Harry (Erich Weiss) Houdini

What a great post, below, of the American Jewish World Service gala video.

I hate to post this and take away its top position, but I shall take a few minutes away from making my Lady Syna-GaGa corned beef covered suit Halloween costume and post some tidbits from the world.

Foremost is the rally in Washington DC this weekend. If you plan to attend, check out the following shuls on Friday evening and Shabbat morning.: The Sixth and Eye Historic synagogue with their special Indian food night this Shabbat; Kesher Israel in Georgetown (maybe Jon Stewart will be there); Temple Micah; or the DC JCC egalitarian minyan

Speaking of Halloween, The Jewish Museum in New York City opens an exhibit on Harry Houdini (born Erich Weiss) today, just in time for Halloween. The Houdini Art and Magic will celebrate the famous escape artist just in time to honor his American yahrzeit of October 31, 1926. On display will be many of his famous props and escapes.

Speaking of escapes, word reaches us that prisoners in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province are to be circumcised, if they so choose, to fight the spread of HIV in jail. The current Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, recently lifted a traditional ban on circumcision; it had been prohibited by King Shaka in the 19th Century. Since April, there have been more than 10,000 procedures. The goal is to have 2.5 million by mid 2014 (are you telling me there are over 2.4 million inmates?).

In mates. The Tea Party is not just for the USA. The Jerusalem Post reported that a Tea Party rally was held in Tel Aviv. Although this one, at ZOA House, was more interested to attacking Obama and his administration’s perceived Middle East policy, than Israeli taxes and Israel’s social welfare system.

Social welfare in Israel? Ha-Ir online in Israel reports that actress Pamela Andersona forthcoming judge on the popular Israeli TV show, Dancing the Hora with The Stars, has written to the Ministry of Religious Affairs to ask for its support in legislation that will ban fur imports (can you dance the streimel dance?)

Very UNfriendly fire from an Egyptian author

Speaking of fur brains bans, the Agence France-Presse reports from Cairo that Egyptian author, Alaa al-Aswany, has complained that his hit novel “The Yacoubian Building” has been translated into Hebrew against his wishes. Aswany protested the translation, saying: “…it did is piracy and theft… My position has not changed regarding normalisation with Israel. I reject it completely.” No word on whether he and retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be getting together for coffee to discuss their shared passion for boycotting Israel.

On a more serious note, Chicago papers report that two possible bombs were headed from Yemen to Chicago area synagogues. Law enforcement officials are investigating reports of suspicious packages disguised as ink-toner cartridges on cargo planes in Philadelphia and Newark, N.J., as well as an overnight stop of a Chicago-bound UPS plane in England that had suspicious cargoes. One shul received increased pageviews from a Middle Eastern source. Officials for FedEx say the company confiscated a suspicious package in Dubai that was shipped from Yemen.

In other sad news, Ehud Netzer, 76, a leading Israeli archaeologist who is credited with having found the tomb of the biblical King Herod, died after falling during a dig at an ancient palace at Herodium, which is located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Not trick or treating? If you are in Los Angeles, check out NORA’S WILL a Mexican Jewish film. Originally titled, “Cinco Dias Sin Nora” (Five Days Without Nora), this film was a great success in Mexico, winning seven Ariels, including best film, original screenplay and a pair of acting awards. Writer-director Mariana Chenillo tells the story of the battle of “wills” between a man and the last wishes of his ex-wife.

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