The Shpiel ( February 24, 2009 )


Material Information

The Shpiel
Alternate spelling:
Physical Description:
v. : ill. (some col.) ; 35 cm.
The Shpiel,
The Shpiel
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Jewish college students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Jewish students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Judaism -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Jewish way of life -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Alachua -- Gainesville
29.665245 x -82.336097 ( Place of Publication )


Dates or Sequential Designation:
Vol. 1, issue 1 (Feb. 13/26, 2006)-
Numbering Peculiarities:
Issues also have Jewish calendar dates.
General Note:
Title from caption.
General Note:
"The Jewish newspaper at the University of Florida"--Masthead.
General Note:
Latest issue consulted: Vol. 1, issue 3 (Mar. 21/Apr. 3, 2006).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 65370113
lccn - 2006229065
lccn - 2006229065
System ID:


Material Information

The Shpiel
Alternate spelling:
Physical Description:
v. : ill. (some col.) ; 35 cm.
The Shpiel,
The Shpiel
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Jewish college students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Jewish students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Judaism -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Jewish way of life -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Alachua -- Gainesville
29.665245 x -82.336097 ( Place of Publication )


Dates or Sequential Designation:
Vol. 1, issue 1 (Feb. 13/26, 2006)-
Numbering Peculiarities:
Issues also have Jewish calendar dates.
General Note:
Title from caption.
General Note:
"The Jewish newspaper at the University of Florida"--Masthead.
General Note:
Latest issue consulted: Vol. 1, issue 3 (Mar. 21/Apr. 3, 2006).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 65370113
lccn - 2006229065
lccn - 2006229065
System ID:

Full Text


30 Sh'vat 5769 20 Adar I 5769

February 24, 2009 March 16, 2009

Paying a price for Passover

Chabad versus Russia

SHPiEL staff writer

To attendees at the Passover seders
hosted at University of Florida Hillel,
this year will probably feel the same
as always. But, there will be one major
difference: students will likely have to
pay for their Passover meals in April.
This is just one of the changes that
Hillel may have to make because of
budget cuts, said Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-
Blueth, UF Hillel associate director for
Jewish student life.
Funds are short because of
the economic downturn that has
hit nonprofit groups like Hillel
International, which funds UF Hillel.
Kaiser-Blueth said UF Hillel is funded
by private donations and local Jewish

federations in Florida, and as private
contributions have dwindled, programs
have been cut back.
Keith Dvorchik, UF Hillel executive
director, said the federations are
partially government-funded because
they receive money for the social
services they provide. He said he wants
the economic stimulus bill to reach the
"My hope is that they're able to get
government funding to help with the
social services," Dvorchik said. "And
then they can help us."
Dvorchik is not alone in his hopes for
funding. A Feb. 4 Jewish Daily Forward
article indicates that many Jewish
charities are looking to the stimulus


SHPiEL staff writer

In a landmark ruling on Jan. 27, a
U.S. federal appeals court accepted a
request from Chabad to deny Russia's
legal counselors release from a case
alleging that the country stole sacred
religious texts and archives from the
Orthodox Jewish group which considers
them sacred and irreplaceable.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit ruled that
Agudas Chasidei Chabad, the largest
Jewish organization in the world, may
pursue claims in federal court against
Russia in order to recover religious
texts and archives.
The case, Chabad v. Russia, leaves
one with an important question in

mind-why was a U.S. court in charge
of the ruling with a matter thousands of
miles away?
Agudas Chasidei Chabad of United
States is incorporated as a non-profit
in New York. It serves as the policy-
making and umbrella organization
for Chabad-Lubavitch, the worldwide
Hasidic spiritual movement generally
known as Chabad.
For 70 years, Chabad has demanded
that Russia return the texts, said to have
originally been stolen by Nazi Germany.
After World War II, the Soviet Union
kept the archives in what Chabad says
was a violation of international law. The
appellate court's decision makes Chabad
one step closer to recovering about


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plan to help them fend off budget cuts.
Sixty Jewish leaders from around the
country traveled to Washington, D.C., in
early February to lobby congressional
leaders on the economic stimulus bill.
President Obama, who has made the
stimulus a top priority, signed the
$787 billion bill into law on Feb. 17 in
"The recession has pushed just
about every other issue that we deal
with in Washington to the sidelines,"
said .William Daroff, Washington
representative of American Jewish
to the Forward. "This is the first-highest
priority, the second-highest priority
and the third-highest priority."
In Palm Beach County, Fla., the
local newspaper reported the Jewish
Federation cut its budget by about 15
percent and its staff by 27 members,
according to the Forward article.
UF Hillel is seeing similar cuts and
anticipates further cuts next year,
Kaiser-Blueth said.
"We've probably had to cut our
budget by $100,000 this year," Dvorchik
Dvorchik estimated the budget has
decreased from $940,000 to $845,000.
He said some of the areas that may be
most affected by the budget cuts are
the weekly Friday-night dinners, Hillel's
hours of operation, the amount of jobs
they can offer to students and the
student-run newspaper, The Shpiel.
Kaiser-Blueth said he is trying
very hard to avoid having to make
these changes, and he is hopeful that
donations will help make up for the
budget cuts. He suspects there will be
more small-donation donors this year.
He said because of these small
donations, Hillel is doing well
considering the tough economic times.
Hillel will continue to work hard to
keep its programs consistent and do the
best it can with limited funds, Dvorchik
"We're doing everything we can to
do as much as we can," he said.

visit the new theshpiel.org

Sotheby's 2 for 1, rare Hebrew

texts, this week only!

SHPiEL staff writer

How much is history worth? An
enormous auction may have an answer.
From Feb. 9-19, Sotheby's auction
house displayed more than 11,000
Hebrew books and manuscripts from
The Valmadonna Trust Library at their
gallery in Manhattan. A private sale was
held after the exhibition.
The Valmadonna Trust Library was
formed through the personal interest
and efforts of Jack Lunzer, a London
diamond merchant, according to the
New York Times.
The collection, which includes
several rare texts that escaped the
destruction that often met other works,
focuses on illuminating the Jewish
The library contains a broad range
of works documenting Hebrew culture
over hundreds of years. Copies of the

Bible and Talmud, and books on Hebrew
grammar are among the works.
Many of the texts are the only
remaining copies. Among the highlights
of the collection are Codex Valmadonna
I, the only known Hebrew text from
medieval England predating the Jewish
expulsion in 1290, and the 1470 text
thought to be the oldest Hebrew work
published by a mechanical printing
The Valmadonna Trust Library, one
of the primary sources of Hebrew works
from Asia, also holds the first book
printed in any language in Africa, Sefer
The texts come primarily from
Europe, but there are a substantial
amount from the Ottoman Empire,
Africa, Iraq, India and China.
The collection strikingly
demonstrates the ways in which Jews
maintained their culture despite
frequent persecutions.

sacred texts to

be returned to



12,000 texts and 25,000
handwritten pages to the
organization's headquarters
at 770 Eastern Parkway in
The D.C. court wrote in its
ruling that "the religious and
historical importance of the
Collection to Chabad...can hardly
be overstated."
The lawsuit was filed against
the Russian Federation, the
Russian Ministry of Culture
and Mass Communication, the
Russian State Library and the
Russian State Military Archive on
Nov.9, 2004.

Join us for a reading and discussion session led by UF

English Professor Andrew Gordon. For more graphic novel

discussions see http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/letstalk/

Sponsored by UF George A. Smathers Libraries

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Executive Advisor/Mentor
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Layout Editor
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Chief Visionary
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Israeli election debacle continues

SHPiEL staff writer

One-third of Americans don't know
how many states are part of the United
States. And forget the statistics about
Americans knowing anything about
other countries.
Last Friday, Benjamin Netanyahu
accepted a mandate from Israeli
President Shimon Peres to form Israel's
new government.
Israel just had an important election
that could impact American foreign
policy with what is sometimes called
the U.S.'s "51st state." So here is a
Government structure and two
leading parties
Israel's government is separated
into three branches just like ours: the
legislative, the executive and the court
system. However, its legislature, the
Knesset, serves a four-year term and is
assembled after the general election. It
is a parliamentary democracy in which
support is spread all over the political
spectrum, and currently, not one party
has won even a quarter of the seats in

the parliament.
After the elections are held, the
President of Israel allows the member
of the Knesset with the best chance of
forming a coalition to form the next
The Kadima party, which means
"forward," was formed by Ariel Sharon
in 2005. This centrist party focuses on
creating a Palestinian state and working
with the Palestinians in a joint effort for
The Likud party, led by Benjamin
Netanyahu, is a right-wing conservative
party that is historically unfriendly to
the idea of a Palestinian state. However,
they were also the first party to carry
out peace agreements with the Arabs.
They also base their platform on free-
market capitalism, privatization of
companies, lower taxes and a revival of
Jewish culture in the Israeli state.
Current election and controversy
The elections were necessary because
Kadima party leader and Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert resigned and Tzipi Livni,
his successor, failed to form a coalition
government. This triggered early
elections, ahead of the 2010 expiration

of the Knesset.
The Kadima
party, led by
Livni, garnered 28
of the Knesset's
120 seats, a
plurality. Livni
then declared
victory and
pledged to form
a coalition party.
However, her
rival Netanyahu,
with 27 seats, The Knesset. Photo co
declared victory
based on an overall win for the right-
wing "national camp."
Israeli President Shimon Peres asked
Netanyahu to form the next government
after the No. 3 finisher, Avigdor
Lieberman of the ultra-nationalist
Yisrael Beitenu party, took 15 seats and
endorsed Netanyahu.
Both Netanyahu and Livni are
courting Lieberman to join their party
in order to form a coalition in the
government. What Netanyahu ideally
wants to do is bring together the other
conservative parties in the Knesset,
form a coalition and end up with 67

seats in the parliament, allowing them
to govern.
Usually, the party with the most
votes wins the election and has
the opportunity to form the next
government;but the right-wing block,
of which Likud is the leader, had many
more votes than the left.
Livni once said she hopes the Likud
will join her party, but Netanyahu did
not agree to that.
Now Netanyahu, who served as
prime minister in the 1990s, will have
six weeks to come up with a coalition

WUJS offers suggestions for

students without Birthright

SHPiEL staff writer

With spring break rapidly
approaching, and summer right around
the corner, it's time college kids
everywhere start figuring out their
plans, and for Jewish college students,
the possibilities are endless.
Birthright is usually the place to turn
to; with so many opportunities to go
on trips to Israel and with unbeatable
prices (it's free!), you really can't beat
the Birthright trip. But a decline in the
amount of donations (thanks a lot,
global economy!) has caused Birthright
organizers to cut funding and,
consequentially, travel opportunities.
That's where the World Union of
Jewish Students comes in. WUJS is an
organization that helps Jewish students
find opportunities to spend their breaks
in various places around the world. And
it's not just Jsrael for which WUJS has
WUJS offers links to countries all
over Europe, Asia, South America and
even parts of Africa.
Yet for those who are skeptical
of the advantages this Web site and
organization present, just take a look at
the "Jewish Travel" section.
Here you can find information about
different countries, from-things to do
while exploring the country, to places

to go to find a Jewish community with
whom to spend Shabbat.
Sadly, travel isn't perfect through
WUJS. Although good, detailed
information is provided on gieat
countries for Jewish college students
to potentially travel to, the means of
getting there are not.
However, WUJS is a great source for
trips to Israel. Whether you are looking
for a program over break, a study-
abroad program or even taking the big
step and making aliyah to Israel (moving
there permanently), you can find all the
information you need on this site.
WUJS features listings about
study opportunities through specific
universities, programs that are offered
and even ways to get scholarships.
Yet the best aspect of the site seems
to be its comprehensive list of Jewish
student organizations around the world.
Information about Jewish student
organizations on college campuses and
in major cities across the globe ensures
that a traveling Jewish college student
never has to be alone on Shabbat.
So if you're a Jewish college student
looking for something to do over spring
or summer break, or looking for a study
abroad opportunity, check out the WUJS
Web site for some travel opportunities.

Check out the WUJS website at http://

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sk E sthe Answers to all your kosher
BY ELAINE WILSO culinary questions

I hear that Purim is one of the most popular
Jewish holidays, especially for children. I'm
not Jewish, but I don't doubt its appeal. Any
holiday featuring hamantashen merits mouth-
watering excitement. As I write, the thought of
warm, apricot-filled, tri-colored cookies begs me
to forsake this article and sate my craving. But,
Purim is not just about hamantashen, and much
more needs to be said (and cooked) on behalf of
this holiday.
The feast day celebrates the deliverance of
the Jewish people under Persian rule because of
Esther, the heroine-queen who bravely confronted
the king and revealed her Jewish identity to save
her people.
Esther fasted for three days in preparation for
her audience with the king, and today, a single-
day commemorative fast precedes the delicious
celebration. (From a Catholic perspective, hungry
anticipation before hamantashen is well worth it.
Forty days for a chocolate bunny doesn't seem as
To create your own batch of these sinfully
delicious cookies, visit this Web site, which
includes a recipe for the buttery cookie and four

filling options: http://jewishrecipes.org/recipes/
purim/hamantaschen/hamantaschen-1 .html.
Purim is a day of high spirits, so why not drink
some? The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists
on their Web site some culinary recommendations
for Purim.
A particularly intriguing recipe suggests
cinnamon wine soup, a recipe for what is not
really a soup, but rather a warm cordial. Made
primarily from red wine, cinnamon, sugar and
lemon, this drink strikes me as something akin to
wassail, a mulled spiced cider commonly served
at Christmastime. The slight acidic citrus quality
of the drink comes from oranges that are boiled in
the alcohol and blended with clove and cinnamon
flavors, which create. a warming and aromatic
beverage. Cinnamon wine soup promises a slightly
tart holiday drink that could be the perfect flavor
for Purim in these final days of cool weather.

To mull over some warm spirits, visit the Israeli
Foreign Ministry Web site: www.mfa.gov.il/

Email your kosher cuisine questions to elaine@

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The ulpan: a test in Hebrew, will power and waking up

SHPiEL staff writer

There' s
something about
exam time that
S short-circuits my
4 brain. The last
thing I want to
do when an exam
is approaching is
Reviewing old
notes just becomes a test in itself of
how well I'm able to mindlessly trace
over the world of words I scribbled
hurriedly at some earlier time. I can
flip a hundred flash cards in as many
seconds and remember not one of the
words. And just opening the proper
textbook brings to mind so many
thousands of unrelated images and
words and feelings that ripping my eyes
from the blank wall and staring down at
the page is virtually impossible.
But, when it comes to testing,
studying or not is irrelevant if my alarm
doesn't go off. And, be assured, alarms
have the uncanny ability of failing just
when I really need them.
Which brings me to a hazy Thursday
morning in Jerusalem. The last day of
Ulpan. The last unbearable hours of
intensive Hebrew class.
Don't get me wrong. Learning the
Hebrew language has been a goal of

mine for a long time. And to be in a
land where Hebrew is spoken (at least
50 percent of the time) is an undeniable
opportunity to accomplish this goal.
It's just that Ulpan makes me feel
like I'm 10 years old. When I was 10,
I was in my final year at the Solomon
Schecter Day School in my hometown of
Jacksonville, Fla. At SSDS; half the day
was spent learning the things that all
children in America learn in school at
the age of 10. The other half of the day
was an elementary-school-length crash
course in the 'holy trinity: Judaism,
Zionism and Hebrew.
Perhaps because all my best friends
were (and still are) brilliant and I knew
I could copy their Hebrew homework if
I forgot to do it the night before, or if
I really just didn't understand what we
were learning at the time, but mostly
because staring off into space and
contemplating existence rather than
paying attention is something that I was
just as good'at then as I am now, I was
more often than not clueless.
When Morah Ilana--one of those
adorable, old survivors of kibbutz
consciousness who somehow made
her way to America to teach young,
semi-assimilated Jewish kids about
their heritage--called on me to answer
a question, 11 times out of 10, I didn't
have the answer. Eight times out of
10, I didn't even have an attempt at an

If ADD actually exists, I'm probably
one of those borderline cases. If I were
10 today, I'd probably be pumped so
full of Aderol that it would give me
the disorder even if I didn't really have
it originally. But today, I'm 21, and
nothing has changed.
Ulpan brings me right back to that
time. All the kids in my class, from the
start, knew more Hebrew than me. Most
of them could answer Varda and Doron,
our teaching team, with ease.
On the other hand, while I could
understand 95 percent of what went"
on in class and could write sufficiently
coherent homework essays with the
help of a dictionary, talking in class
amounted to more "ums" and "ehs"
than it did to whole sentences. I would
feel my face get red. I would feel my
brain protest and come to a slow,
embarrassing stop. Frustration ensued.
I felt we were doing too many varied
exercises on too many aspects of the
language, all at the same time. I felt
our books and the topics we discussed
in class were basically unrelated to the
things Israelis talk about-the things
that we international students should
be learning and living.
It's true that there are innumerable
Ulpans in Israel, and that all have lesson
plans designed for specific purposes.
At Hebrew University, the language that
is taught is less everyday and a lot more
academic. The teachers will prepare an

exercise to teach the different ways of
saying something like. "because," but
will begin with a disclaimer about how
Israelis don't use these phrases (and if
they do, they don't use them correctly)
and how most of them don't even know
what they mean in the first place.
There is a disconnect here and in
America between the things we are
taught about Israel's culture and its
native tongue and the way the language
and the people who speak it actually
function. Perhaps that is why, come
exam time, my brain's doing the usual
And why shouldn't it? Ulpan hadn't
been engaging enough to be at the front
of my brain's already-crowded queue,
let alone on some priority waiting list.
So the alarm, too, did its thing, and
at 9:50, I woke suddenly from a dream
and without looking at a clock, I knew
I was late. Running out the door didn't
help much because a 30-minute bus
ride stood between me and getting to
the exam.
When I finally did get to class, only
a few relatively responsible classmates
remained. While they were checking
their tests over for mistakes, I was
rushing through the directions and
flipping pages to see which sections I
could finish quickest. And by and by,
though I finished the exam, the jury's
still out on whether all the stress and
distraction was worth it.

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the court. Clinton appointed Bush took office.
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in 1993 and ex-Watergate specialist, spent five years as dean of
prosecutor Stephen Breyer a Harvard Law School, where she was
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Cass Sunstein, who
jumped from Chicago
to Harvard to join
Kennedy School
academic Samantha
Power (The two married
in 2008).
The Boston Globe
reported that after
Kagan was passed
over for the university
presidency after the
departure of Lawrence
Summers, "a group of
600 law school students
held an impromptu
party wearing 'We V
Elena' T-shirts."
If Obama appoints
Kagan when a spot
opens up on the
Supreme Court, both
must try to get the
Senate to feel the same

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od music for a good cause_

SHPiEL staff writer

Girl Talk will be performing on Friday during
Harvest of Hope Fest.

Phil Kellerman, president of the Harvest of Hope Foundation,
and his brother Ed Kellerman sat across from me at Mi Apa Latin Cafe to
discuss the fruit of their labor on behalf of the unsung fruit laborers.
Harvest of Hope is the only national foundation that provides direct
support to migrant farm workers, who Phil defined as individuals or
families who "cross either a school district line or a state line in search
of seasonal or temporary agricultural work."
The brothers are motivated by respect for
the work of migrant farm workers,. who Phil
said are "extremely hardworking, humble,
invisible." He added that he thinks most people A
don't know where their food is coming from. His
brother Ed agrees, saying, "They do the labor
that most of us won't do (with) long hours, low
pay and dangerous working conditions."
Harvest of Hope Fest will take place on the
first weekend of spring break, March 6-8, at
St. Johns County Fairgrounds in St. Augustine.
Proceeds will go to benefit both local efforts
in the county and the Harvest of Hope
Foundation. A three-day pass is $39.50, with
single-day passes available. A camping pass
for multiple people is $29.50. The performing
lineup includes such notables as Against Me!, Against Me!
Girl Talk and Less Than Jake.
Harvest of Hope stems from a federally funded hotline the two set
up in 1995 to help farm workers. Callers are routed to places where
they could get help. But, the money couldn't directly be
used to pay for callers' often dire problems: homelessness,
car breakdowns, and a lack of electricity and water.
The pair have worked on a number of aid projects,
including a national effort to keep track of the education
of migrant farm workers' children. "You get these kids
that enter school, but when the harvest is over, the
parents move on, and so do they," Phil said. "They don't
l get educational credits. You have 18-year-old kids with no
educational credits."
'I found that there wasn't much help out there as I
tried to coordinate using other resources." Phil says.
Harvest of Hope was formed as an attempt to help in a
more efficient way.
The organization funds large projects as well
as small-scale ones. They donate thousands to
educational funds and social grants. One year
ago, they donated $1,500 to Salem-Keizer .1 ..
Public Schools, an Oregon school district, to
support a dental van to treat 50 children of
migrant farm workers. "We take increased
vigilance when children are involved." Ed
says. ,.' ^
A family was recently
.. ~" .. killed when their trailer
burned down as the result
a I of a space heater touching :-

a blanket. The husband, also
a father, was out at.work at the ,
time of the fire. Harvest of Hope donated
a few hundred dollars for his lodging '
and food, as well as a way to get back to
"We've got pretty strict procedures for
the distribution of funds." Phil said.
According to Ed, "We offer a hand up,
not a handout."

Ilk 3 *



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God-fearing punks crash music scene

SHPiEL staff writer

It's angry, religious, passionate and
moving. It's sitar, guitar and a blend
of classical poetry, rap and punk rock.
There are Pakistanis, Iranians, Iraqis
and Indians.
This is the music of the young Muslim-
American generation. The bands have
names, both ironic and forthright, such
as Vote. Hezbollah and The Kominas.
They have inspired a novel, non-fiction
book and an upcoming documentary
The Kominas (a word that means
"bastard" in Urdu) are the biggest name
on the scene in America, scheduled to
play at the South by Southwest festival
in Austin, Texas.

According to' their My Space page,
they are based in "Bostonstan," Mass.,
and are in the crunk/punk/grime
Their latest album, "Wild Nights in
Guantanamo Bay," is reminiscent of
a rougher, angrier Rage Against the
Machine-- if Zack de la Rocha spoke
Urdu and recited from the Koran.
Lyrics are strong social and political
commentary, many times teeming with
sarcasm, from "Suicide bomb the gap,"
to "Rumi was homo." But the anger is
less of the riotous anarchist and more
of a jab at the narrow-minded coverage
of the Muslim culture.
The movement of underground
music is often referred to as
"Taqwacore," a term.that unites the
Arabic word for "God-fearing" with

the urban "hardcore." It has come to
denote a subculture of rebellious young
Muslims who simultaneously respect
their religion and reject mainstream
interpretations of Islam.
The name is derived from author
Michael Muhammad Knight's novel,
"The Taqwacores," which addresses the
Muslim punk rock scene through the
voice of a Pakistani teenager. Knight
was inspired to write the novel based on
his own experience of burning out with
religious practice and suppression.
Other up-and-coming bands 8bit,
Diacritical and Brooklyn Qawalli Party
are featured in the documentary
"Taqwacore!" by EyeSteelFilm that will
debut this year.
While- Taqwacore has yet to make
its own genre on iTunes, a few driven

Muslim teenagers will make their voices
heard across the nation and the world.

Nationwide tour gets on the road

Vince Cahger, 22-
year-old horticul-
tural sciences major,
watches Y-Love talk
about life and what it's
like to be a Jew in the
hip-hop subculture.
This was Canger's first
time visiting Hillel.
Y-Love also talked
about growing up and
converting to judaism
on Friday night.


4b-, =Z

Dov Rosenblatt, Erez Safar and-wife-Nm a Safar stick around after the 40 Days and 40 Nights
event to chat with stun& s and attendees.

Y-Love, left, raps about
Jewish statistics in the
U.S., while Max Reed, a
photojournalism major,
holds a beat.

Y-Love pausing while he thinks of an answer to one of the many
questions asked by students in attending the event.
Photos by Zak Bennett.


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Hamas, not Israel, is guilty of war crimes

SHPiEL contributing

When the
J Israeli Defense
.; Forces (IDF)
' completed the
task of pulling
out every Israeli
settler and soldier
from Gaza in
September 2005, an internationally
recognized terrorist organization,
Hamas, gained control over Gaza and
proceeded to fire more than 6,000
rockets aimed at civilian population
centers in southern Israel.
Israel's retaliation against these
rocket attacks has been subjected to
harsh international criticism, even
though any country that experienced
the same amount of rocket attacks
as Israel would have taken action to
defend itself.
After all, when Barack Obama
visited the Israeli city of Sderot, he
stated, "If somebody was sending

rockets into my house where my two
daughters sleep at night, I'm going to
do everything in my power to stop that.
And I would expect Israelis to do the
same thing."
However, the Palestinian leaders
continue to condemn Israel's actions
by pushing the International Criminal
Court (ICC) to investigate "Israeli war
crimes" during the recent conflict in
Many in the international community
who criticize Israel of war crimes in
Gaza refuse to acknowledge Hamas' war
crimes and violations of international
While Israel places military bases
far away from civilian areas, terrorist
organizations such as Hamas put their
own people in danger by surrounding
their military targets with civilian
Even though Hamas commits a double
war crime by deliberately attacking
civilian centers and by utilizing human
shields, the world has turned a blind eye
Sto Hamas's placement of rockets and
weapons in mosques, schools, civilian
houses, and hospitals.

Many of the critics who blame Israel
for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza
ignore the fact that Hamas confiscates
humanitarian aid shipments. Hamas
members have gone so far as to block
ambulances from reaching Palestinian
civilians in desperate need of medical
Members of Hamas even attempted
to hijack ambulances in order to move
Hamas fighters to safety. More evidence
of Hamas' abuse of humanitarian aid
shipments was uncovered-When the IDF
found grenades made from medicine
bottles in northern Gaza.
In addition to calling for the
destruction of a member-state of the
United Nations, Hamas is guilty of
violating international law in other
counts. Although the Geneva Convention
expressly prohibits the use of children
under the age of 15 as soldiers, Hamas
routinely utilizes children to carry out
suicide bombings and to shoot rifles at
Israeli soldiers.
Amnesty International, a human
rights organization that has been
unfairly critical of Israel, has reported
that Hamas tortured and killed

Palestinians who were believed to be
collaborating with the Israelis. Amnesty
said that Hamas security forces shot
Palestinian civilians point-blank with
pistols, in addition to severely beating
and maiming others.
Although I think the constant Qassam
rocket attacks were enough to justify
Israel's proportionate attacks against
Hamas, the Israelis compromise their
own security in order to reduce civilian
During the. Gaza conflict, Israeli
intelligence determined that rockets
were being manufactured inside of a
family's house in Gaza. After the IDF
warned the family that they had half
an hour to evacuate, Hamas placed
mothers with infant children inside of
the house.
Israel called off the attack and the
rockets were later used to attack Israeli
The international community must
realize that Israel's conduct during
the Gaza conflict was consistent with
international law and that Hamas is
guilty of war crimes and multiple
violations of international law.

Blood alcohol level at which the .08
government says you're drunk

Blood alcohol level at which you've 2
fulfilled your Purim duty

Number of times God is referred to
in the Purim story

Percentage of women who say
they're like Esther 24

Percentage of men who say they're
Uke Esther mid-Purim celebration 19

Number of hamantashen you have
to eat before you're hamantrashed 63

Number of people who will think
differently about you after Purim 1/5

,Number of drinks those people had 1
for Purim

Disclaimer: Most of the above information has been well researched. Some
was conceived while inebriated. We leave it up to you, oh dear, silly reader,
to figure out what's what.

a 7-V

when a newspaper jt is 1

us a o n online h for


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 whatft- .hae to say. Feel free to write a letter
to the editor or you can contact us with a columiidea. Please send comments
to theshpiel@gmail.com.

?. :7..,. ..

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Thinking Outside the Lox: Jewish Crunk


The Jewish
people have
had their
share of good
Mt. Sinai
was the first
Jewish out-
experience. It
Rabbi Yonah Schiller wasn't really
abuse; rather, it was more like an O.D.
on God. So totally overwhelming was
the experience that our rabbis tell us
we actually died (and came back to
life)...a few times.
This early precedent of
experiencing the transcendent
is perhaps the basis for what we
could call "holy partying" in Jewish
With the lull of the prophetic
age, we have attempted to transcend

in other ways. Getting crunk is not
exactly what the prophets were doing,
but there is some overlap.
We don't tend to put the words
"think" and "drunk" in the same
sentence. But, if we do contemplate
the desire to get wasted, there may
be something profound lurking.
Without going out on a limb,
drinking could be understood as
a low-level attempt to experience
something "different" in our lives or
even something a little deeper.
The mechanics of the process
are not pretty. Actually, alcohol
consumption is likened to symptoms
of a mild brain injury, where ethanol
asserts itself on the frontal lobe
and causes a loss of judgment and
In other words, a stiff drink or
two allows us to get a little silly. By
drinking and doing drugs, we take
away a certain known element. We
are trying to "get loose," "relax",
"have fun," and ultimately, "see what

The Talmud, an ancient Jewish
text, teaches us that when "the wine
enters, the secret comes out," i.e.
your true self. The Jewish context
for altering our consciousness is for
the purpose of revealing something.
Now, revealing could be a good thing
or a bad thing, depending on the
quality of your secret. Some people
have secrets that they should really
keep to themselves. Others have
secrets that should be shared with
everyone. When we get drunk, often
we begin to lose our powers of self-
editing. Our "secret" comes out, in all
its glory. If focused in a very specific
way, this can lead to a beautiful, life-
altering outcome...uniquely achieved
on Purim.
So, do I need alcohol to reach this
state? Not really. As we evolve, we
gain a deeper sense of confidence
and "personal voice," and with
focused consciousness, we begin
to understand that self-fulfillment

is wrapped up with improving the
quality of our "secret." And that
revealing is an ongoing process that
furthers our personal goals, improves
our relationships and ultimately
gives us the strength to pursue art
extraordinary life.
Clearly, we should not align
drunkenness with religious
experience, unless you consider
vomiting on your friends to be-a way
of sharing your internal struggles.
Am I promoting getting trashed
on any .given night in the name of
Judaism? No. I would just say that
if you are going to go out and get a
little "funny," do it seriously and
with consciousness. You may find
that a bit of awareness may not be the
buzz-kill you might have expected.
Instead, it might be the only thing
that makes it worth doing.

Feel free to email Rabbi Yonah at
Yonah@tulane.edu with comments/



On Feb.
18, a certain
article on
the Israeli
news Web
site Haaretz
The article
happened to

mention that Lior Shlein was making
a mockery out of Jesus and Mary.
In the not-so-funny skit, the article
says that Mary is depicted saying that
she had slept with several men and
that she was not a virgin at all.
In response, leading Christian
and Muslim clergymen called on
Pope Benedict XVI to delay his visit
to Israel this May.
That comedian explicitly stated
that he wanted to provoke the Pope
in Rome before visiting the Holy
Land due to comments made by a
bishop about the numbers of Jews
who were killed in the Holocaust.
This hatred comedy did provoke me
here, thousands of miles away.
I felt offended as I am certainly
no robot, but a human with feelings,
just like many millions of Christians
and Muslims who felt offended.
Additionally, his slur distracted
from the issue of the Holocaust

The skit was broadcast through
the air, reaching thousands of houses;
Israelis and Arabs, Jews, Christians
and Muslims. For me, it is a shame
that in the Holy Land, in the place
where Jesus loved all of us, Jew and

th is
man is
In the
he was
tidings, at

claimed to be responding, in double,
to some Catholic clergy who deny the
Holocaust by using joking "instead
of anger". I think the Holocaust issue
can be solved within academic and
political institutions, but it won't be
solved by mocking prophets of people

I think that no one should
abuse their liberty, their
fundamental free will that was
given to us before we knew
how to write, yet alone to write
laws about freedom and liberty.

the zenith of Roman

Imperialism in the Middle East, about
a promising future. Mocking Jesus
instead of respecting him is not fair.
Some people do not want to see
the national flag touching the ground
or being burned. I understand. In
the Middle East, many people love
our Prophets more than we love our
This particular statement was not
news only in Israel; it made the first
page on Arabic Web site Al Jazeera,
where the joke was described in great
detail, including how Jesus was "fat"
andthus cannotwalkon the water. Lior

who aren't
involve in
the- current
and who are
against the
I think

that no one
should abuse their liberty, their
fundamental free will that was given
to us before we knew how to write,
yet alone to write laws about freedom
and liberty.
Some may question why I'm
commenting on such things while
there are tons of other problems in
the world. But I would say that most
problems we face in the information
age are due to large circulation of
bad ideas. There are tons of other
problems in the Middle East, or here
in the United States, that are worth
speaking about. I think we should
give each other some attention.

Mocking Jesus

That'simy two cents for this one. -
This issue is not about freedom of speech or religious belief; it is about
respecting religious diversity and the
heritage of the Holy Land.
I. read on Feb. 22 in Haaretz that -
Lior Shlien did "apologize." I am =
glad for the apology at a face value, =
but not satisfied with its level,
especially because these insults were
pre-planned, heavily planned, and "
conveyed with the pride of Lior's =
personal values; it was not a 'quick
mistake.' The same column mentions "
that Prime Minister of Israel Ehud =
Olmert apologized, too. Also, officials
from the foreign ministry have said
that the skit won't be shown again.
This reminds me in some sense -
about the Prophet Mohammad
cartoon debate some time ago, when
no one apologized. I am glad that
this time at least some apology and
a promise of not airing it again was -
issued. Prophet Jesus should have
some respect in his homeland. -
The legal game will not build peace "
in the Middle East, but the moral E
standards will. I continue to pray for ,=
peace in the Holy Land. Peace in the
heart, in the mind and on the ground. "
Oh, and in broadcasting.
Questions? Comments? Contact Khader
at khader.abuelhaija@gmail.com

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Crossword #20

See next issue for solutions to this puzzle

1. Kudrow
5. Fourth letter of Alephbet
10. Imitate
13. Israeli city
14. Son of Gad
15. Jump
17. Songwriter Simon
18. Broke the eighth
19. Seder manner
20. Gilda's comedy revue
21. Not zaftig
22. Simcha state
23. Cheer
25. Delilah's dear
28. Israeli Prime Minister
31. Advisor to King Ahasuerus
35. Jewish street NYC
36. Belmont payoff
37. Purim drink?
38. Tu B'Shevat plantings?
39. Writer Jong
41. Not with meat!!
42. Son of Gad
43. Jonah's travel mode
44. Like Abel's fate
46. E. Lazarus poems
48. Shikker haunts
49. Equipment for Ben Shahn

51. Ten days long
52. Commandment no no
55. Commandment word
57. Son of (Seph.)
60. Negev climate
61. Zilpah and Bilhah
63. Diarist
64. Sisrah's temple piercer
65. Swift scribe
66: Fleischidic (Eng)
67. Bear false witness
68. Hagba'ah
69. Mt. Gilboa flower
1. Rounds for Spitz
2. Shushan country
3. Popular artist (2 wds)
4. Anti-Semitism fighter
5. Maccabiah race?
6. Chagall
7. Helmsley
8. Lamed (Eng)
9. Reason for shiva
10. Ending prayer?
11. Sukkah decoration?
12. Mizrach location?
16. Israeli dreidel letter
21. You, biblically
22. Leah and Zilpah

24. Shaw and Shamsky
26. 2,600
27. Singer songwriter Neil
28. Teva offering
29. Shema starter 2wds
30. Latkes and doughnut:
32. Ocean's Eleven, costar
33. Sagan subject
34. Use for Tzedakah
36. Shell _, Bearsted
40. Make aliyah
41. Used a shofar
43. Knesset position
45. __ Boesky, junk bond
47. Noodge
48. Hebrew letters
50. 58
52. "Yes I __", Davis bio
53. Sabin vaccine
54. Chanukah days
56. Immigrant's Ellis
58. B'rith
59. Biblical fishing tools
61. Damage
62. Yoelson
63. "Friend" to Montand

The curse of the Academy Awards show strikes again

SHPiEL staff writer

Feb. 22 has come and gone this year,
and while this date may have meant
nothing to some of you, to film fanatics
it was the Superbowl of the year. It was
the date of the 2009 Academy Awards.
This year's show was fulfilling; from
a huge toss-up for best picture, to a
seemingly assured victory for Heath
Ledger as Best Supporting Actor.
However, disappointment came in
the Foreign Film category. The Academy
Awards Curse strikes again, leaving
Israel in its dust.
Israel has been nominated eight
times for Best Foreign Film, tying
Poland for most nominations without
a win. That's right, while Israel has
produced countless great films that
have been recognized by the Academy,
not a single one has brought home the
coveted prize.
And unfortunately, this year was no
different. The animated Lebanon war
film "Waltz with Bashir," considered
Israel's best shot in years, fell in defeat
to the Japanese film "Departures."
But "Bashir" was not the only surprise
at the award show. Kate Winslet ended
up with the award for Best Actress
with her performance in "The Reader,"
beating Meryl Streep, whom many
thought would take the award for her

performance in
Yet not
everything came
as a shock that
fateful February
night. "Slumdog
Millionaire" stole
the show with eight
awards, including
Best Picture, beating
out rival film "The
Curious Case of
Benjamin Button"
in almost every -
An eventful
award show it was,
with many laughs
and acts coming
from many famous
actors (mostly
Jewish) such as Ben
Stiller, Seth Rogan,
James Franco and
host Hugh Jackman.
And now a new
film year is upon
us, though we'll
probably be waiting
another eight
months for anything
good. Look out for some great ones
from big-name directors like Tarantino
and Burton.

Until next year!
For a comprehensive list of all of this
year's winners, log on to Oscar.com

Nominee, Foreign Language Film

Nominee, Foreign Language Film

Nominee, Foreign Language Film

Nominee, Foreign Language Film

Nominee, Foreign Language Film

Nominee, Foreign Language Film

Nominee, Foreign Language Film

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Past Israeli

movie nods:


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Gainesville to celebrate Purim with joy

SHPiEL staff writer

Carnivals, dress-up, loud noise
and lots of alcohol are all things we
look forward to when March is on the
horizon. The Jewish holiday Purim,
whir. falls on March 10 this year, is
being marked by several events in the
Gainesville Jewish community.
Purim celebrates the bravery and
success of the Jewish queen Esther and
her uncle Mordechai, who stood up
against the evil Persian minister Haman
to save the religious freedom and lives
of the Jewish people.
Many Jews spend the holiday reading
or hearing from the Jewish biblical text,
Megillat Esther, the Book of Esther.
Congregants listen attentively as the
story is read, waiting to use their
noisemaker in protest when the name
of the villain, Haman, is heard.
Rabbi David Kaiman, religious leader
of Cbngregation B'Nai Israel, said there
are many messages that can be found in
the story of Purim.
"Part of the story has the underlying
message that with courage and strength,
we can overcome the obstacles that
threaten our people," Kaiman said.

Although the victory of the Jewish
people is important, he says it is the
celebration that stands out about this
"That message of letting go and
having fun, to me that's what's really an
important part of Purim," Kaiman said.
Talmudic teachings tell adults
to drink until they can't distinguish
between day and night. Synagogues host
carnivals where children are encouraged
to dress up as their favorite characters
from the Purim story. Families bake
hamantashen, a traditional Purim pastry,
to share with friends and neighbors.
"You can still learn lessons from
the Book of Esther, certainly you can
study it as a serious man," Kaiman said.
"But you need both the silliness and
seriousness to round out our lives."
Nehama and Asaf Tzur are a
.young couple raising two children in
Gainesville. While they don't agree with
labeling themselves within.a certain sect
of Judaism, they admit to feeling most
comfortable in an Orthodox service.
Both raised in Jewish schools, the
Tzurs recall those. silly times of Purim
as some of the best.
Nehama remembers that every year
on Purim, she met with a friend at the

same street corner to talk about the
happenings of the past year. She also
remembers her religious school putting
on skits that made fun of teachers and
Asaf said he always loved dressing
"I always wanted to dress up as
Haman, the villain, and I don't know
why," Asaf, said, adding that he thinks
there must be some psychological
reasoning to it.
Asaf also explained that drinking
with friends on Purim was always
"It brings out camaraderie and
loosens up conversation," Asaf said.
"All inhibitions were removed. The
Talmud says alcohol allows you to see
the true nature of a person."
Asaf and Nehama are excited for their
children to start making silly memories
of their own.
Coby, 2, is their youngest child.
Nehama says he's always being shushed
during synagogue services, so she said
she knows he'll enjoy the megillah
Congregation B'Nai Israel will have
an interactive Megillah reading with
a PowerPoint presentation for the

photo courtesy of kolored.

congregation to follow along. It will
take place March 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Following the reading. is the annual
Purimspiel titled, "The Megillah
According to Motown," where the story
of Purim will be sung to famous Motown
Purim carnivals will take place
the Sunday before and after Purim
at Temple Shir Shalom on Northwest
Eighth Avenue and at Congregation
B'Nai Israel on Northwest 16 Boulevard.

---dn IYeS
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Did someone say Om?

SHPiEL staff writer

"Meditation is the most powerful
and effective tool for being happy," Rav
Shaya Isenberg said.
Isenberg is leading a meditation
and contemplative living course at UF
Hillel this semester, teaching students a
series of techniques to quiet the clutter
of their minds and to empty their hearts
of fear so they will be able to open
unconditionally to love, he said.
Rev Shaya is the rabbi of Gainesville's
Pnai Or (Hebrew for "faces of light"), a
Jewish Renewal community. He is the
past director of UF's Department of
Religion and the co-founder and co-
director of UF's Center for Spirituality
and Health. After years of teaching and
receiving feedback from students, some
of whom he still keeps in contact with,
he said he realized that the teachings
which were most helpful were tools for
meditation since they kick start students
to find their individual spiritual paths.
Rev Shaya's grandmother spurred
him to find his own path. An Eastern
European Orthodox granddaughter of
kabbalists, she would spend her time
reading psalms and zuk tehillim, and
she inspired Isenberg to realize the
expansive internal space of forgiveness
and joy.
His mystical teachers include
spiritual renewalists Reb Zalman, Rabbi
Shefa Gold and Sylvia Borstein, who after
40 or so years of meditation, claimed

the practice
had made her
Sa little kinder.
-, ois harder to
_4 do than to
talk about. It
requires no
but does
require the
for exercising the mind, heart and spirit.
It teaches how to let go of the stories
or beliefs that generate disappointment
and suffering and offers insight into the
workings of the mind in order to control
it rather than be controlled.
Rev Shaya teaches radiance
breathing, a meditative breathing that
inhales light into the heart for it to
be exhaled into the world through the
Kabbalistic heart center or chakra,
Tiferet. He teaches a chant for the
morning prayer of gratitude, Modeh
Ani L'fanekha, and a chant for peace,
Shalom. This incorporates the eastern
chant of "Om," the sound from which
all physical reality manifested into the
Hebrew blessing for peace.
Meditation is scientifically proven to
reduce stress and strengthen the immune
system, so whether you're trying to
survive the semester or committing to
reunite infinite divinity, the class meets
in mindfulness at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays
in the stain-glass-windowed library at
Hillel. Peace be with you.

--- i---- --- ----;~ ~-T~~~~.;i~;l*t~~: ~i7';~-`~~ liri~S
i ;i;L~c~I;n ~1~?i~4if~i~~
.-.;rf; "'~l~cf~t~,p;

.Ai I A 5