It was a good few days for tidbits, including:
I missed the launch party for the 2012 Nice Jewish Guys calendar in Southern California. The project was started by Adam Cohen (Food Networks Cupcake Wars) and celebrates nice Jewish guys who eat pizza, help people and fry latkas. A menschy calendar… so menschy that a portion of proceeds go to Mazon.
Speaking of mensches, the US government is changing policies for those seeking visas and permanent residency green cards. Alejandro Mayorkas, chief of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will announce several initiatives that give expedited processing to those who will invest in America and create jobs, especially in the high tech sector… (Welcome Technion grads)
The Times profiles a Brooklyn lawyer who is a member of a Hasidic sect who is behind many of the American politicians trying to limit alleged Muslim influence in America. David Yerushalmi (aka David Beychok) of Crown Heights (Brooklyn NY), and formerly of New Orleans, South Florida, Los Angeles, Arizona, and Ma’ale Adumim is leading a movement of Shari’a-related conspiracy theories. The ADL has characterized him or his writings as anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black. It makes for an interesting read.
Speaking of name changes, several rabbis affiliated with the Conservative Movement about their attitudes towards performing same sex Jewish weddings. While Rabbi Schranz does not plan to perform same sex weddings in New York, Rabbi Gordon Tucker, former dean of JTS’s rabbinical school, has officiated at one. Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky of Manhattan’s Upper West Side is quoted as believing that his Conservative colleagues will slowly come down on the side of same-sex marriage â€” though for slightly different reasons. â€œThis is going to line up heavily on age lines,â€ he said. â€œPeople in their 50s are simply going to be less likely to reach this sea change, and people in their 30s are going to be much more inclined.â€
Another life cycle event, circumcision, is safe in San Francisco. A judge ruled that a measure banning circumcision on minors could not be placed on the ballot this November. The Los Angeles Jewish Journal reports that some… very few… are opting for a non-cutting ritual: brit shalom. They interviewed several LA area mohels and ritual leaders and calculated that their non scientific sample performed 1,400 brit milah ceremonies, and five brit shalom procedures in the past year.Speaking of circumcisions, The Associated Press reports that Israel’s basketball teams might be a route to the NBA for American Jewish basketball players. Jon Scheyer, 23, 6’5″, and a standout player from Duke University, has joined the Maccabi Tel Aviv team. Sylven Landesberg (Virginia), David “Blu” Bluthenthal (USC), and Dan Grunfeld are three other Jewish American basketball players who have joined Israeli teams, recently. Many think aspire to the NBA and hope to follow in the sandal steps of Omri Casspi, Will Bynum, Anthony Parker and Carlos Arroyo.
Speaking of passing, running, and dribbling, what is up at the Jewish Funds for Justice? Three senior leaders are transitioning. After an eight-month national search, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, one of the region’s largest advocacy groups for Jewish causes, named Jeremy Burton, 42, VP of the Jewish Funds for Justice as its new head. The JFSJ’s CEO Simon Greer will leave in January 2012 to become president of the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Mik Moore, their chief for strategy, is no longer full time.
A note about cycles, The Washington Post Sunday magazine featured a 7 page piece on Hillel’s Angels and Other Kosher Road Hogs. Jennifer Miller covers the current state of affairs of area Jews and their motorcycles, featuring interviews with members of Chai Riders, The Tribe, Hillel’s Angels, and Shalom n’ Chrome.
And if you aren’t working full time, then you will have time to play a new APP: JUDOKO, the Jewish Sudoku. This week, the Apple App Store published Judoku(TM), an educational Sudoku puzzle game aimed at educating Jews and others the basics of Jewish culture. Created by ACME Digital Laboratories LLC, the game, which sells for less that $2 can use Jewish symbols or the Hebrew alphabet in place of numbers. Andrew Charon, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, was the lead developer. He wrote that, “Learning the Torah was competing for attention against Angry Birds and Justin Bieber Tweets. I figured if you can’t beat â€˜em, join â€˜em! That, and frankly, I really just wanted to create something called Judoku.”
Maybe he can be on the Nice Jewish Guys calendar in 2013?