Monthly Archives: October 2008

McCain’s Supporters In Brooklyn

RED new york

RED new york

A group of journalism graduate students at Columbia University put together this interesting study of how Brooklyn is politically divided (“Bleeding Red for McCain”) on their original online news publication, Brooklyn Ink. Using public records of campaign donations, they put together a map that visually reflects which areas of Brooklyn are red and which are blue. Following the map is a series of vignettes about the particular areas in support of McCain. The introduction follows:

Venture to the southeastern point of Brooklyn, below Avenue H, and you will find a Brooklyn where Syrian Jews dine on kibbeh in Gravesend, and where Muslims heed the call to prayer in Bensonhurst. This is a Brooklyn where the manicured lawns and Mercedeses on Ocean Parkway or in Dyker Heights shout one kind of American dream, and where the Cyrillic lettering on the Russian supper clubs in Little Odessa speak another.

Here is the Brooklyn where the real life drama of Vito Fossella – whose career as the city’s only Republican congressman was undone when he admitted to having not one family but two – exceeds even that of Bensonhurst’s own fictional anti-hero, Tony Manero, whom John Travolta famously captured devouring two slices of pizza from Lenny’s as he strutted down 86th street in “Saturday Night Fever.” In this Brooklyn you can shop at the Avi Glatt Kosher Market in the morning, down blinis for lunch and sample sushi for dinner – all without ever leaving the corner of Avenue U and 8th Street.

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More from actor Kirk Douglas about being Jewish

We hope you’ve all seen our exclusive interview with actor Kirk Douglas in the September/October issue of Moment in which he talks with his rabbi, David Wolpe.

Moment has published thoughts from Douglas before. Back in 1995 we published a (slightly adapted) speech that he had previously given to the Los Angeles Synagogue for the Performing Arts. From the Moment archives, the article follows…

When I was a poor kid growing up in Amsterdam, New York, I was pretty good in cheder, so the Jews of our community thought they would do a wonderful thing and collect enough money to send me to a yeshiva to become a rabbi. It scared the hell out of me, because I didn’t want to become a rabbi. I wanted to be an actor. Believe me, the members of the Sons of Israel synagogue were persistent.

I had to work hard to get out of it. But it took me a long time to learn that you don’t have to be a rabbi to be a Jew. You see, I got frightened at age 14 by the story of Abraham and Isaac. I remember the picture in my Hebrew school book. Abraham with a long beard. In one outstretched hand, holding a large knife, in the other—a frightened little boy. And that kid looked an awful lot like me. A hovering angel was having a hard time restraining Abraham. How could the angel convince Abraham that G-D was only testing him? Some test! That picture stayed in my mind for a long time as I drifted away from Judaism. I grew up, went to college, but my Judaism stayed stuck in a 14-year-old boy’s Hebrew school book. Continue reading

Who Says Jews Aren’t Ballers?

Today marks the New York opening of an interesting new documentary: “The First Basket” chronicles the contribution of Jews to basketball, and you’ll be surprised at how large and integral that contribution was.

Jordan Farmar, eat your heart out.

Here are a couple clips of the documentary:

The movie opens November 14 in Los Angeles.

You can find a review of the documentary in the Forward, here.

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler


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Palestinians Inaugurate National Soccer Stadium

Don’t you just love it when a sporting event is used to boil down the immense complexities of geopolitical circumstance to a few simplistic characteristics? It can be a dangerous game, it’s true, especially when sportswriters suddenly think they’re foreign policy experts. But more often than not, the use of sports to explain the world is an illustrative exercise. A few months back, we just couldn’t help reporting on the optimistic joint Israel-Palestine bid for World Cup 2018.

And considering all the hoopla surrounding Israeli politics these days, we were once again pleased to see traditionally volatile Middle East subjects in the innocuous sports sections of major news agencies this past weekend.

As you can gather from the Sky Sports video above, the Palestinian national soccer team inaugurated their national stadium competing against Jordan on Sunday.

Although the action on the field wasn’t particularly remarkable (they drew 1-1), Continue reading

Joseph Lieberman in Big Trouble, Onion Reports

From an Onion article entitled “Lieberman’s Overlords Most Displeased”:

The nine executive overlords of Sen. Joseph Lieberman are most displeased with the Connecticut lawmaker’s repeated insolence. “We asked the earthling Lieberman to secure the American vice presidency, and yet again he has failed us,” Overlord Xinos IV said in a statement issued telepathically from his prefrontal cortex. “Rest assured, this lowly worm shall pay dearly for his incompetence. That is all.” While the Elders of the High Council of Minerva have not yet settled on an appropriate punishment, they are reportedly considering some combination of spine extraction, laser eye-immolation, and a highly complicated process whereby the four-term senator’s pathetic earth body would be condensed into a small pellet and shot at high speeds into the planet’s molten core.

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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Finding the “Real (Jewish) Americans”

More than 200 professors of Jewish studies have joined to form the latest Jews-for-Obama group, reports The Jewish Daily Forward. But the Republican Jewish Coalition poo-poos the new alliance’s potential impact. Jews won’t listen to eggheads, reasons RJC executive director Matt Brooks. “[T]hese elites in many regards just speak for themselves,” he explained to The Forward.

Brooks hits the nail on the head (if you’ll permit a workingman’s metaphor those ivory tower types probably wouldn’t understand): Anyone knows that, say, Jewish seniors in Florida wouldn’t hold much truck with woolly-headed, four-eyed academics. Jews’ disdain for the university sort is legend.

No, as Brooks implies, undecided Jewish voters are much more likely to take political guidance from “real” Americans like Moshe the Plumber and all his buddies at the Nuremberg Sarah Palin rallies. You’ve probably seen them on YouTube—they’re the ones going nuts and shouting “Trotskyist!” when talk turns to Obama’s tax plan.

Granted, no matter whose bubbe or zayde they are, few oldsters worried about Obama are likely to be swayed by comedian Sarah Silverman’s “Great Schlep”, a stunt my (strongly pro-Obama) father found patently insulting. And certainly the Obama campaign would gladly sacrifice a chunk of its record-breaking cash haul (at least, as much as the McCain campaign spent on Sarah Palin’s make-up artist) to anyone who could divine exactly how to reach those elusive Jewish holdouts. But I sense Brooks doesn’t have the answer, either.

Photo by Mike Licht.

Mandy Katz

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Production Time

Hey Inthemoment readers, hope you’re enjoying the blog so far. As always, feel free to contact us at Moment by emailing editor@momentmag.com or posting your thoughts in the comments. We’re always looking for interesting story ideas (for both the magazine and the blog) and input from our readers.

Anyhow, it’s production time at Moment HQ, which means we’re in deadline mode. The blog might be a bit sparse for a few days, but we’ll be back up and chugging at full speed in no time.

And speaking of full speed, check out the quickest built Sukkah ever: