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THE SHP EL
VOLUME 4 ISSUE 7
3 Kislev 5768 16 Kislev 57686 November 13, 2007 November 26, 2007
t ~~~ei I ~~~~ t L r- I ii. S. iI IiI i
His Chips on
BY RYAN WEISS
SHPiEL staff writer
One of America's most popular political satirists,
Stephen Colbert, announced his intention to run for
president in his home state of South Carolina "and
South Carolina alone."
But the nascent presidential campaign of Colbert-
who plays the part of an ill-informed, right-wing
media pundit on Comedy Central's Colbert Report-
is running into a bout of legal trouble.
Colbert announced that he would be running
under both the Democratic and Republican Party so
that he can "lose twice." As of Nov. 2, The South
Carolina Democratic Party's executive council voted
13-3 against Colbert's inclusion on the South Carolina
To get on the primary ballot in South Carolina
as a Republican a candidate needs $35,000, which
Colbert announced he would not pay. To get on
the ballot as a Democrat candidate needs $2,500
or 3,000 signatures. Colbert obtained signatures
SEE COLBERT, PAGE 2
Rabbis Care for
in San Diego
BY NERI STEIN
SHPiEL staff writer
Wildfires began ravaging San Diego County in mid-
Over 250,000 residents of the county were
evacuated, including many celebrities. The San Diego
Chargers nearly abandoned the stadium. One hundred
miles of state highway is ruined and costs could reach
$250 million in repairs.
On Oct. 20, Jewish leaders and Rabbis convened
to discuss how to help the roughly 100,000 Jews in
While the fires raged, the Jewish community of San
Diego banded together to make the tough times a little
easier. Four Chabad-Lubavitch centers in the county
were initially turned into food-providing shelters
although two were evacuated later in the week.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein from Chabad of Poway,
located in the heart of the evacuated area, went to the
homes of many of his primarily elderly congregants
SEE FIRE-TORN, PAGE 2
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
Colbert voted off ballot
Record for number of
touchdown passes in an NFL
Touchdowns Tom Brady has
passed for after week 8 out of
16 in the 2007 NFL season:
Approximate months Tom
Brady has been dating Brazilian
super model Gisele Biindchen:
Years since Eagle touched
down on the moon in first ever
Starting price for the new iPod
Touch in US dollars:
Price In Touch Weekly bought
the last photos of Anna Nicole
Smith's son for:
Milliseconds a foil must be
in contact with opponent in
Olympic fencing for the touch
IMDB.com rating of the movie
"Touch" (1997) starring LL Cool
J and Christopher Walken:
Harprgo dsei bltt'
Rabbi helps fire-torn communities
FIRE-TORN, FROM PAGE 1
at 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 19 to check on their
situations. He also spent time working
at Qualcomm Stadium, where many
evacuees settled, to make sure people
were provided for and that kosher food
Goldstein had to tell several of his
congregants that their homes had been
Rabbi Levi Raskin of the Rancho
Sante Fe Chabad removed all Torah
scrolls before being forced to evacuate.
He also printed out community member
lists so the community leaders could
account for each of their congregants.
These actions have given truth to the
Another rabbi reached out in a
Rabbi Yosef Brod is a rabbi for a
separate Chabad and also runs Camp
Gan Israel in the San Bernardino
Mountains. Brod sent his staff away as
the area was evacuated on Oct. 20 but
decided to stay at the camp he loved.
As fires roared in the camp's
backyard, firefighters were able to get
additional water from the facility's
pool. The fires stopped just 100 yards
off the camp's borders.
Afterward, Brod fed and housed the
exhausted firefighters at Gan Israel.
The news of a shelter that provided a
place to sleep off the ground and under
a tent quickly spread, and more firemen
showed. Brod appealed to other area
rabbis for help.
The San Diego wildfires lasted for
nearly a week and when the fires had
finally dissipated, more than 1,500
homes and 500,000 acres of land had
been destroyed. Seven people died as
a direct result of the fires and 85 were
injured. A majority of the injured were
The fires were declared, at least
partially, to be man made and at least
one was identified as deliberate.
After sunset on Shabbat, Brod told
the firefighters at his camp, "If we have
the power to destroy the world, we have
the power to make it better."
The Only Student-Run Jewish Campus Newspaper in the Country, Right Here at the University of Florida
A & E Editor
Rabbi Yonah Schiller
COLBERT, FROM PAGE 1
thorough downloadable petitions
online, which is considered illegal.
In addition, he attempted to fund his
campaign through a corporate Doritos
sponsorship. According to campaign
fundraising regulations, the coverage of
a campaignrmay be corporate sponsored
but the campaign itself cannot. (Colbert,
for his part, has said he is "under no
obligation to promote the zesty, robust
taste of Doritos brand tortilla chips,
regardless of how great a snack they
may be for lunchtime, munch time,
Regardless of whether the Federal
Election Commission intercedes with
Colbert's "crunch money," the Colbert
juggernaut continues. Jn less than 10
days, over one million users joined the
Facebook group "One Million Strong for
Stephen Colbert" trumping "Barack
Obama (One Million Strong for Barack),"
which was created over nine months
ago and has yet to break 400,000.
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7 NEWS 1 3
Raising Dead Prayers
in New R
BY DAVID CUMMING
SHPiEL staff writer
The United States' lar
movement, Reform Ji
adopting a new siddur (p
that offers everything
"Shema" to a reinstated
the resurrection of the d
The prayer book,
T'filah," caters to pi
traditionalists and ev
between -even those
believe God exists.
The new prayer book
development for over 2
was congregant-tested I
temples across the U.S.
Reform temple mer
dissatisfied with the old I
of Prayer," which was
in 1975. Congregants cl
sexist language and fail
an interest in participate
Unlike "Gates of Praye
more traditional text has
denote responsive read
would alternate spea
between Rabbi and cc
Also there are no chor
t I O n notes, which instruct congregations
to rise and sit at certain portions of
reacted the service.
As early as 1985, committees
reform decided to deliberately re-ritualize
and return more traditional
Books liturgical texts to the new siddur.
Even references to traditional texts
from the medieval period have been
Although the new siddur holds
gest Jewish on to some previous liturgical
udaism, is passages, it includes some prayers
rayer book) that were never before considered
from the service-worthy. After some
prayer for deliberation in Reform committees,
ead. more controversial prayers such as
"Mishkah the prayer for the resurrection of
rogressives, the dead, "Mehaye Hametim," were
reryone in restored. In the older version, the
who don't phrase "who resurrects the dead"
was replaced with "who gives life
has been in to all." This is because the notion
0 years and of resurrection was believed
y over 300 contradictory to Reform Jewish
nbers were There is still plenty of diversity in
book, "Gates the Reform movement and the new
published prayer book tries to take this into
claim it uses consideration. The book is reflective
Is to reflect of varying attitudes toward Judaism
ory worship and changing times.
Reform Jews still stand by the
er," the new, ideas that the Torah was written
no italics to by humans with divine inspiration,
ings, which that man and woman are inherently
king parts equal and that gays, lesbians and
congregation. intermarried families should be
Mosque in Foz de Iguacu, Brazil, serves hundreds of Muslims in the area
where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. The area is believed to be a
center for the financing of Hezbollah activities and has been linked to the
1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires.
BY BEN CAVATARO
Attorney General nominee confirmed
President Bush's nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney
General passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 11-8, moving on
to the full Senate where Mukasey was confirmed 53-40 replacing
Alberto Gonzales, who resigned in August. Mukasey, a retired New
York federal judge and an Orthodox Jew, became the second Jewish
Attorney General. Mukasey's nomination was marked by Democratic
concerns over his refusal to define waterboarding as torture, which
led Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Patrick Leady to vote against
Mukasey. Waterboarding, a simulation of drowning, has been used
overseas by U.S. interrogators.
Two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein of California and
Charles Schumer of New York, crossed party lines to vote to pass
Mukasey. Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania also voted
for Mukasey, while Jewish Democrats Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ
Feingold of Wisconsin and Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, voted
Czech neo-Nazis, anti-fascists clash in street battles
Neo-Nazis attempting to march through the Jewish quarter of
Prague battled with anti-fascist activists, resulting in at least 250
arrests and the seizure of gas guns. axes and other weapons in
violent outbreaks around the city. According to the Prague rescue
service, at least six people, including a police officer, sustained
The march was scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of
Kristallnacht, the infamous 1938 "Night of Broken Glass" in which
Jews in Germany and Austria were targeted by Nazis. The event is
often considered to be the start of the Holocaust.
Buenos Aires bombing suspects placed on Interpol wanted list
Five Iranians and a Lebanese man were placed on Interpol's
"red notice" list in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish
community center in Buenos Aires. The attack killed 85 and injured
hundreds more. Officials in Argentina say Iran cooperated with
Hezbollah to carry out the bombing.
Israel and Jewish world leaders hailed the decision, and the World
Jewish Congress in New York said it was "a victory for all those
seeking freedom from fear or intimidation." The Iranian foreign
ministry denounced the move.
Damaged Torah returned to German synagogue 69 years later
A Torah scroll damaged in the Kristallnacht program in 1938 was
returned to a synagogue in the city of Cologne in western Germany
exactly 69 years after it was taken. A German Catholic priest,
Gustav Meinertz, rescued and hid the Torah from the synagogue on
Glockengasse Street, which was lit on fire in the attack.
Returned to the congregation after the end of World War IIby the
Cologne prelate, it was displayed for decades but could not longer be
used because of the damage. But in recently a Jewish artifacts expert
identified the scroll as historically important and a candidate for
restoration. The Sefer Torah was sent to Israel by the congregation
funds from the Cologne archbishopric and was restored using
modern technology and the transcription of over 300,000 words
over four months.
The Torah was returned in a ceremony on Nov. 6 attended by
German Jewish leaders, Israel's two chief rabbis, and the Archbishop
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
Iran's Position on the Holocaust Takes a Zero Degree Turn
BY JOSIT FLEET
SHPiEL staff writer
A sympathetic mini-series about the
Holocaust is flooding television set-in
"Zero Degree Turn," or "Madare Sefr
Darajeh" in Persian, tells the story of
Habib Parsa (Shihab Hassini) and French
Jews during World War II.
Parsa is a student from Iran attending
a university in Paris. He meets a French
Jewish girl, Sarah Struk, and despite
tension the two become friends and
later fall in love. Parsa wishes to spirit
Sarah and her family away from France
and the impending Nazi onslaught to
Channel 1, on which "Zero Degree
Turn" is broadcast, is a state-controlled
TV station. The show itself, like most
media in Iran, is financed by the
That a television series in Iran not
only recognizes the Holocaust but
sympathizes with its victims doesn't
Seem to fit with the stance Holocaust-
denying Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmedinejad has assumed.
"Most of the hard-liners [in
Iran] do not deny the Holocaust...
there's a minority that feel like
Ahmedinejad," said Majid Sharifi,
a University of Florida professor of
Political Science who was born and
raised in Iran.
"I think it fits very well," Sharifi
said. "First of all, Islam in the
public of Iran is not Ahmedinejad.
Second, Ahmedinejad does not
run [the media]...There are 60,000
employees of state television."
Still, the show differentiates
Judaism from Zionism.
Enlightened and assimilated
French Jews, the soon-to-be victims
of the approaching Nazis are
sympathized with in "Zero Degree
Turn." But when Sarah's uncle
Theodore comes on the scene with
his Zionist fantasies of fleeing to
Palestine, the background music
hits a sinister note.
The glint in Theodore's eye, the
malicious curl of his lip and the
harsh rasp of his voice point to one
.assumption-he is evil.
Sarah's other uncle, Samuel, retorts,
referring to the possibility of a Jewish
state in Palestine: "The Jews, because
of ancient sins, have been homeless
for years...you want them to start their
excursion with new sins?"
The show posits that what happened
to the Jews in the Holocaust was bad,
even unforgivable, but what the Jews
do now in Israel is just as deplorable.
This contradiction is indicative of the
mainstream opinion in Iran.
The 22-part show began airing in
April 2007. Full episodes in Farsi can
be downloaded online. Ten-minute
clips with English subtitles can be
found on YouTube.
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The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
Hillel rabbi and of concern.
During the initial job interview,
employee fan the Rabbi Yoni said he made a point to
stress that Hillel is a community-
flames on this hot topic building organization, and the Hillel
staff is not looking-to alienate any
BY GISELLE MAZUR members of the Jewish community. He
SHPiEL staff writer said understands the Orthodox view
of homosexuality in Judaism because
Homosexuality, same-sex marriage members of the movement are at least
and adoption, and sex reassignment
surgery may not be as taboo as they once
were in American mainstream culture,
but they're still hot button issues in the
Moshe Hajaj, the Israeli Fellow at the i
University of Florida Hillel, is openly
gay. He said the decision to come out OV
to his family wasn't hard. While his
family comes from a strict religious S S
background, they've always provided 6I
Moshe with a loving support system, I
Moshe said. IS l
"My grandparents are Orthodox, and b J
my grandma always, always tells me,
'Do whatever you want to do. It's not up
to other people to judge you,'" he said.
"It's up to God on Judgment Day. It's
a conversation between you and God.
God will decide what to do with you
afterwards." consistent. They follow all Jewish laws
When Moshe applied for the job at rather than picking and choosing which
Hillel, he made a point to tell Rabbi Yoni laws to observe.
that he is gay. He was open about his "I don't fault anyone's view of
orientation because it was important for religion and how they decide to live
him to know before moving to Florida their life," Rabbi Yoni said. "And if they
if his employer had a problem with his want to be a religious literalist, that's
homosexuality, fine.... I'm not saying you have to be
"This is a big part of my self identity, gay, but don't bring the prejudice,
I'm Jewish and I'm gay... And I'm a lot violence, hatred, anger, against anyone
of other stuff but this how I identify in the gay community."
myself," Moshe said. He attributed most of the problems
Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth, with the older generations, and said
Conservative rabbi at UF Hillel, assured that most-of our grandparents haven't
Moshe that his sexuality was not a topic dealt with homosexuality until now.
Homosexuality didn't have a face when
they were growing up and most had
never met an openly gay person.
Jen Torrent, 19, a student at came
out to her family about a year ago and
said that it was actually harder on her
than her family. She found comfort in
her Reconstructionist congregation
and said she can't imagine how hard it
would have been had she been another
"I is lVe9
religion. She once dated a devout
Christian who found it very hard to
reconcile her religion and sexuality.
"I don't think there is a more open
religion than Judaism," Jen said. "The
idea of coming out is scary no matter
what religion you are, but I think it is
easier to find peace if you believe in
a higher power. In Judaism it's such a
tight community that I don't worry I'll
be lost in a crowd and forced to deal
with it by myself."
Not. all congregations are as
accepting of homosexuality. Leviticus
18:22 says that "Man should not lie with
a man as one does with a woman. It is
an abomination." The meaning of this
excerpt depends on how literally it's
The statement does not call
homosexuality a sin (zina), but rather
an abomination (to'evah). Parts of
the Conservative, the Reform, _and
Reconstructionist and Humanistic
movement have interpreted the
statement to mean that while
homosexuality is frowned upon, it's
not a sin in the-same way that theft and
For example, while sex between a
man and a woman is seen as a mitzvah
to continue the growth of the Jewish
population, Rabbi Yoni said that today
this mitzvah could be interpreted to
mean.that a couple is responsible for
raising Jewish children. Therefore, a
gay couple that adopts or fosters a child
and raises that child in a Jewish home
fulfils that responsibility.
Moshe is in the process of forming a
Hillel support group for Jewish GLBTQ
students. GAYtors will focus on helping
students come to terms with- their
sexuality and how it fits in with Judaism,
uniting students under the umbrella of
a common heritage.
He'll also give a series of lectures
across the U.S. and Canada called
"Sexuality and Pluralism in Israel."
Through these lectures, Moshe hopes
to break down common misconceptions
about GLBTQ life in Israel and create an
open dialogue about acceptance and
"In the end, love is love," Moshe said.
"It is beyond anatomy-beyond sex."
If you're interested in getting involved
with GAYtors, contact Moshe at Moshe@
Jewish Cubans Anxiously Await Liberation of Homeland
BY MARCO FARAH
SHPiEL contributing writer
In light of the Cuban dictator's
recent pseudo-health crisis the prospect
of a Castro-less Cuba becomes more
Since Fidel Castro transferred
executive power to his brother, Raul
Castro, following intestinal surgery
last year, many people have questioned
the leader's supposed good health.
The once-highly-visible despot has not
made a single public appearance in
roughly a year. Since Castro's sudden
seclusion, many have questioned if the
Communist leader is even still alive.
In any case many Cubans know that
the end is near. The Cuban dictator is
reaching the twilight of his life. Some
Cuban nationals are preparing to return
to their homeland as soon as news of
Castro's death is-positively confirmed.
As a result of Spanish colonization,
the vast majority of Cubans are Roman
Catholic. This majority, for the most
part, has been maintained despite
religious restrictions under the Castro
Although religious differences
separate Cuban Jews from the majority
of Cuba's population, University of
Florida student Aaron Crespin said that
being part of the Jewish minority has
not made him feel any less Cuban.
"Whenever Castro dies it will be
a time of celebration for all Cubans-
Jewish or otherwise. If it weren't for
him many of us Cubans would still be
living in Cuba today," said Crespin, who
is a Jewish Cuban.
Cuba has had a long history of
multiculturalism. A large percentage of
the population is of mixed racial and
It is understandable why, despite
their differences, Jewish Cubans still
readily identify with their compatriots.
Dr. Walter Renato Lambert has lived
in Cuba for nearly 40 years.
"In Cuba,. the problem of
discrimination was not that much of
an issue," Lambert said. "No one would
think too much about if a black or
Jewish or Chinese family moved into the
neighborhood-they were simply viewed
as just another family moving in."
Regarding a potential return to Cuba,
Crespin and his family have made their
home here in the United States.
"Though I don't foresee myself or my
family returning to Cuba as permanent
residents, I would gladly visit sometime
after Castro's death," Crespin said.
He also acknowledged that despite
his personal views, he expects exiled
Cuban Jews to return to their homeland
once Castro dies.
61 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
Vhamis.-a L OchDl
The Guide for the New Jew:
Author Challenges Traditional Ritual
BY LEO STEIN
SHPiEL staff writer
For those tired of an archaic, sexist
Judaism, the Jewish Renewal leader
Vanessa L. Ochs has written a guide
titled "Inventing Jewish Ritual."
The personal narrative examines
Ochs' detachment with the traditional
Judaism of her grandparents and
divulges on the new inventive practices
that have streamed out of the Jewish
Renewal Movement. She explains
new rituals like Torah Yoga, same-
sex marriage certificates and abortion
More specifically, Ochs reconciles
feminist ideologies with what she
considers a sexist tradition of practicing
the faith. Such principles as separating
men from women in prayer, avoiding
celebrations for female newborns and
keeping matriarchs out of the holidays,
are eliminated in the Renewal world.
The movement instead allows women
to don the male-worn prayer shawls and
celebrate menstrual periods. The book
illustrates that ritual is a progressive
stream that does not look to destroy
the tradition of an Orthodox past, but
to fine tune it. This is exemplified by
the Renewal's usage of Hebrew in new
blessings and Talmudic stories that fit
for modern issues.
The book reads as a constant
dialogue between Ochs' personal
experiences and her explanations for
moving in a new Jewish direction. With
so much ritual boredom in the Jewish
world, it's apt that movements in our
day and age have reconnected people
to their faith.
While it's certainly praiseworthy to
apply Judaism to an egalitarian-aimed
society, I kept wondering how grounded
the Jewish Renewal Movement was in its
Jewish roots. For example, one section
describes placing a mezuzah.on a car
similar to the one on Jewish homes
to protect and bless those inside. The
idea is irrelevant since there is already
a specific prayer Jews may say while
driving for this very purpose.
In the same vein, how are the same
red thread bracelets Madonna wears for
her pseudo-Kabbalist masquerade an
important amulet for those who need
healing? Wouldn't belief in the power
of a thread be idolatrous anyway?
So I wonder, does Ochs explain all
the new rituals because she wants to
modify the old system, or does she
simply find new practices
convenient regardless of
their Toranic, traditional
connection? The answer
fluctuates depending on
the ritual, from the highly
needed (i.e. female rights
for a Jewish divorce) to
the extraneous (i.e. cyber
background as a learned
scholar of Jewish texts
allowed me to trust her
personal reflections on
the question of what it
means to be Jewish. The
undertone of the book
isn't about her finding that
answer, but more on her
process of getting there
through newly manifested
Ritual" serves to help
understand the new styles
of Jewish living that run
around the importance
of creating meaningful,
progressive practices for
our current generation.
pboto courtes)' of les'Iinejudaica.coln
GOOD News for People Who
Like Good News
BY DANIELLE NICHOLS
SHPiEL contributing writer
"Welcome to GOOD, media for people
who give a damn.
This is what the Web site states in
GOOD Magazine's "About" section.
GOOD Magazine is a publication
that strives to break the mold of the
The magazine was started in 2004
by 26-year-old Ben Goldhirsh in a small
office in Los Angeles. Upon receiving
an inheritance from his father Bernie
Goldhirsch, who founded Inc. Magazine,
Goldhirsch started the magazine that
focuses on "culturally-conscious young
people and their take on energy, politics
and business," according to an article
on CNN.com for "Young People Who
This up-and-coming magazine's
main goal is to produce an entertaining
publication about things that actually
matter. Rather than just regurgitating
facts blandly, GOOD adds spice lacking
in a lot of media writing.
While producing content that is
fun and interesting, the magazine also
focuses on important issues so that
it can be an appealing medium for a
younger audience. Morgan Clendaniel,
deputy editor of GOOD, most accurately
describes the magazine as being a
"Sesame Street for adults."
Unfortunately, magazines geared
towards young adults tend to run
the same types of articles with the
only change being the celebrity on
the front cover. Topics in magazines
like Cosmopolitan and Maxim revolve
around the three things? sex, losing
weight and superstars. GOOD breaks
free of this trend to produce a wide
array of stimulating and witty articles
in every single issue.
"Today's media is taking up our
space, dumbing us down, and impeding
our productivity," Goldhirsh stated on
the magazine's Web site. "GOOD exists
to add value."
To ensure this value and quality of
news, the magazine is split up into 11
sections to encompass an assortment of
The sections include: Statement,
Look, Transparency, Marketplace,
Portraits, Features, Provocations,
Stimuli, Guide, Projects and Blogs.
The first four pages of the magazine
are dedicated to the Statement section,
where an artist or group sets the tone
with an artistic representation of the
issues theme. .
The Look section offers readers a
taste of creative ideas from around the
world, with topics range anywhere from
leftovers being left on top of trash cans
for the homeless to metal music making
a comeback in Egypt.
Staff writers use the Transparency
section to illustrate data and statistics,
from student debt to sugar consumption,
while the Marketplace section offers
information on U.S consumer culture.
GOOD does mitzvotby donating
a 100 percent of the magazine's
subscription money to non-profit
organizations, including UNICEF.
Unlike many other magazines,
GOOD tries to keep its readers involved-
staff writers ask readers to document a
traditional craft for the project section
of the magazine.
The Blog portion of GOOD gives
readers the chance to write articles
that are shared, rated and possibly
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X&_ 4.&"0 A
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 17
The Private Parts of a Different Stern
Guitarist Marnie Stern
shpiels about ditchin'
journalism for music,
early influences and
her Jewish heritage
BY ELAINE WILSON
SHPiEL staff writer
The gritty, rugged music of Marnie
Stern compacted with raw energy has
been shredding its way into the hearts
and headlines of New York's music
Stern's debut album, "In Advance of
the Broken Arm," was released earlier
this year on the record label, Kill Rock
Stars. Zach Hill, the drummer of the
band Hella, helped develop the album
into what The New York Times called
"the year's most exciting rock 'n' roll
Stern's method of playing is
technically referred to as "finger-
tapping." The guitarist applies pressure
to a string on a desired fret to create
a note, often creating a staccato result.
The process sounds simple but cannot
describe the driving rhythm and rush of
Stern's tracks with layers upon layers
of. organized, industrial noise, which
transcends the "shredding" label.
The SHPiEL caught up with the
sensational Stern over the phone:
SHPiEL: When did you start
MS: I took a few lessons when
I was 15 and then put the guitar
down. I picked it up again around
age 20 -and when I graduated
from college, I decided that I
wanted to focus on music instead
of journalism, which is what I
studied at NYU.
SHPiEL: How did you get into
MS: There was no specific
reason. I had always been drawn
to music but felt that it was in
another category for people who
had a natural affinity for it.
SHPiEL: How long did it take
you to finish "In Advance of the
MS: I write about a song a
day. At least a snippet of a song,
and so most of the songs I wrote
for "Broken Arm" were done in
one day. Recording it, however,
was another story. [Zach and I]
recorded it in about 12 days, using
some of the tracks I had recorded
at home on my pro tools and then
doing overdubs at the studio in
SHPiEL: The New York Times
hailed your album the year's most
exciting. How does it feel?
MS: I am so excited and
thankful to know that people are
listening to it, because there was
a point in time when I had been
working for 10 years on making
songs and I had no record label
and not many people came to
see me when I played shows. I
thought I would just be making
music in the house my whole life
and no one would hear it, so there
is so much satisfaction in being
SHPiEL: I heard that Sleater
Kinney was one of your big
influences. They also signed with'
KillRock Stars. Coincidence?
MS: Sleater Kinney was an
influence early on for me. I liked
the way their guitar lines weaved
and blended into one another.
I also felt there was a rawness
and honesty to their music. But
Kill Rock Stars has always been a
seminal label to me and so I kept
sending my demo to them.
SHPiEL: How do you feel
about the label placed on indie/
progressive rock as a man's
art? Do you feel your work is, in
part, to eradicate the stereotype?
MS: Until I released the record,
I had never thought about it. f
I help to eradicate stereotypes,
then I gladly accept the role.
I don't think it's a man's art
though. I think it's a genre of
music that only a small group
gravitate towards because it is so
intense. It is constantly changing
and shifting with its tempo and
parts, and I think you have to
have patience to want to absorb
that kind of constant motion.
SSHPiEL: You are a Jewish
woman-does your religion at all
influence your music?
MS: Well, I'm not a practicing
Jew, but I am very proud of my
background. I think in some
ways my heritage has given me
the fortitude to press on, when
maybe others might have given
up. So I think having a cultural
Jewish background has affected
me more than the actual religias
For more information, including tracks
off the new album, visit www.myspace.
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
I found a
of mine when
I went home
th these, Irealize
changed, they just take on new faces
and forms. also realized how dumb I
Although some of the names of
people and places have been changed,
S these are generally unedited. For your
Mom lit the memory candles to
remember my grandma Lena and Aunt
Anna. I just said the Kaddish. I walked
away and looked back. The candles
seemed to (the fire) dance with joy. I'm
really sad that they died but I think it
will turn out okay.
(I was such a good little Jewish girl.
I mean, I wrote about this in a diary...)
My mom is actually letting me grow
up a little more. Now, I get to shave
my legs, grow out my bangs and use
Noxema. The next thing I am waiting
for is getting a bra. Tonight, Katie is
spending the night.
(Wow. What a loser. Shaving and
wearing a bra are not privileges,
they're inconveniences. Noxema
ruined my clear, child-like skin and
gave me acne.)
I want to go to Red Hills*
Homecoming w/ Lindsay but my
parents won't let me. I wish Jewish
guys lived in Tallahassee. I don't know
how I am going to tell my mom about
my D+ in WorldCivilization. Dad
didn't take it too well. I wish I could
sleep more. I want to be a movie star
(Omg get over yourself. Other
people have worse problems. Why
take up space writing about this crap?
School dances were dumb anyway. I
should have spent less time worrying
about going to a dance and more time
studying for World Civ.)
So, I got my first boyfriend about
3 weeks ago (?). His name is Michael*.
I liked him at first but then things got
creepy. I went to his dad's funeral
and saw his best friend Jon*. Jon has
blue hair and I thought he was pretty
cute. So I went to the movies w/ Jon
and Michael, and Michael kept trying
to hit on me. I didn't want him to, b/c
1fdon't like him anymore so Jon made
him stop...and now I like Jon. I really
don't think that my parents will let me
go out w/ him b/c he has blue haifrand
his ears pierced. But he's so different,
which is what I like about him. O well.
I wonder how Michael will react when
he finds out.
(I can't believe how insensitive I
sound. I was hitting on the best friend
of the guy I was dating at his dad's
funeral. Except that guy was truly
gross, and we only dated for two weeks.
Actually, both those guys turned out to
be losers. I ran into Michael at Publix
when I was in college, and he looked
like hell. He told me he was going to
community college and then asked me
to hang out. I politely declined. Jon
and I ended up working at the same
restaurant in my sophomore year of
college. He worked in the kitchen. Jon
ended up using too many drugs to
remember my name, much less that
we once dated.)
Legislators Give Back Qurans
KHADER ABUALHAYJAA The Governor's
S Advisory Council
gave the copies
of the English
S. of Quran to
senators and representatives after a
panel on diversity.
Seventeen of them said they plan to
return the gifts after receiving a letter
from a colleague.
That college, Rep. Rex Duncan, said
a good thing, but for a bad purpose.
"Most Oklahomans do not endorse
the idea of killing innocent women
and children in the name of ideology,"
Duncan's words reminds
me of what Pharaoh said:
"Let me kill Moses, and let him call
upon his Lord. Surely I fear that he will
change your religion, or he will make
mischief appear on the land." [40:26]
Pharaoh's techniques against Moses
are alive to this day. From twisting
arguments to old school Pharoah
technique of the good sentence for
a bad purpose he promotes a false
About innocent women and
children in Islam, in the Quran says:
"And what reason have you, that you
should not fight in the way of God
and of the weak among the men and
the women and the children, who
are saying: Our Lord! Bring us -to go
forth from this town, whose people
are oppressors, and give us from
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Your presence a guardian and give us
from Your presence a helper." [4:75]
Yes, from among my people who
killed innocent, I'm innocent of the
crimes of my community criminals.
All innocent individuals are innocents,
by definition, of the crimes done by
the criminals in their communities.
Some politicians abuse the media by
their one-liners and decorate their
words nicely to pass false propaganda.
The first verse- of the Quran to
permit fighting gave the permission
implicitly, since God does not favor the
fighting option, but, by his wisdom,
he allows it to defend the innocents.
"Permission is given to those who are
fought because they are oppressed, and
The Quran is fully accountable of
Phone: (800) 258-2861
Fax: (877) 942-4135
what it promotes, but it's innocent of
any abuse of its text, regardless if the
abuser is a Muslim or not, a politician
or not. Islam is not Muslims. When
people follow religion, it doesn't mean
they have no other ideas. Sometimes
they mix in ideas from other cultures.
If Duncan had kept his copy of
the Quran, he would have known
that the Quran aims to protect
churches, synergies and mosques.
Freedom of religion requires the
freedom of thought, speech and practice.
The Quran protects the freedom of
religion and its pre-requisites. It seems
Duncan missed the whole point of
the panel on diversity. He's free to
hold his principles and thoughts, but
he was a bad example of how to be
open-minded and how to be a learner.
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 7
Relationships Like Pinocchio
Study offers look at no-strings-attached relationships
BY NICOLE FINE
SHPiEL contributing writer
Friends with benefits is basically the
McDonald's of the dating world, said
Lauren Ciaccia, a University of Florida
"It is fast, cheap and probably
not good for you, but you go there
Most. college students reported
having at least one of these relationships,
according to a recent study at Michigan
The research found that students
said they viewed these relationships as
safe and commitment free. The study
was the first to research this idea.
"Friends with benefits" is a
relationship between two people
without any strings attached, said Alvin
Lawrence, a psychologist at the Student
Health Care Center.
A New York Times article said that
of the students' relationships that
were researched, 10 percent of became
committed. The majority remained
friends with benefits.
Girls become enter this type of
relationship hoping that it will become
a committed relationship, Ciaccia said.
"Usually it is the guy who benefits
more because he is getting what he
needs without the emotional attachment
or stress of a real relationship," she
Different wants and needs can often
lead to stress and confusion, Lawrence
The relationships are intended to
be very mature, but often one person
develops feeling which can lead to
jealousy and insecurity, he said.
Lawrence said he has a neutral
opinion on the friends with benefits
type of relationship.
A "friends with benefits" relationship
is not any worse or better than other
relationships, he said.
He said that honesty from both
sides is necessary for the relationship,
"Students must be open, up front
and communicate about their role," he-
Lawrence said he has not had a
student visit his office because of an
open relationship, although it can be a
"Friends with benefits" seems to
remain popular among students.
The Community of Friends ,vith
Benefits, a Facebook group, encourages
students who join to find other
members and start friends with benefits
relationships.The group is a free and
casual version of Match.com and has
more than 1,680 members.
Kristin Bj6rnsen, a UF student, said
her previous experiences with open
relationships have led her to give up on
friends with benefits all together.
"One person in the so-called
relationship is wanting for it to become
more than just sex," she said.
"No one really benefits."
BY ZAHARA ZAHAV
SHPiEL contributing writer
American Apparel designer and
corporate executive, Dov Charney,
wears underwear while brainstorming.
"He is definitely a pioneer," said
Rabbi Yonah Schiller, the Jewish learning
initiative educator at Hillel. "That's
what [Jews] do. We push boundaries, we
challenge industries, we cross lines."
Charney, who has been sued by
four employees for sexual harassment,
crosses a lot of lines.
His. conduct at work has been
questioned, often hiring employees
based on first impressions rather than
Advertisements for his socially-
responsible company reflect his
Schiller, who studied art at Brown
University, said that art is an expression
of self-reflection that emanates from
within us. He said advertisements
are often imitations of art, but their
expression of the superficial prevents
them from being art.
But many people think American
Apparel's racy ads can indeed be a form
"Yes, sex sells," said Erika Amaya,
an American Apparel customer. "And
American Apparel sells a lot. Charney
is boldly admitting that sex is their
campaign. It's genius, really. He is
telling the truth and that's what art is
American Apparel's advertisements
may make you
look twice for
lines such as
& Fitch and
hai r-d o s ;
are multiracial. His shoots are often
unedited for sweat marks, untidy hair
or unappealing facial expressions.
Hannah Pyper, an advertising major
at UF, thinks the American Apparel
business model makes up for their
sometimes "less-than-classy" ads.
American Apparel makes clothes
in America and pays people well to
make a good-quality product, Pyper
said. "Those are excellent morals in the
The largest T-shirt manufacturer
in the U.S., American Apparel pays its
employees an average of $12 an hour.
Employees also receive benefits like
paid vacations and healthcare. Their
garment factory offers free massages
and lessons for employees who want to
improve their English language skills.
Charney's world may not be dictated
by ethics and morals, but from a
business perspective, his work is
impressive, Schiller said.
"'Sex sells'-may be the message, but I
don't think it's a good message," Schiller
said. "Judaism teaches that you should
see your partner naked in the bedro,9ri.
Not splayed across a magazine page."
You decide. For model images,
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
The Plight of the Proboscis Problem
DOUG SHARF A long,
long time ago
in a galaxy
far, far away,
it would be
because air is free, Jews have larger-
Our people have endured one of
the most prominent stereotypes of all
Now, stereotypes are over-
discussed, and we have come to
accept that they exist because they
are generally somewhat based in
truth, but just how true is this hook-
Doctors unanimously agree the
Jewish muzzle is a myth, fabricated
for the sake of joke material. I,
however, pose a different theory.
This theory employs that all Jewish
stereotypes support the idea that it is
evolutionarily advantageous to have
a big beak.
According to Dr. Andrew Scholey
of the Division of Psychology at the
University of Northumbria: "Extra
oxygen has been shown to enhance
mental performance and memory
recall in healthy active adults in
several clinical studies".
With a bigger nose, it takes less
time to fill lungs with air. The lungs
can then be filled to capacity more
times in the same time period with a
bigger nose than with a smaller one.
This extra oxygen, which "enhances
mental performance," is the reason
Jews tend to be smarter, which may
also be the reason it is viewed that
Jews are generally more financially
There, I've said it-the- most
stereotypically Jewish paragraph in
history. Halle Berry should recite it
next time she goes on the Tonight
Show with Jay Leno.
Every time someone mentions
or jokes that the Jewish people
have sizable snoots, I think of the
vast number of Jews I know and
acknowledge that they seem to have
It is only when a Jew happens to
have a big nose that people
point out, ."Oh big surprise,
what a Jew!" even though the
trait of the tremendous trunk
is pretty evenly distributed
among many different races
and ethnic groups.
The numbers that don't
lie are the JAP-y rhinoplasty
counts. High percentages of
nasal augmentation surgeries
performed on teens are Jewish.
Although this is certainly
significant, it has less to do
with the Jewish schnoz idea
and more with how Jewish
women are worried about their
Medical sources document
that one cannot tell a Jewish
person based solely on physical
traits. There has been too
much marrying outside of the
faith. But, if for some reason
it is true about the substantial
snout, I think we should wear
them proudly like an elk bears
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The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
6:00 -7:45 pm.
7:30. Room 282,
7:00 10:00 pm,
at the Fine Arts
The Jeff Coffin
Mutet at the Side Bar
Gators vs. FAU,
12 pm. (home game)
at the Reitz Union
at the Phillips Center
for performing arts,
T.. ilithr Tuesdays
Gators vs. FSU
Weeldy MA Poetry/
Fiction Reading at
MOVIE SHOWTIMES at the Reitz Union !
"One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest"
A Look at
Bill Nye talks at the Phillips Center
The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 7
Challah at Yo' Heebs
A cappella group Challah
Back forms at Hillel
BY DANIELLE TORRENT
SHPiEL staff writer
Doov tsk kah, doov tsk kah.... what
combination of syllables will get the
Beat may not seem like a big deal,
but in the world of a cappella, it takes
a good amount of brainstorming to
arrange a song without instruments.
The saying, "The voice is an instrument"
cannot be taken lightly.
While the University of Florida is
not a school recognized for a cappella,
an initiative at Hillel is bringing Jewish
arts to The Swamp.
Jessica Kendler, program associate at
UF Hillel, came up with the idea to start
a vocal group for students, partially
because of her experiences as a lead
singer and member of various a cappella
groups in England and Jerusalem.
"[Music] is such a good way to really
express your Jewish identity in a really
positive way," she said.
With three rehearsals under its belt,
Challah Back is Hillel's new co-ed vocal
ensemble-while most of the members
are singers, accompanying instruments
such as the piano, drums or guitar, are
UF student Davita Manijeh has been
a singer in the UF a cappella group The
Sedoctaves since fall 2006. But when
she heard about the start of Challah
Back, she stepped up to be one of the
group's founding members.
"In general, I really enjoy Jewish
music and singing for a Jewish cause,"
The term a cappella is Italian for "in
the style of the chapel" or "in the church
style." But singing groups around the
country adapt the concept into the style
of the synagogue by combining singing
with their Jewish faith.
A cappella carries tradition in many
northern universities, -and Jewish
groups include Chai Notes, Jewbilation,
Mazel Tones and Shir Harmony
Challah Back is not considered
a religious organization, and a Jewish
ensemble should not be mistaken for
the role of the cantor in Jewish prayer.
It's a group whose place lies with
performance, not prayer space.
Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth, the
associate director of Jewish student life
at UF Hillel, said the debate of allowing
for performance on Shabbat, the day of
rest, is complicated and situational.
Regardless, Jewish ensembles are
said an a :.
he performed i
with as an NYU
student once held
time leading up
He said he would also like to see
Challah Back perform for Kabbalat
Shabbat and toyed with the idea of beat-
boxing as a guest of honor.
"I'd like to perform with them if I
can, but I want it to be student-run," he
About 50 percent of the group's
repertoire will be Jewish, including
songs in Hebrew and anything from hip-
hop to gospel, Kendler said. Founding
members of Challah Back have begun
arranging songs already in existence,
and hopeful composers can have their
music debuted by the group, she said.
An audition is not necessary to
become a part of the group. But Kendler
said aspiring members do need a "high
level of commitment and a joy of
She hopes the group will perform
for charities, elderly homes, shelters
and schools. There is also a Hanukkah
concert in the works. Kendler hopes the
group can eventually become an official
UF student group, she said.
"When you're in that zone of just
making beautiful music and you just
feel it, everything else just feels great,"
Rehearsals for Challah Back are
Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. on
the second floor of the Hillel building,
and open to all who are interested.
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