The Shpiel ( October 2, 2007 )


Material Information

The Shpiel
Alternate title:
Physical Description:
v. : ill. (some col.) ; 35 cm.
The Shpiel
Place of Publication:
Gainesville Fla
Creation Date:
October 2, 2007
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:


Material Information

The Shpiel
Alternate title:
Physical Description:
v. : ill. (some col.) ; 35 cm.
The Shpiel
Place of Publication:
Gainesville Fla
Creation Date:
October 2, 2007
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

20 Tishrel 5768 3 Cheshvan 5768 October 2, 2007 October 15, 2007

M. -- -

Stay 21 Forever, God Willing

SHPiEL staff writer

You're 21-finally old enough to
buy liquor for your own birthday
party but still not old enough to be
labeled, well... old. While we all wish
we could stay 21 forever, perhaps
only the Christians among us will.
Forever 21: an interesting name
for a store that incidentally prints a
verse from the Gospel of John on the
bottom of its plastic yellow shopping
"For God so loved the world
that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth
in Him shall not perish, but
have eternal life." John 3:16
Some wonder whether the store
name "Forever" means that the souls
of those who believe in Jesus shall

live forever.
SHPiEL staff reporters made
several phone calls to the Forever
21 corporate office, sending an e-
mail to an administrative executive
.and leaving voice messages. We were
still unable to get an interview with
anyone about the message printed on
the bags.
Customer service associates
were not allowed to disclose any
information, but did say that the
verse is what the owner wanted on
the bags.
Yet, this incidence of a private
business reflecting the owner's
Christian faith doesn't stand alone. A
simple Google search indicates that
several other big businesses, such
as In-N-Out Burger, Starbucks and
Heritage 1981 to name a few also
print verses from the Bible, on burger
wrapping paper and the bottom of

Starbucks cups.
So is the writing on the bags a
reflection of the owner's faith or
just meant to send an inspirational
message in an effort to boost faith in
the human spirit?
Naturally, countless shoppers
have been disgruntled by the store's
underhanded attempt at preaching,
and this group does not exclude
In a blog entitled "The Fashion of
the Christ" on Corpwatch.org, blogger
Brooke Biggs said even though she
was born a Christian, she doesn't
appreciate open manifestations of
faith by private businesses.
"I was raised Christian and some
of my favorite people are Christian,
but ... I think freedom of religion
is rockin' especially when it keeps


Green Mermaid

Seduces Gators

SHPiEL staff writer

Big things founded in Seattle: Bill
Gates, the grunge movement, the
Seattle Supersonics and Starbucks.
Founded in 1971, Starbucks
experienced a huge expansion in
the '90s, opening a new store in the
U.S. every business day-a trend that
continued into the early 'OOs. But the
conquest continues. A Starbucks is set
to open in the University of Florida's
Reitz Union in late fall.
Starbucks has taken over the UF
just as it's taken over most of the
caffeinated world. In just under a
year we've acquired three Starbucks
It took UF about the same time to
add as many championships to its



The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4





advertises Christian heritage

SVolts emitted by a police issued Taser
Facebook groups about Andrew Meyer:
States that still use the electric chair as
a form of capital punishment:
Percent of people who support Meyer
being Tased in a Naples Daily News Poll:
Amps it takes to stop a healthy human
Year the National Hockey League team
Tampa Bay Lightning founded:
Average annual deaths in Florida due
to lightning strike:
Minutes in which you must complete
the Egyptian level on 00 Agent mode in
GoldenEye 64 in order to get the Taser:
Copies of Metallica's sophomore album
Ride the Lightning sold:
High score in"Don't Tase Me Bro"on











Ha rpergo l d stei n blatt-1 s

LT.21 'V "; 01 ,i I I .- 1 1* I.LL
(35' 3f1321,2 FAX

0-d Met Op..W.

Campus Life,
universities in tt
that the Univers
school in North,
of Central Florid
with 5,000 Jewi
published in Ri
2007 issue.

your higher power out of my public
spaces," Biggs wrote in the blog,
which was published July 26, 2006.
Biggs's entry has kindled several
responses, many from Christians.
"M. Delano" suggests the company's
message is hypocritical.
"They sell shorts and skirts that
are cut as high as possible, and
shirts that are cut as low as possible
- in turn teaching young girls how
to dress suggestively. They then
turn around and give money to
organizations that support pro-life
causes and abstinence. How are you
missing this???"
University of Florida student
and Baptist Collegiate Ministry
member Daniel Burleson stands
neutral ground on the issue, taking
this assertion of the brand owner's
Christian faith at face value.
"Being the creator of the brand,
the owner has a right to put whatever
he wants on his product," Burleson
"He's just
using his
position as U
owner to say,
'This is what "MOst
I believe in,' "M ost .
not, 'You
have to The Jewish [
believe in a report from I

The Only Student-Run Jewish Campus Newspaper in the Country, Right Here at the University of Florida

Lori Finkel

Managing Editor
Giselle Mazur

News Editor
Joshua Fleet

Scene Editor
Douglas Sharf

A & E Editor
Danielle Torrent

Executive Advisor/Mentor
Rabbi Yonah Schiller

Chief Visionary
Leo Stein

Layout & Design
Jackie Jakob
Laila Simonovsky

Photo Editor
Jeremy Fields

National Affairs
Hilary D'Angelo
Corey Smithr-

.this if you want to buy my clothes.'"
Annie Song, a junior at UF and
also a devout Christian, comments
that the company's message is part
of its right to freedom of speech and
that because Forever 21 is a private
business, consumers can choose to
shop there if they please.
"I don't think it's that big a deal
-or worth getting controversial over,"
Song said. "It's on the bottom of the
bag, and a majority of Americans
already know that verse whether
they're Christian or not. I doubt
they'll go home and look it up."
In any case, at least one non-
Christian student doesn't seem to
be too fazed by miniscule Biblical
references hidden in wrappers, cups
or the Forever 21 bags.
"I think it's just pointless because
no one is going to get anything
out of some verse pulled from the
Bible," said Hindu Students Council
president Jaya Goswami. "And who
actually looks at the bottom of the
bags anyway?"

F Named

Jewish School"
)aily Forward recently covered
lillel, the Foundation for Jewish
which listed the top Jewish
ie world. The Forward reported
ity of Florida is "the most Jewish
America," boasting 5,500 Jewish
students. Behind UF, the University
a ranks second in North America
ish students. Hillel's report was
form Judaism Magazine's Fall





The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4

starbucks set to open in Reitz Union


But it seems students won't be
abandoning Starbucks any time soon.
There are 14 located in the city, four
on the University of Florida campus
and one more on the way. The
numbers may seem a bit excessive,
but no matter how crazy people
call it or how much they complain,
Starbucks is doing a great deal of
business. The store in Library West
is always bustling, and people at the
Hub will wait 10 minutes for a bagel
at Einstein's and another 15 minutes
for their iced vanilla non-fat no-whip
Although Starbucks has succeeded
in colonizing Gainesville, not to
mention a great deal of the U.S., the
company has failed to do so in Israel.
Today, Starbucks still has strong
ties to Israel. Though, not the sort of
tie that brings a store to every street
corner. The first Starbucks opened
in Tel Aviv in 2001 and the company
hoped to expand to at least 20 across
the nation by the end of 2002.
Starbucks had six stores all in and
around Tel Aviv before exiting the
nation in 2003.
It seems that to battle the
Frappacino you need a certain Aroma

in the air-Israel's
own coffee giant
Aroma Espresso Bar
had too strong a
presence across the
nation to let Starbucks
walk in and take over
its territory. Now,
Aroma is playing the
Starbucks card, trying
to settle elsewhere
across the world (see
SHPiEL Issue 3 for f
Despite the
company's failure
in Israel, Starbucks
and the Israel have a
strong relationship
to this day. Howard
Schultz, CEO of
Starbucks, describes
himself as an active
Zionist. He was awarded the Israel 50th
Anniversary Friend of Zion Tribute
Award for promoting a close alliance
between the United States and Israel.
He donates more and more money to
Israel each year and always urges the
Jewish community to be active about
their support for Israel.
However, the Starbucks Corporation
is very careful to deny that there is
any close alliance between itself and

Israel. They've issued statements
claiming that neither the corporation
nor Howard Schultz himself funds
the Israeli Army directly.
Three people founded the
company: a writer, Gordon Bowker;
an English teacher, Jerry Baldwin; and
a history teacher, Zev Siegel, who left
the company after a few years. Before
his coffee days, he was a true Zionist,
supporting the land now known as
Israel in its pre-Israel infancy.

Siegel illegally immigrated
to Palestine in 1947 to join the
Haganah, the pre-Israel military
force, because his Hillel director at
George Washington University had
encouraged him to do so.
The first overseas Starbucks
opened in 1996 in Tokyo. Stores
outside of North America now
constitute almost a third of all
Starbucks stores, following the
example that McDonald's set before.

The Saffron Uprising: Buddhist monks protest military

SHPiEL staff writer

Pools of blood and strewn sandals
littered the street as protesters fled
the approaching police in Yangon, the
main city of Myanmar.
The conflict in Myanmar between
the pro-democracy protesters the
.country's repressive military- nta
was suppressed on Friday, Sept. 28,
after a week of violence.
Led by students and opposition
political activists, a wave of anti-
government protests in Myanmar
(formerly known as Burma) began
on Aug. 15, rallying against a 500-
percent rise in fuel prices to the
already repressed nation. However,
since Sept. 18, protests have been
led by thousands of Buddhist
monks, reflecting a long-standing
dissatisfaction with the military
Protests began in early September
when the Myanmar military, called
the Tatmadaw, broke up a peaceful
demonstration in the city of Pakokku,
injuring three monks.
In retaliation, other monks took
government officials as hostages the
next day, demanding an apology by
Sept. 17.
The military refused, sparking

protests by increasing the numbers of
monks protesting after the withdrawal
of religious services.
The monks' demands broadened
to include the release of all the
military's political prisoners,
including opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi, a pro-democracy activist,
is the leader of the National League
for Democracy'(NDL).
In August of 1988 a national
peaceful revolution called the 8888
Uprising demanded democracy with
student demonstrations in Rangoon,
Burma. The 8888 Uprising ended in
mid-September 1988 after a bloody
military coup by the Tatmadaw killed
thousands of monks and civilians.
Myanmar has become one of the
poorest nations in Asia in its 45
years under military rule. Nineteen of
those years it has suffered under the'
current junta.
In 1990 the military junta called
for a general election. The NDL won
the election decisively. Its candidate,
Suu Kyi, would have assumed the
position of prime minister. However,
the results were nullified, and the
junta refused to hand over power.
The result was an overwhelming
cry for freedom.
Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel

Peace Prize in 1991 for her peaceful
and non-violent struggle against
the military dictatorship. After the
nullified election, she was placed
under house arrest.
For almost two decades she has
been detained and unable to leave the
In May 2007, Myanmar extended
her imprisonment for yet another
year, preventing her from assuming
her elected role.
On Sept. 22 approximately 2,000
Buddhist monks marched through
Yangon and 10,000 marched through
Mandalay. Five other demonstrations
occurred in major townships
throughout Myanmar.
Protesters marching through
the capital were allowed tq pass
the house of Suu Kyi. Although still
on house arrest, she made a brief
appearance from inside her gate to
accept blessings from the Buddhist
By Sept. 24 eyewitnesses reported
up to 100,000 people demonstratingin
Yangon, the largest anti-government
protest in 20 years. The next day, the
junta threatened extreme force on
demonstrators. However, over 2,000
monks and supporters defied the
threats and marched through army
trucks to the streets of Yangon.

On Sept. 26, as truckloads of
armed soldiers and riot police were
sent into the streets, dusk-till-dawn
curfews were imposed in the cities of
Yangon and Mandalay.
The next day, security forces raided
monasteries across- the country,
arresting atleast 200 monks in Yangon
and 500 more in the Northeast. Still,
more than 50,000 protesters filled
the streets. By the evening, 13 people
,were reported dead.
The full number of casualties has
not been established.
By the end of the week, tens of
thousands of monks were successfully
sealed in their monasteries but
attacks continued from civilian
demonstrators in Yangon.
The UN General Assembly broke
the long period of exclusion with
the junta in an agreement to send
Ibrahim Gambari, a special UN envoy,
to Myanmar.
With its close ties to Myanmar,
China's Prime Minister Wen
Jiabao agreed to work together on
international efforts to solve the
crisis, according to a New York Times
report. President Bush has focused
his attention from the west to the east
and thanked China for persuading
the junta to allow the visit of the UN



The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4

0d. a~ liCe: dQf 9areclA feld

Dear SHPiEL,

For those of you who know me, or
only know me through my column,
you've probably picked up that I'm a
pretty sexually-charged person.
Well for the past two weeks-I
haven't been... charged.
I mean like, at all.
No daydream (or nightdream)
fantasies. No hitting on guys just
because they're there. No getting
nervous around the ones I find
attractive, and no more movies titled
with poorly written sexual puns. It's
been the most free I've felt since,
well, even before childhood (see:
Girls are generally conditioned
to need a boyfriend ("Meet any guys
lately?" My mom bellows in her
Jersey drawl, to which I only scoff). I
quit feeling that ingrained urge.
As I mentioned in a previous
article, I don't care if I go home
alone and in fact cherish the ability

to sprawl across the whole mattress.
And I spend my time doing things
I want, instead of conveniently
arranging my schedule around a
guy's plans.
I guess I'm learning how to un-
condition myself.
But I can't really put a finger (ha!)
on how this sexual numbness began.
I remember feeling the complete
opposite of what I just described,
and then WHAM! (yeah, like the '80s
band) one day I woke up like this.
Since then, I haven't been dictated
by my hormones, but the other way
What I mean to say is, my
thoughts and actions are completely
controllable. It's like when the
staunch Christian girls in high school
snapped the rubber bands they
wore on their wrists when thinking
about something they ought not. My
brain is that rubber band, minus the
masochistic red mark!
I've also been less inclined to

drink. I can focus on my studying
and reading. Just the other day, I
picked up D.H. Lawrence's novel,
"Sons and Lovers," and focused on
the gorgeous imagery of the pre-
World War II era English countryside
rather than the ahead-of-its-time
racy content the author was so loved
and banned for.
But that's just it: Why the f-k am
I reading Lawrence for the imagery?
Why am I making such sane,
domesticated decisions, turning
down dates and drinks? After all, I'm
still young and in college. When will
I once again stop looking at guys as
just regular people who only want to
have innocent conversations about
literature and politics, and start
remembering that, oh yeah, who
freakin' cares I've read Ferlinghetti-
it's because they want in my skinny
Yes, okay. I've learned my lesson
about letting niy hormones control
me. .nd it's been an informati e

vacation, but when will my body
decide I-can come (ahh, puns) home
again? I'm getting quite home-
sick-ready to leave this saintly

L "

Three Times Fast: Ahmadinejad sells seashells by the sea shore

is that dude
With a mullet
at a Colorado
SRockies game
._ Drunk off of
Busch Light-
every time he
opens his mouth he pisses people off
and hasn't accomplished anything in
his current employment.
Except how Ahmadinejad
oversees a nuclear power
program-the mullet guy oversees
his Ford F-150.
One man unhappy with
Ahmadinejad's repertoire is
Columbia University Dean Lee
Bollinger, who tore the Iranian
president apart in his introduction
to speak at the esteemed school
on Sept. 24. Dollinger said right
to Ahmadinejad's face that he is a
"petty and cruel dictator" and ranted
on for another seven minutes on
issues that imply Ahmadinejad as a
stain on the world's jockstrap. And
all this before the Iranian president
was given a chance to speak.
Now Ahmadinejad is a bad man, and
the Jewish people have every right to
fear and loathe him (especially in Las
Vegas). He wants Israel "wiped off the
map" and believes the Holocaust is a
"fabricated legend," but I don't even
think I am rude enough to invite him

to speak at my school and then go
on a seven minute rampage directly
exposing his every depraved ideal
while insulting him to the ground.
Oddly enough, the 25,000 Jews that
live in Iran aren't rude enough to
do that either-they condemned
the impoliteness of Ahmadinejad's
reception despite his anti-Semitic
viewpoints, which speaks a lot for
their character. Or maybe they are
scared shitless of what would happen

He behaves like a true gentleman a
gives off this likable impression tl
almost forces you to listen to him. A
when he smiles-those soft lau
lines clearly visible-the world smil

if they had applauded Bollinger.
But why is the world so afraid of
President Ahmadinejad? Why-it is
because he is "brazenly provocative,"
as Bollinger put it? His country's
economy is in shambles and
politicians in Iran talk of impeaching
his ministers and perhaps even
him. He harbors and funds terrorist
organizations, but that was going
on before Ahmadinejad's reign. He
claims the Holocaust's existence is
debatable, but what is that going to
change? Human rights are in jeopardy

in Iran, but wouldn't they be
if any theological hardcore
fanatical Muslim were president?
He's really not that scary-just
provocative. And isn't that all that
Paris Hilton is, too? Eh, maybe
she isn't so much provocative as
she is just scary.
In all seriousness, the main
reason he is such an issue to
the US is his opacity on nuclear
power research, promising that
the research is not going
towards weapons. I am a
nd huge proponent of nuclear
hat research for alternative
energy, but can you
nd blame him for wanting
gh to build some nukes?
es. Israel is pretty close to
Iran and has hundreds of
undocumented nuclear
weapons. Logically, it
would be prudent in the name of Irai
defense for Iran to have some, too. spe
Then again, Ehud Olmert doesn't
run around blatantly admitting he
wants Iran wiped off the map.
As an independent nation, Iran at
least has the right to be deliberately
ambiguous about having nukes like
Israel. Ahmadinejad says he respects
the Jewish people (bullshit cough)
and does not want war with anyone.
Because's he's such a pacifist hippy.
Plus, he is SO polite! He behaves
like a true gentleman and gives off

nian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
eaks at Columbia University, Sept. 24, 2007.

this likable impression that almost
forces you to listen to him. And when
he smiles-those soft laugh lines
clearly visible-the world smiles. His
response to Bollinger was that a guest
would never be treated in Iran as the
dean treated the Iranian-president.
Then Ahmadinejad publicly hangs
homosexuals and holds Holocaust
denial conferences-maybe he's not
so hard to hate after all.

"A_,.- X"

---- -- ----- -------- ---;--------- ~-~~~i- ~-~
17 Z r

The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4

Thinking Outside the Lox with Rabbi Yonah

SKeepin' it Kosher

We can't
eat crabs,
c r o %v s
X canines and
J udaism
cares what
we put in our
mouths and,
ultimately, in
our bodies.
There are the classic categories
of things that are kosher and things
that not. A big myth out there is that
you get an old holy rabbi, arm him
with a blessing and poof. .. Kosher!
That would be convenient, but just
wrong. That makes things kosher
is the product of interweaving a
multi-layered application of, in
some cases, numerous halachic
(Jewish law) principles. But all of
those principles are too many to
list in this column without boring

myself and you, although I will
throw out a few basic ones to
stimulate some thought.
No eating milk products with
meat products. That's right, no
more Beef Jerky dipped in Vel\eeta
for breakfast. Kosher land animals,
in general, are the ones that chew
their cud
food and When picni
bile-if you
liked it the aquarium do
first time, about samplin
maybe it'll be
even -better it, unless it ha
the second)
and have split
Pigs: they wear the right hooves
but disappoint in the cud-chewing
performance. Cows have wonderful
hooves and chew on their bile and
food combo beautifully.


With regards to the birds, we
ha e a list of non-kosher species
that generally rule out birds of
prey. In fact there is a theme in
kosher animals: kosher animals
can be loosely classified as being
domestic or docile. We don't eat
lions and tigers and bears...we run
away. Bugs
are out for
:king at the the late
S afternoon
i't even think s n a c k
the local about option,
fins and scales, there in
is a species
of locust that is actually kosher,
But one should steer clear, even
in Yemen, because it is just nasty.
When picnicking at the aquarium
don't even think about sampling
the local about it, unless it has

fins and scales. That rules out all
the lobster, crabs, shrimp, scallops
and oysters. pretty much the
crustacean family.
Judaism encourages us to
ask "Why?" before we say, "Why
not?" More important that the
conclusion one comes to, is that
we are in process, in movement.
The backbone of keeping Kosher is
developing an allergy to stagnation
and self satisfaction.
In a narrow sense, kosher
considerations can be a chance to
take an often overlooked activity
of eating and raise it to a exercise
in self-awareness. Within a wider
perspective, the kosher thing can
heighten a general consciousness
where making decisions can be an
opportunity for self reflection.
Questions? Comments? A topic you
want addressed? Hit up Rabbi Yonah at

The Gainesville Daily ..

Statement *
U -'-t

State legislature

weighs in on

Taser controversy

SHPiEL staff writer

The University of Florida
Taser incident is only the most
recent in a long controversy
over police use of Taser
brand stun guns. Previous
controversial incidents have
involved screaming 6-year-
old girls, pregnant women
and recalcitrant hippies. Over
the weekend The Florida
Legislature passed a law to
address citizens concerns
about Taser use. The new
law officially criminalizes
"being annoying" and makes
it punishable upon sight by

In case you've been
spending too much time at
The Sloppy Gator to know
what's goin' on, here's the
summary: Andrew Meyer,
UF student, asked visiting
Senator John Kerry too many
embarrassing questions
at the end of his speech
and generally wouldn't
shut up. The University
Police Department moved
in to restore order to the
madness that was Meyer's
questioning. They politely
mobbed Meyer and gently
escorted him onto the ground.
Meyer, desperate for even
more attention, begged to be
Tasered, saying "...Tase me,
bro" repeatedly. The police
When not annoying
senators, Meyer. is a
contributing writer for an

obscure left-wing campus
newspaper called The Shpiel,
which is best known for
its fanatically anti-Israel
editorials and anti-Semitic
Students at UF are vocal
on both sides of the new
legislation. The anti-police
College Anarchists are
waging a letter writing
campaign, urging Gov.
Charlie Crist to veto the
new law. You may recall
them as the group that held
a protest after the incident,
attended by nearly 10 people.
College Republicans are
writing letters too, urging
Crist to sign the bill. They are
most recently remembered
for barbequing Hare Krishnas
and eating them in a protest
against vegetarianism. Crist
is set to make his decision
some time next week.

Notice: This is not spam.
Spam comes in cans and is
yucky stuff made from the
offal of pigs. This is political
satire only partially derived
from pigs. Thanks for
reading. I hope you enjoyed
it. Ifyou did, you are probably
cynical and dejected about
the state of the world. All
previous stories are viewable
at http://groups.yahoo.com/
group/GDS-list/.If you are
getting this as a forward and
want to be on my mailing list,
Subscribe to it by sending an
email to GDS-list-subscribe@
yahoogroups.com. If you
are a state-worshiping
fascist/Republican who
thinks I should be publicly.
disemboweled for writing
such blasphemy, you may
unsubscribe by sending
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The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4

"Eastern Promises" Mobs, Mishaps and Mediocrity

Movie Maven

If you've ever wanted to see a
naked Viggo Mortensen fight two
knife-wielding gangsters on the floor
of a Russian-style sauna in London
Town, "Eastern Promises" is worth
And by naked, I mean
very naked. Too naked-- '
"Borat" naked. Spoiler
alert! Oh wait, was that
supposed to go before or
But let me say, in I
Aragorn's defense, he's in
damn good shape for 48.
I never wanted to be in
the Russian mob before, and after
watching David Cronenberg's latest
movie, I remembered why.
Set in present-day London amid
the interwoven lives of seedy Russian
immigrants and one righteous
British midwife, the thriller stars
Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and
Vincent Cassel. Two sudden, graphic
deaths within the first five minutes
of film, and the story's set to unfold
inexorably. Neatly, though not always
The British midwife/nurse, played
by Naomi Watts (not Vincent Cassel,
though I'm sure he could have pulled
it off) discovers a diary belonging to

one of the departed souls.
Watts' character, who lives with
her widowed mother and a visiting
uncle, determines to translate the
contents of the Russian-language
diary. The secrets inside implicate a
Russian crime family, but that ain't
gonna stop this hard-nosed midwife

3 out of 5 Chai fives

from getting' to the bottom, d
By shining light into the lives of tl
others, the nurse hopes to cast away tl
the shadows in her own past (tear) it
with stubbornness reminiscent of a
poorly written Jodie Foster character. c
Watts' role is predictable and plain, b
but at least she plays it well. d
So this Russian mob family deals h
in "imports and exports," which in tl
this case means importing young girls p
from the old Soviet-block countries b
to serve as slave-prostitutes. o
Hence, "eastern promises:" u
promises of a better life for the
young and poor who are down and
out in the East. It's basically a PR n

ord for human trafficking.
The movie abounds in gory and
raphic imagery showing the worst
uman weakness has to offer.
admittedly, life is an R-rated movie,
sometimes it's even X-rated, but I
'onder if Cronenberg isn't going for
simple shock factor. There's a fine
line between
getting the
point across
and being
B^ r- uBrutality
does not
1 require the
sight of
exception and loyalty are the
themes explored in the movie, and
he violence should serve their
nterest-not the other way around.
Nevertheless, the most intriguing
character is that of Nikolai, played
y Mortensen. He's the designated
river for the crime family. Although
e "reveals" himself completely in
he third act, Nikolai is a well-crafted
uzzle. He seamlessly walks the line
between good and evil, creating his
wn morality. And the why is most

"Eastern Promises" was released
nationwide on Sept. 21.

About the director: David
Cronenberg was born into a
Lithuanian-Jewish family in
Toronto, Ontario, in 1943.
He studied literature at the
University of Toronto. He's well
known for "The Fly" (1986) and
"Naked Lunch" (1991).
Check out the stats at

"I'm a made man through the blood of Abraham
After Moses gave us freedom from Arabian sand
Don't question who you are, I never question who I am-
It's the craziest plan to get back to the promised land."


Shemispeed.com SHPiEL contribuitn writer
Those lyrics are from one of the Shemspeed.
unearths a foru m com forum top picks: Israeli-American hip hop
artist Kosha Dillz. a "break beat- klezmer- jazz
for underground band of Orthodox kids." according to the site.
Beat-boxing, remixes, rap, indie, rock.
,I punk and garage pop in Hebrew, English and
m usc even Spanish mingle together on one of the
newest and largest Web sites for Jewish music,
Shemspeed creator Erez Safar, a.k.a. DJ
Handler. said he created the site because he is
driven with a desire to create something new

in the Jewish world.
"This desire is even stronger because I
see so much out there that lacks an aesthetic
that matches a similar medium in the secular
world so I want to present better quality with
a style that is Jewish and also stylin.' Safar
Safar acknowledged the popularity of a
few Jewish artists like Matisvahu but says the
nmoement in pop music was driven mostly
b- kitsch.
"I'm not into kitch, or self parody... I'm
in to finding what is unique and making it
awesome, something everyone could enjoy."
Not only is Shemspeed a place to discover
bands, it also aids aspiring artists on their
quest for recognition, including help with
public relations and booking.. The site also
includes links to a radio, music videos,
events, reviews and message boards.
Shemspeed itself is the exclusive PR agency
for Hasidic rapper Y-Love and the Sephardic
Music Festival, according to the site's public


"Share This" Album with the Winged-

Insects are People Too

Album review

A dung beetle snacks upon the world's
waste because it wants to recycle, and
besides, Mirah sings, it makes a tasty
Bugs are humanized in Mirah's latest
album, "Share This Place: Stories and
Observations by Mirah and the Spectrone
In her seventh album, released Aug.
7 on K Records, Mirah collaborates
once again with Lori Goldston
and Kyle Hanson of the Black Cat C.
Orchestra to twist Aesop's fable-
type lessons of survival, integrity I
and love within the insect world into
a heartbreaking work of pestilent
genius. Entomologists and biology
teachers everywhere must be surely
be celebrating.
Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn. obviously
a member of the tribe, started her
musical career in Olympia, Wash.,
playing weddings and bar mitzvahs. She
developed her mellow indie-acoustic
style while singing and playing guitar
under her own name, with her first full-

length solo album, "You Think it's Like This
But It's Really Like This," released in 2000.
Five albums followed, but "Share This
Place," is a concept album distant from her
earlier works in more than just the music.
Mirah never mentions the name of any of
the insects throughout the entire album.
Nor does she mention that the subjects are
bugs. In fact, if you didn't study the lyrics
under a microscope, you might never

\ \~'\I 1.//


4 out of 5 Chal fives

guess what the content refers to.
While laughter may, and probably should,
ensue, the wit, humor and seriousness of
the lyrics tell stories of the bugs as if they
were human, with emotions and conscious

The music
ties in the
of every
with the
grace of its
the cello Sloris and Observationa
the cello
hums like br
a bumble Mirah and Splctnaon Internatioal
bee. A
solo cello
delicately tickles the melody, for what
must be a tiny, light insect-assumedly
' an ant.
Yet, polka bops with the song
"Supper." The upbeat melody suggests a
S more exciting existence, and the minor
key of the song leads into the description
of the bug's venom, which makes soup of
its victim.
A slow lament is heard in "Emergence
of the Primary Larvae," as a newborn insect
quickly loses its life. Beware of the pathos this
sad tale evokes.
From fluttery, gypsy-like tunes to soulful
klezmer to textual classic and folk jingles, the
cello hums like the fluttering of the wings of
insects, and Mirah's compassionate voice gives
the creatures often written off as nuisances,
true humanity.

relations page.
Shemspeed was designed to incorporate
the talents and styles of all walks of life, from
the frustrated high school student to the 50-
year-old rock star wannabe, Safar said.
He's had the idea for the site's creation
for a while but finally launched the project
in August with the help of two employees.
who helped execute graphic ideas and the
programming of the Web site, he said.
While the project is a fresh step for Safar,
this designer isn't new to the music business-
he started off disc jockeying at his college
radio's station.
Safar said he started playing around town
with my rock band, Insatiable Jonze, went on
to release three hip hop albums and moved to
New York, where he and a friend from college
performed shows with Matisyahu.
To celebrate the birth of the site, Shemspeed
launch parties will be Oct. 25 with the main:
celebrations in Jerusalem and at New York's
The Knitting Factory.



. ...............................~..~~
.........I .....................................
7 u~!to r uaRj-f I In-, If 0,17 [ Itl ,I .~ *m [Inp I ~I. Jf~A kiU.

mlkC111:-llYIH J1 n~J~ In ltLua* ~j~_ ~;;~:;-:

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Check out www.shemspeed.com
Check out www.shemspeed.com


The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4

To Be a Jew: The conversion crisis

SHPiEL staff writer

The Law of Return is the foundation
of the Jewish homeland. "Every Jew,"
it states, "has the right to come to
[Israel]" and become a legal citizen.
Who though, is a Jew?
A person with a Jewish mother is
universally considered Jewish (Having
just a Jewish father is another issue
entirely). Additional provisions were
added to the original Law of Return
in the 1970s. These allow for any
grandchild of a Jew, spouse of a Jew
or child of a spouse of a Jew to be
considered Jewish for the purpose of
alliyah: Jewish immigration to Israel.
An individual who converts to
Judaism, whether already in Israel
or abroad, faces obstacles. Namely,
finding recognition for a non-
Orthodox conversion is difficult, if
not impossible. ITIM: The Jewish Life
Information Center, is a non-profit
organization aimed at providing
educational Jewish literature and
has a "Guide to Conversion in Israel"
posted on its Web site. It states, in
part, that "only a conversion that
is valid in the eyes of all the Jewish
religious movements can preserve
Jewish unity."
That is to say, because both
Reform and Conservative Jews

recognize Orthodox conversion as
legitimate, and not the other way
around, Orthodox conversion is the
only type that encompasses all the
major Jewish movements.
But why doesn't Orthodoxy
recognize these conversions?
For the same reason an Orthodox
Jew won't eat in another Jew's house
if that person does not keep Orthodox
standards of kashrut (kosher). It's a
matter of halakhah (ewish law) or the
lack of it.
Often, under the guidance of
Reform Judaism, one may convert
to without having a brit milah (ritual
circumcision), immersing in a mikveh
(ritual bath) or taking any classes
about the religion beforehand all
traditional, legal components of a
Jewish conversion.
Most Conservative rabbis and
probably all Orthodox rabbis do not
recognize reform conversion. In
addition, nearly all Orthodox rabbis
reject Conservative conversions as
The Chief Rabbinate in Israel
decides who is Jewish for the purposes
of marriage and other rituals. They
do not recognize a Conservative
conversion as legitimate. Instead,
they cite Orthodox conversion as the
sole route by which one may attain
legal Jewish status.

By estimates of the Israel Religious
Action Center (IRAC), "the public and
legal advocacy arm of the Reform
Movement in Israel," the Israeli Jewish
conversion crisis really began in 1996.
The Supreme Court was then reviewing
the possibility of recognizing non-
Orthodox conversions undergone in
Orthodox legislators responded
with a bill that would legally reject
all conversions conducted under
the supervision of non-Orthodox
authorities. Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu formed the Ne'eman
Commission in 1997 which sought to
propose a solution to the conversion
In January of 1998, as the
commission ended its deliberations,
Israel Radio paraphrased Yaakov
Ne'eman, Finance Minister and
Chair of the commission, saying,
"[the commission is] not offering
a compromise, but a breakthrough
for coexistence and mutual respect
among Jews in Israel and throughout
the world."
A month later, the Chief Rabbinate
and the Orthodox authorities rejected
the Ne'eman Commission's proposals.
Any sort of cooperation between the
major movements was denounced.
In 2005 though, the Supreme
Court ruled that the government

must recognize what is known as
"leaping conversion"- a conversion
performed overseas by an individual
studying or living in Israel. The IRAC,
through which the case was filed,
considers the ruling a victory for
progressive Judaism.
But a case study by Melitz, a center
for Jewish-Zionist education, has
the status quo remaining relatively
unchanged. While a person who
underwent one of these leaping
conversions may now be considered
Jewish for the purpose of alliyah, he
or she is still not Jewish by halakhic
standards. As such, the study claims,
the leaping convert will have trouble
getting married, divorced or buried in
Now, Haaretz Newspaper reports
the Interior Ministry may be purposely
blocking hundreds of converts from
moving to Israel.
This committee, charged with
processing potential immigrants'
applications, has not met in months,
in violation of a High Court ruling
which prevents such a practice.
For the applicants though, standing
around and waiting for an answer is
an unavoidable reality.
Their newfound passion for
Judaism holds little influence over
the red tape that blocks the way to
the Promised Land.

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The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4


Yiddish in Critical Condition, Doctors are Hopeful

SHPiEL staff writer

Don't plan to sit shiva
quite yet, Yiddish is still
pushing with all its might
to stay alive. It's hooked
up to the machines and
barely breathing; its weak
heart still beating, hoping
to survive another
generation as it slowly
makes its comeback.
Yiddish is the language
of our ancestors, and a
language once spoken
by millions of Ashkenazi /
Jews all over the world,
according to the Jewish
Virtual Library.org, an //
online archive with
information regarding /
Israel and Judaism.//

"My grandma who was //
from Romania spoke it at //
home," said University
of Florida freshman Jodi ..-
Greenberg. "She would
use it when she wanted to
say things about my mom
and her siblings."
A Germanic language
related to German, Hebrew and
English, written with the Hebrew
alphabet, Yiddish has a musical
sound. Many everyday words often
heard on the streets are actually
Yiddish words, such as, chutzpah,
shmuck, shmooze, gelt, shlep, shvitsn
and many more. Sitcoms such as "The
Nanny" used Yiddish to pump up the
comedy in Fran Drescher's character.
Spider-Man, particularly the Ultimate
universe series, is fond of spicing
up his speech with random Yiddish.
When his girlfriend asks how he
learned it, he simply says he "picked
it up". Yiddish was also used by Mike
Myers who played Linda Richman in
the "Coffee Talk" sketches on Heck,
CNN's Anderson Cooper even used
the word 'verklempt' when reporting
on the Rosie O'Donnell and Donald
Trump feud during a prime time
news broadcast, "Anderson 360," on
Dec. 20.
The word "Yiddish" literally means
Jewish. It was a language spoken only
by Jews, which contributed to further
isolate them from the rest of the world.
The use of Yiddish began to slowly
die during the Jewish Enlightenment
period which lasted from the 1770s
to the 1880s, when there was a push
to participate in the broader society
and have a more secular education.
Thus, school children went to the
local schools and started speaking
local languages.

However, Yiddish was the outlet
for talented writers and singers, it
was a language that their people
shared, and so continued to flourish.
And then Hitler rose to power. The
six million Jews who perished in the
Holocaust comprised most of the
population that spoke the language.
And so Yiddish started feeling an
onset of chest pains. Those Jews who
survived or escaped to Israel made
Yiddish their secondary language,
according to the Jewish Virtual
Library. The Jews who fled to Russia
found their language outlawed by
Russia's Communist leader Joseph
Stalin. It was predicted that Yiddish
would simply die out.
Yiddish was considered a second
class language mainly because it was
associated with the less educated
sectors of Jewish society, and also
with women. According to an article
published in the "Jerusalem Report,"
on the website www.davidmargolis.
com, its second-class status allowed
the language to evolve freely and to
become, ultimately, the vehicle of
European Jewish culture.
According to the article, during
the language wars in Israel, Yiddish
newspapers were burnt and kiosks
that sold Yiddish newspapers and
writings were trashed. And so Hebrew
became the Jewish state's mother
tongue. In post-Holocaust America,
Yiddish was associated with mass

killings and was viewed as bad luck.
Thus American officials pushed for
the Jews who were coming into the
harbors to assimilate the American
And that's what many did.
Yiddish was put aside for the
American dream, and it became the
dying language of our grandparents.
But don't put away that defibrillator
just yet. Yiddish is ready to recover.
According to the Jewish Virtual
Library, "several populations use it
as their main language: primarily
the generation that lived during and
immediately after the Holocaust and
the ultra-Orthodox populations living
in New York and parts of Israel."
Yiddish is even receiving attention
from gentiles and universities around
the world.
"All the major Jewish centers
now teach Yiddish," said UF Jewish
Studies Director Jack Kugelmass. It is
viewed as a legitimate language, and
many universities across the world
such as Columbia University in New
York, Hebrew University in Israel, the
University of Paris in France and the
University of Oxford in England teach
Even UF's Jewish Studies Center has
considered teaching the language.
"It is a very high priority, but at
this point in time, it requires finding
the appropriate funding," Kugelmass

Although its comeback is sluggish,
Yiddish is taking impressive strides.
Many Jewish music groups such as
Golem, a garage klezmer band, or the
Shondes, a rock band out of Brooklyn
whose name translates to "shame",
are making some powerful rock
music, fusing elements of classical
and traditional Jewish music with a
do-it-yourself punk approach.
The bands are using Yiddish
in their lyrics, like DJ SoCalled, a
Canadian hip hop artist who raps
in Yiddish and is known for his
association with klezmer music. One
of his albums, "The SoCalled Seder,"
is a blend of hip-hop set to traditional
Jewish music, and it even includes
some Yiddish theater.
According to www.jewishhf.
com, several annual -festivals,
like Klezcamp, Mame-Loshn and
YiddishVoch, have been established
within the last decade in the United
Each attracts hundreds of people
to weeklong sessions where they
socialize, and attempt to learn and
improve their Yiddish.
"There has been a renaissance
with out-of-the box sort of things
so no wonder Yiddish is making a
comeback," said UF Hillel's Rabbi
Yoni-Kaiser Blueth. "People now seem
to be returning to the more traditional
ways, they want to try and hold on to
the religion."



The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4

Muslim Girl is Living In a Material World

SHPiEL contributing writer

"Assalamu alaikum," call the cover
girls of the latest issue of Muslim Girl
magazine. In English, this translates
to "peace be with you."
The photo booth-style headshots
decorating the spread evoke memories
of high school locker doors-silly
faces and wide smiles make these
ladies look like any other American
However, these Muslim girls who
grace the pages of the magazine-
whether they're advertising the latest
in fall fashion or discuss books and
music-may or may not be wearing a
hijab headscarff).
"I like that it shows women who
wear headscarves and those who
don't," said University of Florida
senior, Mirna Turina, who is a Bosnian
Muslim. "It shows it's not a religion
that simply suppresses women."
Stitched with familiar clothing
labels, the fashion segment features
models sporting layers of the hottest
couture, tucking American Apparel
crewnecks and Aldo footwear into
everyday wardrobe.
Yet this fresh publication is

working not only to showcase
Muslim girls, but also to address
concerns of,fashion and faith in a
young, modern and chic way. Health
and lifestyle issues, relationship
questions, or the challenge of facing
that dreaded black hole called a
closet each day are tackled by Muslim
women writers, page by page.
"It depends on who you're speaking
with, but I feel [Muslim Girl magazine]
allows women to meet the standards
of the religion while still expressing
their femininity," Turina said.
With a focus on Ramadan, the
month of reflection, thanksgiving,
abstinence and fasting in Islam, the
most recent issue of Muslim Girl
magazine inspires tips for a healthy
fast and spiritual encouragement
from doctors and other teens.
A list of "Top 10 Resolutions" for
Ramadan is featured, with American
pop culture permeating the list as
number eight reads: "Trade in my
poster of Orlando Bloom for one with
the 99 names of Allah."
Delving into technology's growth
and impact, Muslim Girl magazine
reporters interview teenagers about
the time they spend online, why
they prefer Facebook to MySpace and

examine the pros and cons
of each Web site. The article
explores Muslim resources
online and advocates safety
while surfing the web.
Despite the Islamic focus
of the magazine, the familiar K
faces of American pop culture
(such as the aforementioned
Mr. Bloom) might give a
practice that seems foreign to
some Even so, does this "hip"
magazine challenge religious
culture and tradition, and B
have the writers of Muslim
Girl magazine gone too far? -
One reader from Missouri
wrote to express her distaste
with the publication for
interviewing a white, non-
Muslim actress who will
portray an Indian Muslim woman in
an upcoming film.
Disturbed, this reader dared to use
the term kafir (a derogatory term for
a non-Muslim person) in reference to
the actress.
Another reader from California
wrote of her disgust for the skinny
jeans advertised by the magazine's
models and claimed practicing
Muslims should not wear such

A t. IN V

photo courtesy of muslimgirlmagazine.com

clothing. These letters to the editor
express a more conservative opinion,
indicating a traditionalist fan base for
the magazine.
However, Turina still holds that the
magazine helps perpetuate a positive
image of Islam.
"[Muslim Girl magazine] accepts
all facets of Islam rather than just
extremism," she said. "[The magazine]
focuses on everyday life."

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The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4



(TP) **
7:30 pm


Hispanic Heritage
Month Concerti
3icr The Bubble I
hippodrome until the

Gator Football


7 8 9 Jacare razil 10 David Sedas 11 12 Butterfly Fes 13
-SarahTobing- A performance author and F/O for the next
Columbus Day acoustic po out of UFs School screenwriter of Spamr Alstars week,&0 am-5 pm
tropical guitarist of Music(TPC & F/O) such off-the-wall @The Atlantic @ UFs Museum of
and singe r. Every The Disco Biscuits stories asunning Natural History
Tuesday evening @ Janus Landing, with Scissors" JSU and 5GP present
@ Cafe Gardens Tampa @PC, $35 and up Guster at lavet Field

14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Happy Hour Add to your Ipod butterfly Fest JSU Splash for Cash Gator Football
al day & a BBQ with new albums-- Jazz Night @ Broward Pool at Kentucky
The Porc Gorillaz Enon 5-9 pm, F/I 8PM
Common Grounds even reissued @ UFs Museum
Depeche Mode of Natural History

21 22 23 24 25 26 27
JSU General Meetinc
@ Hillel- 7PM

28 29 30 31 Asalways:
Friday night services
JSU Adopt-a-Road 7:30 p.m. @ Hillel
** F/O = free and open
to the public
TPC = The Phillips

A Look at What

You Missed:

prwufl "r LoCLtcl rL.

UF vs. Auburn
September 29

h S h o _

Sunay ondy Tesdv, ednsda Thrsdy fida Saitida


The SHPiEL:Volume 4, Issue 4

Crash Test Dummies: Athletes and their motor scooters

"Get your
motor running/
Head out on the

famous lyrics of
S"Born to Be Wild"
T are an anthem
to motorcycle enthusiasts across the
world. The words promote getting' out
there on your hog, ridin' carefree with
your hair blowing in the wind, and of
course, risking millions of dollars.
What? Don't remember that last
part? You must not be a professional
Too many athletes are riding
motorcycles and scooters, risking
not only to their health but to their
Only two athletes out of all four
major sports (football, basketball,
baseball and soccer) have stipulations
in their contracts allowing them
to ride motorcycles. The athletes:

Shaquille O Neal and Karl Malone.
But these men are megastars
sought after by bargaining companies
like Lays to be able to put, an
agreement like this in their contracts.
What happens when athletes without
the contractual ability choose to ride
a bike?
The Chicago Bulls used its number
two pick in the NBA draft to select
Duke's Jay Williams, throwing millions
of dollars at the 2002 NCAA Player of
the Year. Before the ink had even dried
on his contract, Williams crashed his
motorcycle, ending his professional
career faster than Vanilla Ice.
But he still got the money,
right? Not in the least. There was a
stipulation in his contract which
made him give back all the money,
including the signing bonus.
Smart choice Jay.
In May 2005, two
- years after Williams'
crash, soon-to-be
'Cleveland Browns' Ui

Tight End Kellen Winslow Jr. crashed
his motorcycle, throwing into doubt
whether Winslow would ever play
football again. Luckily, the University
of Miami alumnus missed only the
next season.
One year later, Pittsburgh Steelers'
Quarterback "Big" Ben Roethlisberger
thought driving his "Rice Burner"
without a helmet would be a good
idea. Seven hours later he was out
of surgery from a crash that almost
killed him.
If you've ever been on the
University of Florida campus then
you've seen Gator linemen riding
their motor scooters, parading
around like bears on tricycles. The
university gives the players scooters
so they can get around, even after so
many high profile athletes have lost
their careers and lives to motorcycle

accidents, UF's athletic department
still thinks it's a good idea to have
young athletes riding these things.
This may be a stretch, but what's
it going to take for the Athletic
Department to open their eyes? Does
Heisman hopeful Tim Tebow have to
take a nose dive from a Suzuki? Does
Percy Harvin have to blow out his knee
falling off of a Yamaha? Why are they
waiting until something bad happens
until they make this decision? It's
like the Gators are playing Russian
roulette and Athletic Director Jeremy
Foley put the bullet in the gun.
I've got an idea for our finely tuned
athletic machines: walk. Don't tell me
Wide Receiver Percy Harvin can't walk
to sociology class. He run's a 4.3 40-
yard dash.
And this kid needs a motor

Day of At-one-ment:

A kabbalistic retreat with

retiring UF professor

SHPiEL staff writer

Those of you that have taken a
course with Dr. Shaya Isenberg could
perhaps empathize with me but those
who have not I suggest you rewind
time and sign-up as this treasure will
be retiring from teaching at the end
of the semester.
I am currently taking his course in
Comparative Mysticism after falling
in love with his methods and madness
last fall in Jewish Mysticism.
Apart from being an associate
professor of UF's religion department,
Isenberg is also the associate director
for the Center for Spirituality and
Health, rabbi for P'nai Or of Gainesville
and was the treasure map that led me
to my golden Yom Kippur.
P'nai Or is an organization of the
Jewish Renewal movement which
incorporates mysticism, Hasidism,
meditation and music. With Rabbi
Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as one
of its most prominent leaders the
Jewish Renewal Movement offers
an egalitarian practice of mystical
and Hasidic theory and the mission
of P'nai Or is to allow the spiritual
exploration of Judaism to bring about
tikkun olam, world healing.
P'nai Or of Gainesville held their
tenth Yom Kippur retreat at Camp
Kulaqua this year and somehow I was
guided to High Springs to attend this

cleansing, atoning, H f
spiritual excursion.
It began at 4pm on
Friday with a ritual
mikvah, purifying
bath, in the Camp
Kulaqua spring. We
immersed ourselves
four times to cleanse .. ='
our sins of the four
worlds: assiyah, the ..
physical; yetzirah, the :"
emotional; beriyah,
the mental and atzilut,
the spiritual world.
After -a getting-
to-know-you dinner
we began our fast:
that of food and
that of non-spiritual
words. The peace in a
silent mind is intensely cathartic and
much reparative soul work can be
done when the task of impressing in
conversation is surrendered.
The fast was spent baring our
obsessive, destructive patterns of the
past year in order to repent, forgive
and cleanse. We confessed 'missing
the mark' in each of the four realms and
wrote our physical, emotional, mental
and spiritual sins on four separate
colored cards which were then passed
around randomly and anonymously.
These were announced and atoned by
the entire congregation in an adapted
version of the traditional al cheyt, or

"chest-banging." In deep meditation
throughout the day we practiced
radiance breathing-breathing light
into the heart and breathing out
light, now containing a little piece
of your essence into the world. This
connected us to the physical and
allowed a transcendence into our
deeper layers that were in dire need
of some major mechanic work.
Guided by Reb Shaya and his
wife, Reb Bahira, every retreater was
able to experience the intense at-
one-ment. All that existed was that
moment, those prayers, those people
and that intention to prepare to unite
with a world, an existence, which we

pledged to heal once again as we
healed our own souls.
This experience connected me to
a realm that I could never access on
an ordinary day in an ordinary state
of mind (surrounded by concrete and
exhaust fumes). I am not even sure
what you will get from reading about
my ecstatic experience. If anything
this is a plea not to stop searching;
Not to be satisfied with the artificial
instantaneous satisfactions of the
Narcissistic, oppressive, power-
hungry world and to continue to
search for the awes and "ah's" that
have been left in beautiful hiding
places for us to discover.