Grant Hubsher,
president of JSU, denies this impression of his
organization. He sees JSU as bringing all groups
from the Super-Jews to the Sort of Jews together.
While Grant wishes more student leaders would
involve themselves in Jewish life, he understands
why they might not. "I care a lot about human rights
but you don't see me at their meetings." Time is
an unfortunate constraint, and you can only stretch
yourself so thin. He reminds us how fortunate we are
in having such a large Jewish community, and the
resources that go along with it. He reminds us to also
not take it for granted. "The most important thing
is to always associate yourself with Jewish values."
One point the student leaders could all agree on (even
Leah the Seinfeld enthusiast) the values taken from
a Jewish upbringing have in some small way stuck
with them and made them better leaders.
0 r 9
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Page 8 The Shpiel
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Page 9 The Shpiel
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Page 10 The Shpiel
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Page 11 The Shpiel
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Page 12 The Shpiel
Go Gators! (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1)
which forces the nimble quarterback directly back into the strong and very talented arms
of linebackers Earl Everett and Brandon Siler. In addition to his capable feet, Smith
comes equipped with a cannon for an arm that would make Mega Man jealous. At the
end of this rocket arm, Smith arguably has the most electrifying WR to throw to in Ted
Ginn, 1r. Arguably one of the fastest men in college football, Ginn gives the Buckeyes
a deep threat on every play. Now don't get too sad and cry yourself to sleep tonight
because the Gators have a lot of fire power to come back with.
Despite Miller Lites feeble attempt to add the Offense Chant to football, there is
something that will always remain when it comes to a SEC Championship football team
and that is none other than good ol' defense. The saying is "defense wins champion-
[- \ -. .mV a^E
ships," and in every game besides the power-house known
as the Western Carolina Catamounts, the Gators have done it
with D. Led by newly-named All- American Reggie Nelson,
Florida has "erased" all doubts this season that the Gators are
soft. Barring any pot smoking incidents, the Boys from ol'
Florida should be well rested and raring to go come January
8th in Arizona when the best offense they'll probably ever face
Who could have thought that with a kicker who couldn't
hit the broad side of a barn and the hardest schedule in college
football the Gators would have been sitting where they are
right now? In just his second season, Urban Meyer has put the
Pho b Jnnir
Photos b% Jennifer
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Kaller Unwraps --(ONTINUED FROM PAGE 1)
mezuzah and I will forgive.
But, there were more lessons for me to learn about senseless hatred. It happened
this Friday when I was walking some of my friends home from the Rabbi's house.
It was right on 9't Street and 3rd Ave. that a black girl with a hippie-haired bandana
had spouted six Jew references within-60-seconds-within 6 feet of me. "He had that
Jew Claw on it," she said. My kippah played the ultimate patsy on giving me and my
religion up. I thought to myself that I had neighbors who hated blacks and Jews, I had
a stranger spouting jokes and jives off Jews, and even later that night I saw white kids
call each other "_#*igger" for fun and kicks. Do people forget where words are born?
Where hatred is bred? And where disgust lives? Words have been infused with the devil
of anger and shame, have been hung up on trees to lay with those unfortunate to lose
life for not having the.right skin pigment. People have taken words, filled with filth,
and now they live in our history tainted with the saddenings and etchings of misdeeds
done. Yet, we still use them to call to ourselves, to label ourselves, to joke to ourselves.
What has happened to us? We are sent here to the University of Florida to receive
an education. But why is it that ignorance pervades so deeply. We have the life of
luxury and leisure to fill our minds with the paradigms to change and make change.
We are 50,000 strong, and we possess the power to model what the world should look
like. However, when walking home on Friday night, I realized what the world really
was. It smelt bleak, and sad, and depressing. The years of up rise and rebellion and
enlightenment that had culminated with civil wars, civil rights, and later civility would
be trampled by the very individuals meant to uphold a code that generations before
had died to create. I ask: where is the progressive push to place the boulder of self-
awareness and the love of others to a higher plateau? Like Sisyphus, I feel tragically
that this boulder has fallen from its height and has rolled over the covenants and
pillars that our fore leaders had built for us as reminders of our obligation to fulfill our
humanity. However, at this second we remain divided. Divided from black to white,
white to yellow, yellow to brown, Christian to Christian, Jew to Jew. Amongst us exists
lesions and fissures that speak, of our inability to mend the broken bruises that have
labored inside our souls for millennium. It is true: hatred is as old as time itself. It
really was bred in the creation of darkness and emptiness during the Big Bang. When
God said 'let there be light,' it was love that pierced through the hate to bring the birth
of the galaxies and cosmos. But I suggest we ask ourselves to review the way we judge
ourselves and others. I suggest we review our behaviors and our language. I, too, am
victim and perpetrator of the very crimes that bring weepings to my words, but at least
I can admit them. Can you?!
Let us be a generation that learns to incite change, even if it forces us to confront
the change we need in ourselves. We are bright, we are young, we can love. Let us
abandon our hate. Why do we need it? Because it feels good to make ourselves feel
better by drawing imaginary lines in our humanity to feed our egos? "I'm not like
them, because I am white. I am not like that because I am Muslim. I am not like them
because I am Jewish." We are all the same thing. Different shapes, different forms,
different colors but people. I'll let you in on secret: it's all the same present no matter
what the wrapping looks like.
t h e s h p i e 1
fear back into the Swamp
.nd the fear back into the
rest of college football.
So let me stop your
v. wondering and tell you
exactly what will happen
in my amazing pre-game
prediction. OSU will
come out firing, lead
the Gators by 14 until
florida battles back with
defense to make it 17-14
h\ half. The Gators then
add a touchdown to the
Buckeyes field goal and
Ai in UF's second Na-
tional Championship in
To add to the spec-
tacle that is The Na-
I-IF students will be able
to welcome in a new
semester the same Mon-
da\ January 8th as the
spring semester is slated
to begin on Florida's
campus. We will have to
\ ait and see if classes
i ill be postponed come
that Monday in January,
but there is something
that definitely won't be
cancelled either way in
the Gator Nation, and
that is Gator Spirit.
.s, ;, aIv
W W. W
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