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Mighty Morphin Tavori Rangers and Other Jewish Newsbits

Two of Israel’s reigning pop music stars have been signed by Capitol Records to a ten year, seven “album” deal. Haim Saban, the Israeli-American music and media mogul and philanthropist, a former bass player in an Israeli band and creator of MM Power Rangers, helped to arrange the $5 million deal for Liraz Russo, 27, and Ben-El Tavori, 26, and their entry into English language songs and performances. The duo are better known as Static and Ben-El. They – with their producer, Yarden “Jordi” Peleg – are most famous in Israel and on Youtube for their Summer 2017 hit “Tudo Bom” in which an Israeli flirts with a Brazilian women.

IN OTHER NEWS…

Physicist Stephen Hawking passed away this week. He was lauded for his scientific work, discoveries, and ability to explain complex ideas to the general public on Earth. Although he visited Israel several times, he was highly critical of some Israeli government policies and supported some boycott organizations. One of his greatest discoveries was the result of an argument he had with an Jacob Bekenstein, the late Israeli physicist, who had criticized Hawking’s thinking on black holes. Hawking later revised his hypothesis based on Bekenstein’s research.

Speaking of criticism… a Jewish yeshiva in New Jersey is back in U.S. federal court to fight a town that will not allow it to build dormitories. Congregation Kollel of Lakewood, NJ, is claiming that the leaders of Howell, NJ, and it zoning board are biased when it denied their multiple attempts to build residences in the town for its expanding school. The congregation is arguing that the town’s denials are based on “animus” toward their Jewish community, and not the high density and style of the proposed building.

Speaking of denials, this weekend marks the Feast of Saint Patrick and Saint Patrick’s Day, which falls on March 17, 2018 and Shabbat Vayikra. It is traditional for many to eat the Irish fare of Corned Beef and Cabbage. But as The New York Times reported in the past and highlighted today, this dish was borrowed by Irish immigrants from their Jewish neighbors in New York City in the 1880s and 1890s due to the high cost of American bacon.

Speaking of vegan, actress and Big Bang and Youtube star Mayim Bialik will be in Israel this week for a conference on anti-Semitism. Bialik will appear on a panel at the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism on the discourse of hatred online. The periodic conference will be in Jerusalem on March 19-21.

Speaking of Jerusalem and anti-Semitism, several American Jewish leaders are thinking that if Israel imprisons or expels 40,000+ African asylum seekers to a third country, it will fan the flames of hate. On Thursday, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, DC, hosted a meeting between several members of the staff of the Embassy of the State of Israel in Washington and over a dozen DC-area rabbis. Ita Bar-Dov, a spokesmodel for the embassy, said that they were “pleased” with the dialogue. The leader of Congregation Ohev Sholom, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, characterized the meeting as heartbreaking. Check out his upcoming trip to Ukraine HERE.

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