VOLUME 4 ISSUE 5
4 Cheshvanl 5768 17 Cheshvan 5768 October 16, 2007 October 29, 2007
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Last Jew in
is a Stickler
BY RYAN WEISS
SHPiEL contributing writer
Ever known how it feels to be the only
Jewish kid in class? How about the only one
in a country of 32 million people?
Zebulon Simentov, 47, is the only practicing
Jew in all of Afghanistan.
Up until about two years ago, he was one
of two. Yitzhak Levin, the other half of the
Jew Two, passed away in early 2005. Although
the pair lived together in a small synagogue
through civil war, Soviet invasion and the
Taliban regime, they grew to hate one another.
This hatred became infamous, going as far as
holding separate services (as the only two
Jews in the country) as well as public shouting
matches. Levin even tried to convince the
local population that Simentov was a spy for
The Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency.
Many are baffled that Simentov has not
given in and left Afghanistan. Living alone in
poverty-and surely without bagels and lox-
he simply wishes to live his life in Kabul.
"I feel like the lion of Afghanistan,"
Simentov said. "Nobody can touch me."
Call him trazy; call him stubborn-but this
guy has no desire to leave. He said he is not sad
about being the only Jew left in Afghanistan.
In fact, Taliban officials and other, various
inhabitants have beaten him, demanding he
convert to Islam. To this he replied: "Not if
you paid me one million dollars."
In an interview with National Public Radio,
Simentov said that he is still occasionally
pressured to become a Muslim, but the solitary
Semite takes no heed.
"That kind of talk is like a matchstick you
use to light a cigarette," he said. "You throw it
away without a second thought."
SEE LAST JEW, PAGE 3
Haters in the Homeland
Law of return harbors
Neo-Nazism in Israel
BY NERI STEIN
SHPiEL staff writer
Even with access to photos, film
and hard evidence, there are still
people who deny the Holocaust.
What's worse is that some readily
welcome a second coming of such
Recently, the Israeli police arrested
and indicted members of a Neo-Nazi
ring living inside of Israel. All Russian
immigrants, the members were
charged with inciting anti-Semitism
and attacks on the public. The arrest
was a result of an investigation into
the vandalizing of a synagogue in
the city of Petah Tikva a year ago.
The synagogue was painted with
swastikas, graffiti bearing Hitler's
name, and other Nazi proclamations.
Israeli police searched the
suspects' homes and found Nazi
uniforms, weapons, TNT, portraits
of Adolf Hitler and a video of the
men attacking religious Jews, gays
and foreigners. The suspects also
admitted to attacking workers in Tel
All of the men involved immigrated
to Israel under the Law of Return,
which states that any person with at
least one Jewish grandparent, who
wishes to immigrate to Israel, may
do so and will be granted citizenship.
The law is the vision of the Zionist
Movement making Israel the home
for Jews living in fear or persecution
anywhere in the world.
After news broke of the Neo-Nazi
ring, a call for reform of the Law of
Return from both the public and
politicians was heard. Many want to
see a new definition of what being a
"Jew" mean, and also the expulsion
of Neo-Nazis from Israel; Citizens for
reform maintain that the Law invites
people who hate Israel and Jews to
enter the country and act on that
SEE NEONAZI, PAGE 2
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
law permits neo-Nazis to colonize
Number of times a Pepsi delivery
man punched a Coke delivery
man in a Pennsylvania Wal-Mart
Grams of sugar in one 8 ounce
serving of Coca-Cola:
Approximate teaspoons of sugar
in 27 grams:
People in the world who suffer
Running time in minutes of the
new CBS show "Cane" with Jimmy
Smits about the sugar cane
Year Jimmy Smits first played
Senator Bail Organa in Star Wars:
Parsecs in which Han Solo claims
the Millenium Falcon can make
the Kessel Run:
Light years in a parsec:
Percent of people that think
looking this far into Star Wars is
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Others, mainly Arabs, protest a
double standard in the Law. People
with one Jewish grandparent are
granted citizenship but Arabs seeking
simply to visit Israeli-Arab relatives
are not welcome.
The Israeli government has taken
action, cutting funding for the
Immigrant Absorption Ministry-
responsible for providing aid to new
But the news of this budget cut
has left many worrying that Russian
immigrants will disengage further
from Israel. Most of them are young,
and the Ministry's objective is to
help them assimilate in Israeli
society and enhance their Jewish
identities by keeping them in school
or helping them find work. Still, many
natural born Israelis are not entirely
So far though, few people have
recognized the real problem at hand.
The frequency of Neo-Nazism across
Europe is the reason it found its way to
Israel under the Law of Return. Other
nations across the world do little to
stamp out this growing movement.
And the movement is not targeted
only toward Jews anymore. Muslims
and Arabs living in Israel are at risk of
last jew refuses to leave home
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Simentov said he lives like a dog.
Locals say he's an impatient man who
drinks a lot. He was successful as an
ex-carpet- and- antique dealer until
the Taliban stole-a container from him
worth about $40,000.
After living through both Soviet
rule and the Taliban regime, Simentov
says that he prefers either to the
current government-one which he
called a "mafia regime."
Simentov has a wife and two
daughters who currently reside in
Israel. Even with his family away, he
still has no intention of leaving. He
appears to be more concerned, even
frustrated, about his current financial
situation. Reporters who come to
visit him are charged a small fee and
in addition, he requests they mention
his need for external support from the
Jewish community. The overwhelming
support for Mr. Simentov may imply
that many Jews respect him and his
When asked for the final time why
he refuses leave, he simply replied, "I
The Only Student-Run Jewish Campus Newspaper in the Country, Right Here at the University of Florida
A & E Editor
Rabbi Yonah Schiller
Layout & Design
meaningless violence as well.
Many countries have passed laws
outlawing Neo-Nazism and banning
Nazi paraphernalia. In Germany,
for example, it is illegal to sell Nazi
souveniers, though many items are
still smuggled into the country.
Most factions of the organization
formed long ago and found new
strength after the fall of the Soviet
Union. Very few of them openly
declare themselves Nazi sympathizers
to avoid disciplinary action, and no
significant political party aligns itself
Russia has one of the highest
concentrations of Neo-Nazi
populations in the world. Many of
these types of nationalist groups
flourished in the country after the.
fall of the Iron Curtain. They claim to
stand outside the political arena and
identify themselves as the defenders
of Russian national identity and
believe their identity was taken over
by the many minority groups in
Russia such as Jews and Muslims.
Neo-Nazism- has even made- 4ts
way to the United States. While the
First Amendment protects every
American's freedom of speech, many
of these organizations still operate
underground to avoid national
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
Reconstructing Jewish Ideals: The reconstructionist movement
BY DAYNA MALEK
SHPiEL staff writer
Nestled away on 130 acres of
wooded land in South Sterling, Pa.,
is a summer camp like no other,
dedicated to instilling a strong
sense of commitment to, and
understanding of, Reconstructionist
Camp Jewish Reconstructionist
Federation (JRF) is the only summer.
camp of its kind, founded by Rabbi
Jeffrey Eisenstat, the director of youth
and camping for the JRF. According
to Real Estate Weekly, "The camp
focuses on teaching Jewish living
skills and allows campers to 'build
character and cultivate respect and
understanding for Jewish traditions
through the Reconstructionist
"We are a small enough camp
that can really make a difference in
what's going on with the vision and
the future of the Reconstructionist
movement," Eisenstat said.
Rabbi Mordeccai Kaplan began the
Reconstructionist movement. Kaplan
viewed Judaism as a civilization. He
promoted the notion of a synagogue-
center which offered not only
religious prayer services, but study
programs, drama, dance, song, sports
Coming from an Orthodox
background, Kaplan was viewed
as the odd-man-out for pushing
for democracy in the synagogue
and allowing females to
participate by celebrating their own
b'not mitzvah (plural of bat mitzvah).
It was the society around him, the
democracy flourishing in America,
which played into his desire to create
the movement. -
And so Kaplan's visions and
practices were transformed into
the Reconstructionist movement.
The movement is defined as a
progressive, contemporary approach
to Jewish life that mixes a deep
respect for traditional Judaism with
the philosophies and ideas of today.
believe they are "heirs to a rich legacy
of literary and artistic achievement"
that continues to grow, according to
the JRF Web site, http://www.jrf.org.
Reconstructionism was started in
the 20th century and is the youngest
of the four branches of the American
Judaic groups. According to the
site, reconstructionists strongly
believe in the saying: "the past
has a vote." It means that those
who preceded us still have some
influence on the decisions we make
today. Their thoughts and rituals are
not forgotten. Reconstructionists
are more contemporary and have a
that keeps up with the changes in
modern Jewish history.
This new sect of Judaism is
considered a more liberal, more
modern movement. Its followers
don't believe that God chose the
Jewish people, but that Judaism is
one of many religions. They also
don't believe God wrote or gave the
Torah to the Jewish people.
community and understanding. They
are not idle bystanders, but rather
constantly involve themselves in
many social issues such as keeping
the environment clean.
They view Judaism as a spiritual
course that is still evolving in search
of a deeper meaning. According
to the National Jewish Population
Survey, about 2 percent of Jews
in America identify themselves as
Reconstructionist with over 100
congregations across the country.
Even the summer camp has seen a
boost in its attendance.
According to the Camp JRF Web
site, the camp has grown from 39
campers from 12 JRF communities in
summer 2002 to 280 campers from
almost 50 communities in summer
And so the future is bright for
generations of children who will
attend the JRF summer camp,
keeping up the traditions of the
movement amidst the daily fun of
basketball, archery, baseball and all
-the other activities.
Slicing Through Taboo: Egypt debates ban on female genital cutting
BY JOSH FLEET
SHPiEL staff writer
Female genital cutting (FGC)
has been banned in Egypt since
1996, except there remained one
tiny loophole-the procedure was
allowed if a doctor advised it or in
case of emergency. After a young
girl died during the procedure, Egypt
strengthened its ban in Summer 2007
by eliminating the loophole.
Once a taboo subject in Egypt,
the practice is now being openly
Proponents call the procedure
Opponents call it "genital
But even terming it as procedure
can be misleading. FGC is often
performed by an untrained relative
of the female, without anesthetics or
As in the case of Fatma Ibrahim,
a girl is sometimes told she is being
taken to get a blood test or a similar
basic check-up. Not until the cutting
begins does she realize what's
Ibrahim, 24, an activist fighting
against genital cutting in Egypt,
described her experience in an
interview with the New York Times. "It
is a cruel and harsh experience, you're
naked and you don't understand.
Something breaks inside of you,"
For thousands of years the practice
of female genital cutting was standard
in Islamic nations, especially in North
In the Arab world, the practice
persists almost exclusively in Egypt
and Yemen. In countries like Iraq, Iran
and Saudi Arabia, FGC is considered
archaic-a remnant of pre-Islamic
In Egypt, young Christian girls
are also subjected to FGC. In 2005,
a government survey found that 96
percent of all women in Egypt between
the ages of 15 and 49 who have ever
been married have undergone FGC.
The major Abrahamic religions-
Christianity, Islam and Judaism-
consider the human body as belonging
For this reason, bodily alterations
and modifications are generally
Additionally, religions like Judaism
and Islam require that a man please
his wife sexually. In Judaism, a woman
can seek divorce if her husband does
not please her.
FGC predates Islam and the Qur'an
clearly does not endorse it. So why
does the practice persist?
Many societies in North Africa and
the Middle East are patriarchal and
have been for millennia. Many argue
that FGC has been used as a means to
maintain male dominance.
A woman who has endured the
cutting will generally find no pleasure
in sex afterwards the clitoris is
partially or entirely removed and the
-vaginal opening is stitched together
leaving only a small opening if she
doesn't first die from blood loss.
In Egypt and other countries where
the practice is still prevalent, girls are
subjected to FGC at or around the age
of puberty or just before marriage.
Anti-FGC activists argue that once a
woman's sex drive is eliminated, a
man can be sure his wife will remain
It would seem that because of
FGC's inherent destructiveness, Islam
should forbid it. Recent conferences
and gatherings of Muslim theologians,
politicians and scientists in Egypt
support this idea.
In November 2006, a conference on
FGC was held at Al-Azhar University
in Cairo. It was arranged by TARGET,
a German human rights organization
aimed at ending FGC.
The conference resulted in
Professor Ali Gom'a, the Grand Mufti
of Egypt, signing a fatwa (Islamic
resolution) which banned the
Prominent political figures like
Susanne Mubarak, wife of Egypt's
president, have also begun speaking
out against FGC.
Summer 2007's ban promises
prosecution of doctors and others
who perform FGC whether in private
or public facilities. Still, in a country
of deeply-ingrained tradition, it is
hard to predict how effective the ban
jt llJi'k. -T y~. ~ S
#i ,79 AA 31_ffiv-:
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
Making the Counter-Coulter into the Moral Majority
S It's that
time of year
Sif there were
S seasons in
brown, the crisp air rolls in and more
bat shit spews out of Ann Coulter's
Monday, Oct. 8, Coulter was a
guest on Donny Deutsch's show on
CNBC, "The Big Idea." His biggest
mistake besides dignifying Coulter by
bringing her onto the show was asking
her probably her favorite question: If
the world were her way, what would
it look like? She answered "The Big
Idea" 's Jewish host by saying that the
Jewish people need to be "perfected"
into Christians. Coulter, a Cornell
graduate, said Christians are simply
"perfected Jews." Deutsch was in
Now my point isn't that Ann
Coulter spits statements that are
mostly unbelievable, that she is super
provocative or that she is so politically
right wing that most republicans have
trouble supporting her.
No, my point is that people
actually buy her books and invite her
onto their television and radio shows,
which is the only reason she exists in
We are at the point where we need
to just ignore her and hope she'll go
away. I don't wish her death, but that
she simply go away, because I don't
really believe she was ever born. I'm
barely convinced she is human. If I
had to theorize on her origin, I would
say that in a freak occurrence a pile
of random scrap metal in a junkyard
accidentally fused together to form
a -neo-fascist android. ANNdroid
Anndroid doesn't only target Jews;
they are a recent topic of hers. She
is adamant in her argument that all
Muslims are terrorists. She wishes
Timothy McVeigh had blown up the
New York Times building. She freely
calls out public figures as being
homosexual, and thinks pre-marital
sex is a sin, even though the 45-
year-old has never been married. She
swears liberals are godless.
Coulter has authored a number
of books, all of which would make
for a fine book-burning ritual. "If
Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be-
Republicans" was published Oct. 2 and
will in all likelihood sell successfully,
OK, to be fair, I have not read any
of her material. I just can't figure out
how to get my hands on her books
without having to pay royalties to
her, and all the copies at the library
are checked out. Why would I even
want to read them in the first place?
To rip out all the pages of as many
of her books as I can and send them
back to Cornell, in order to replace
the sheet of paper they wasted on her
It's people like Coulter that make
me question the First Amendment.
Censorship is mostly evil, but I vote
to have a black rectangle constantly
placed over her mouth. Ann's days
are numbered. People are fed up with
her antics and bizarre opinions. She
took advantage of republican wave of
1994, but her influence is dying out.
Coulterhas suggested thatwomen's
.suffrage be taken away. This could
mean one of two things: Coulter is not
really a woman (Android Theory), or
she will eventually destroy herself.
We as an American people can
hasten the Ann-eradication process
by iinaking a conscious effort to turn
our heads and not listen to her. Think
of it as cleaning the environment.
Global warming? We've got real
problems to take care of first.
!(xEn.Y Paul Kennedy
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The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
After School Drops Tutu out of Concern for Jews, ADL says he should speak
BY BEN HARRIS
NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Anti-
Defamation League is urging the
president of a Minnesota university to
invite Archbishop Desmond Tutu to
speak just days after it was revealed
that he had been disinvited because
of fears he might offend Jews.
Tutu had been slated to visit the
University of St. Thomas next spring
as part of a program that brings
Nobel laureates to teach youth about
peace and justice. But university
administrators, after consulting with
Minnesota Jewish leaders, concluded
that Tutu has made hurtful comments
about Israel and the Jewish people
that rendered him inappropriate as a
"Tutu has certainly been an
outspoken,. sometimes very harsh
critic of Israel and Israeli policies,
and has sometimes also used
examples which may cross the line,"
said Abraham Foxman, the ADL's
national director. But, he added, Tutu
"certainly is not an anti-Semite and
should not be so characterized and
therefore refused a platform."
Coming just weeks after Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was
invited to Columbia University, the
controversy over Tutu, a Nobel Peace
Prize winner and icon of the peaceful
struggle against apartheid, has
become the latest point of contention
in what is shaping up to be a fierce
season of Middle East controversy on
Jewish groups have long been
drawn into battles over the acceptable
parameters of the Middle East debate,
an issue recently brought to the fore
by the Ahmadinejad visit and the
publication of "The Israel Lobby."
In the book, two noted political
scientists argue that Jewish influence
has prevented a frank discussion of
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Tutu incident, however, offers
an unusual twist: aJewish organization
now linked to a university refusing
to invite a recognized civil rights
luminary who also sits on the board
of a Holocaust center in South Africa.
Tutu has condemned suicide
terrorism against Israel and
recognized the Jewish state's right
to secure boundaries. He has spoken
admiringly about the Jewish role in
fighting apartheid, though he has
also noted Israel's alliance with the
apartheid South African government.
He was even honored in 2003 by
Yeshiva University's law school with
an award for promoting world peace.
After the Tutu cancellation
was reported last week in City
Pages, the Minneapolis alternative
weekly, the president of St.
Thomas issued an explanation.
"We became aware of concerns about
some of Archbishop Tutu's widely
publicized statements that have been
hurtful to members of .the Jewish
community," Father Dennis Dease
said in a statement released last
Friday. "I spoke with Jews for whom I
have great respect. What stung these
individuals was not that Archbishop
Tutu criticized Israel but how he did
so, and the moral equivalencies that
they felt he drew between Israel's
policies and those of Nazi Germany,
and between Zionism and racism."
Among the Jews with whom
Dease spoke was Julie Swiler, the
public affairs director for the Jewish
Community Relations Council of
Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Swiler told JTA that after the
university approached the JCRC for an
opinion about Tutu, she discovered a
speech he delivered in Boston in 2002
in which he compared the power of
the "Jewish lobby" to Hitler, and
Israeli policies to those of the South
African apartheid regime.
"People are scared in this country
to say wrong is wrong because the
Jewish lobby is, powerful -- very
said in the speech,
a portion of which
was reprinted in the
"Well, so what? This
is God's world. For
goodness sake, this is
God's world! We live in '
a moral universe. The ~
was very powerful,
but today it- no
longer exists. Hitler,
and Idi Amin were all
powerful, but in the
end they bit the dust."
Swiler said she
told the university
that those comments
go beyond legitimate
criticism of Israel.
"I think most
people in the Jewish
community would find
comparing the quote-
unquote Jewish lobby
to Hitler offensive,"
Swiler insisted that
was sought and none
was given to the
question of whether
Tutu should be invited
to campus. And though
Swiler said that Tutu's
views should be heard
even though he has a
"blind spot" when it .
comes to Israel, she e.on....ndp
S n o ed And Oper
would not offer an
opinion on the university's decision
to deny him a platform.
"We're not talking about David
Duke here," said Cecilie Surasky, the
communications director for Jewish
Voice for Peace and editor of the
blog Muzzlewatch, which chronicles
suppression of dissenting voices in
the Middle East debate.
"I think most people would agree
they wouldn't want to spend their
dollars giving David Duke a platform,"
Surasky said. "But what we are talking
about is Nobel Prize winners, top
academics. Those people are the
ones that are having trouble speaking
without fear of attack by what I could
call self-appointed gatekeepers."
Surasky added that whatever
the particulars of this case, the
impression of the Tutu incident is
that the pro-Israel lobby has again
squashed views it doesn't like.
"This struck a chord because it's
part of a pattern," Surasky said. "Even
though it's their decision, what many
people hear is it's Jewish pressure that
caused them to bar, in this case, one
of the world's great humanitarians.
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And I don't think there's any question
that fuels anti-Semitism."
Both the university and the
Minnesota JCRC have explicitly denied
that any Jewish pressure was exerted
to have the speech canceled. A school
spokesman said the university's
decision was informed in part by its
experience two years ago hosting
the conservative provocateur Ann
Mindful that it might appear to
outsiders that Jewish pressure played
a role, Swiler emphasized repeatedly
that she does not believe Tutu is an
anti-Semite and that he has a right to
Not all Jewish groups, however,
agree with that view.
"Desmond Tutu is an anti-Semite
who hates Jews and is obsessed with
demeaning and smearing the Jewish
state," said Morton Klein, president of
the Zionist Organization of America.
Tutu's 2002 speech was delivered
at a conference sponsored by Sabeel,
a Christian Palestinian group that
SEE TUTU, PAGE 12
Phone: (800) 258-2861
Fax: (877) 942-4135
61 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
nthol* of Israel Jimi Hendrix-who have been covered
'.':. by musicians like Ariel Zilber and
BY LEQ STEIN Yitzchak Klepter-Israelis have a history
': '-.' : staff writer with American music. Even gangsta rap
has lent a hand to artists like the right
'*"" -. :: Since .its. independence, Israel's wing Subliminal, whose urban attire and
cultural identity sprung from the melting thuggish demeanor reflect little of Israeli
:t. of its-immigrants. From centuries- social trends.
o'ld piyutim (Jewish liturgical songs) to Rarely hale Israeli artists recorded
E uropean trance singles, Israel's music songs in English. It has happened more
Sis as unidentifiable as its stereotypical recently with artists like the movie star
Citizen; Bar Belfer, reggae style Dub L.F.O. and
Grecian Jew Yehuda Poliker has especially Blackfield, who attempt to
played Greek-traditional music fused broaden their audiences by playing
S -with an Israeli setting for the last three solely English songs.
.decades-l The Argentine Matti Caspi, Blackfield consists of Steven Wilson
S. onsidered.by, many to be Israel's most from the English rock band Porcupine
prolific melody maker, has given Israel's Tree and A\i\ Geffen, Israeli's successful
most poidlar -songwriters tunes with "punk" who rose to the top of the charts
bossa nova and jazz influences. Shutei as a solo artist. The band's use of poppy
: .aN'evuah, a strong Israeli group that emo-rock music can be heard in ever\
ollaborates with Palestinian bands, has song on both albums, with angst-driven
received popular support in combining lyrics such as, "I hurt myself to let the
reggae rhythms and Arabic-influenced darkness out."
singing. Still, this trend only scratches the
One of..the most famous Israeli surface of Israeli music today. Parties in
musicians to non-sraeli ears, Idan Israeli clubs and houses are dominated
.Raichel, ,writes songs with a mesh of by European electronic music. Israel
'thiopian, North African and Arab has even cultivated artists such as
musicians involved in the process. Infected Mushroom and Telefon Tel
*In addition to representing heritages, Aviv, who modeled the trip-hop styles
Israeli music's strange aspect of of Berlin and Paris today. Until recent
Americanization has occasionally found years, Israeli radio was dominated by
Sits way onto the radio in the States. As far Ashkenazi musicians.
back as the obsession for Bob Dylan and However,there'sanewtrendofMizrahi,
I; :-:t: r ;i
or Asian music, with its characteristic
voice inflections and over-exaggerated
love songs gaining popular attention.
This style reflects Arabic music from
Iraq to Yemen, where Mizrahi Israelis still
have passionate claims of lineage. Even
Mizrahi melodies have transformed from
their original singer-with-oud traditions
to digitally manipulated break-beats
and synthesizers found in almost all of
today's trendy radio music structure.
Despite the rise of pop in recent
days, Israeli musicians are still rooted
in original songwriting. The "classic"
musicians, who represent such different
landscapes of Jewry. exemplify the
richness in Israeli diversity. At the same
time, it's no coincidence that the most'
successful artists in Israel come from
the music-division squad of the Israel
Cochav Nolad, Israel's version of
American Idol, usually emphasizes an
image-based pop style of music. Last
month, an episode of the show focused
on songs specifically from the legendary
Matti Caspi. The singers transformed
what %was already an exotic music form
into their own Sephardic Arabic rock
renditions. The music of Israel has
been like the episode's experiment, a
smorgasbord of hard working musicians
forming and transforming their history
with the synthesis of current Israeli
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 1 7
"The Bubble" is Full of Hot Air
When a homosexual suicide bomber kills ah
bunch of infidels (and himself) in the name of Allah,
what is his reward in heaven? "The Bubble" asks this
Eytan Fox, director and cowriter of "The not the storied 72
question. As for the answer: hopefully it's no
femaThe Bubblev is the English title for "Habuah, originally released
in Thsrael last summerand refers to the bubble in which people exist
in Israel last summer-an The to two Israeli guys,
within their respective societies. The story follows two Israeli guys. -
within their re ect i sreli girl, Lulu, who live together in Tel
Noam andYelli, and one Isr li
Avivreturns home after finishing his service in the
Noam returns.. as a new boyfriend A'
Ssrael Detense Forces and now the o paradoxicalln,s
p"' s1ra the other tMo roommates 1 to illuminate
Ashraf" h' the timelessness
quickly befriend. No proof the problems at
SThere's no shortage of
mo ies that tr\ to address a
Except the new boyfriend is in Israel
illegally-and he's Palestinian.
So in R-omeo- and ltu-et ... Romeo
and Romeo style, a tale of star-crossed
lovers unfolds with a painful level of
The roommates are on-again, off-
again activists trying to address the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and they
accept Ashraf with a noble and civilly
You may ask, hot else do these
Israeli 20-somethings speak out against
the conflict in the Middle East? Well,
they rave. And when they're not raving,
the 're flyposting for the ra\e, or
distributing custom-made rave T-shirts.
Rate, rave. rate.
"Rave against the occupation! Rate
for peace' to be exact. Is there an\ form
of protest better than rolling on ecstas\ ?
I don't know%, but neither do the\. And
apparently X is easy to get in israel.
Good to know.
Nonetheless, the dialogue was
moderately clet er, honest and enjoyable,
e\en despite the subtitles.
"The Bubble" is inflated with pop
culture references and embraces its very
specific time and place, \ while attempting.
larger political or historical issue
by telling the tale of a single person.
How\e\er, these movies are quick to
simplify complex dilemmas, and thus
dismiss the \ery debate they attempt to
For instance. I took issue with
the black-and-white portrayal of the
differences between Israelis and
Palestinians are portrayed as
intolerant and traditional, while
Israelis are portrayed as open-minded
and modern. I doubt anything is that
Lastly, if you do go see this movie,.
I hope you'll feel disappointed with the-
ending. I don't want to give anything
away, but suffice to suffice it's about as
cliche as the word "cliche."
The ending is designed to be tragic,
but ina forcible moralistic way.And what
was communicated could have existed
without the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The conflict became a coincidental
circumstance, one that could have been
overcome for the time being if only the
characters \weren't so weak.
But this is "The Bubble," And, as
someone remarks in the middle of the
film, "Nothing here is real."
2.5 out of 5 Chai fives
7 r ,- "-z, 7-r--7,
~ ~. .
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
He sent just trust me).
me the We both cc
confirmation single. We've jus
e-mail. He take the distance
and I both Wait, this sou
know it's explain-it's not
final. fling. I've met h
H e 1 1 spring break tri
arrive on disaster relief
Flight # 505 Remember my cc
.from New Make You Dance
England (not telling you exactly a beautiful time
where) to Jacksonville, where I'll boy in that magi
drive 90 minutes to pick him up and jambalaya.
90 minutes back. Well this isn't
That's in exactly 30 diys and 22 turned out to be
hours and I'm as scared to commit No, this guy,
to this impending four-day weekend checkerboard V
as he is.. black-rimmed gl
I never imagined I'd end up in a Rude Boy for his
long distance... thing. It's the kind I met the last ni
of thing I've always thought silly. spoke for about
And our "thing," well... it's not a I was pulled aw
relationship and we can't really even wasted that weel
call it "dating." It's obviously not I noticed Ru
sexual (actually, with the Internet he arrived, but
that might not be so obvious but group leader ar
t decided we can't
nds creepy, let me
like some internet
im in person, on a
p to New Orleans,
Ilumn, "Romance to
"? In short, I'd had
with some beautiful
cal city of jazz and
that guy. That guy
with his blond hair,
ans sneakers and
isses (we'll dub him
love of ska music)
.ght of the trip. We
15 minutes, before
ay by the shmuck I
de Boy the minute
he was a Hillel
nd that's about as
forbidden as a camper getting
with a camp counselor. Even in
college, apparently. Rude Boy was
hopelessly off limits-until seven
months later when the rampant five-
messages-a-day Facebooking began.
After a month and a half of this, he
suggested we progress to phone
He swears he was the one to
talk to me first; to pick" me out of
the crowd that last night in New
Orleans; that we were just running
around with the wrong people. We
both have a glasses fetish, which is
perfect since we both wear glasses.
We both love swing and big band
music. And with all that and a Star
of David "Am Yisrael Chai" tattoo
on his back, he's the best of both
worlds, religious and secular.
And we're even both equally
scared of the word "commitment."
We find each other madly
attractive, and we get along great...
at least on the phone. I know him,
and I've talked to him on the phone
Bush Nominates Orthodox Jew for Attorney General:
Mukasey may be sketchy, but he keeps religion out of the agenda
S- Bush announced
.. on Sept. 17 his
of Michael B.
General. If the Senate confirms him,
Mukasey would replace Alberto
Gonzalez and would be the second
Jewish attorney general in the nation's
history after Ed Levi, who served
under President Ford.
Mukasey, 66, has had a long and
distinguished career as a judge,
including 18 years of service on the
U.S. District Court of the Southern
District of New York, which Bush
stressed when announcing the
nomination. Bush also mentions
Mukasey's work as an assistant U.S.
Attorney in Manhattan, his work as a
partner in the law firm of Patterson,
Belknap, Webb & Tyler in New York
and h.s legal experience in the area of
The president also cited Mukasey's
experience presiding over the trial
of Omar Abdel Rahman, "the Blind
Sheikh," and his co-defendants,
who were accused of conspiring
to destroy several prominent New
York landmarks. Mukasey sentenced
Rahman and co-defendant El Sayyid
Nosair to life in prison. As a result of
the decision, Mukasey began keeping
armed U.S. Marshals as bodyguards.
But the Associated Press reported
that Mukasey kept the U.S. Marshal
detail for nine years following the
trial's conclusion, costing taxpayers
over $28 million, and was withdrawn
only after a grievance was filed
by deputy marshals claiming that
Mukasey and his wife had assigned
the Marshals valet-like chores.
This is surprising to learn about
the man who has just been tapped to
be the nation's chief law enforcement
officer. But then again, Mukasey didn't
do anything illegal--just morally
Perhaps Mukasey mistook the
marshals for tenants. Mukasey
charged the government $1,667 per
month in rent for eight months to let
the security detail stay at his second
home in the Hamptons, according to
With its questionable moral
record, it's not unexpected that the
Bush administration would neglect to
mention such a comparatively minor
lapse of moral judgment during their
House fact sheet
credit for listing
decision to allow
Jose Padilla to
meet with his
an example of
his going against
also written in
t'hol LO nte; i'f J I AOJ
Judge Michael Mukasey, an Orthodox Jew, may replace Alberto Gonza-
les as United States attorney general.
defense.of the Patriot Act.
In a press background briefing
released shortly after Mukasey's
nomination, a White House senior
official suggested the potential
Attorney General and the president
were like-minded regarding the
Mukasey seems qualified for
the job, but it's unlikely that his
appointment will bring about any
change, except that we might find
a decrease in scandal stories of the
type that surrounded Gonazales.
I mentioned earlier that Mukasey is
Jewish-an Orthodox Jew to be exact.
Yet, despite his status as a lifelong
congregant of Kehillath Jeshurun and
attending the Ramaz School in New
York's Upper East Side, Mukasey is
known for keeping his religion out of
the legal ring.
In a time when religious affiliations
are routinely waved by government
officials, this might be the biggest
breath of fresh air Mukasey provides.
a bunch of times. But what if when
he shows up we feel too pressured?
Like if we get so nervous we try to
cram an entire relationship into four
days, or even on the first night? I
still have three more days to have to
Which leads to my next thought:
Sure, I know him, but only by Internet,
phone and that one time we spoke in
person. What if he's got unearthing
habits that drive me crazy? What if
he never cuts his toenails but chews
off his fingernails, or the other way
We're both trying to remain calm
about this and remind each other
that we're still interested and that
we will continue to be interested a
month from now when that weekend
arrives. I'm trying to remain afloat
but, given my track record, a month
is a long time. Anything could
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
Thinking Outside the Lox with Rabbi Yonah
SYou Are What You Say
of being Jewish, but also the nature
of being human. In the Torah it's
written (Genesis, 2:7) that humans
are created with a "living soul."
The major commentator, Onkelos,
translates that to mean we have a
"speaking soul." The Talmud goes
on to say our power of speech has
the ability to build and destroy
worlds, give and take life from
others. It is definitely strange
to assign so much power to just
talking. When we think someone
is full of it, we tell them, "You're
all talk", i.e., no substance. While
it is true that in many interactions
talk is cheap, there's another angle
to understanding the- words that
come out of our mouths. Judaism
tells us that our words create
realities. Upon closer examination,
much of Judaism is "articulated."
In f?"+, there are many religious
observances that are not fulfilled
unless they are audible, at the
very least, to yourself. A prime
example of this is prayer. During
the silent prayer of Shmonei Esrei
(18 Benedictions), you must be
able to hear yourself whisper the
words or it is
if you didn't Words we say
at all. Well, we say about
because you we say out loL
didn't. In -T t
this way andannit
always telling us to "Speak up!"
Now that we know words can rock
this world, there are ramifications
to think about. It is a good idea to
watch what you say about other
people. Speaking ill of others,
aside from its being just not cool
morally and ethically, leaves the
communities we function in with
a terrible hangover. Tradition tells
of three people who get wounded
when speaking badly of others.
Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman of
the Talmud said that speaking ill
(lashon hara: literally "bad tongue"
in Hebrew) of another slays three
people all at the same time: the
speaker, the listener and the one
who is being spoken of. Real stuff,
be careful.Another dimension of
being misguided in our speech-
equally damaging- is speaking
poorly about ourselves. We often
can be our own worst critic, jabbing
to others. Words
jd, getting heard.
calling my mom on
w i t h
like, "I suck
at that," "I
am such an
idiot," or "I
am such a
While you may suck or very well
be a complete bonehead, it's best
not to articulate these things. Who
knows, you may even stop thinking
them. Give yourself a break, there
are enough people out there
speaking plenty of lashon hara
about you, there is no need for you
to diss yourself as well. When we
verbally get down on ourselves,
even with subtleties, we create
a culture where expectations are
lowered. Not only do we come to
expect less of ourselves, but so do
our "listeners" as well.
So be conscious of what is
coming out of your mouth. Rebbe
Nachman of Breslov (Eighteen$
century, Ukraine) commented that
it would be amazing, if he spoke
just one true word his whole life. In
general, our speaking mode is one of
spewing, sort of an uncontrollable
ooze or perhaps a chronic leak.
There are many Jewish practices
that can aid in coming to grips with
what we say. The most powerful
maybe what is called a tannit dibur,
or a "fasting of speech." When we
stop talking for a period of time (I
would recommend no more than
a day) we have the opportunity
to notice how much of our time is
involved in speech and the quality
of that speech. So even if you're a
complete bonehead, by refraining
from talking at the very least you'll
begin to see why (always a good
first step). But more likely, with a
little more silence, you may find
you can define yourself however
you would like and that the words
you speak are a powerful tool in
the process of being you.
Questions? Comments? A topic you
want addressed? Hit up Rabbi Yonah at
Moses is my Homeboy: point view
of the Jews
and Islam have
as a Muslim,
I believe in
what has been
and what was
Verse 2 of Surah (which means
"chapter") 17 of the Quran states, "And
we gave unto Moses the Book (Torah),
and we appointed it a guidance for
the children of Israel; Do not take
beside me a Guardian." The Torah is
mentioned explicitly in other verses
of the Quran as well. And how many
times is Moses mentioned? By name
he appears 176 times, making him the
most mentioned prophet in the Quran,
whereas the Prophet Mohammad's
name is mentioned only four times. It
is therefore not surprising that I learn
from his example just as I learn from-
other prophets of God.
During exams, I remember what
Moses said after he heard the request
near Mount Sinai to go to Egypt
because Pharaoh had transgressed all
borders. He said, "O my Lord! Expand
my breast for me. And ease my task
for me. And loose a knot from my
tongue. That they may understand
my saying." (Surah 20; Verse 25-28)
Upon personal reflection of the
stories of Moses in the Quran, I see
that God works in mysterious ways.
I see how the river safely delivered
the child Moses to the house of
Pharaoh. Water plays an important
role when Moses and the Israelites
were escaping from Egypt. Pharaoh
persecuted the Israelites and killed
their sons while sparing the women.
This man was indeed cruel! During
the escape, some Israelites were
afraid that Pharaoh would capture
them while they crossed the water.
I loved Moses' response. He said,
"Nay, verily with me is my Lord, He
will guide me" (Surah 26: verse 62)
and then the water surface was split
after being hit with the staff. The
children of Israel safely passed while
their enemy drowned. I've learned
from Moses that if it seems that there
is no solution, the Lord is with me
and help is coming.
Prophet Mohammad once said,
"May God mercy-my brother Moses,
he was harmed with more than this,
and he was patient." Other Surahs
have names that have a strong
connection to the Jewish people, like
Surah "Jonah," Surah "Joseph" and
Surah "Abraham," numbered 10, 11
I believe that my God and the
Jewish God are one, and to Him I am
Yes, we do have differences.
However, if someone cannot ignore the
differences, I hope that the similarities
between Judaism and Islam won't be
ignored, so that differences can be
Verses 47 and 122 in the second
Surah,"the Cow," say: "O Children of
Israel! Remember My favor wherewith
I favored you and how I preferred you
to (all) creatures." How can someone
therefore claim that the Quran is Anti-
Semitic or Anti-Jewish?
Note: All quotes of verses in this
article are English translation of the
meaning of the Quran in Arabic.
Opinions expressed in this section do
not necessarily reflect those of The
SHPiEL. We encourage comments from
readers who possess all points of view.
No, really, we're interested in what you
have to say. Feel free to write a letter to
the editor or you can contact us with a
column idea. Please send comments to
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
The Gainesville Daily.
letting us dc
BY MICHAEL ADLER
SHPiEL staff writer
The American Civil Li
Union released a report tod
criticized the U.S. armed
role in Iraq. The group sta
the military is not killing
Iraqis, leading to an ero
freedoms at home.
deployments and lack of
equipment, the troops in Iraq are
iers failing in their central mission:
protecting our freedoms,"
are said ACLU spokesperson Libby
)wn The report places most of the
blame on poor leadership, and
the decision to use Iraqi troops
and death squads against soft
targets, where the body counts
liberties "When Iraqi troops use force,
lay that that does nothing to help our
forces' freedoms," Lefkowitz said.
tes that The report is already facing harsh
enough criticism for bad-mouthing the
sion of brave men and women of the
US armed forces. The criticism
lengthy is best summed up in the words
proper of Patriotic American Sam
Unclesmith, who responded to
Lefkowitz by saying, "Those men
and women in Iraq are fighting
to protect your freedoms, and
the least you could do is be
supportive. It's so terrible, how
you use the freedoms they give
you to stab them in the back. You
deserve to be charged with
The ACLU concludes the
report with a recommendation
that the military use nuclear
weapons to restore our lost civil
liberties. "With the passage of
the new Patriot Act, the Military
Commissions Act, and the new
executive spying powers, nothing
short of unleashing a nuclear
holocaust in Iraq can saye us."
Notice: This is not spam. Spam
comes in cans and is yucky stuff
made from the offal of pigs. This is
political satire only partially derived
from pigs. Thanks for reading. I hope
you enjoyed it. If you did, you are
probably cynical and dejected about
the state of the world. All previous
stories are viewable at http://groups.
yahoo.com/group/GDS-list/.If you are
getting this as a forward and want
to be on my mailing list, Subscribe
to it by sending an email to GDS-
you are a state-worshiping fascist/
Republican who thinks I should be
publicly disemboweled for writing
such blasphemy, you may unsubscribe
by sending an e-mail to GDS-list-
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The SHPiEL:Volume4, Issue 5
*cto b.i..- CALENDAR I
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Free and op, n
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The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 5
A Concept to Wrap Your Head Around
Gainesville used as backdrop for music video
BY GISELLE MAZUR
SHPiEL staff writer
"Tj2. Negotiator" rattled down the
Interstate toward Orlando at 7:14 a.m.
The rising sun glistened through the
windows of that 1993 Ford Econoline
150, illuminating jumbo-sized bags of
Lays potato chips and a white Fender
Stratocaster guitar, which lay on the
seat beside me.
"Don't worry about that noise,"
said Mike Loffredo, keyboardist and
trombone player for Gainesville rock
band T13C, formerly Ten 13 Concept.
"That's just the transmission and
exhaust. They're on their last legs
and are gonna fall off any day now.
But the frame of the van is fine."
T13C was shooting a music video
for its single "From the Stereo," off
their self-titled EP, and what was
supposed to be a quick, 20-minute
interview at the Loffredo house
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
exhibit of the
SOURCE: Benny Gool Tutu is
slated to speak against a Sabeel
conference later this month in
Boston titled "The Apartheid
Paradigm in Palestine-Israel."
According to Swiler, the
university reached out to the
local JCRC once before after
the council complained that the
Justice and Peace Studies program,
the department that booked
Tutu to speak, had a pattern of
programming hostile to Israel. The
JCRC argued that all voices on the
Middle East should get a hearing.
The university responded by
establishing a committee that the
JCRC was invited to join. Soon
after, the former U.S. Ambassador
to Israel Martin Indyk was invited
to splak on campus.
"I think that again, all viewpoints
should be heard," Swiler said.
Tutu's "viewpoint should be heard.
And when we disagree with what
somebody says about Israel, our
viewpoint should be heard."
became a 48-hour adventure.
Earlier in the week I met with Mike
and his twin brother, Joe, guitarist
and vocals for T13C, to pick- -p a
copy if the CD. They said that the
president of Abyssmal Entertainment
in Orlando, Steven Shea, offered to
shoot a video for the band and that the
first day of filming was to take place
at Gainesville's Common Grounds.
I listened to the ska-inspired,
electro-pop-punk album and come
Saturday, my curiosity piqued. I went
to the video shoot.
Robbie Garcia, assistant production
coordinator and general go-to guy for
the band greeted me at the door with
all all-access pass and a wristband
that would get me $2 off cover for the
show the band had that night at the
Gainesville venue, 1982.
He said Steven offered to do the
video as a thank you to the band for
writing the title track for the indie
horror film, "Hoodoo for Voodoo."
Deciding to cast fans as extras in
the video was a no-brainer, Robbie
"[T13C] has always been really
big with their fans," Robbie said.
"They are really personable and
they wanted to feature the fans in
the video because without [the fans]
they are nothing." The T13C MySpace
page, www.myspace.com/T13C, even
has a fan of the month section. This
month's pick is Josh, 16, of Orlando.
The concept of the video is
simple-it's a representation of the
growth of the band. Mike and Joe,
along with Chris Torres, guitar; Richie
Moyle, drums; and Jon Epstein, bass,
grew from playing high school house
parties to appearing in major line-ups
alongside Cartel, Sugarcult, Halifax
and Hot Water Music. In the summer
of 2006 the band even made it to the
final 10 on the NBC show, "America's
"We were eating at Subway and mid-
sandwich-you know, like halfway
through a foot-long-we came up
with a video concept," Mike said.
I spent the next four hours on set
watching the band jump around on
stage and graciously thank fans for
their time. When the shoot was over, I
was off to interview the band at their
house before their show.
That is when it really got crazy.
The interview was more like a
great conversation. We were like old
friends. They cursed, made dirty jokes
and even poked fun at one another,
all the while remaining friendly and
polite. Next thing I knew I was on
the VIP list for the show later that
night at 1982 and was going with the
band to Orlando the next morning for
the second half of the video
"You won't come to
Orlando," Joe dared. "You
won't come to the show
tonight and then come see the
rest of the shoot tomorrow...
That's it. I've just decided. We
leave at 6:30 a.m. You'll crash
here and ride out with us in
After the show and a brief
pit stop so that my roommate
could get her nose pierced, I
was passed out on the couch
in their living room alongside Top:
Robbie and some fans from keyb
Tampa who came up for the Abov
show and had no place to scene
We arrived bright and early at
house in Orlando that would be used
for the house party scene. The pool
was the epicenter of the shot with
couples making out, a slip-n-slide, a
skateboard kick-flip into the water, an
underwater poker game and a group
of gaggling female fans.
When the day wrapped 12 hours
later, with just three hours of sleep
and a maxed-out memory card, we
piled back into The Negotiator and
drove to Gainesville jamming to
Hannah Montana and Alkaline Trio.
The video is set to debut by the
end of the month. The exact date
has yet to be determined, but the
guys agree that the premier will be
during one of their shows. It will be
released on the Internet and used as
a promotional tool. The band hopes
to submit the video to MTV2, Fuse
and other channels that promote
"I'm convinced that tons of kids
who bought our CD but have never
seen us live will suddenly start
photos by Giselle Mazur.
Director Steven Shea gets a close up of
board player and trombonist Mike Loffredo.
e:T13C rocks out during the pool party
Sof their video in Orlando.
turning out at shows," Richie said.
And that is the key to the band's
success. While the CD is enjoyable,
the guys are not as much a studio
outfit as they are a live experience.
The charismatic ensemble of onstage
dancing, impulsive rap and pop
covers and crowd interaction are the
key of the T13C experience.
With members living in three
cities, battling school, jobs and the
increasing membership turn-over
rate that unavoidably accompanies
the college music scene, the band
made a point to mention they plan on
"It's been tough," Joe said. "It's
been really hard up to this point.
But if we are going to make it, it's
definitely going to be with this five
people. This is it. For the first time
ever I actually feel like we're making
a difference and there's no one I'd
rather it be with."
You can catch T13C. at the free
show at the University of Florida's
Orange and Brew on Nov. 1.