The Shpiel ( March 21, 2006 )


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The Shpiel
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The Shpiel
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Creation Date:
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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).

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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oclc - 65370113
lccn - 2006229065
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Material Information

The Shpiel
Alternate title:
Physical Description:
v. : ill. (some col.) ; 35 cm.
The Shpiel
Place of Publication:
Gainesville Fla
Creation Date:
March 21, 2006
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
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 65370113
lccn - 2006229065
System ID:

Full Text

MARCH 21- APRIL 3, 2006 5766 ID'J 5 1TN 21

Israeli Crime Boss Receives Elie Wiesel

Free Trip to Miami Sits Down with

By Kimberly Gouz
While UF students packed their bags for week-long cruises
and flights to Europe, notorious Israeli mobster Zeev Rosenstein was
boarding a plane from Tel Aviv to Miami.
But Rosenstein, 51, would not be partying in his bathing suit
on South Beach or drinking sangria with Miami's visiting Gators. In
fact, Rosenstein brought along only one spring break accessory for his
overseas excursion: a pair of handcuffs.
Rosenstein was extradited on March 6 from Israel to theUnited
States to face charges of involvement in a drug ring that distributed
more than 1 million Ecstasy pills in Miami and New York. If convicted
by the U.S. court, the underground kingpin could serve up to 20 years
in an Israeli prison.
"I'm not afraid of anybody,"
'Rosenste n told Yediot Ahronot, an Israeli
adailh. "I fear only God. Never has there
Seen such a horrific case of the law so
gross JI dstorting and bending facts."
U.S. prosecutors have described
WRosen toein as one of the world's most
ae anted drug traffickers. The Al Capone
,of Israel's underworld, he has avoided
Zeev Rosenstein conviction for alleged drug trafficking,
among other illegal activities, with the
exception of serving a five-year stretch in an Israeli prison for armed
robbery in the 1970s.
Rosenstein has also managed to elude several hit men, in
addition to the police.
Noam Ben Tov, the Israel Program Director at Hillel, said
he went to school with a man in Israel who was allegedly hired to
assassinate Rosenstein.
"We were in school together when we were 15," Ben Tov
said. "I remember playing soccer with him."
Ben Tov said his acquaintance was discovered by the police
before the assassination attempt was carried out. He heard rumors that
the almost hit man was sent to the United States after he was found out
by the police and became a state witness.
Even if the plot had been carried out, the odds would have
been in Rosenstein's favor; the gangster has survived seven known'
assassination attempts.
One such incident took place in December 2003, when a
group of Rosenstein's rivals set off a bomb on a Tel Aviv street, aiming
for Rosenstein. Although he escaped with scratches, three passers-by
were killed and 18 others were wounded.
Campus Rabbi Jonathan Siger remembers how the episode
affected an Israeli friend.
"I remember [he] was so upset that he didn't even want to talk
about it," Siger said.

(continued on page 2)

The Shpiel

An Interview with Dr. Elie
Wiesel and The Shpiel's
Rabbi Yonah

The Shpiel had the unique opportunity to get a little one-on-one time with Dr. Elie Wiesel. Dr. Wiesel. The
interview highlights the warmth of this scholar and activist. Dr. Wiesel definitely knows how to Shpiel!

Rabbi Schiller: This young generation of Jews has often been described as one that is starting to define its
own sense ofJudaism, not comingfrom institutional Judaism. They are coming from a place offiguring out
what Judaism means to them...
Elie Wiesel: What does it mean to them?

RS: Well that's the question: it means a lot of different things.

EW: I believe in questions. Questioning is good. What makes a Jew Jewish? Why should a secular young
Jew today want to be Jewish? It's a very good question, and you are the Rabbi, you should try to answer
it. (Rabbi: I try.) Or at least deepen the question. In the Talmud, the beautiful thing is when a question is
answered with more questions.

RS: How would you say creativity fits into your Jewish life, your Jewish practice?
EW: I don't see it any other way. All that I do must be creative, because I am both a teacher and a writer,
that is all I do. I think teaching is learning, creative learning, and writing is also learning, so I learn how
to transfrom an experience, a creative experience and, therefore, each time I come into a classroom, to me
it's a new creative experience. I don't think I've ever given the same course twice in 36 years. I have to be
ready and open to new interpretations.
(continued on page 4)

Jews with Tattoos

By Drew Harwell

Justin Berk has an extremely Jewish grandma. He says she's ridiculous. She made her husband eat kosher,
even on his deathbed, when his doctors told him it was keeping him sick. She sent Justin to Sunday school,
although he said, "that wasn't me." She sticks to all the normal dishwashing procedures expected of her as
an Orthodox Jew. She's even yelled about how people with tattoos should not be allowed burial in Jewish
Imagine her surprise when Justin began working at a tattoo parlor.
Justin works at BodyTech, a body modification parlor at 806 W. University Ave., as a piercing
artist. A hollow 3/4" ring stretches his earlobe, his dimple and labret below his bottom lip are pierced, and
he's covered in tattoos: his back displays a homed devil, there's a chili pepper on his nipple (his first at age
19, and still one of his favorites), and on his arm rest a king and queen. At the dinner table with his grandma,
Justin covers his tattoos. She's the reason he hasn't gotten his neck tattooed yet. "I still like to see her."
(continued on page 3)

Eyes on the News
A Righteous Spring Break
From the Foreskin
Dear Rabbi

Full of Shirt
Editorial Cartoon
Fool Facts
Through the Veil

What's Happening
The Jewish Month
Son of a Latke
Liver Love?
Youth: Matisyahu


Page 2 The Shpiel

Elie Wiesel Continues Fight Against Hate

By Cara Bowen-Goldberg
In order to achieve a lasting peace, this generation must take responsibility for tragedies past and
present, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel said March 6.
"There is a response in responsibility," Wiesel said. "This century is not mine. It's yours."
In his speech to an audience of over 1,700 people at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts,
Wiesel addressed a broad range of topics, including Jewish-Christian relations, the recent Muslim cartoon
riots, and modern anti-Semitism. Despite the gravity of these topics, Wiesel often took a humorous tone.
"Jewish-Christian relations have never been as good," he said. He described how, as a boy, he would
cross the street when walking by a church. Now he is no longer afraid, he said. He added that Christians
"should give up trying to convert Jews. You have problems with yourselves. What do you need us there?"
But Wiesel noted that there is much work to be done on improving relationships amongst human
beings. There is still a need to build bridges with Muslims, he said.
Wiesel spoke of the need for moderation and the dangers of extremism. "We must not yield to
certain temptations," he said, giving the example of religious fanaticism. He said that when people commit
acts of violence in the name of religion, they "turn their God into an accomplice."
Wiesel sees as part of this problem the recent Muslim cartoon riots, said to be in response to drawings
of the prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper. Wiesel urged a more peaceful response to such
incidents. "I can swear to you in the presence of the Sefer Torah [the Five Books of Moses] that Moses didn't
look like [Charlton Heston]," adding that no one rioted about the film "The Ten Commandments."
In addition to Jewish themes, Wiesel spoke on universal topics, noting, "The Jew in me
can attain a certain universality from within my Jewishness." Wiesel discussed anti-Semitism as a cancer, and
as.symptomaticof the 'sickness' of hate. "I thought anti-Semitism perished with its victims in Auschwitz,"
he said,. "but the Jews perished, the hate did not." He urged the audience, as members of their generation,
to take responsibility for fighting hate in the world. "When a community of men, women, and children is
threatened, it threatens every single community in the world, whether they know it or not," he said.
Wiesel stressed education as the key to this responsibility. Addressing the threat of nuclear war and
bioterrorism, he said, "Whatever the answer, education must be the principal component." Wiesel is himself
an educator, a professor at Boston University. "Education is in order to sensitize," he said. "The opposite of
love is indifference. The opposite of life is indifference, because it is so convenient."
"We are trying to give you the tools to save your century," he said. "Among those tools is
responsibility one you should never give away." Wiesel acknowledged that this is no easy task. "The
questions are eternal. The answers are not."
"We cannot free all the [unjustly imprisoned] prisoners, we cannot cure
all the world's ills. What we can do is say, 'you are not alone.'"


A Righteous Spring Break

By Kimberly Gouz -
Last week, Shelby Parish spent nine hours a day on a roof in .
No, she isn't an astronomer gazing at the-stars or a crazy spring breaker
looking for an interesting place to lie out in the sun.
The second-year political science najor was one of eight University of Florida students who travelled
to Mississippi with Hillel International to rebuild houses devastated by Hurricane Katrina last August:
Parish and her colleagues spent their spring break atop a Mississippi.home, stripping off broken
shingles, removing old roofing tar and installing new roofs.
"We lived in tent-like things called pods that are basically 6-by-6 cardboard houses," she said. "It's
not the most comfortable thing, but there are people here.who are living in much worse conditions."
As part of their daily routine; the UF students woke up at 5:45 a.m. to do chores before making the
20 minute drive from Gulfport to Biloxi, Miss. Some made breakfast; others prepared lunch or cleaned the
tent areas and port-o-potties. Then, at around 8 a.m., the group would pile into a rented van, amongst piles
of roofing equipment, and head down roads of rubble.
"If you've seen pictures of the Oklahoma City bombing, that's what it looks like,'. said Campus
Rabbi Jonathan Siger, who led the UF mission to Mississippi. "There is a marine with us who is back from
Iraq and he said it looks just like Fallujah. These buildings look.like they've just exploded."
Julianne Weinzimmer, a graduate student at Duke University, was one of the 140 other students
who traveled to Mississippi last week as part of the Hillel mission. She was paired to work with the UF
students on a house in Biloxi, Miss. Weinzimmer described how one woman she met was forced to seek
shelter in her attic during the hurricane, after water flooded into her home.
"Her family went up to the attic with their dogs and cats, but then the water in the house reached
the attic and they had to punch a hole in the roof," Weinzimmer said. "This woman and her family, including
her 88-year-old mother-in-law, climbed onto the roof and into a tree."
Hillel International will bring about 450 students from colleges across the U.S. to perform service
projects in New Orleans and Mississippi during their spring breaks.
Rabbi Siger said he is proud of this exceptional group who traded their spring break vacations for
something far less glamorous.
"These students, instead of going off to some exotic beach to get drunk and have sex are
spending their spring break helping others," Siger said. "They are laying shingles instead of each other."

Eyes on the News

S College students f rm around the world will participate in
a mock Israeli election. Some 50,000 young people outside
of Israel are expected to vote in the mock election to be
held in advance of Israel's March 28 vote.

The United States may increase humanitarian aid to
the Palestinians at the expense of aid earmarked for the
Palestinian Authority, Condoleezza Rice said. The Bush
administration has withheld funding from the Palestinian
Authority since Hamas won parliamentary elections in
January, but called for support to continue to nonprofit
organizations dealing with the needy in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip.
o Israeli plans for further unilateral separation from the
Palestinians are a "declaration of war," a Hamas leader said -
regarding Israeli interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's
plans to unilaterally withdraw from much of the West
Bank by 2010, while maintaining large settlement blocs:
"Unilateral Israeli disengagement from the Palestinian
territories is a declaration of war against the Palestinian
people," Khaled Mashaal said Friday.

A Hamas prime minister could be a target for assassination
if he is involved in approving terrorist attacks, Ehud Olmert
said. "Anyone who is involved in planning terrorist attacks
would be a legitimate target for liquidation," the interim
Israeli prime minister told Yediot Achronot.
In its proposed platform for the next Palestinian Authority -
government, Hamas reiterated its right to "armed
resistance" against Israel. The focus of the plai flrm. \. luch
was submitted to P.A. President Mhhmoud Abbas last
F i di.. is to establish an independent Palestinian -tate v ihll
Jerusalem as its capital, and implement the 'right of return"
for Palestinian refugees, Ha'aretz reported.

S A U.S. House of Representatives committee
passed legislation expanding sanctions against Iran. The
Iran Freedom Support Act passed 37-3 Wednesday in the
International Relations Committee and now goes to the full
-, House -- where, with more than 340 sponsors, it's virtually
guaranteed passage. A similar bill is circulating in the

Israeli Crime Boss

(continued from p.1)

"Those in Israel have to deal with terrorist attacks and out-
and-out violence, and to see additional violence that is coming from
internal elements within the society is heart-breaking."
Rosenstein's extradition has brought attention to Israel's
increasingly brazen underworld. Although Israelis are accustomed to
violence with their Palestinian neighbors, they have traditionally felt
secure from threats by other Israeli citizens. In recent years, however,
the mob wars have caused additional security fears.
According to the Associated Press, the situation has become
so serious that the U.S. warned its citizens in a recent travel advisory of
the dangers of Israel's organized crime wars, where mob bosses target
each other with bombs and anti-tank missiles.
Rosenstein's capture, although a great achievement for the
Israeli police, has extinguished only one of several reputed mob clans.
While Israeli criminals will probably fight over control of
what is left of Rosenstein's crime business, his heir apparent is the
Abergil crime family from Lod an organization that has led a deadly
battle against the jailed underworld figure over the past several years.
Rosenstein made his first U.S. court appearance on March 7 for
a brief hearing before Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer, in which he did
not enter a plea. A second hearing was set for March 28 for Rosenstein
to enter a plea and to determine if he will be released on bail.

S t h, e s h p i e 1


0 9



The Shpiel Page 3

From the


On Not Being Repulsive

By Will Pafford

Thousands of years before Anna Nicole Smith and Dr. Atkins,
the Jews had a monopoly on diet fads. They call it keeping
kosher and it's probably the most enduring diet trend except-
for maybe Weight Watchers.
The Biblical book of Daniel tells us that dinnertime
at the Babylonian court was revolutionized after Daniel proved
that eating vegetables and water like the servants was better
than the food and wine enjoyed by royalty. Subsequent verses
detail the intensity of the purple-nurples everyone gave Daniel
for replacing the royal food with tap water and lima beans.
But sometimes being healthy is more important than the smug
power that comes with eating everything beneath you on the
food chain. Yes, that includes dolphins, and no, kittens are not
off the hook. So in the spirit of Daniel, I've decided to take the
kosher challenge.
Like most 10-year-olds my mental age, the very
thought of not being allowed to do something makes me want to
do it infinity times more. In preparation for keeping kosher, I'm
doing every disgusting thing I can think of before my period of
pious self-denial.
The first thing I tried to do was kill two Goliaths with one stone
by boiling some ham in milk for lunch. Then I realized that's
gross. So instead I decided to make a meat shake. The first thing
you do when making a meat shake is invite that girl over who
was acting-a-fool at your house last Saturday night. Next, mix
ice, slices of ham, milk and ice-cream in a blender. Finally, take
a few sips of your refreshing pirik concoction. Proceed to throw
up all over the aforementioned girl. That's how they handled
that type of thing in the Old Testament, except I think they used
goat in the shake back then.
A quick survey of things I can't eat during the challenge
includes Jell-O, because it's made of discarded animal parts;
Spam, because it's made of discarded animal parts; and Vienna
sausages, because I hate Vienna sausages. As far as I can tell,
keeping kosher is pretty much about not being repulsive. The
only rule I can really see myself having trouble with is the, "no
tearing the limbs off alive animal" restriction. I'm notorious for
eating the limbs off of an animal while the rest of it stays alive.
It keeps my meat fresh, like a crisper drawer.
So goodbye ham sandwiches, steak dinners with "fully-loaded"
baked potatoes and ice-cream for dessert. Sorry, but you make
me unclean. While I'm at it I am dumping gelatin in all its
forms. I know we were never that close to begin with, but you
should know you're a ridiculous concept and I don't like you.
Man, I feel better already.
Stay tuned for more adventures in kosherdom as I try to keep
the scheme a-swingin' for an entire week.

Our textbook store is just around the corner from Hillel,
and our trade store is just down the street.

"Global in scope; local in color."
1717 NW 1st. Ave. 3433 W Univ. Ave.

1 Jews with Tattoos


S t h e s h p i e 1


0 r g

(continued from page 1)

Two blonde surfer dudes walk into BodyTech with clapping sandals and hold the door open for a
man in a black hoodie, black basketball shorts, and black sneakers. He brushes his dreadlocks to the side
and rolls up his sleeve, showing an employee a young woman with tattooed arms in blue jeans and a black
band t-shirt his new tattoo and asks about maintenance. An older woman looks at roses on the display
boards; next to her a mother and her 17-year-old daughter gaze at snarling tiger faces and swirly tribal mark-
There are boards devoted to butterflies and roses and suns with grinning faces. Others show Chi-
nese dragons, bleeding daggers, hot rods and naked women. Display cases hold pierced prosthetic ears,
noses, lips and genitals. Two naked, taupe statues, a man and a woman, protrude out of the wall. They look
proud of their facial piercings and dragon tattoos.
In the waiting room there are black leather couches and cable TVs. The room is dimly lit with black
and red lights, although an EXIT sign glows faintly near the window. The employees play dance club music,
then contemporary hard rock, then Hilary Duff. A phone straight out of an office building rings behind a
door for Employees Only. Multicolored letter magnets at the
reception desk spell out BODYTECH on neatly labeled fil-
ing cabinets. The front window displays the mug of a mean-
looking pierced bald man. He doesn't seem to mind the Hil-
ary Duff.
The tattoo room smells like clean. It's far from the gritty,
cramped space of some of the smaller parlors. The floors are
black and white tile and there are four leather reclining chairs
at the covers of the room. There are Bounty towels, Germ-
X soap, Dixie cups and the vines from a windowbox on the
counter. The tattoo gun is clean brushed metal and not very
intimidating. There's not a needle in sight. BodyTech looks
less like a tattoo parlor and more like a hair salon.
A tattooed man sees the shirtless Justin posing for -
a picture and fakes vomiting. "Ew! What size bra you wear,
dude!?" he yells. Justin pulls his white polo shirt back on,
places his black hat on his closely-shaved head and adjusts
his torn blue jeans and grenade belt. Justin jokes with the ,:;
man and escorts another couple into a room for a piercing.
"Nervous?" the man asks, and the woman responds with a .
low murmur. She's nervous.
She has nothing to worry about. Justin's been giv- .
ing piercings for nine-and-a-half years. He gave himself a
tattoo once, although he says he has "no art skills whatso-
ever." What makes Justin rare in the business of body art
is his connection to Judaism. Justin would never call himself Jewish, and prefers the title "American whose
religion is Jewish." For Justin, Judaism isn't who you are: it's a religion, with its own rules, traditions, and
belief systems, and in Justin's interpretation of Judaism, religious tattoos are a powerful statement of faith,
commitment, and self-expression.
Many Jews would disagree. The Halacha, or Jewish law, states in Leviticus 19:28 that "you shall
not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you." Some believe that, because
we really just "borrow" our bodies from God, imprinting ink upon flesh shows contempt for the body. Some
maintain that a Jewish person with tattoos cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery, although most rabbis treat
this as a myth. Still others believe tattoos are an affront to the victims of the Holocaust, a time when Nazis
tattooed serial numbers onto the bodies of millions of Jews.
With only three words, Justin disagrees: "Times have changed." He says the inflexible Halachic
laws form a steep contrast to other non-Jewish laws, which are revised everyday. "People change, but they
don't let the religion change with them."
Diana Cohen, a Jewish grad student in Political Science and Sociology, calls religious tattoos "per-
manent confirmations" of devotion. When she got her first tattoo, her mother cried, but it has since become
a non-issue in her family. As for Justin's grandma, she didn't accept his tattoos until, Justin says, "she finally
realized it's what I do." Progressions from uproar to understanding are increasing in the Jewish commti-
nity, as Diana believes many Jews are beginning to challenge some of the historical laws and traditions of
Orthodox Judaism. "There's a story behind every tattoo," she says, and these stories solidify identity and
individuality for Jews and non-Jews alike. Instead of focusing on the breaking of biblical law, Diana feels
tattoos can be positively used as memorials or declarations of faith. Regarding the Nazi tattooing of Jews,
she says, "A mechanism used to hurt can be used as a mechanism to celebrate."
Justin and Diana aren't the only ones to think like this. Justin sees Jewish men and women come in.
for ink work, piercings, or touch-ups'at least once a day. At BodyTech, the most popular Jewish tattoos are
Stars of David and letters in Hebrew. Diana attributes the explosion of tattoos, especially among 18-24 year
olds, to the increasing visibility of academic research, like Clinton R. Sanders' Customizing the Body: The
Art and Culture of Tattooing, and to media focus, like TLC's "Miami Ink". Companies have begun cashing
in on the craze: Dover Publications once produced a booklet of temporary tattoos aimed at kids age 4 to 8
(continued on page 4)

Page 4 The Shpiel

Wie'ie all going to -Hell
so don't iorrn about it.
.,... \Well, sort of It depends
on what you mean by
Hell. Rebbi Nachman (b. 1772) was fond of saying that what we
go through in this world is much worse than going through Hell
(Gehenim). Strange, I thought that Judaism was all about life:
valuing life, respecting life, getting the most out of life.
True and true. We walk around with an inherent tension.
See, we are of two worlds. There is something called the "Soul"
(Neshama), every person has one. It is that place in us where we
keep it real. It is from this place that our love emanates, our passions
bum and our inner peace.chills. The Torah teaches us that our Souls
were "blown" into our bodies. This is where the marriage of "body
and soul" took place. Souls like to keep company with the soulful
stuff. On the other hand, our bodies like tangible, tactile and stuff-
I-can-get-my-hands-around type stuff.
Judaism has a novel approach that looks to quell the
opposing drives of the body and soul. In order to avoid an all-
out war, and a fall into not-speaking terms, the Jewish perspective
seeks to fully integrate the two worlds. That's right; Judaism has
this radical idea that scarfing down a meal or tossing a football
can actually be a holy experience. It depends on our head-space.
The Jewish outlook aims to elevate the physical world in order to
reveal the inherent spiritual nature within all things. Our spiritual
evolution is determined by the type of lens with which we see the
Gehenim (Hell for Jews) is an accelerated time slot where
we do clean-up on what we didn't finish in this world.
Please shelve the images of red devils, pitchforks and uncomfortably
humid weather, and we can begin to talk about Jewish Hell.
Hell really doesn't discriminate, Hell. no, Hell is for
everyone! The good news is that it is only temporary,
for the overwhelming majority.
Aside from the few who have reached a
satisfying level of self-perfection or, on the contrary.
those who are exceptionally evil, Gehenim is a spiritual '
stop-over, a purification pit stop. Many of our sages t 'iv
describe this transition period as a time in which we '
learn how to let go of our investments in the physical -
world and adjust to our newfound disembodied
(spiritual) orientation. The Talmud likens the departure
of an unsavory type from this world to pulling cotton from a thorn
bush. The cotton tears and pulls as its connection to the thorn
bush is almost inextricable. In contrast, the righteous individual's
experience of leaving the world is described as being as seamless as
removing a single hair from a bowl of cream a smooth transition
due to an already worked-out perspective on how to live the good
life, kosher-style.
So, in a nutshell, Jews don't believe in Hell, we believe
in Gehenim. The concept of Gehenim tells us to make sure that the
soul's in the saddle, pulling the reins. The marriage of body and
soul is a happy one only when there is good communication and
when the soul, your better half or higher self, is calling the shots.
Rabbi Yonah

All comments or future Dear Rabbi questions should be sent to
Rabbi Yonah at ravyonah@ufhillel.org

Jews with Tattoos
(continued from page 3)

called "Jewish Holiday Tattoos," although the title has since been discontin-
ued. Even David Blaine, a popular magician, had writer Primo Levi's concen-
tration camp number tattooed on his arm as a show of support. Justin believes
that more Jews are getting tattoos now than ever before, a statistic he credits to
changes in religious interpretation, personal preference, and self expression.
Nevertheless, for many Jews the religious interpretation of not printing any
marks upon your body is crystal clear. The factors which Diana, Justin, and
other Jews support body modification with self expression, personal identity,
and contemporary times are viewed as weak points by some: Jews with tat-
toos are breaking a law, and any justification they give is inadequate.
Justin equates a religious tattoo to a yarmulke both powerful
statements of belief. He goes so far as to say that tattoos are more compel-
ling because they represent a "commitment for life." He tells the story of I
Matisyahu, a Hassidic reggae artist who asked his rabbi if his art was okay -
in the eyes of God. The rabbi replied, "Does it hurt anyone? Does it bring '
you joy?" Tattoos, for Justin, function the same way. However, not all Jews
agree on this controversial issue, and the traditional belief that tattooing is unlawful, degrading, and unac-
ceptable is likely to stay popular. The issue of tattooing, then, becomes one of acceptance: many Jews will
choose to remain with traditional and longstanding beliefs while others, like Justin's grandmother, will
come to realize that, in Justin's words, "it's just what I do."

Elie Wiesel Interview
(continued from page 1)

RS: Do you have the same approach to your Jewish practice, in terms of never letting it get old?
EW: It's not the same thing. I study Talmud every day. I love it. And I come back, you must come back,
to the same page, and you must repeat; the Talmud is based on the Mishna (code of Laws), and the word
mishna means to repeat. But in repeating, you learn always something else. It's like removing layers, and
layers and layers, and you go deeper and deeper and deeper. Each time I open the same page and study the
the same Talmudic parable or the same aspect of Jewish law, there's something new.

RS: In the language ofa student,what is the 'coolest'thing about being Jewish?
EW: What?
RS: Coolest.
EW: Coolest...Ahhh (laughs). I think you know it is an aesthetic, a sense of beauty. I think for the Jew, again
I repeat, for the Jew to be Jewish is a very beautiful experience. To read in two periods at the same time, in
the past and the present, the past is in the present. To do things that our ancestors did
three thousand years ago, say the same things, is good ethics, but it's also beautiful.
Here we are, 2000 years later, and we read the same page, and we hear the same voice,
and we deepen the same event with new meanings along with old. There is beauty in
it. The. Jews meet on Yom Kippur and say the same prayer, all over the world. Show
me another nation that does that. I don't believe that we are better than others...but as
S'Jews, we should try to make it better.

RS: What is your source ofjoy?
EW: From my son, actually I just became a grandfather.(Rabbi: Mazal Tov!) I live
among young people, so to be with students. I don't have only Jewish students; I have
more non-Jewish students, but to be with young people is a joy for me.

RS: You are involved in so much work for human rights. Is there a Jewish value you employ in this work?'
EW: I do it as a Jew. I do what others are doing, and I do it as a Jew. Always. I never stopped that. All my
work for human rights, and I've been involved probably in every single aspect of human rights in my adult
life, and it was clear. I made it clear: I do it as a Jew.

RS: When you think of doing it as a Jew, is there one aspect you have in mind?
EW: I believe we should be responsible for what we are doing and be sensitive to other people's pain If
you are walking in the street, and somebody falls, someone has an accident, do you check his ID? Whether
he's Jewish or not? You come and help him.

RS: What is one ofyour fondest Jewish memories?
EW: Shabbat.

RS: Shabbat at home?
EW: Shabbat at home.

t h e s h p i e o r g

W W -W

The Shpiel Page 5
)QOQ OOQO(^OC)Cu' cCliQi~ai :ic'OiCiOOOv,.)C\C\ c\rOOOOOOQ

Don't Give Me

That Shirt

by Josh Gellers

I bemoan the influx of Jewish
culture into mainstream society. Take,
for example, a memory from my summer
spent as an intern in Washington, D.C.
One of my roommates, "Willy," had a
flair for controversial attire. One morning,
as I was preparing for work, I noticed Willy had on a peculiar
shirt. It read, "Everyone Loves a Jewish Boy." Recognizing the
lame humor in this slogan, I asked Willy if he himself was Jewish,
obviously expecting a yes. To my surprise, although Willy had a
Jewish-sounding last name, he was not a Torah-toter.
I delved a little further and found out that another shirt
read "Everyone Loves a Jewish Girl," and was adorned with'dollar
signs. This shirt presented a horrifically stereotypical representation
of Jewish girls and Jewish people overall. Though no longer printed,
a larger point does surround this anecdote.
Elements of Jewish culture, for better or worse, have
permeated our society thanks to pop culture icons such as Jerry
Seinfeld, Madonna, Monica and Ross Geller from "Friends" and
cartoons such as "The Critic" and "Family Guy." While I enjoy
these shows, writers and directors have to be careful when depicting
our religion on the big and small screens. Too many times aspects
of Jewish culture that make it onto various media platforms only
reaffirm stereotypes we have long fought to squash. One episode of
"Family Guy" depicts the stereotype that Jews have a penchant for
handling money. This episode was responsible for the show's initial
cancellation. For desperate members of the show-biz community,
injecting a little Jew-related humor into movies and television is
assumed to be virtually harmless.
While these shows might be justified as comment's on
society, slogans that possess a blatant disrespect for the Jewish
culture, such as the one Willy wore, exist outside the realm of any
meaningful context. The fact that Willy was gay may lend some
credence to his decision to wear the shirt; as he might have preferred
Jewish men, but merely seeing him with that shirt on while walking
the streets does nothing to further any positive sentiment about
Judaism. The female version of the shirt was even worse, so bad
,in fact, that the Anti-Defamation League forced retail giant Urban
Outfitters to stop selling it.
So for all producers, directors, writers, publishers, editors
and especially designers of pathetically trite T-shirts, listen up. The
next time you decide to infuse Jews into anything, stop and think
about what you are saying and how another minority group would
feel if a similar message was being presented. If you fail to do this,
you might find yourselves faced with litigation. And everyone
knows all lawyers are Jewish, right?

gifts of


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(352) 379.1272

rovNbrcaulcaiont ov your e-irc neirn mike_ &k pe~
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Fool Facts
Talmud A written
account of the Oral
tradition. Now if it is
supposed to be the "Oral"
tradition, then why is it
written? Go figure. It is
difficult to learn, but with
proper guidance, it will
be only be extremely dif-
ficult. Contrary to com-
mon knowledge, most of
what we think of Judaism
,today comes out of the

Hasidim Devotees
of the teachings of the
Ba'al Shem Tov and his
various students; these
"pious ones" stressed the
importance, among other
things, that you've got to
put your heart into it.

Mitnagdim Not devo-
tees of the teachings of
the Ba'al Shem Tov and
his various students, these
"ones who are against"
stressed the importance,
among other things, that
you've got to put your
head into it.

Halacha This word
refers to Jewish law,
although it literally
means "path" or "way"
"Not all wanderers are
lost." -JRR Tolkien

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S t h e s h p i e


o r g

Fee 6 The Shpiel

Sephardic Shabbaton
Come out for Hillel's first-ever Sephardic Shabbaton on March 24-25. Services will be lead by
Shimoh Buskila. Contact Shimon at Shimon@ufhillel.org or by phone at (352) 284-9313 for more
Friday, March 24 at 7 p.m; Services followed by a free Sephardic-style meal at about 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m.; Services followed by lunch

The Whole Shpiel and Nothing but the Shpiel


1 A winter sport that
can be either a dance
or a race
10 Hold a sword by this
14 A Scandinavian
15 The world's only
snow loving species of
16 A favorite cookie
17 Either a temptress
or a warning sound
18 Star Trek bad guys
for whom "Resistance
is Futile"
19 A car company or
food with something
extra added (Abbr.)
20 Midwestern state
21 To be present at an.
24 A part of India that
was once Portuguese
25 A word that belongs
26 Food only a pig
would eat
28 Long slippery
dweller of streams
31 You can jump or
throw a ball through it
33 A reverse no
34 In the past, and a
favorite way to start
fairy tales
36 Negative
37 Open area around
which a house is built
38 A female deer
39 Used to hold
clothes on a line
40 Particular time 14
41 Brash
43 Miners search for 17
45 To treat too kindly 20
47 A literary genre
filled with space
ships and time travel
49 Approximate
52 A negative
unconnected to a
tangled rope
54 Silly people
56 Sad old horses or
constant complainers 47
58 A middle degree
- (Abbr.) 94
59 To leave out
60 A singular false- 59
61 A city in
Afghanistan 7
63 Contends with
64 Michael Jackson 7T
was this

66 A borrower is
__ something
67 The sound of a letter
68 An element (Abbr.)
69 To move furtively
70 Outlaw
71 A doll wearing 32


1 Not outdoors
2 To loop, especially
cord or rope
3 To make a mistake
4You can pick this up
at the gym
5 A Germnnan philoso-
pher who sounds
unable to do
6 What Canadians put
at the ends of their
sentences H
7 A Greek or
Russian religious
painting M
8 People who wear A
pocket protectors
9 Ajoke T
10 A non-kosher I
way to claim all S
the limelight
11 A kind of radia-
tion (Abbr.) A
12 Danish build- H
ing blocks UL
13 Red fruits tradi-
tionally thrown in
displeasure Y
18 Prior to after .A
22 Many of this is
used to chew food

23 Needs more than
some appeal to win
24 To make happy
27 Ground hugging
Australian marsupials
29 Direction (Abbr.)
30 A company identifier
31 Dislikes intensely
32 Narrow and sharp
metallic object used to
hold fabric together
35 To move from a
39 Jewish holiday full
of unleavened bread
42 Records that
revolve slowly (Abbr.)
44 I.ies down
45 A book is made up
of many of this
46 A modern day
inhabitant of an Italian

city or a member of an
ancient empire
48 A long-term hunger
50 A decorative design
where one material is
set into another
51 A household servant
53 Permanent body art
55 A favorite food of
57 A greeting
60 Scandinavia's best-
known musical product
62 A tall slender grass
65 Deadly virus
70 Part of a wedding

D E S E A. H O U N D
R 0 TJ C .H O L E N T I N
A gB-- U N B A R M T N
B Z U N I J Al A B B

Reading through the Veil

By Cara Bowen-Goldberg

My top two favorite quotes:

"Neurosis is always a substitute for genuine suffering." Carl
Jung (1875-1961)

"Reading poetry in translation is like kissing through a veil." -
Chaim Nachman Bialik (1873-1934)

While the first quote certainly has a Jewish-ness about it,
the second quote is the one from a Jewish guy. Bialik isn't just any
Shlomo-Shimo, however he is the most famous modem Hebrew
poet, and Israel has even claimed him as her national poet.
As a student of Hebrew literature, 'majoring' in a
'minor literature,' Bialik's words describe the often exasperating
scenario that is my life. I feel like a groom waiting at the altar for
what seems an eternity, and only one thing keeps me on my feet
hidden under that stubborn, oppressive white swath is the most
beautiful person in the world.
And so it is all worth it. The waiting alone is full of joy.
Even if you never learned the alef-bet, it's worth it to get
a taste of modern Hebrew literature. Hebrew writers can be found
in every genre, from the early parables of A.B. Yehoshua to the
graphic novellas of Etgar Keret to the trope-heavy S.Y. Agnon.
For many of us, Hebrew is associated with siddurs
(prayer-books). Our Father this, Our King that, etc. Back in
Sunday school, I only knew there was a country called Israel
and that people spoke Hebrew there, and I figured their throats
probably got pretty sore from all the "chhha's" and stuff.
Many years liter, I found myself at UF in a literature
course with Professor Hasak-Lowy and read my first Hebrew
novel in translation. The book was Past Continuous, by Yaakov
While reading that novel, I felt as though a voice was
speaking to me from inside myself. It was an intimate reading, at
once scary and wonderful.
Nothing in my trusty siddur had warned me about-this.
Somewhere out there a living, breathing Hebrew, a revitalized
and updated language, was flourishing on lips, in minds and
across pages. Before that class, I never thought that the language
that was 'mine' and 'ours' really could be my language and that a
Hebrew author could make sense of things in a way that Dickens
or Shakespeare or even Joyce never could.
Reading modern Hebrew literature has brought me back to
an interest in my roots. It has introduced me to people and legends I
never knew existed and opened doors to once-darkhallways.
It is a literature that is in some ways universal, but at
the same time, inextricably bound with something particular,
steeped in Jewish history and Jewish ideas. For Hebrew authors,
writing often means writing the stories of the Jewish people, but
these narratives are not merely a retelling of a greater narrative.
They are discoveries, revelations, elaborations and revisions.
Hebrew writers transform, problematize and even re-enact
Jewish history.
If you're interested, there are also at least twd Hebrew
literature-related classes offered every semester at UF.
I've started the long process of learning a language as
an adult, but I am yet unable to read Hebrew literature in the
original. I hope the day comes sometime soon because my feet
are really starting to hurt up here under the chuppah, and I will
need some strength left in my legs so I can break that symbolic
piece of glass.
In the meantime, all I can do is fall hopelessly in love
with the translations, getting closer and closer all the time, still
dreaming of what waits for me behind the veil.

t h e s hh p i e 1


. o r g

The Shpiel
The Jewish News er at
The University of Florida
Volume 1 Issue 3

Executive Director


News Editor/
Production Manager

Columns Editor/
Letters Editor

Arts &
Entertainment Editors

Director of Operations/
Public Relations

Senior Copy Editor





Copy Editors


Art Design/
Photo Editor

Layout and

Layout and

Rabbi Yonah Schiller

Michal Meyer

Kimberly Gouz

Adina Thompson

Carly Cohen
Alison Meyer

Elisa Negrin

Laura Jones

Paige Butensky

Zalman Lubotsky

Tara Goodin

Marc Kantrowitz

Will Pafford, Shira Kramer
Josh Gellers, Tracy Block
SJennifer Tamayo, Ivette Mendez,
Allison Schiller, Adrienne Browne

Jennifer Harnish

Cara Bowen-Goldberg

Michal Meyer

David Greenberg

Special thanks to Hillel at the University of Florida

Come visit our

website at


What's Happening

March 21
-Talmud Anyone? a Talmud Class, no
experience necessary. Contact Rabbi Yonah at

March 22
-Adam V'Adama Sunset Yoga with Priel at Hillel
5:30 p.m.
-Chick Flicks at Hillel 8:00 p.m.
-Israeli Film Festival Co-Sponsored by ISO

March 23
-Torah Class: Med N' Munch at Shands Medical
Complex Lecture Hall 12:00-1:00 p.m.
-Kook with Koach at Hillel 5:00 p.m.
-ReJewvenate at Hillel in the Library 6:30 p.m.
-Speaker Jamie Lynn Sigler Co-Sponsored by
Accent and WHM Rion Ballroom 8:00 p.m.
-Knitting at Hillel in the Living Room with Allison
8:00 p.m.
-Israeli Film Festival Co-Sponsored by ISO

March 24
-Relay for Life at the O'Connell Center 5:00 p.m.
-Shabbat Services at Hillel 6:30 p.m.
-Torah Class: Soul Strings with Rabbi Berl at
Chabad 6:30-7:30 p.m.
-TGI Shabbat Friday Night Live at Chabad 7:30
-Shabbat Dinner at Hillel 8:00 p.m.
-Improv Theatre Company at Hillel 9:30 p.m.

March 25
-Shabbat Morning Services at Chabad 10:15 a.m.
-Koach Shabbat: services with FREE lunch at Hillel
10:30 a.m.
-Krash with Koach at Chabad 7:00 p.m. Free pizza
and ice cream!
-Relay for Life at the O'Connel Center

March 26
-Poker Tournament at Hillel 8:00 p.m.
-Koach Rock Climbing email Max Horovitz:
-Speaker Michael Chabon at the Phillips Center,
Numerous Sponsors

March 27
-Meditation on Mondays with Rabbi Siger at Hillel
in the Library 6:30 p.m.
-Movie Night and Discussion: Munich at the Reitz .
Union 7:30 p.m.
-Sports Program with Bennie at Hillel in the Sports
Lounge 8:00 p.m.
-Adam V'Adama Yoga with Asaf at Hillel 8:30 p.m.
-Torah Class: PikeLAvot with Rabbi Berl at the
AEPi House,8'45-9:45 p.m.

-Israeli Election Party at Hillel in the afternoon
-Noam and ISO Cafe B'Ivrit at Orange and Brew
6:00 p.m.
-Women's Chodesh Club: Burning Bright 7:30 p.m.
at the home of Mrs. Dara Cohen 4437 NW 35t Terr
-Learning Series: Winning the War on Terrror at
Chabad 8:30-10:30 p.m.
-Talmud Anyone? a Talmud Class, no
experience necessary. Contact Rabbi Yonah at

t h e s h p i e 1 o r g

The Shpiel Page 7

The Lunar Calendar
By Mazal
Lose your fins and scales; we are trading in the
fish of Pisces for the ram of Aries, climbing
in with the Jewish month of Nissan. Halfway
through this month we will celebrate Passover,
so Nissan is symbolic of freedom, life and
rebirth. In Hebrew, Passover is often called Chag
Ha'Aviv, the Festival of Spring, and as we know
by looking around, spring is here: the flowers
have bloomed and we have all returned from
Spring Break with suntans. Enjoy the weather,-
the Matzoh and the four cups of wine, then, as
Passover comes to an end, we can learn from a
Moroccan tradition. As the light begins to fade
on the last day of the holiday, Moroccan Jews
celebrate 'Mimouna' in which people stop over
at the homes of friends and relatives to bless
them. The guests are welcomed with food and
drinks. So as you wander home from class today,
drop by someone's apartment, look into the
bright future and enjoy a cool beverage.

March 29
-Hookah'and Cigar Night at the Reitz Union North
Lawn Co-Sponsored by HSA 7:00 p.m.
-Holocaust Memorial event email Russel Semmel:

March 30
-Torah Class: Med N' Munch at Shands Medical
Complex Lecture Hall 12:00-1:00 p.m.
-Rosh Hodesh Celebrations: Nisan at the home of
Allison Schiller 8:00 p.m.
-Adam V'Adama Sunset Yoga with Priel at Hillel
5:00 p.m.
-ReJewvenate at Hillel in the Library 6:30 p.m.
-Chick Flicks at Hillel 8:00 p.m.
-Knitting at Hillel in the Living Room with Allison
8:00 p.m.
-Nice Jewish Girl/Nice Jewish Boy Pageant at
Hillel 8:00 p.m.
-Open Mic Night in the Living Room at Hillel 8:00
p.m.-11:30 p.m.

March 31
-Shabbat Services at Hillel 6:30 p.m.
-Torah Class: Soul Strings with Rabbi Berl at
Chabad 6:30-7:30 p.m.
-TGI Shabbat Friday Night Live at Chabad 7:30
-Ivy League Shabbaton at Chabad 7:30 p.m.
-Lecture Series: Cantorial Shabbat hosted by Rabbi
Levi Kaplan at Chabad 7:30 p.m.
-Ruach Chiam Weekend: Rami Shaprio at Hillel
-Shabbat Dinner at Hillel 8:00 p.m.
-Improv Theatre Company at Hillel 9:30 p.m.

April 1
-Shabbat Morning Services at Chabad 10:15 a.m.
-Lecture Series: Cantorial Shabbat Mussaf, led by
Rabbi Kaplan at Chabad 12:00 p.m.
-Kiddush Lunch with Rabbi Levi Kaplan at Chabad
1:00 p.m.
-Let's Talk Torah a torah Class with R. Yonahat
Hillel, 3 p.m.
-Torah Class at Chabad 4:00 p.m.
-Stop n Go JewDate at Chabad 9:30 p.m.

April 2
-Spa for Body & Soul $20 for female students only
at Chabad 1:00 p.m.


___ ___ ~' '~ '~ ~

Soul of a Latke
By Michal Meyer and Danielle Blankstein

Roaring up to work on a 21-year-old BMW 1000 motorbike, few people look less like a chef than
H4lel's Ray Hopper.
Ray started young, cooking in his father's restaurant as a teenager. Discovering a long-lost relative
in Florida pushed him out of Maine, out of the kind of place, he says, that has nine months of winter and
three months of rough sledding. The kind of place, he adds, that only started to flourish economically the
moment he left.
"It's honest work. It's iot selling bundles of real estate debt. It's real," Ray says of cooking. He
leIned from people who had their roots in classic cooking, and his principles still hold firm. "In the same
way that cooking is honest work, the preparation
has to be honest also. A lot of what people call
the new cuisine is kind of ridiculous and has
more to say about the egos of the people doing
.- it than of what the customer wants."
Looking to start a restaurant in the
i I area, Ray drove around Gainesville and found a
vacant storefront downtown. "Everything fell
into place," he says. "It was almost mystical."
He opened Pura Vida in 1995, and ran it for six
years. Hillel was his next big thing.
The Brambouraky recipe below once
Triggered a spontaneous debate about Jewishness
as applied to the latke. Asked to make latkes for
Hopper is under strict supervision of the Orthodox Rabbinical Board (ORB) Hanukka a few years ago, Ray came up with this
in order to keep it kosher. Hanukka a few years ago, Ray came up with this
Czech recipe, one which retains the essentialness
of the true latke, but with added flavors. When he brought a batch to the Hillel front office, the debate began.
"Because it had garlic and caraway some people thought "it's not traditional," that maybe it will alienate the
students, and I said, 'It's still a fried potato!'" Tradition won out until now.
"I still think it's one hell of a latke," Ray says. "The difference between Brambouraky and a real latke
is that this is better with'sour cream and beer. You could put apple sauce on it, but it's not that kind of latke."
Note that the amount of flour added to the ingredients varies with the moisture content of the
potatoes; the more moist the potato, the more flour should be added.

Brambouraky Latkes

2 lbs. Redskin potatoes (grated
with skin on) .
? 1 large onion (grated)
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. leaf marjoram
2 pound flour

oil for frying (pan fry both sides in a skillet)

Combine all ingredients, season with salt and pepper
for flavor. Fry a small amount to test seasonings,
adjust as necessary. Add flour as needed. When
frying, aim for thin and crispy latkes.

What Am I, Chopped Liver?
By Elisa Negrin

We did try to find someone who likes chopped liver. We
failed. People made faces at us, and even gagging noises. One person
called it human dog food, another said that just the smell of chopped
liver proved all the nasty things that people said about it. A third told us
that it has the "consistency of congealed sand, with the added benefit of
knowing you're eating a vital organ."
In its natural habitat, chopped liver is found with sauerkraut,
egg crimes and rye sandwiches. What starts out as a shiny, wobbly,
blood-bubble metamorphoses into a reluctant pureed spread with a
delicate grey-brown shade. Simply saut6 the liver of either a chicken
or a cow (warning: never use the liver of a polar bear, apart from its
unkosherness, it packs a poisonous dose of vitamin A, enough to kill
you ) add two hard boiled eggs, a cooked onion, schmaltz (a thinly
disguised euphemism for animal fat), salt and pepper, and grind it all
up. The result has enough fat and cholesterol to put you on the fast
track to a triple bypass.
So why do people eat it? Unlike other foods we've reviewed,
we have absolutely no idea. If anyone out there has a good reason,
please tell us. Seriously.

The Classifieds at The Shpiel

Place a classified ad in our upcoming edition for only $5.
Your ad will appear over a two week period.
For more information contact Elisa at biz@theshpiel.org

You Can't Fool the Youth

By Leo Stein

In the newly released Youth, the upcoming
star of Hassidic Jewish Reggae goes a little more
mainstream. Unlike some of Matisyahu's dub
experiments in the past, most of the music on Youth
relies on the simplistic fusion of reggae with early
90's rock. The distinctive blend lacks the emotional
energy evident in the Live At Stubb's recording.
Nevertheless, Matisyahu provides a fresh breath of
musical air. Tracks like the short, unplugged "What
I'm Fighting For," and "Jerusalem," a testament to
the importance of the holy city convey the artist's
frightening humility.
But don't categorize the artist with only
religious music. The true power ofMatisyahu lies in his
rapping and beat-boxing, his use of reggae,*and most
importantly, the depth of his lyrics. As a Hassidic Jew,
his messages run from attaining spiritual connection
and avoiding earthly attachments "Stay away from
quicksand and false pleasure" to reaffirming his
belief's in God "If I forget the truth than my wdrds
won't penetrate."

This album, however, exemplifies a slight
commercialization for him with digital effects that
remind me of trite hip-hop samples. "Time of Your
Song," sounds like a new version of Bone, Thugs,
and Harmony's "Crossroads" with the cliched
chorus harmonies and elementary scatting.
"Late Night in Zion," the best track of the album,
relies on his voice to illustrate his emotional
convictions. With lyrics such as "A man is just
a man filled with thoughts and weakness," the
track represents a plea for listeners to connect
to something beyond themselves. Though his
Jewish foundations drive Matisyahu's direction,
his message is not to follow him into Hassidic
Judaism, but to become attuned to a more
spiritual understanding of oneself. In Youth, the
repeated message touches on a principle of self-
actualization: we can do a lot for the world, but
thatjourney starts from within. It's positive energy
in a music that transcends genres to reach into the
heart of everyone Jammin' enough to listen.

. t h e s h p i e 1


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