UK Chief Rabbi J. Sacks

UK Chief Rabbi J. Sacks

Some news to browse while avoiding the television tonight…

Is a Jewish school in London Racist? If admission is barred based on religion, is that racist? From The Independent, news that Jewish schools in Britain may need to revise their admission’s policies. A Court of Appeal ruled that the widely used criteria for selecting pupils for a school breached the Race Discrimination Act. Three judges found that the JFS in Brent area of London racially discriminated against a 12-year-old boy, known as “M,” by denying him a place at the school because his mother was not a recognized Jew. She was born Catholic. The JFS is a very well known school in London; it’s President is Lord Levy. The ruling was criticized by UK Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sachs. The boy’s father is Jewish by birth, but his mother is Jewish by a conversion process that was conducted at a Progressive rather than an Orthodox synagogue and therefore not recognized by the Chief Rabbi’s office. The parents are divorced, and “M” lives with his officially recognized Jewish father.

Michael Jackson had a lot of hangers-on. And they are coming out of the woodwork to leverage the publicity of his death. And I don’t mean Rabbis Boteach or Sharpton. Or do I? The Los Angeles Jewish Journal comments on the death of Michael Jackson from a Jewish perspective. It reports that Jackson’s ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, considered herself Jewish (although Chief Rabbi Sacks would not consider her Jewish). Would that make her kids, Paris and Prince, Jewish as well? But, more importantly, the LA Jewish Journal reveals 5 Jewish tidbits from the upcoming film, BRUNO.

Jackson & Boteach when they were pals

Jackson & Boteach when they were pals

Should you profit off the news of Jackson’s demise? If yes, then perhaps you should short the stocks TKTM (Ticketmaster) which will need to return commissions (I assume) on the European tour tickets sold, and short the stock of whoever manufactures the brand Demerol.

Additional hours of Nixon’s tapes were released this week, and some Jewish groups, or the leaders of these groups, were startled to hear Richard Nixon and Billy Graham speak about Jews, pornographers, the synagogue of Satan, and how the anti-evangelical behavior of Jewish leaders might rile up anti-Semitism in America. On the other hand, Yale Professor David Greenberg, writing in The Forward, offered the idea that this is not news to anyone who knew Nixon. Come one guys, Nixon is the President who used to refer to the US Attorney’s Office as the “Jew boys” and “those Jews down there.”

Haaretz reported that a Manhattan synagogue, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, that was targeted by the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, raised $10,000 in response to the demonstration. The church members protested outside the synagogue’s rented space while the synagogue asked its members and friends to donate a dollar or more for every minute that the demonstration lasted. Mitchell Gold, a furniture retailer, pledged $, as did many others. The protest lasted nearly an hour.

In reviewing the new Transformers film, which was released last week in the U.S., The critic for the New York Times is miffed by the minstrel-like racism that permeates the film, as well as the crack about the Jewish character, Simmons, and a pubic-fro head. The credited script writers are Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

"Centro" in HabanaThe Sun Sentinel in Florida reported on the reunion of former students of Centro Israelita de Cuba, a Jewish school in Havana that Fidel Castro shut down around 1961. The Class of 1959 had their 50-year reunion at Temple Beth Shmuel-Cuban Hebrew Congregation’s Shabbat service in Miami Beach.

reported that 16 Jews have left Yemen for Israel after a Jewish man was murdered. Three Jewish families left Amran via the city of Sanaa in Yemen after a Yemeni court handed a death sentence to Abdul-Aziz al-Abdi for shooting dead Mashaa Yaeesh al-Nahari.

The White House reports that Attorney Samuel L. Kaplan, 72, has been nominated for the rank of Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco. He is a founding member of Kaplan, Strangis and Kaplan, P.A. established in 1978. Early supporters of the late Senator Wellstone, The Center for Responsive Politics lists Sam and Sylvia Kaplan as among the major “bundlers” of campaign contributions for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, in the range of $100,000 to $200,000. Note to File: Geez, a score high on the FSOT exam but failed my all day State Dept oral interview by half a point. I must remember to bundle some donations in the future so I can be appointed to an ambassadorial position somewhere fun, like Cyprus or Bahrain.

The Jerusalem Post reports that an agreement has been reached in which inmates from over 6 dozen Polish prisons will work to restore Jewish cemeteries and sites in Poland. I guess this is a form of punishment? Or rehabilitation? I jest. I like the works of Rabbi Schudrich in Warsaw. Note to file: Can you send some prisoners over to the cemetery in Rymanow (next to Zarszyn) to check on the headstones for my great great grandfather?

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