Boston Globe)

DIY Bar Mitzvah (cr: Boston Globe)

My morning news round-up: Skipping the cereal for some morning material

It is reported that Billy Joel’s third wife, Katie Lee, has separated from the pop singer. Lee has left the 60 year old crooner and has been seen in the arms of Israel fashion designer, Yigal Azrouel. Joel, 60, is a grandson of a German Jewish businessman who escaped Germany after his very large company was taken over by Nazis in the 1930s. Story link to The Miami Herald

A three day water-only fast in support of Darfur refugees involved over eighty rabbis.

A group representing Holocaust survivors will sue Israeli Bank Leumi which they assert is holding $77 million in assets of survivors and their families and will not relinquish the funds. I guess it is not just Swiss Banks that have soiled reputations?

After 11 years at Palo Alto’s Temple Beth Am, a rabbi will make the move to Israel, with his guitar, to lead the Reform movement’s Year In Israel rabbinics and cantorial programs.

The Los Angeles Jewish Journal reports on a star that was NOT born, and the LA area auditions for Israel’s popular television show, A Star is Born, Kochav Nolad, which is similar to North America’s American Idol series.

The LA Times asks, as it city’s Israel Film Festival closes, whether the Israeli hit about two brothers in love with the same woman, Lost Islands, is too funny for American audiences. And why is it being completely ignored by American film distributors? Will an American producer buy the rights and remake it in America?

The Denver Post comments on the 25 years that have passed since the liberal, Jewish, radio talk show host, Alan Berg, was brutally gunned down by a far right wing murderer.

The Deutsche Welle reports on Israel’s Yad Vashem which gave honors to the German WWII military officer Wilhelm (Wilm) Hosenfeld who was stationed in occupied Poland, and helped and eventually saved the life of Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman. The story was later recreated on the screen in, “The Pianist.”

The NY Post sold many extra copies last week with its blaring front page stories on a rabbi cum power broker in the city’s jail system who arranged for a convicted swindler and cheat to have “bar” mitzvah and engagement celebrations for his son and daughter at the jail, com[plete with knives and cell phones, and who arranged for better food and nicer treatment for certain Jewish inmates. Now “The Forward” has investigated this alleged Satmar influence broker in the following story. It is alleged that Agudath Israel of America drafted a letter to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressing support for Rabbi Leib Glanz, a chaplain in the New York City jails, who was forced to resign. The said it was merely a lapse in judgement and is not related to any monetary issues.

A small controversy was created in Kansas City when a reporter slash community activist criticized a company for cutting short a D J Jazzy Jeff concert. The reporter said it was because the company’s leaders (the Cordish family) are Jewish, and like all Jews, are only interested in money.

The Boston Globe report on the low cost Do It Yourself bar mitzvah trend in Newton and Brookline, MA. The families are affiliated with the Sunday School for Jewish Studies.

From the UK, there was a story on a Jewish couple who is sunig their apartment complex, after it installed a motion sensing lighting system which “turns on” when someone walks by it seven days a week, including the Sabbath. The Jewish family says it breaks the rule against work on Shabbat.

And finally from Manhattan: a story on a new play by David Adjmi (a Yeshiva of Flatbush alumnus) that hit the stage in NYC. It has a Jewish theme, actually a Syrian Jewish theme, which is rarely seen or heard about in American Jewish life. “Stunning” is a three-act play about the relationship between a Syrian-Jewish couple in present-day Midwood (Brooklyn) and their black housekeeper. Lily and Ike Schwecky are married, though Lily is 16, and Ike is much older and coarser. They have a complicated relationship with Blanche Nesbitt, their seemingly overqualified live-in housekeeper. On facebook, I guess they would say “it’s complicated.” I wonder if fellow alum, Isaac Mizrahi, will attend the show?

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