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Daybreak: Iran Scientist Assassinated

Plus the leaks, the reactor, the Wall, and more in the news

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The car of the injured scientist in Tehran.(-/AFP/Getty Images)

• An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed and another injured in bomb attacks this morning in Tehran. [WP]

• We now know a lot more about current diplomacy. Among the things we know: Arab states have been pushing America to bomb Iran. Much more later. [NYT]

• Iran announced that its first nuclear reactor, at Bushehr, will go online in late January. [JTA]

• Meanwhile, the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” was shaken up by a Palestinian Authority paper’s denial that the Western Wall had a legitimate connection to Jewish history, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s retort. [NYT]

• How Saad Hariri has held onto power in Lebanon even as future indictments in his father’s killing threaten to prompt instability or a coup. Namely: By kissing up to Syria and Iran. [WP]

• Irene Klass, who published The Jewish Press, died at 94. [JTA]

Sundown: Talking and Eating Turkey

Plus Israel takes a breather on Iran, and more

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Yum.(Wikipedia)

Happy Thanksgiving! Tablet Magazine and The Scroll will not be publishing new content until Monday. Maybe the long weekend is a good time to reacquaint yourselves with our Turkey Week?

• Speaking of! Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan thinks the U.N. tribunal probing former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination should postpone its indictments for a year lest its findings lead Hezbollah to be startin’ something. [JPost]

• As of now, Israel’s top strategy vis-à-vis Iran is to convince the United States to take a harder line, not to prepare for its own military action. [Politico]

• Murdoch, Cheney, oil, and Israel: What could possibly go wrong? [Fast Company]

• Tablet Magazine books critic Adam Kirsch considers Günter Grass’s novelistic memoir The Box. [Slate]

• Matisyahu loves Reb Nachman (who is the subject of Rodger Kamenetz’s Nextbook Press book). [New Voices]

• Contributing editor Joan Nathan on young Jews cooking hardcore Ashkenazic dishes. Cholent-chic! [NYT]

So this is why peace is impossible.

This Year in New York

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Jeannie Rosenfeld reviews the much-buzzed-about new New York show from German artist Anselm Kiefer entitled “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Kiefer’s Other Land

Remixing Hanukkah

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(Eric Molinsky)

For those of you who are faithful (or even semi-faithful) listeners of our weekly Vox Tablet podcast, this music ought to sound weirdly familiar.

It is the Vox Tablet theme song, originally composed by Jewlia Eisenberg and re-conceived here by remix masters Cedar AV. They did it on assignment from Marc Weidenbaum, founder of the popular music and sound blog Disquiet, who himself took on a much more ambitious assignment from Tablet Magazine: Commission eight songs for a Hanukkah remix album. The results are in, and we’ll be posting the album for free download on Monday. Plus, also on Monday, Vox Tablet’s Sara Ivry interviews Weidenbaum about the project. Get psyched!

The Early End of the American Century

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Mideast columnist Lee Smith lunches with French novelist Marc Weitzmann, who persuasively argues that the era of American dominance was brought to a close not by 9/11 but, much earlier, with the end of the Cold War.

Twilight

Are You Ready For Some (Canadian) Football?

Allez Alouettes!

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Some guy who plays for the Alouettes.(Montreal Alouettes)

It’s a big weekend for football. Canadian football! (Perky ‘Canada’ has its own football.) While the NFL will have its three Thanksgiving games (Tablet Magazine’s New England Patriots play at 12:30 in Detroit) as well as its usual Sunday slate, Sunday will also see the 98th Grey Cup, a.k.a. the Canadian Football League championship. In a rematch of last year’s big game, the Montreal Alouettes will take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Edmonton, Alberta (and they complain about a Super Bowl in Jersey!). On their way, the Alouettes defeated the Toronto Argonauts, while the Roughriders beat the Calgary Stampeders and the Vancouver Walloping Wallopers (I made that last one up). (more…)

The Other Spy

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As momentum increases behind the call for the release of the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, today in Tablet Magazine Liel Leibovitz makes the case for the freedom of another Jewish betrayer of state secrets: Mordechai Vanunu, the Moroccan-born Israeli Christian (he converted) who in the 1980s revealed secrets behind Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the British media before being lured to Italy (by an American-born Mossad agent), kidnapped, and tried and convicted in Israel, where he served an 18-year sentence. He is now free, except, as Leibovitz describes, he is not:

The terms of his release are draconian: He is forbidden from using telephones or the Internet, forbidden from approaching foreign embassies, forbidden from leaving Israel. He has also repeatedly been arrested for various infractions—some real, some imagined—often on symbolic dates, including two arrests on two separate Christmas Eves. European governments and international human-rights organizations continue to lobby on his behalf.

Leibovitz says he found himself swayed by Gil Troy’s essay last week in Tablet Magazine advocating for Pollard’s release, but that fairness demands Vanunu’s freedom—his true freedom—as well.

Free Vanunu, Too

Hot Wives Break Up With Prominent Nebbishes

In other news, there is no Santa Claus

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Jennifer Jason Leigh and Noah Baumbach in 2007.(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

First, they came for director Darren Aronofsky and actress Rachel Weisz, who also starred in by far his worst movie, The Fountain. Then, yesterday, they came for director Noah Baumbach and actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, who also starred in by far his worst movie, Margot at the Wedding. Tomorrow: Who knows? Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts? Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor? Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann? Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher? Andy Samberg and Joanna Newsom? You and your out-of-your-league, possibly goyishe girlfriend? None of us are safe.

Jennifer Jason Leigh Files For Divorce After Five Years [Us Weekly]

Daybreak: Jerusalem Eviction Stirs Emotions

Plus Iranian enrichment back on track, and more in the news

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The disputed house.(Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

• Six months after losing a legal battle (a distant relative sold the property without their knowledge), a Palestinian family in a mostly Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem was evicted yesterday; Jewish settlers promptly moved in. [NYT]

• Contra yesterday’s news, Iran apparently figured out a new way to ramp up uranium enrichment. [LAT]

• Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the about-to-be-head of the Foreign Relations Committee, for praising Fidel Castro for saying nice things about Jews and Israel. [Haaretz]

• An 88-year-old Canadian Jewish woman was reunited with the 85-year-old Polish man who saved her during the Holocaust. Only in Queens. [NY1]

• An Israeli professor floats appointing Robert Wexler, a former Democratic congressman with close ties to the Obama administration, as the new U.S. envoy when George Mitchell steps down. [JPost]

• Jennifer Grey defeated Bristol Palin in the finals of this season’s Dancing With The Stars. Grey once starred in a movie about dancing. [Arts Beat]

Sundown: Mumbai Victims Sue Pakistan Intel

Plus the settlers’ favorite former Alaska governor, and more

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Sarah Palin last month.(Randy Snyder/Getty Image)

• The family of the Chabadniks killed during the 2008 Mumbai attack are suing Pakistan’s military intelligence agency for wrongful death in U.S. federal court. They allege (as many have) that the agency works closely with the terrorist group that launched the attacks. [JTA]

• The IDF uses Facebook to find draft dodgers. [Fast Company]

• Settlers. Love. Palin. [Ben Smith]

• The link between Prime Minister Netanyahu and George W. Bush is an author and political adviser named Ron Dermer. [Politico]

• The United States has reportedly put the freeze-extension deal in writing, as Netanyahu has demanded. [JTA]

• Three experts say America should publish a “declaration of principles” concerning the Mideast peace process. More getting things down on paper. [IHT]

Below: An Iranian weightlifter appears on a platform along with an Israeli weightlifter, while “Hatikvah” is played. For this (via Kaplan’s Korner), he has been banned from weightlifting for life.

Conservatives Alter Approach to Intermarriage

From conversion to ‘openness’

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Sue Fishkoff reports that the Conservative movement in America, while strictly maintaining its concrete rules against intermarriage—most rabbis won’t officiate interfaith weddings, for example—are switching tack from opposing intermarriage in every conceivable way to accepting it as part of a larger effort to bring both members of such couples closer to Judaism. It appears the shift is somewhat the result of a ground-up agitation, with Men’s Clubs, which tend to favor openness, winning over the institutional establishment, which is inclined to insist on conversion.

Like other Conservative rabbis, [Rabbi Carl Wolkin of Northbrook, Illinois,] will not officiate at an interfaith wedding, but he wants the couple to know they are wanted in the congregation as they explore their Jewish future. That message has been blurred too often in the Conservative world, which hurts the movement, he says.

If that seems like no news to you, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Conservative Movement Tipping Toward Openness to Children of Intermarried [JTA]

What Happened in the Ghetto

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Today in Tablet Magazine, books critic Adam Kirsch reviews The Boy: A Holocaust Story, a new book ostensibly about the iconic photograph of a terrified Jewish boy being taken to a camp, but really about the Warsaw Ghetto, the SS, and the heroism of two remarkable survivors.

Caught on Film

The Great Intern Search

Apply to work at Tablet Magazine

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Reminder! Tablet Magazine is looking for interns for our spring term, which runs from the beginning of the new year through May.

If you have experience in journalism and are familiar with the landscape of American Jewish life, we’d love to hear from you. We are hiring interns to work either two or three days a week at our office in New York City. Interns will contribute blog posts and full features as well as assist the editorial staff with research and administrative tasks. They will be paid stipends. If you’re interested, please send a cover letter, a résumé, and three writing clips to mtracy@tabletmag.com, by Friday, December 3. We look forward to hearing from you.

J Street Controversy at Columbia

And a collegiate mock checkpoint

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I miss college.(Bwog)

Columbia University, no stranger to Mideast-related to-dos at least since 2005’s Columbia Unbecoming controversy, has recently had a few “incidents,” as my friends and I used to jokingly call them when we were undergrads there.

The biggest saw the campus Hillel pressure the Manhattan university’s J Street affiliate into cancelling its co-sponsorship of a talk that John Ging, the head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency’s Gaza operations who is an outspoken critic of the blockade, gave at Barnard, the university’s all-women college, even as J Street U’s national director introduced Ging at the event. (Part of the issue—and I cannot stress enough that this sort of technicality is de rigeur at Columbia—is that the affiliate is actually under the Hillel umbrella.) Via New Voices, some Columbia/Barnard alumni, including several rabbis, wrote the Hillel director protesting the withdrawal of the co-sponsorship.

On a lesser and lighter note, Bwog, the campus blog, reports that Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine set up a mock Israeli checkpoint on the steps of Low Library in the center of campus last week, complete with “Israeli guards” with cardboard guns and blindfolded “Palestinians.” Several Hillel groups protested, and handed out a flyer entitled, “It’s Complicated, Let’s Talk,” which ought to be Columbia’s official motto.

Columbia Student Groups Drops Sponsorship of Gaza Talk Under Pressure [Forward]
Checkpoint on Low [Bwog]
Related: Columbia’s Own Middle East War [NY Mag]

‘We Swat, We Sweat Together’

Your best ping pong haikus

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(American Jewish Historical Society/Flickr)

As one contest opens, another closes. Yesterday, we announced ourJewish bowling poetry competition. Today, we end our ping pong haiku face-off. Soon to come in our ongoing series of Jews, sports, and verse: Jewish polo, Jewish fox-hunting, and Jewish Quidditch.

Anyway! The competition was fierce, but Matthew Siegel, Mary Bilyeu, and Alex Solaño (whose haikus are also Jonathan Safran Foer-themed) can raise their figurative paddles high. They each win a copy of Eli Horowitz and Roger Bennett’s new book, Everything You Know Is Pong: How Mighty Table Tennis Shapes Our World.

Congratulations! Poems after the jump. (more…)

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