Jewish Bowling Poetry? Jewish Bowling Poetry

Haikus and limericks and winners


Last week, we asked you to write a Jewish bowling haiku or limerick for a chance to win three pairs of tickets to Festival of Strikes, the JDub Records’s party tomorrow night at Brooklyn Bowl (co-sponsored by Tablet Magazine). And, well, three of you responded, so you are the winners! Fortunately, this doesn’t just feel like a default decision: The poems are funny. All can read them below. And Melanie, sophie, and Frank: Email by tomorrow night to get on the list. (more…)

For Bibi and Israel, Vindication

Leaks confirm that Iran and Turkey unite it with others

Prime Minister Netanyahu enjoys his coffee yesterday.(Gali Tibbon - pool/Getty Images)

There is no country that should feel more vindicated by the Wikileaks revelations than Israel. “More and more countries realize that Iran is the central threat, but the countries in the region have a gap because they publicly are attached to the Israeli-Arab conflict,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday. “They realize that the central threat is from Iran and now this has been revealed even though it was known. It can eliminate the theory that Israel is the obstacle to peace and show that we have mutual interests.” As Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Katz reported, “It would not be an exaggeration to say that WikiLeaks may have done the country a service.”

But not only regarding Iran! The leaks show that U.S. diplomats are nearly as wary of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Israel is; that Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are hardly more on the side of Hamas in Gaza as Israel is; and that countries in the region perceive the U.S.-Israeli special alliance as a reason to cozy up to Israel in order to gain influence with America. In short, it is Iran, and not the peace process, that is the dominant issue for both Israeli and Arab leaders, and they are therefore more inclined to see eye-to-eye.

Meanwhile, even as embarassing details surfaced about Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and other foreign leaders, Israeli leaders largely escaped this fate. Maybe they saw the American quietly taking notes at the conference table and decided to hold their tongues? And as for Mossad chief Meir Dagan, it quickly becomes clear that he is one of the most respected advisers in the world, “sought after,” according to Katz, “by almost every senior U.S. official visiting Israel.” (more…)

Songs in the Key of Hanukkah

Today on Tablet


Monday’s usual Vox Tablet podcast comes with full musical accompaniment. It would admittedly be pretty cruel to give you Marc Weidenbaum discussing Anander Mol Anander Veig, an album of original Jewish-themed, Hanukkah-inspired remixes that he curated, without also letting you hear the album itself. Which is why, today on Tablet Magazine, it’s available, for free, for listening and downlading.

Below: My favorite track, the Fourth Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra’s rendition of “Ose Shalom,” as remixed by Diego Bernal.

Another Way
Anander Mol Anander Veig

Iran Is Better-Armed Than We Thought

Leaks also confirm that Arab states favor bombing

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month.(Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

The headline of the relevant New York Times article is, “Around the World, Distress Over Iran.” Well, duh. But we should pay attention nonetheless.

The quarter of a million U.S. diplomatic cables leaked through the Wikileaks organization and published yesterday in several newspapers mostly revealed that our worst fears, grounded in things we already knew, are shared by State Department professionals privy to non-public information (although over half of the leaked cables were not classified). They are the geopolitical equivalent of Kinsley gaffes, slip-ups embarassing precisely because they confirm what people already thought to be true.

The Times’s lead bulletpoint, for instance, describes U.S. concerns that Pakistan has enriched uranium that could be used to make illicit weapons for very bad people. Well, we knew Pakistan was a nuclear state; that the father of the Pakistani bomb, A.Q. Khan, is the world’s worst individual proliferator; that Pakistan maintains alliances with radical Islamic groups (like the one that murdered hundreds in Mumbai). So this new tidbit, of “a dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel,” is scary, but it is not shocking.

Or as Laura Rozen put it, “The classified diplomatic discussions on Iran revealed in the cables are not all that different from what one would expect from following the public comments senior U.S. officials have made on the Iran issue the last several months.” I will address other revelations, including ones touching on the Mideast peace process, Egypt, and Turkey, in a future post. The Iran stuff has been among the most buzzed-about. (more…)

Daybreak: Iran Scientist Assassinated

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

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


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

Today on Tablet


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

(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

Today on Tablet


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.


Are You Ready For Some (Canadian) Football?

Allez Alouettes!

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

Today on Tablet


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

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

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

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’


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]

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