Sunday, October 12th, 2008
If this a depression, let’s take a trip to a rooming house porch, 1938.
Indians pitcher Bob Feller recently spoke to Terry Pluto, the Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter (and religion writer) about the time, in 1938, when the future Hall of Famer lived modestly, in a rooming house.
He was 19, son of an Iowa farmer.
For years, soft-drink magnate Coca-Cola (in its efforts to create a world of soda drinkers) has blanketed the globe with images linking its fizzy drink to fun, happiness and romantic satisfaction.
But now Coke is coming up against a tiny rival with a decidedly different marketing strategy. Instead of blitzing the public with lighthearted pictures or appeals to its flavor, newcomer Mecca Cola (launched last month) is marketing itself with images from the intifada.
The Bettouns are a traditional kind of family. They decorate their homes with menorahs and affix mezuzahs to their doorposts. They gather in the synagogue for bar mitzvah services and celebrate in lavish style. And when someone dies, they immediately say the Shema: even when that person has just been thrown from a helicopter into the backyard of the family compound.
A man who likes extinct languages, Mel Gibson had a chance to practice his Latin this summer — he made several mea culpas.Following his drunken, sexist, profane, anti-Semitic tirade in Malibu in July, the actor-director apologized to the police officers who arrested him. He apologized in a general public statement for saying “despicable” things.
In England, a prominent politician with a reputation as an anti-Semite is defeated in a re-election bid.
In France, three policemen shout anti-Semitic slogans and make the Nazi salute in a bar.
In the United States, a leading spokesman for European Jewry brings a cautionary message about the “current state of anti-Semitism” on the European continent.
Its creative ranks include recluses, the insane and former prison inmates, but "Outsider Art" is hardly the exclusive domain of social misfits.
A tour through the American Museum of Folk Art or any number of galleries specializing in what is also known as "self-taught art" exposes viewers to a rich field of artists (including a notable number of Jewish painters) who, while untrained, display a talent for visual expression appreciated by connoisseurs and common folk alike.
New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka says he will fight legislation aimed at removing him from the state-appointed position, telling The Jewish Week Tuesday he was prepared to take legal action if a bill being drafted this week in the state Senate passes. “I certainly will sue,” he said Tuesday by phone from his home in Newark.
Legal experts say the controversial poet could have a good case on free-speech grounds.
At the urging of leaders in the Iranian Jewish community here, American Jewish leaders this week suspended their public campaign calling for the release of 13 Jews accused of espionage in Iran.
Instead, they are beginning to implicitly acknowledge the inevitability of a trial for the 13 by shifting their demands to the legal arena.
Columbia University history professor Simon Schama stood at the podium in the Center for Jewish History's auditorium Sunday night relating how the desecration of hundreds of Jewish graves in England last week had affected him personally.
"The headstones of my uncle and great-aunt were turned over," when 386 Jewish graves were damaged in East London, he said.
Thus began a three-day international conference in New York on the rise of global anti-Semitism.