VOLUME 3 ISSUE 4
the Wly studentf-runf jsh newspaper in the Counlt
Radical Jewish Youth
rrUto o)' jenny r1rnrl
Hassidic rapper Y-Love and DJ Handler break it down Purim-style at Hillel's
Masquerade Saturday night. Y-Love flew in from Brooklyn to celebrate the
k jNHlid I i U I i V f FU l i .
UI I ay at. 1 e" Invcrllty UI or UIUa.
Students Choose Service
JOSH FLEET There's
to do with
Dawkins and his army of atheist
scientists. And, the Revered Ted
Haggard who currently believes
he's been "saved" from homosexu-
ality isn't mouthing his evan-
gelical lips off in this battle either.
Sure, the War on Terror rages on,
but still, it is not the fighting pres-
ently irking my attention. My focus
today is instead on the clashes, oc-
curring in our own global Jewish
It would be hard to claim that
the SHPiEL and other similar pub-
lications (namely, Heeb Magazine
and Jewlicious.com) are leading
this war, because they're not. The
sort of "hip," honest-with-our-
selves Jewish reality presented in
these pages may at times be controversial or eye-opening
but, for the most part, no one's raising arms over anything
written here. Our youthful publication though, has got an
equally vibrant collective cousin out there over the wires
somewhere, and it's making a lot of noise.
There is a huge network of frum (observant) kids on the
internet typing away quite loudly about their take on the
whole Jewish thing. A short list of these online resources
includes Web sites and blogs with titles such as Radical-
Torah.org, OrthodoxAnarchist.com, and CornerProphets.
com. All exist as frequently updated sites with current
information about the happenings of the religious and
secular Jewish world, in Israel and abroad, emphasized by
YouTube videos and flashy, artistic images.
Interestingly enough, all of these sites have a single
founder, Daniel Sieradski, who plays an active, devoted
role in each of the sites' relevancy. Sieradski describes
himself as an "artist, writer, and activist devoted to cre-
ating, promoting, and documenting new forms of Jewish
cultural expression." And he's young too.
So what setsthis network of sites apart from other Jew-
ish online and print publications such as Heeb, Jewlicious,
and our own SHPiEL? Not much, actually. It seems that
it might only be called "radical" because of its decidedly
left-wing stance concerning the State of Israel.
Sieradski's JewSchool.com looks and feels like any
other hip, Jewish blog out there, yet its denunciation of
many Israeli military and governmental policies makes it
starkly different. Additionally, by his own count, the ma-
jority of JewSchool's contributors are devout or former
Orthodox Jews with a firm grasp on religious Judaism.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
Drop the margarita and lose
the shades. This is what some
University of Florida students,
who elected to pass onwild spring
break vacations to participate in
service activities, will be doing
over the next week.
Florida Alternative Breaks
teamed up with the Center for Leadership and Service at
the-UF to inspire students to become active citizens and
get involved in service projects throughout the year and
during breaks. The upcoming spring break is a surprising-
ly popular choice by students, who are planning to work
on projects ranging from HIV/AIDS prevention outreach
programs to disaster relief services, and fiom lobbying for
immigrants to Native American reserve immersion.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 9
Leave No Taboo Untested A
LEO STEIN "I'm not going to make fun
of Jimmy anymore because he
= might withhold his tiny penis from
It's hard to imagine how
such a cute, Jewish girl could ut-
ter these words in a stand-up show
with her boyfriend, Jimmy Kim-
mel, in the audience. In fact, it's hard to take most of what
comedian Sarah Silverman says without a hint of shock
and irony. But that is precisely why she's hilarious.
Since high school, she has perfected her comedy, at-
tacking just about every cringing subject her twisted mind
can explore. She talks about
abortion, AIDS, her grand-
mother's death, racism, .,
her poor boyfriend Jim-
my and especially her
ON PAGE 6
(Look at my Cox)
How UF student
Effi Paris became a
Leo flirts with
senior citizens :
Higher than a kite
with Damian Marley
Musician coos her
way to success
0* o *
Confessions and Spring Break:
Community Service What Gainesville is
doing while you're
S* getting sloshed
********0 0000 600*
has become a portal, an ex
the human mind. Its contend
ual, and fun.
The third annual Ga
place from March 1-4 at thi
was filled with thought, sp
building, and thousands of
gamers mind, but not his ey
games have never been as
With a history begin
video game industry has ta
Nintendo Inc. was started
who. sold playing cards. S1
veteran David Rosen drea
games to the U.S. Many o
industry didn't intend to st
However, with the video g
$35 billion in 2005 and estii
2011 (according to ABI), it
.their hand is in the cookie j
.The sales of video ga
much people love and ador
Soul Station III: A Digital Vortex
You'i t.an a ield .eapo-in I-.' 'lne ~nmel. it ii .in addiction one that ensnares
l.;. -ilt Id the liI,: L'od, a i lc' their I .e'. lo'bbiri tchem ol .1 basic social life. Mothers, man
zombes 'itlh sen.rim-treated gii ltrieni. brotlier' and .cr around the world are pac- rest
shlotguri -hel!L and sale .an it- ing t.-ancd-fr. fro:nm heir li iing rooms, trying to figure out and
tractei pi\,iiated prince-, all Ihv ti gt their I,,\ed one. offthe computer or console hidd
in one chair The iJdo g.ime and back lt: the dinner table who
tension into the imaginings of What are video games doing to us? According to Warl
Its are disturbing, sadistic, sex- known video game critic and connoisseur James Paul Gee, coul
"Good video games are good for your soul when you play sibil:
mes Survey Conference took them with thought, reflection and engagement." In his
e Reitz Union. This conference book, "Why Video Games Are Good for Your Soul: Plea- sultr
eculation, textualization, map- sure and Learning," Gee goes through a list of the past best of th
other topics that elude the lay- games of history: Tetris, Castlevania, Civilization, Mor- real
re. What is known is that video rowind, etc. and provides an outline to the basic nature of deed
complex and detailed as they each game. Gee also philosophizes on how certain games
feed into primal emotional forces. Gee believes what fun.
ning into the early 1900s, the makes games so addicting is that they feed into our desire The
ken twists, turns, and tumbles, to see and solve patterns and problems. Well, I see a prob- band
in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, lem Mr. Gee World of Warcraft has stolen my brother's -gath
EGA began when Korean-War soul. qual
mt of exporting coin-operated
f the big names of the gaming
art out as video game moguls.
ame industry having generated
mated to bring in $65 billion by
seems everyone is making sure
ames do not only indicate how
e video games, but need them.
MMOGs, known as massive multi-player online
games, have caught, rode, and conquered the technologi-
cal trend. The Games like Everquest and Warcraft have
hundreds of thousands of subscribers who lock themselves
into a portal the size of their computer screen and whisk
themselves into a fantasy that includes magic, weaponry,
adventure, and bad posture. I asked my brother what's so
great about his game, "There are no rules. Where else can
you bash someone's skull in and have no consequences?"
-D Wf I 0 6 flf
OPEN 24 HOURS
i x.~ ,(1 L. [.? JJ! ~ 1 I iii pi .i~
1'.14 322 SM, ArChr.
-TLFC TRIC, INC.
IIii 'w i i 3 i50. 1 Gainesville, FL 32608
k- J i2 ;6 16 Fax 852-3 35-3830
The Only Student-Run Jewish Campus Newspaper in the Country, Right Here at the University of Florida
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Rabbi Yonah Schiller
Director of Layout and Design
Director of Photography
Rabbi Yonah Schiller
/// // / / /'/UK / / / / U //'/
True, indeed. Even though Cheney can fire into a
without consequence, life is never so sweet for the
of us. Do video games allow users to exercise parts
features of their personalities that lay dormant and
en? Does the game SIMS allow us to finally reveal
we really are? Do the characters of Death Mages and
ords and Paladins truly demonstrate who we wish we
d be? According to Nathan Kaller, "You have the pos-
ity of becoming something you never could be."
Do fraidy-cats turn into leaders? Do prudes ttrn into
y vixens? Do children evolve into men? If so, are any
ese traits transferable from the virtual world into the
world? Do we get credit for doing mitzvahs (good
Is) in a virtual realm too?
There is no guarantee. We do know video games are
Games may be good for the soul, as Gee suggests.
y might not even be bad for the social life either. Hus-
Is and wives,-fathers and sons, friends and family all
er together to play games. For some, gaming time is
ity time. There are also rumors that love matches have
vned from meetings in an Everquest dungeon. Like
t things, video games have-no innate evil or goodness.
simply what you make of it.
Go gnash a ghost with your spellbound boots, go
le the wizard who rests at the top of the hill, go ex-
e the dragon's dungeon that protects his treasure. Just
e sure to bring your conscious and an alarm clock with
Inebriated Skating and Rehab's Megillah Reading
Reflecting on This Weekend' Purim Festivities
BY JOSH FLEET
On Saturday evening, as the Shabbos bride was leav-
ing, instead of a return to the mundane, the madness of
Purim began. Saturday night featured events throughout
Gainesville celebrating a holiday with many epic spiritual
and physical implications in Judaism.
The Lubavitch-Chabad Student Center hosted an
event at Skate Station which be-
gan with a reading of Megillat Es-
ther, the Purim story. The Megillah
chronicles the trials and tremors of
Mordechai, his niece-turned-queen
Esther, the easily-influenced King
Achashverosh and the evil Haman,
who plots to kill all of Persia's Jews.
Aside from the eventual triumph of
good over evil, this story marks the,
first time a large group of Jews re- Partygoers show offtheir
ally stuck together through violently Rehab on Saturday night.
Following the Megillah reading, Chabad offered
cold cuts, deserts and drinks. Purim is a holiday during
which one is strongly advised, if not commanded, to drink
to the point where he or she can no longer tell the differ-
ence between Mordechai and Haman, or good and evil.
So, the drinks surely flowed. Participants stayed late skat-
ing, mini-golfing, rock-climbing, playing on an indoor
playground and listening to Matisyahu.
Elsewhere in town, at Rehab, Hillel, the Jewish Stu-
dent Union and organizers of JAM (Jewish Awareness
Month) held Purim Palooza, featuring Hassidic lyricist,
freestyler extraordinaire Y-Love. Mr. Y-Love and his crew,
consisting of DJ Handler and Jake Brake, held it down for
a packed house following what is sure to be Rehab's first
and last Megillah reading. Throughout the evening, Purim
celebrants clashed with regular club goers and bouncers
as the conflicting interests dictated the evening. Mainly,
confusion and miscommunication
between the club owners and the
event sponsors led to the strife over
bar tabs, wrist bands, and religious
necessities (the Megillah reading
S was cut off by the DJ in favor of
Music because of the line of club-
'4.* bing kids waiting outside). Most,
though, were inebriated enough to
S forget these ills and forgo reality for
.-little Purim fun.
costumes for Purim at littlePurim fun.
On Sunday, the Hippodrome
and Purim Palooza's purveyors
hosted a Purim carnival that included food, drinks, drag,
improve, African drumming, cotton candy, costumes, a Pu-
rim Spiel (play satirically summarizing the Purim story)
and plenty of opportunities to run around or jump up and
down on things. Attendees also had the chance to donate
clothing to underprivileged Ethiopian children living in
Israel. The carnival was a perfect way for children, young
people, college students, parents and older folks to enjoy
the beautiful blue sky and breeze on a Sunday afternoon.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
The site CornerProphets.com is devoted to uniting
Palestinians and Israelis through hip-hop while Ortho-
dqxAnarchist.com acts as Sieradski's personal site for
venting. And neither he nor his long list of contributors is
ashamed of this perspective. Rather, they loudly proclaim
their position as a result of divine and sincere devotion to
Israel (Sieradski lives in Jerusalem for this reason).
In an emotional post nearly a year ago, Sieradksi,
whose online alias is "Mobius," claimed that Jewschool
represents the "New Jew" because it gives a voice to "queer
hasidim and [modest] feminists, Orthodox maskilim and
secular hareidim, anti-Zionist Zionists and diaspora enthu-
siasts longing for geulah, Talmud [sages] who don't be-
lieve in God and atheists who want to throw rocks at cars
So, the questions remain: are Sieradski, his contrib-
utors and his avid readers positioning themselves at the
other end of a table from where the SHPiEL also seem to
be sitting? As this generation of Jewish leaders continues
to emerge, how will the State of Israel change? Will a pop-
ular left-wing perspective of Israel ever take substantial
hold of Jewish youth here in America, or will we continue
to unconditionally support the state and its policies?
There's a culture war out there, folks. And the ques-
tion isn't: whose faith or disbelief is truth? Rather, young
Jews everywhere are charging into battle with their Teffi-
lin wrapped tight as armor, clamoring for the title of "Most
Radically Devoted to G-d," whilst the Land of milk and
honey rests in the center of it all.
Modem with battery backup will be provided and installed by Cox. Modem and battery backup shall remain the property of Cox and must be
returned upon discontinuation of service.If Modem is disconnected or removed,or battery is not charged,telephone service, including access
to emergency 911 services, will not be available. Installation, inside wiring,jacks, activation fees, taxes and surcharges additional.Telephone
service provided by Cox Florida Telcom,L.P.,an affiliate ofCoxCommunications, Inc.Other restrictions apply. C2006Cox Communications,lnc.
All rights reserved.
~i~dL- I -Z2
J 1 r ii
f r. A hoodie, Shar Pei, jack-
a. Whatever you want to call
e it, that's what my first seri-
ous boyfriend had-an un-
l It was freshman year, and
r he was a Spanish Catholic.
SHe told me they don't cir-
cumcise their children.
He was a music student, so
I nicknamed his penis "Ply-
wood Pete" after his second
favorite, and less functional,
upright bass; a name which proved to be fitting.
I had never seen an un-sliced bologna pony before, but I
heard from a friend back in high school that you have to do
extra work because of all the skin.
All the pulling back and pushing forward and making sure
the skin was rolled up this way and that made it difficult to
create intimate moments.
That, and the fact that every time I was down there that
Guns N' Roses song "Welcome to the Jungle" kept running,
through my head and I couldn't help but giggle.
The importance of trimming the hedges, well, that's a col-
umn all its own.
Plywood Pete reminded me of a Pig-in-a-blanket-- a sau-
sage wrapped in a croissant roll-- which I felt obligated to
eat for breakfast the morning after a sleepover at my redneck
friend's house, despite my attempt to keep kosher.
That's also how I felt about Plywood Pete.
I wanted to slap my ex-boyfriends mother. What kind of
parent has absolutely no regard for her child's future lover?-
Uncut penises are harder to keep clean, and if not cleaned
properly secrete a substance called "smegma" that leaves,
according to the Web site Goaskalice at Columbia, a "par-
ticular scent." Like old paint.
They increase, the risk of their owners developing penile
cancer, and even increase a sexual partner's chances of de-
veloping cervical cancer.
At the very least, they can give a girl a yeast infection.
In defense of the 70-year-old male foreskin activists
marching outside the hospital back home, I've heard of guys
who say the extra skin makes their pecker more sensitive.
At the risk of sounding like a princess, it's just so much
awkward, unnecessary work.
I'm so hesitant to date non-Jews (my mother suddenly has
a spring in her step and she has no idea why) for fear they
might be hoarding someextra baggage on the trouser train.
Now there's an awkward conversation to have, "Hi my
name is Moxie. You're cute and I know you're not Jewish,
but are you kosher where it counts?"
You probably think I'm being vain and shallow, saying
"It's the person that counts."
Sure, but most people aren't good natured enough to date
someone fat and ugly with tons of extra skin that can cause
cervical cancer just because he is "pretty on the inside."
Well same goes for penises.
After a disappointing, dull and non-sexual three-month re-
lationship, I broke it off with Plywood Pete.
Look, I know it's not his fault, and he even talked about
getting a circumcision, but I just got bored.
In a reference to Woody Allen's "Annie Hall," our rela-
tionship was like a dead shark. Or like a flaccid, uncircum-
Contact Moxie at MoxieMeydl@gmail.com
Schtupping in the Shtetl
BY MOXIE MEYDL
BY LAURA-AMELIE MOORE
With the recent Democratic takeover of Capitol Hill,
as well as the presence of hot button issues, such as the War
in Iraq, the forthcoming elections should prove to be just
as historically contentious. Few can forget the Kerry ver-
sus Bush spitfire campaigns in the previous election and
although the issues in these next elections are similar and
the slander unlikely to disappear, conditions should prove
unique with the presence of several popular minority candi-
dates. In particular, two candidates on the Democratic ticket
have been making headlines.
First is the attractive and charismatic Barack Obama,
whose appeal for honest politics and fight against corruption
have made him a sort of political sensation. Not only is this
candidate eloquent and intelligent, but the Illinois senator is
a self-made man who began his career as a community or-
ganizer, earning a meager $13,000, a year. Unfortunately for
Obama, at a youthful 45, he is not exactly a seasoned politi-
cian. His lack of experience compared to competing veteran
candidates has been a point of criticism for pundits.
But unabashed, Obama is not afraid to admit his in-
experience. "I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning
the ways of Washington," he stated in his announcement
for the presidency speech in Illinois on Feb. 10, "But I've
been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington
must change". According to Gloria Borger, writer for U.S.
News and World Report, experience may not be paramount
in the 2008 elections. She points out in the Feb. 26 edition,
"The November midterm elections made it clear, that the
commodity most valued by the American public, at least for
now, is change". But can the other minority candidate on
America's radar bring both change and experience?
New York senator and former first lady, Hillary Rod-
ham Clinton, is hot on the campaign trail, bringing a for-
DOUGLAS SHARF It is no wonder that "Pan's
Labyrinth" walked away with
three Oscars after the 79th An-
nual Academy Awards on Feb.
i 25, including cinematography,
makeup, and art direction.
The film, written and direct-
I ed by Guillermo Del Toro (Hell-
boy, The Devil's Backbone), is a
fearless appeal to the senses, ranging in genre from fantasy
to war drama. The two counter each other beautifully and
spiral together as the film progresses, begging the perplexing
question, "Which is more real?"
The film is set in 1944 Spain during the Spanish Civil
War. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), the courageous protagonist,
has moved to a rural guerilla battleground so her pregnant,
war-widowed mother can live with her new husband. Ofe-
lia's stepfather, the despicable Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez)
is fueled by his desire to ruthlessly fight and to raise the son
his new wife will bear. It is in a forest by the captain's house
that Ofelia stumbles upon a labyrinth. In the labyrinth, she
is confronted by a faun who tells her a fairy tale and explains
that Ofelia is in fact a mythical princess not of this Earth.
He then presents her with tasks, which upon completion will
lead her to her real parents. Ofelia finds herself wading be-
tween her make-believe world and real life, hoping to ac-
complish her tasks and leave her old life behind.
The themes in the film are common: question authority
and do what is right rather than what is expected. However,
they are addressed on a fresh palette of puzzling creatures,
edgy, magical realism and gruesome images that create a
cinematic experience few films rival. The subtle biblical
references--eating the forbidden fruit and parting the Red
Sea-give vitality to Ofelia's journey.
Del Toro recreates a genuine nightmare. During one
scene, Ofelia enters the lair of an infanticidal monster, result-
ing in the most horrific visuals since The Exorcist.
Del Toro's film appeals to all viewers, whether they are
fanatics of fantasy or not. It is this versatility that gives birth
to the picture's originality.
The movie is co-produced by Alfonso Cuaron, the
director of "Children of Men" (2006), a factor that helped
when creating this appeal-to-the-senses semi-fantasy.
Rarely is a fairy tale as emotionally stimulating as it
is visually. While at one moment jaws dropped, tears rolled
the next thanks to Del Toro's ability to.inspire empathy for
The story is enthralling and merits a close attention to
detail. Commanding the tale is essential, for the viewer has.
to gather all of the clues to determine for himself whether
Ofelia's Labyrinth is reality, or just the product of an over-
midably organized campaign force as well as experience in
two successful presidential campaigns (her husband's). Al-
though she is not the first woman to appear on a party ticket,
her extended presence in the political arena has made her a
prominent figure and a household name.
Unfortunately for Clinton, the advantages she has
begotten from her experience have also resulted in some
Americans gaining a negative opinion of her. A part of her
campaign has been directed towards reintroducing herself to
-the American public, as evidenced on her Web site with her
weekly 'Hillcasts'. In these short video segments, Hillary
reaches out to the voter from the angle of a virtual visit to
their living room, tackling key political issues, such as en-
ergy conservancy and relations in the Middle East.
For all of their differences in public appeal, both Obama
and Clinton share similar strategies, especially on the War in
Iraq. Both Democrats oppose the increase of troops, support
a phased withdrawal and neither of their plans include the
cutting of funds. In fact, the main difference lies in Obama's
setting of March 2008 as the concrete deadline by which all
American troops should be returned home.
Although party tickets have already featured minor-
ity and woman candidates, the strength in support Clinton
and Obama have received thus far along with the American
voter's demand for change will perhaps push such questions
as "is America ready to accept a woman candidate or a mi-
nority candidate?" to the side. It is a simplistic notion to
believe voters base their vote solely upon race or gender but
it is difficult to ignore the United States' tendency to elect
white Christian males to the presidency.
As the voter courtship begins, Obama's-and Clinton's
strong message of change may set the right conditions in a
country disillusioned with an outdated social security, under
funded health care system and ineffective foreign policy.
The Oscar Winner to Download...
Legally, Of Course
Obama and Clinton Message of Change May
Lead to Diversification of Presidency
UF's Unsung Soldier: A Profile on Effi Paris
Missiles streamed through
SHARILYN WISKUP the sky of Hevron, Israel, and the
sounds kept the city awake.
S The noise and fire were noth-
Sing new for Effi Paris. At that time,
he had been a combat solider in
the Israel Defense Forces for more
than a year. He was only 19 years
Paris arrived with his unit in Hevron on the same day
another IDF unit moved out. It was January 2001, and in
Hevron, a city where Jews and Arabs live within feet of
each other, conflict between neighbors was as frequent as
a trip to the grocery store.
Paris remembers vividly the attack by Arab extrem-
ists living in Hevron that greeted his unit when they ar-
rived in the city. He said the extremists knew the swap be-
tween the units would be taking place that day and began
to attack the unit and people who lived in the city. Paris
said the extremists felt they could incite more harm to the
Jewish soldiers in his unit because they were not fully at-
tentive and ready to guard the city while the switch with
the other Israeli unit was in progress.
While Paris guarded the neighborhood, he watched
the attack and saw an Orthodox Jewish man step outside
his home to see what was happening.
As the fire and rockets flew through the sky, the man
told Paris he had never seen such a sight and was grateful
to the army for defending the Jews in the city.
Paris said he was treated like a hero the next day. The
Orthodox man and other Jewish families provided his unit
with cakes and cookies to thank them for their work.
Several weeks later, Paris guarded a different section
of the city, which happened to be the entrance of a Jewish
Traditionally, the non-Jews will climb up a flight of
stairs and walk over the Jewish neighborhood.
One day, while Paris was on guard, a woman who ap-
peared close to 100 years old walked past him. She wanted
to go through the neighborhood, but she was not Jewish.
Paris said he knew it would take "all day and all night" for
the woman to reach the top of the stair case, so he allowed
her to pass through the neighborhood.
As soon as the Jewish people saw this, they started
screaming and throwing food at the woman. He defended
her, but to no avail. Paris was called Hitler, a Nazi and
At one moment he was a hero; the next, a villain.
Paris said the four months he spent in Hevron were
the worst of his life.
"After that, I was ready to go AWOL," he said.
Paris' stories are vivid and he remembers details, like
the weight of the medicine bag 48 pounds that he car-
ried for more than four miles at 5 a.m. to check for road-
He talks about walking 55 miles from his base camp
to Jerusalem in January 2000 after completing his training
to be a paratrooper, as part of a tradition in the military that
marked membership to a brigade. After 22 hours, Paris
reached the end of the hike and dropped his gun, bullets,
water and vest to greet his teary-eyed mother with a hug.
Paris, who is currently studying finance at the Uni-
versity of Florida, graduated high school in 1999. He
joined the military soon afterwards, as required by Israeli
The oldest child of four, Paris has an affinity to his
family and plans to move back to Israel when he graduates
from the university in May 2008.
"A real family connection in Israel is the most im-
portant thing. It's the Jewish way," he said.
When Paris joined the military, he could only see his
family twice a month. He said it was during these 1,305
days of military service that he became a "real man."
/ / / / // / / / // / / / / / / / / ~ /
Be Sure to LOGON
LEO STEIN "My name is Corny and I'm
a 33-year-old never-been-kissed,
For the last six months I have
been working with the Light Opera
SGroup of the Negev, a non-profit
SEnglish theatre company that per-
forms across Israel. I strongly sug-
gest you check out LOGON, if for no other reason than
being able to get hit on by 80-year-old ladies.
For the past 26 years, a core group of eclectic Ameri-
can and English immigrants has come together with Israe-
lis to put on a musical once a year. This year, the show was
I've never done theatre, so being responsible for all
this acting, singing and dancing was a lot of pressure. In
September, I auditioned for LOGON. I really wanted a
good role, so my monologue was an improvisation of me
hitting on our 72-year-old director (oh, the poetic justice
of flirting with senior citizens). So I got the part, and was
told that I would spend three or four days a week rehears-
ing with the company.
"Now look at her with a face that says, 'I want to
make love to you, but I'm afraid you'll crush me like an
This is just an example of how my director worked
with me. She'd say something obviously uncomfortable,
and then quickly demand I execute the directions.
"No, no, no; "like you want to make love to her,' not
'mommy I'm sorry I wet the bed.'"
It also didn't help that my on-stage lover and I weren't
quite simpatico. I would say how hurtful it is when a girl
laughs in your face every time you express your desires
to her, but then I'd remember it was only Cornelius Hackl
doing the talking.
When it comes to LOGON, all aspects of running
a theatre company are covered: Everyone takes a part in
striking the set after the show, we all ride together in one
bus, and we have an electronic sign above the stage dis-
playing Hebrew subtitles for each line. We perform in ev-
ery big Israeli city over a period of 8 weeks.
The ages of performers range from 12 to 83 years old.
After we put all the set designs in a big truck, we return
to the bus and drink ourselves silly. Besides all the older
men hitting on the young girls due to inebriation (and in
my case, a couple of old grannies), the overall process is a
blast. Like Dave Chappelle once said, there's nothing like
saying something and having hundreds of people laugh in
"I want to work on our relationship," my costar
Funny, I wasn't aware we had one.
"Well, everyone's been saying we don't show enough
sexual tension on stage...so I wanted to work on that with
you." You'd think this would turn a man on, but after col-
lecting a bucket of sweat from all of our uncomfortable
Dances, it couldn't be more contrary. I think I spent some
six quasi-dates talking about my "intimacy" with a girl
whose cynical voice repelled every manly desire within
Don't let this deter you. For anyone spending
a good amount of time in Israel, this kind of experience
is a real gem. You don't need to speak Hebrew yet you
work with many Israelis, you perform for more than 2,000
people, and you have a really fun time working on your
Of course there were drawbacks: a bit of my night-
life was stripped from all the hours spent practicing chore-
ography, and I could certainly have done without wearing
pants that went up to my chest as if wearing make-up
didn't already hurt my manhood. But with all the ener-
gy you get flying around, professing your love and singing
cheesy show tunes like, "I held her for an instant, but my
arms felt safe strong," you get an Israeli chance to feel
much more alive.
Israel plans to remove some West Bank settlements,
Shimon Peres said. The Israeli vice premier said Sat-
urday that, while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan
to "realign" the West Bank deployment was shelved
after last year's Lebanon war, settlement evacuations
are still on the agenda.
Matis. ahu led JVibe's second annual Jewish Music
Awards. The reggae singer won prizes for Best Jew-
ish Album and Most Innovative Music. Other win-
ners included Golem, named the Artist Most Likely
to Stick Around; Miri Ben-Ari, for Best Israeli Artist;
and Rick Recht, who received a Lifetime Achieve-
ment Award. The awards were decided based on
online voting at www.JVibe.com.
More than three in four Israelis are displeased
% ith their leadership, a poll found. According to
the survey commissioned by the Israeli Center for
Citizen Empowerment, 78 percent of the public voice
"displeasure" or "extreme displeasure" with elected
officials, with only 8 percent saying they are satisfied.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly
passed a bill that would fund homeland security co-
operation with Israel and other allies. The bill, which
authorizes $25 million over three years, passed late
Tuesday by a 396-16 vote. It's similar to a bill passed
last year, which never made it through the Senate.
This version is expected to pass the Senate, where it's
now under consideration. The American Israel Public
Affairs Committee lobbied for the bill.
n 1% 11 W
Jesus is Magic
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
"I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a
Ouch. The self-deprecation is as apparent as her desire
to tear down the taboo walls prevalent in American society.
This explains how she worked on SNL, a dozen movies and
several comedy shows, including her own. There's something
so deeply refreshing about hearing her unsafe and disturbing
words if for no other reason than it gives us a chance to laugh
at our political correctness. She talks with a sweet little smirk
on her face and reminds you of that good girl who's a regular
at Hillel. In fact, Silverman's sister is a rabbi and Jewish self-
help writer. The contrast-her vocal delivery is evocative of
I Was raped by a
doctor, which is so
bittersweet for a
shtick on elimi-
nating ethnic sen-
sitivity and Mar-
garet Cho's utter
S Last year,
she debuted her
first movie, "Je-
sus Is Magic,"
her stand-up with
cal numbers and
skits. When she
says, "Everyone knows that the best time to get pregnant
is when you're a black teenager," you're caught between a
laugh and an insult.
There's something definitely un-kosher about her
words but, funny enough, not the message. Unlike some
comedians that discuss controversial issues for the attention
(i.e. Dice Clay, Rosanne, that Kramer guy...) Silverman's
comedy comes from her awareness that the delicacy of our
social conservatism is connected to our social ignorance,
quite like Sacha "Borat" Cohen. The undertone of her work
is, "maybe we can afford to laugh at ourselves, and maybe
that's a good thing."
She explained once that comedy illustrates who we are
by what we laugh at.
"That's what makes it, dare I say, art," she said, "be-
cause it's totally subjective, and people are hearing it in the
context of their own experience." Therefore, listening to
Sarah Silverman not only provokes our sense of humor, but
more importantly helps us to realize the depth of the person-
ality that humor comes from.
Comedian Sarah Silverman demonstrates her mind over:
matters mentality, literally.
GISELLE MAZUR Highlighting Marley
E The O-Dome was filled Just when the night was at its climax, the collective
with so much smoke that if you coherency of the crowd was at an all-time low, and the
5 breathed, you were high. In the belief that the show could not get any better was a common
parking lot, kids gobbled down one, who should join Jr. Gong on stage but Ziggy effing
the last of their special brownies and drew in those last Marley.
few puffs before getting lost in the world of one
love, one world and freedom for all-- the world
of Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley.
It was slow-going at first, sitting there
suffering through the first horrendous opening
acts with cheesy choreography, infused with
predictable MTV-style dance moves.
But the anticipation built. Either that, or
the brownies had started taking effect.
Then, as if by magic, the crowd silenced.
You could hear a lighter flick.
The masses screamed with uncontrollable
excitement as Jr. Gong took the stage, dreads as
high as most of the crowd was. When he began
to sing "Road to Zion" he commanded that .
lighters or cell phones be held high in common
ballad tradition. Shockingly, there were more
flames than screens.
He didn't need a flashy light show or a
hoard of backup dancers. He didn't use smoke
machines or wear flashy clothes. Looking like
your average UF student in a faded, army green
button-down and jeans, Jr. Gong was more
connected to the audience than most mainstream
artists have been in a long time.
He didn't perform for them he enjoyed
the music with them. He danced like he was .
alone in his apartment and sang like he was in ]- f
the shower- he was himself. .
Queen of the Counterct
On her hit single "Fidelil
SH OS Regina Spektor sings, "I hear
my mind all these words/I heaj
my mind all this music..."
SWith her 2006 album Be
to Hope reaching number 20
the Billboard Top 200 Chart,
ktor is finally using all that mu
to gain pop culture recognition.
"Fidelity" was featured on
episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Ve-
ronica Mars, and is a video staple on
VH1. Praised as "smart" and "eccen-
tric," Spektor's most popular label,
"quirky," is exemplified in her song-
writing and unique instrumentations.
She is commended for her use of non-
traditional musical sounds, which
range from hiccups to coos to spon-
taneous beat-boxing. With Begin to
Hope's increasing popularity, Spektor
is an inspiration for up-and-coming
singers and songwriters to incorpo-
rate eccentricity into their music.
y," with the Nesiya Institute. The attention she attracted from
* in fellow group members inspired Spektor to make a career
r in out of her talent. Her subsequent exposure to artists such
Sas Ani DiFranco, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell strongly
gin influenced her first songwriting attempts. By 16, she was
on writing her first a cappella songs. Years of involvement in
al- the anti-folk scene in downtown New York City helped
pe- boost Spektor's recognition as one of the most creative
isic and unique female singer-songwriters today.
Spektor's latest album marked the beginning of a
new era for the artist-- is the first time
she sings in her native Russian. The
track "Apres Moi," an epic focusing
els good to on the significance of heritage, fea-
n Russian. It tures a verse in Russian that cuts a
is. so good dramatic path for the rousing, sym-
phonic finale. Spektor writes about
Le my body. the strength of her tradition and its
all-pervasive affect on everyday life.
-,Regina The addition of the Russian ex-
Spe! t cerpt-which is the first stanza of a
1912 Boris Pasternak poem-pays
homage to her native culture.
"It feels very good to sing
in Russian," Spektor said. "It feels so good inside my
The 26-year-old Spektor was born and raised in Mos- body."
cow, where she was trained as a classical pianist. Her be-
ginnings in songwriting stem from a teenage visit to Israel CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley performing at the O'Dome at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6
Critics say this personal touch gives fans a stronger
connection to Spektor, making her more and more like-
Spektor is often praised for her eclecticism and
genre-bending style, and she agrees that this is a central
part of her songwriting. In an interview with WomanRock,
Spektor stated that through her songwriting she feels a re-
lation to rapper Eminem.
She said, "The reason I really relate to Eminem or
Tom Waits is because I get into this headspace and become
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Not with every song, but with
a lot of them. Most of the time the songs are not about
me. I use a lot of imagination. Imagining this little world
and these people, I relate it much more to short stories or
little cinema pieces and making up characters rather than
10100 NW 13" Street Pam and James Greenewald
Gainesville, FL 32653-9705 386-462-7722. 386-462-4377 (Fax)
firstname.lastname@example.org 352-359-1133 *352-359-0857 (Cell)
The brothers united through the
music of their father, reggae legend
Bob Marley, singing the hit "Could
You Be Loved," which turned into a
sing-along by the end.
At one point both performers
stopped singing and the crowd carried
the song. The words "could you be
loved and be loved" echoed through
When the show ended, the crowd
immediately demanded an encore. Jr.
Gong's hit "Welcome to Jamrock" had
yet to be performed, and all be damned
if they left before the evocative opening
words, "Out in the streets, they call it
murder," were heard.
When at last he returned to the
stage, his second welcoming was more
grandiose than the first. The screams,
clapping and stomping shook the
With red-eyes and dry mouths,
fans exited the arena in search of
Funyuns and Mountain Dew, still
swaying to the music that lingered in
their heads. To the common passerby
they looked like a hoard of lazy
potheads and hooligans, but those
lazy potheads and hooligans left with
a progressive message of love and
"Vexation of spirit is a waste
of time/Negative thinking, don't you
waste your thoughts/Verbal conflict is
a waste of word/Physical conflict is a
waste of flesh/People will always be
who they want/And that's what really
makes the world go round."
songs." In this sense, Spektor continues to explain, her
music incorporates aspects of fiction writing, giving her
more room to craft creative and unique melodies.
Unafraid to express
nonconformity and create
interesting music, Regina
Spektor is on her way to be-
coming a musician among
the ranks of her beloved Joni
Currently on a world
tour that includes stops in
Paris and Tel Aviv, Spektor
will kick off her U.S. tour in
late March. Begin to Hope is
available in record stores, on
iTunes and online.
FOR THE BEST IN OFFICE
C OPY-FAX-PRINT- SCAN
MIKE SANGUINE 352-377-5817
One of the most famous Jewish novels ever written is
more prominent in Gainesville than one might think. Chaim
Potok's gem, "The Chosen," has been selected as the focus
of Gainesville's annual community literary project, One
City, One Story.
The program, which began in 2002, invites the people
of Gainesville to read a literary work as a city in an effort to
raise awareness and share the joy of reading. As the 40th
anniversary of "The Chosen" approaches, OCOS planned
its March agenda around the novel, which includes public
readings and discussions. The meat of this year's program
however, lays in the staged production of "The Chosen."
The story is about two young men who must choose
between the life they want to live and the life they are ex-
pected to live.
Reuven Malter, a modem Orthodox Jew, aspires to
become a rabbi despite his father's assertion that Reuven
would make a better professor. Danny Saunders is destined
to take his father's position as tzaddik, the head of his Has-
sidic sector, but prefers the readings of Freud and Heming-
way to Talmud.
The boys meet through a freak baseball accident, and
from that point search together for who they are and where
their passions will lead them. The Jewish undercurrents
should not deter anyone from seeing the production, as the
themes and conflicts are real for everyone.
The play, which is a five-person ensemble, was adapted
by Aaron Posner. Three of the five actors are members of
the Actors' Equity Association (they do not just hand out Eq-
uity cards) and one, Michael Toth, is an acting studelit at the
Universtiy of Florida. David Brummel, playing the roilof
David Malter, is also a recurring character on Law & Order,
Judge Gus Stamos. This production is another installation of
Gainesville's solid Jewish community.
The Chosen will be playing from March 2 to March 25
at the Hippodrome State Theatre. Call (352) 375-HIPP for
tickets, or order them online at http://www.thehipp.org. For
the One City One Story agenda, visit http://thehipp.org/pro-
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A-Steriods: Examining Barry Bonds
It's going... going... back
to the warning track... back
to the wall.. .caught! Not by
another player, but in the mist of
Now we all know chicks
dig the long-ball, but when it
comes to the all-time home run
record no one is digging what will probably happen this
year. With one crack of the bat, or better yet 756, a whole
new storm will blow into the baseball record books.
On Feb. 5 1934, the newly born Henry Louis Aaron
lay calmly in the arms of his mother. On July 20 1976,
Hank Aaron stood at home plate watching a home run
clear the fences at Milwaukee County Stadium. Now
Aaron sits at 755 career homeruns. That's 755 homeruns
unaffected by performance enhancing drugs, 755
homeruns unmarred by controversy.
Barry Bonds now has 734 career homeruns a mere
22 bombs shy of Hammering Hank. The two long-bomb-'
ers are about as similar as Nolan Ryan's fastball is to my
When you look at Hank Aaron you see a man not
too tall, not too muscular and you kind of laugh at the
idea he could hit so many homeruns. When you picture
Bonds you see... well basically you see the Terminator in
baseball pants. He's a man who grips a baseball bat like I
grip a toothpick after a big ol' steak.
With so little time left before Bonds breaks the
record, what will baseball do to keep its integrity? How
can a man thought to be lying about taking steroids hold
the most heralded record in all of sports?
There is only one word I think when I hear contro-
versy and homeruns: Asterisk. You know, asterisks, those
things people use as bullet points on PowerPoint pre-
sentations and on the bottom of nutrition labels where it
says in small letters, "If you eat this food there is a good
chance of anal leakage." It's been done before.
When Roger Maris was trying to break Babe Ruth's
single-season homerun record, the baseball committee
decided that because Maris hit his 61st homerun in more
games than Ruth's season of 60, the record would hold an
asterisk to show that there was a difference between the
two. Not until after Maris died was the asterisk removed.
Now I'm not a lawyer or anything, but I know a
thing or two about precedent. Because baseball did this in
the past, based on fairness, it should be done again now.
So for all to read: I propose an asterisk on Barry
Bonds to keep the game of baseball honest for the future.
Hell, I want an asterisk put on all of Bonds' records-not
just homeruns-so when my kids see his asterisk they
know what kind of player he was.
When Bonds is cleared of these allegations he can
have his record. But until then, I want the biggest record
in all of sports to belong to a man who used hard work
and talent -not needle and drugs-to get where he is.
Forgive me Father...
An Anonymous Artistic Confession
During the summers, when Frank's postcards stopped going out,
FARYN HART I still lived in South Africa, I ing in. Anonymous artists mailed an
Si would always come to visit my homemade confessions of fears, reg
S father in America. On one such sires, humiliations and betrayals that
Sf visit, I sent my mother a postcard kept hidden.
of Donald and Daisy from Walt As zip codes-of origin expanded,
" Disney World, filled with my of the secrets. The deepest, darkest
illegible tiny print on the blank photographs, magazirie clippings.
side. You see, I was trying to fit parking tickets and even an IRS form
into that little space all the eye-popping colors, adrenalin
rushes, sing-a-long tunes and Mickey-Mouse-shaped waf- CO NUE N A
fle? that I had been experiencing on my trip. I remember
mailing the memory-filled rectangle from our .
hotel and recording the rest of my vacation in "
journal to spill when I returned home. Back .
in South Africa, I was surprised to find my
postcard arrived days after I did. The expe-
rience of re-reading something written by a
four-week-younger Faryn was fascinating. I ''
was able to access, once again, the emotions
and experiences conveyed on the card.
Frank Warren too has realized the power
of the postcard. A small business owner from
Maryland, Frank decided to start a commu-
nity art project that invited others to share
their secrets with him. He handed out blank
postcards in subway stations, left them in art
galleries and hid them in library books. The __.
back read: You are invited to anonymously
contribute a secret to a group art project. r L '
Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, Ofr t .. .
desire, confession or childhood humiliation. [
Reveal anything as long as it is true and you i
ave ner shar ith oe bor PostSect submissions courtesy of http://www.postsecret.com
have never shared it with anyone before. But even after
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they continued com-
d kept mailing their
rets, obsessions, de-
they had previously
so did the canvases
material arrived on
Dr. David Cook
Manager of the
New York Yankees
For more information about our organization
and details about the speakers, check us out at
National Speakers Exchange
3307 Taney Road, Baltimore, MD, 21215
(443) 904 6025
: ar i's L. -'s'-'
Alternative Spring Breaks
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
"On the news you always here about extreme com-
munity service, and I've always wanted to do something
like that," said second-year engineering major Dhyana
Sankar is going to North Carolina for a gerontology
trip where she will educate senior citizens on nutrition.
She will also provide companionship to many elderly who
may feel lonely and welcome a youthful visit. She said
many of her friends supported her decision to try some-
thing different this break, and in fact, many of them will be
participating in Florida Alternative Breaks as well.
"Living in Florida, I've been partying and going to
beach for a long time now. I wanted to do something dif-
ferent," Sankar said. "The beach isn't far away, so I can go
Site leader Tracy L. Van Duyne said the organization
uses tabling and listservs to get the word out to students.
"Students who are willing are the ones most enthu-
siastic about the issues, and that's really what we want,"
FAB hooked Sankar because it sounded like a re-
freshing alternative to the partying and drinking.
I got interested in FAB because it was an organi-
zation which was very different than anything I had ever
seen," she said.
While Sankar chose to work with senior citizens,
there are 14 other types of trips to choose from this spring
break, including international medical relief projects where
students work in rural areas of underdeveloped countries.
Members of UF's Jewish community will also be
participating in spring break service projects. The UF Hil-
lel will be sending a bus of students to spend a week in the
Gulf Coast rebuilding homes and communities in the af-
termath of Hurricane Katrina. They will be lodged outside
of New Orleans and will receive kosher meals.
Though registration for this particular trip has passed,
it is not too late to sign up for another alternative spring
break activity. Florida Alternative Breaks is still accept-
ing applications, and students may contact director Justin
Farge for more information at email@example.com. Students
can also visit the Florida Alternative Breaks Web site at
dex.php to download an application.
Van Duyne urged students to get involved.
"It can mean some extra work for you and that you
can't spend your spring break in the traditional fashion,
but if you go ahead and put in the effort, you'll get much
more out of it than you ever expected."
A PostSecret Obsession
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8
From a neutral "I miss the good 'ol days" to a har-
rowing "I'd rather get skin cancer than be pale," Frank
has received over 250,000 postcards since beginning the
project in November 2004. Every Sunday, the PostSecret
blog spot is updated with twenty to forty new revelations,
and three books have been published filled with pages of
nameless creations of which so many of us can sympathize
or even empathize.
I doubt Frank had comprehended the impact and fol-
lowing that his community project would receive. Hundreds
of thousands of people have visually represented a mental
inner experience, stamped it, mailed it and finally released
a destructive manifestation that was never before shared.
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Eacn OIice iis Indepsndently Owood And Opoar, ed.
The postcard is a concrete reflection, a creative therapy
where the unconscious is unleashed and able to express
itself. At this level, we are able to connect with strangers
that are living the same existence we are and come across
the same hardships, loves, desires and regrets we experi-
ence. Clinical Psychologist, Anne C. Fisher, writes of the
project: "In PostSecret, art and healing are one, brilliantly
condensed into the elegant simplicity of filling out a post-
card all for the price of a 37-cent stamp."
The instructions are simple: create a 4-by-6-inch
postcard out of any mailable material. If you want to share
two or more secrets, use multiple postcards. Put your com-
plete secret and image on one side of the postcard. Tips:
Be brief-the fewer words used the better. Be legible-use
big, clear and bold lettering. Be creative-let the postcard
be your canvas.
As part of RUB week, The Reitz Union Board is
bringing Frank Warren and PostSecret to the University
of Florida campus. His presentation will take place Mar.
6 at 8 p.m. in the Reitz Union Auditorium. Frank will dis-
cuss his project, sign books (at 9 p.m.) and possibly even
divulge a few of his own deadly sins.
Students can create their own postcards for the proj-
ect on Mar. 6 in the Reitz Union colonnade that will be
displayed on the second floor of the Reitz Union.
And, in case you were wondering, mine is already
in the mail.
Cemetery of Innocents
LORI FINKEL Two-thousand white
wooden crosses stuck out of the
Grassy knoll in front of the Reitz
a Union Tuesday Feb.20, as the
S" Pro-Life Alliance demonstrated
Disdain for abortion.
SThe Pro-Life Alliance, a
student organization affiliated
with the University of Florida,
placed 2,000 crosses across the lawn in an annual demon-
stration called the Cemetery of Innocents.
The 2,000 crosses represented the 4,000 fetuses
aborted every day.
Since 4,000 crosses would take up too much space,
each cross represented a boy and a girl, said William San-
chez, vice president of the UF chapter of Pro-Life Alli-
"We would've put up tombstones but those are kind
of heavy," Sanchez said. "Hopefully when people see this
they will think 'death.'"
Although the sym-
bol of the cross was used We would've put
to mark the fetal graves,
Sanchez said the orga- up tombstones
nization is funded by
student government and but those are
is not religiously affili-
ated. kind of heavy.
"The other side -William
doesn't use religion as an
argument so why should anchez
we?" Sanchez said.
Sanchez said the
Tampa headquarters had a Star of David grave marker but
did not give it to the UF chapter to use. -.
Despite the group's non-affiliation with religion, Pro-
Life Alliance member Ben Burwell said he decided to be-
come involved with the group after his sister took him to
pray for the women entering abortion clinics in his home-
town of Melbourne, Fla.
"The girls were being forced to go to the clinics by
their parents and boyfriends," Burwell said, who wore a
baggy sweatshirt with the message, "Choose life, my mom
did" screen printed across the back. "They really just need
someone to talk to. We'd try to give them other options like
The cemetery cost the Pro-Life Alliance $250, which
includes U-Haul rental and gas, to lug the crosses from
the headquarters in Tampa. It took four hours to construct,
hammering each cross into the ground.
Since the demonstration was up for a full 32 hours,
group members took shifts guarding the cemetery out of the
fear that students who disagreed with the message would
otherwise destroy the display. Sanchez said this happened
three years ago.
i ,t', L,-,i- I i.-.'1
Above: Members of Pro-Life Alliance set-up
2,000 crosses on the Reitz North Lawn.
Right: VOX Public Relations Rep. Namrata
Uberoi protests the Cemetery of Innocents.
. .... ........t lJ1~:..~.. .'~ I~..~a;i~
New Life in the Old Country: Visiting Prague
Jewish America's favorite
DANIEL REISER musical "Fiddler on the Roof' de-
,.. fines what we think of 19th cen-
tury European Jewry: they were
3 poor, they had chickens, they wore
W A babushkas.
But it's movies like "Fiddler"
that keep American Jews stuck on
the idea of "The Old Country."
We think of Europe as our past, America as our pres-
ent and Israel as our future.
I just returned from a semester in Prague where I
studied Jewish history and though some places were un-
derfed and overworked, Europe is no longer "Fiddler's"
Jewish education overemphasizes the Holocaust,
almost to the point of apathy.
But what of the Jews that remain, the living, prac-
S.-: of Eastern
u: p J Europe? The
groms as early
Sas the 1946
REvlA S n cag,_a e in Kra,&, v.her hlose, Kielce mas-
Isserles is buried (RI LLA is .e acron.mn for Rabbi
highest. lsscerle) sacre? Should
we not also
learn about them?
European Jewry isn't dead. It's been overshadowed.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match
Although they don't go to services, the Prague Youth
Group attends Shabbat dinner twice a month and goes to
a bar afterwards. Aged 18-35, the Prague youth group is
much older than most American youth groups. There are
several married couples in the youth group, and my friend
David is likely to get engaged to his girlfriend, Zita.
After preschool, my Jewish friends and I split to
separate public schools. There were only three Jews in my
high school graduating class.
In Krakow, the youth group is the community's.
strongest force. While at a Shabbat dinner in the syna-
gogue where Moses Isserles, known for making halachic
law available to the masses, is buried, I sat across from a
young Polish couple.
I asked them, "What do you do
here in Krakow?" When at first they
didn't answer, I thought I hadn't spo- .
ken loudly or slowly enough. So I asked .
Annoyed, the husband answered,
"I live here. My parents lived here. My
grandparents lived here... This is where
The next few minutes of the meal
were spent in awkward silence. I later
realized that he had misunderstood me.
He thought I had asked, "What are you
doing in Krakow?" as if being a Jew in
Poland needs some sort ofjustification.
All Day Long, I'd Biddy Biddy Bum Doha Shee Syag
On Friday afternoons before Shab- Lhb ]agest in Elaope
bat, I would go to Charles Jordan for English
conversation hour. There I became friends with
Jifi, a cigar-smoking music historian and card
carrying member of the Czech Communist par-
At first, we had difficulty finding topics for
conversation. Jifi doesn't freely talk about the
number on his arm ("That was a long time ago,"
he said). Instead, we spent the afternoons talking
about Latin music and the Sparta soccer club.
On Sukkot, I helped the retirees build and
decorate a sukkah in the garden. The retirees
are not religious (Jifi scoffed when I told him I
was leaving to prepare for shabbas), but they eat
matzah ball soup together, playing hearts, talk-
ing about their health and their nieces.
My Grandma Sally spent the last three
years of her life in Tallahassee at the Westminster
Oaks Retirement Community. We used to meet
her on Sunday to go for a walk and play Scrabble
since the only scheduled activities were Bible
study and hymns. There was only one other Jew-
ish lady in the building and on occasion she and
her son would join us for lunch.
Can "The New Country" really be a place
in which an old Jewish lady is the only Jew in
Miracle of Miracles
Although we are taught in Sunday
school to hate Germans and fear Poles, we must not forget
that among Yad Vashem's program, Righteous Among the
Nations, which recognizes non-Jews who risked their lives
to save Jews during the Holocaust, there are almost 6,000
Poles who risked punishment of death to save Jewish lives
- more than any other country.
While in Krakow, I went to see a man speak who had
hidden three siblings under his barn, covering the hole with
hay and cow manure to keep the Nazi dogs from sniffing
them out. The siblings he saved were "about his age," he
said, motioning to me.
One afternoon, Nazi guards came to his house to look
around while he wasn't home. When his wife answered the
door, she was so afraid of being caught that she wet her-
self. Proud of the fear they could cause in a woman, the
soldiers left, laughing, without searching the property.
After his presentation I went up to shake his hand.
He said something to me in Polish which the translator
translated as, "He recognizes you." Lat-
er, while reading his biography in the
museum, I saw the name of the siblings
he saved: Finklestein, Grandma Sally's
A.1 maiden name.
Here's to Whatever Comes, Drink
In Poland, where's "Jew" is still an
insult and there's a soccer team called
There is, however, a new Jew-
ish consciousness developing in Poland.
Of our five tour guides,- only one was
SJewish. The other four were working
on masters' degrees in Jewish history,
working to educate Poles about their
mixed historical relations with the
Similarly, many German students are working to
rid their country of its dark shadow. I met three German
students at the Center for Dialogue and Prayer outside of
In Germany, between high school and college there
is a year of obligatory army or civil service. These students
were spending their year volunteering abroad to do repara-
tions work in Jewish communities around Europe. Their
job at the Center was to coordinate discussion groups for
visiting Americans and Israelis. We talked about politics,
ism and stereotypes-
the type of conversation
that could have saved
nine million lives.
In Prague, I be-
came friends with two
German students who
were volunteering at
Charles Jordan. Neither
of my German friends
had ever been in a syna-
had ever been in a syna- Hebrew clock (reads counterclock-
gogue so I invited them wise. or from righ1 to left) on side of
to come for Simchat To- JCC building in Prague.
By the time we got to the Staronovd Synagogue there
were no seats left and we had to cram against- the bema.
Although the head rabbi was already chanting the prayers,
the building with filled with noisy excitement- the chat-
ter, the shuffling, the davening, the sneezing of the whole
community assembled under the 730-year-old roof.
We began the .seven hakafot but the room proved
too confining after only three. The celebration poured
out the door and around the corner, into Maiselova Street
where tables were set up with pound cake and honeydew,
bottles of Slivovitz and Becherovka, and we ate and sang
and danced and made many l'chiams, yelling, "To life, to
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