According to the Project on Excellence in Journalism, last week, a third of the stories on U.S. TV were about Iran pre-death, but after the death of Michael Jackson, 93% of cable news programming was dedicated to news on Michael Jackson. So I retreated to newspapers. Here are some interesting tidbits from the past few days:“Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg,” a new documentary by Aviva Kempner, opens in NYC this weekend. It will also open at the SFJFF later this month and in Los Angeles. This Fall it will be at the Milwaukee and Cleveland Jewish Film Festivals. Aviva Kempner is the maker of “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.” This new film is about Gertrude Berg. She was the creator, principal writer, and star of “The Goldbergs,” a popular radio show for 17 years, which became televisionâ€™s very first character-driven domestic sitcom in 1949.
Speaking of fests, The SF Jewish Bulletin reports that the best Jewish film fest in North America, the
San Francisco JFF, is under fire for planning to show a doc on the life and death of Rachel Corrie. â€œRachel”â€ is one of the 37 films with ties to Israel in this yearâ€™s fest. Corrie’s mother, Cindy, will be present at the screening.
Simone Bitton, the filmmaker with French and Israeli citizenship, splits the focus of her 2008 documentary between Corrieâ€™s work with the International Solidarity Movement and the investigation that followed her death in March 2003. Corrie was reportedly was killed by an IDFâ€“operated bulldozer while protesting the destruction of Palestinian houses in Rafah. â€œThe San Francisco Jewish Film Festival made a serious error in judgment in inviting [Cindy] Corrie to the festival,â€ Israel Consul General Akiva Tor said via e-mail. â€œShe is a propagandist who is immune from responsibility for the causes she supports because it was her daughter, Rachel, who was accidentally killed.â€
Speaking of San Francisco, there is a Jewish Frisco Kid getting some press on his hacking skills. When Ari Weinstein received an Ipod Touch for his Bar Mitzvah, he hacked into the gift a few shorts hours after the Torah portion. Now 15, Weinstein is a hacker legend. The WSJ reports that: “Ari is part of a loose-knit group of hackers that has made it a mission to “jailbreak” Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch.
Is it right? No. It is stealing. But speaking of rights, specifically gun-rights, The Salt Lake Tribune reports on Jewish students who are visiting Utah to learn and test their beliefs, and to not dismiss opposing views. Roughly 40 Jewish high schoolers traveling the country are hearing from experts on opposing sides of the nation’s most politically charged issues. They met a gun-control advocate whose child died in the Columbine school shootings and a rep from the NRA. Boston teenager, Sarah Cohen, acknowledged she’s no Second Amendment scholar, but she couldn’t understand why [the NRA] supported public ownership of machine guns. Josh Braude, of Northbrook, Ill., was disturbed by that Utah permits concealed weapons.
But then there was a story on a group in France that likes guns. The Jewish Defense League has been accused of attacking a cultural center in Paris. On July 3, 2009, members of the Jewish Defense League, are accused of wearing masks, attacking and vandalizing “RÃ©sistance” in Paris. “RÃ©sistance” is a a book store, a documentation center and a conference room, mainly used by the group CAPJPO (Coordination Group Calling for a Just Peace in the Middle East) .
Back on my side of the Atlantic, the Chicago Tribune reported that Rabbi Batsheva Appel arrived at KAM Isaiah Israel in Kenwood-Hyde Park this week, and she was greeted by Secret Service agents guarding the entrance. KAM Isaiah Israel is across the street from President Barack Obama’s Chicago home, meaning personnel for Chicago’s oldest Jewish congregation must clear security every day and worshipers arriving for weekly Friday and Saturday services must be on a list of members and guests. Appel, a fromer biotechnologist, is their new rabbi and she hails from down South, where she was the director of rabbinic services for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Miss., There, she served more than 30 congregations in 13 Southern statesI hope there is no dybbuk in her shulâ€™s attack. There is one in SF. â€œThe Dybbuk,â€ a classic from the Yiddish theater by S. Ansky is playing in the City by the Bay. Since the playâ€™s heroine, Leah, is a puppet controlled by her father, she is staged as an actual puppet. Shmuel Shohat and his performers from Israel’s national theater, Habimah, will be performing all week
I, on the other hand, will tune into the 18th Maccabiah Games on TV. JLTV will broadcast the Games from Israel in the USA
But no car racing at the Games. In the UK, Jews have dismissed the F1 boss’s apology for praising Hitler. Bernie Ecclestone apologized for praising Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. The billionaire had spoken of Hitler’s ability to “get things done.” Jewish groups dismissed as inadequate Ecclestone’s apology. Bernie Ecclestone said, â€œMany people in my closest circle of friends are Jewish.”
Well, I can end with Netanyahuâ€™s calling Obamaâ€™s two Jewish colleagues, â€œself hating Jews,â€ but why? Instead, I enter the weekend with a story from the Baltimore Sun. A synagogue offered space to Bethel AME. Members of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, forced out of their landmark Baltimore building, will take temporary refuge at Temple Oheb Shalom, the spiritual leaders of the two congregations said Wednesday. A week after lightning struck the steeple of the church, the Rev. Frank M. Reid III and Rabbi Steven M. Fink announced that the Christian congregation would hold Sunday services at the synagogue. Fink called Reid after learning of the July 1 fire to offer Oheb Shalom’s 900-seat sanctuary to the church. The church has a membership of a mere 17,500. In another merging, Cincinnati’s 159-year-old Jewish Hospital is being sold to Catholic Healthcare Partners, which operates five Mercy Hospitals in the area. Trustees of the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati say the $180 million deal will be completed by late this year. May they all live and be well.