Father Avoids Jail After Church Visit

Court order barred him from taking Jewish daughter

The Reyes couple, pre-split.(ABCNews)

Joseph Reyes, the man who made himself famous by taking his daughter to church, camera crew in tow, despite a court order his ex-wife has requested, has escaped jail-time. Specifically: A court said it could not hold him in contempt because his daughter, Ela, 3, is not visible in the video of the church visit, and so it cannot be proved to the necessary standard that he actually took her to church.

Readers may recall that Joseph, who converted to the Judaism of his wife, Rebecca, when they got married, baptized their daughter once they had split without telling his ex-wife, who has custody, which prompted her to get the anti-church court order. The whole story really gives you faith in humanity.

Dad Who Took Daughter To Church Is Cleared [JTA]
Earlier: One Ugly Divorce

Today on Tablet

Progress toward Kurdistan, and more


Today in Tablet Magazine, Turkey Week continues with Aliza Marcus’s update on the Kurdish separatist group the PKK and contributing editor Joan Nathan’s essay on the Ottoman Empire’s historic influence on Jewish cuisine around the world. The Scroll urges you to check out the picture of the purple-hearted artichokes accompanying Nathan’s article.

Clinton Speaks Warmly of Palestinian Statehood

But not in the go-through-the-U.N. way


If there is one Palestinian outreach event on the Washington calendar that the city’s establishment is likely to attend, a senior Hill staffer told me earlier this week, it’s the annual gala of the American Task Force on Palestine, a seven-year-old group that advocates for a two-state solution. Last night’s event proved the point: The $250-a-plate dinner, at the Ritz-Carlton in Foggy Bottom, was headlined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and boasted an illustrious host committee headed by one of her predecessors, Madeleine Albright, and including a bipartisan roster of foreign-policy heavy-hitters like Sen. John Kerry and former Bush National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. (more…)

Daybreak: Behind Freeing Pollard

Plus Turkish intransigence on Iran, and more in the news

A pro-Pollard Israeli demonstrator.(Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

• How several somewhat influential Israelis and Americans have stirred the campaign to free Jonathan Pollard, the convicted Israeli spy, back to life. [LAT]

• Iran is trying to skirt sanctions by setting up secret banks around the world. [WP]

• In honor of Tablet Magazine’s Turkey Week, Turkey resisted U.S. entreaties to slow its trade with Iran. [LAT]

• Israel’s U.S. Embassy confirmed that a loyalty oath bill, if passed, wouldn’t threaten the U.S. citizenship of anyone seeking to become a dual American-Israeli. [JPost]

• A Hamas official alleged that Israel killed a deal over kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit by refusing to release the Palestinians’ 15 most desired prisoners. [Haaretz]

• The Rent Is Too Damn High Guy is still saying anti-Semitic things … . [Jewcy]

Sundown: Saudi Arms Deal Disclosed

Plus Farkas for presidente! and more

Leonardo Farkas.(Jewlicious)

• The Pentagon outlined its $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. [AP/Bloomberg/JPost]

• At left: This is what Leonardo Farkas, the Jewish-Chilean mining tycoon who gave the rescued miners $10,000 each, looks like. He is running for president! [Jewlicious]

• Israel politics may have played role in the disinvitation of a British-Jewish historian from a panel in Belfast. [Arutz Sheva]

• An unprecedented museum exhibition on Hitler, complete with rarely seen (in Germany) images of the Fuhrer, went up in Berlin. [JTA]

• Former Rep. Gary Condit (D-California) has written a book that touches on his affair with Chandra Levy, the 24-year-old intern who was found dead in Rock Creek Park. [CQ Politics]

• Another report on how mah jongg is back. This time with video!

Movement for Non-Negotiated Statehood Grows

New Palestinian strategy would seek U.N. recognition

President Obama last week.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

So this could be a big deal. Look for the Palestinian Authority, particularly after the U.S. midterm elections, to start working various international institutions, including the United Nations, to recognize an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank. Look for Israel, of course, to vigorously oppose such recognition: As U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren said yesterday, “Like Ben-Gurion, [Prime Minister] Netanyahu will not allow the United Nations, or any other organization, to dictate our borders. They will be determined through negotiations.” But most of all, look to the United States: While it would ordinarily be expected to halt any such effort immediately, President Obama’s strong emphasis on settlements, which are once again being built now that the freeze has expired and not been extended, as well as reports that the U.S. team is immensely frustrated with Bibi’s failure to extend the freeze, suggest U.S. backing might not be quite so easily forthcoming. (more…)

So ‘The Instructions’ Is Pretty Long

But in the good way

(The Rumpus)

Last month, Marissa Brostoff concluded that Adam Levin’s new, thousand-plus-page, über-Jewish novel The Instructions is indeed awesome, perhaps even worth the time.

Today, at The Rumpus, the logical follow-up question is asked (and answered): Is it bigger than a rabbit?

Homophobia Among the Haredim

The special problem and our special obligation

Rabbi Levin (L) and Carl Paladino (front).(NYT)

Your lunchtime reading is this moving essay from Jeremy Burton, the senior vice president of philanthropic initiatives at Jewish Funds for Justice, about his adolescent struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality, and how he sees the gay-baiting machinations of Rabbi Yehuda Levin.

It’s telling that of all places, it was among charedi Jews that Paladino chose to deliver his remarks, expecting and receiving a positive response. Because this community, the community I grew up in, fosters a culture of conformity, one where the message to youth is that “there is only one way to live, and it is our way.” The implication drawn, implicitly and explicitly, is that if you will not live “our way” then you might as well not live. …

Carl Paladino has expressed regret for his remarks, which at least says something about the state of acceptable political discourse in New York. From the decision of Rabbi Levin to then withdraw his endorsement of the candidate, and the silence of many others in the Orthodox community, together with the applause of Carl Paladino’s audience this week, we are reminded: those children need saving from those around them who claim to love them, but only for who they “ought” to be, and not for who they are.

Paladino’s Bias and the Haredim: Time To Speak Out [New York Jewish Week]
Earlier: The Rabbi Who Influenced Paladino’s Speech

She’s Back, and She’s In New York

The season premiere of ‘The Millionaire Matchmaker’

Patti Stanger, in (gasp!) New York.(Jason Merritt/Getty Image)

As if the Yankees weren’t causing enough pain by themselves, our favorite Jewish matchmaker Patti Stanger came rolling into town last night with her barrelful of crazy. (For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, la newly single Stanger decided to relocate from sunny L.A. to her home turf for the fourth season of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker.) Who knows if there will be a round-up every week: The show’s quality and our sanity might demand otherwise. But, I mean, there was a Jewish millionaire on tap for the premiere! And how.

Before that, though, there was Derek Tabacco, a 40-year-old, er, person ostentatiously of Italian descent from Staten Island, a diehard Yankees and Jets fan who built an Internet business with his brothers—something to do with a sports Website—and now owns property in Bermuda. (He also may or may not have hairplugs up front.) Derek, who is more of a butt man, “because any girl can buy boobs,” has been wifehunting for several years with no success, and he wants Patti to fix that. Patti gets him a 24-year-old nightclub hostess from south Jersey named Colby, whom Derek endeavors to romance inside his pleasuremobile, the P2, which is in fact a customized Chevy van. In the backseat, he plies her with cold Coronas and fresh mozz right out of a Tupperware container. And, scene. (more…)

Today on Tablet

The Turkish government’s elaborate repression, and more


Today in Tablet Magazine, Turkey Week continues as Mideast columnist Lee Smith talks to Harvard economist Dani Rodrik about Ergenekon, the fascinating, bizarre web of anti-government conspiracies that are in fact “political fiction” used by the Turkish government to arrest dissidents and shore up support. Liel Leibovitz anoints Orly Castel-Bloom’s 1992 novel Dolly City, newly translated into English, “the most important Israeli novel of the last four decades.” Looks like The Scroll has a new book for the readinq queue.

N.Y. Political Party Blamed High Rents on Jews

But rent is too damn high for us, too!

Jimmy McMillan of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, Monday night.(Audrey C. Tiernan-Pool/Getty Image)

In the circus that was Monday night’s seven-way New York gubernatorial debate, the most amusing sideshow might have been Jimmy McMillan, who is running as the standard-bearer of the “Rent Is Too Damn High Party” (can you guess what its platform is?). Many believed he scored the quote of the night when, on the gay marriage question, he replied, “If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.”

But, as Vos Iz Neias? recalled, in 2005 McMillan had a specific idea of who was to blame for the rent being, well, too damn high:

There are over (25) Twenty Five Thousand Newly Rented Apartments, Available, Now Renting in the Williamsberg Section of Brooklyn, NY. as is all throughout the (5) Five Boro’s. But… they are only being Rented to the Jewish People.

So maybe gay-baiting Republican nominee Carl Paladino—who, incidentally, briefly departed the debate stage because he had to go to the bathroom—wouldn’t be the worst possible winner? (Besides, McMillan’s own rent is quite reasonable, to say the least.) Anyway, barring catastrophe, the next governor will be Andrew Cuomo of the Rent Is Fine The Way It Is Party, also known as the Democrats.

UPDATE: Here is the Party’s response.

Rent Is 2 Damn High Party Ones Blamed Williamsburg Jews For High Rent in NY [Vos Iz Neias?]
Albany Governor Debate Verges on Farce [NYT]
Related: Only Jews Get Real Estate Bargains [Gawker]
Opposing Excessive Rent, but Vague About His Own [NYT]
Earlier: The Rabbi Who Influenced Paladino’s Speech

Daybreak: New Loyalty Oath May Not Pass

Plus Friedman’s ‘spoiled child,’ and more in the news


• There does not appear to be a Knesset majority for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s bill to require the loyalty oath of all prospective immigrants. [Haaretz]

• Columnist Thomas Friedman says Israel is behaving “like a spoiled child” for not agreeing to extend its construction freeze. [NYT]

• Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei is moving to shore up other Iranian clerics’ loyalty to him. [AP/NYT]

• The suspect in the Dubai assassination of Hamas weapons man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh who, we learned yesterday, was reportedly arrested in Canada, was in fact not arrested in Canada, or apparently anywhere else. [Haaretz]

• Anti-Defamation League head Abraham Foxman is in Israel agitating against the planned deportation of 400 children of foreign workers. [JPost]

• Leaders of the Iraqi town of Kifl hope to turn the Tomb of Ezekiel into a tourist destination. [NYT]

Sundown: Obama’s Error

Plus yes that is a creepy Sharon sculpture, and more


Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl persuasively lays the blame for the current direct talks impasse at the feet of President Obama, for his ill-advised focus on settlements. [WP via Rosner’s Domain]

• The Emergency Committee for Israel has created a “Super PAC” (seriously!) and continues to press hard against Senate candidate Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pennsylvania), as does the Republican Jewish Coalition. [Ben Smithl]

• A Tel Aviv gallery will feature a realistic-looking sculpture of a comatose Ariel Sharon. [ArtsBeat]

• You will soon be able to scan the Dead Sea Scrolls from the privacy of your personal computer, smartphone, iPad, or –hone. Google helped out, of course. [JTA/Jewish Journal]

• Another day, another crazy Israeli arms-dealer trying to sell bad stuff to Somalia. [PBS]

• Israeli President Shimon Peres led a candelight vigil marking the 15th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. [JTA]

Cliff Lee put on a clinic last night, holding the all-powerful New York Yankees lineup to two hits, one walk, and zero runs in eight innings, as our team, the Texas Rangers, took a 2-1 lead in the American League Championship Series. Below: The final of this 13 strikeouts of the night.

All The News That’s Fit To Print After the Fact

The ‘Times’ literally catches up with Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson, victorious, last week.(Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

Today, the New York Times Arts section published a mini-profile of this year’s winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize, who—in case you hadn’t heard—was Howard Jacobson, an English-Jewish author. “I’m an old-fashioned English lit. man,” he tells the Times. “Straight down the line—it’s George Eliot, it’s Dickens, it’s Dr. Johnson, it’s Jane Austen.”

If you wanted to read something much like the above, only before he won the Booker (as opposed to, say, a week after he did), you could have checked our interview with him, which ran last Monday.

If you now want to read something amazing by Jacobson and haven’t had time to run out to your nearest bookstore and pick up the winning novel, The Finkler Question, you can read his amazing profile of American ping-pong legend Marty Reisman.

And if you want to read an actual review of the Man Booker-winning book … well, unfortunately the Times can’t help you there. But Tablet Magazine books critic Adam Kirsch gave it the full treatment at the beginning of the month. (He hated it. Kidding!)

Booker Prize Winner’s Jewish Question [NYT]
Related: The Plot Against England
Smash [Tablet Magazine]
Mirror Images [Tablet Magazine]

‘Burnt Books’ Drops Today

Kamenetz’s, and Nextbook Press’s, latest


Rodger Kamenetz is a unique dude. His The Jew in the Lotus is a cult favorite about, as its title perhaps implies, his rediscovery of certain aspects of Judaism through the lens of Buddhism. And his newest book, Burnt Books, which drops today from Nextbook Press, is similarly out-there: It is about the parallel personal quests of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, a great 18th-century Hasidic rabbi, and Franz Kafka, the ultimate symbol of 20th-century alienation; and it is also about the personal quest these two figures sent Kamenetz on, as he hinted in this God & Co. video, and as he discussed in yesterday’s Vox Tablet podcast.

“Rabbi Nachman burned his writing in front of his followers’ eyes to teach a lesson,” Kamenetz wrote last month, on the occasion of the Florida pastor’s threat to burn a Koran. “The ultimate Torah is not a physical object, but a holy manifestation of the ineffable. To draw the primordial Torah down into letters and words is a supreme feat all in itself. Even if no one ever reads it.” Want more? Then check out the book.

Below the jump: Watch Kamenetz’s mishnah on his new work. (more…)

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