Newsletter Issue # 34 – June 13, 2012

At least for one day, all ethnic tensions played second-fiddle to  Harmony Day, at Hamilton-Metz Park. As the summer is nearly upon us in its official capacity, we soon will mark the legal-age since the infamous 1991 Crown Heights riot. The day’s activities commenced with a march down Empire Boulevard in the morning, and ended with a soccer tournament at the park on Lefforts Avenue in the afternoon.

Dutch Agriculture Minister Hans Bleker signed an agreement with Jewish and Muslim religious leaders and slaughterhouses that will prevent a ban on ritual slaughter. Under the signed agreement, animals can continue to be ritually slaughtered as long as they lose consciousness within 40 seconds of their throats being cut. After 40 seconds they must be stunned, which is prohibited under both Jewish and Islamic law.

American actor David Arquette celebrated his Bar Mitzvah slightly late at the Western Wall this week. The 41-year-old actor is currently in Israel as a guest of the Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. Arquette is in Israel to film a segment for the  popular Travel Channel series he presents entitled “Mile High.”  The show, will showcase Israel’s tourism offerings.

The Chief Rabbinate released a new set of criteria for rabbis who can officiate weddings, indicating a breakthrough in the negotiations with the Tzohar movement. The movement whose officials have claimed that they are being discriminated by Israel’s top religious authority. The new regulations make allowances for Religious-Zionist rabbis who have so far been denied the right to perform marriage ceremonies.

The blog Jewlicious recently pointed us to a music video that wonderfully draws on a Bruno Mars song, “Marry You.” Everybody thinks Bruno Mars is singing “dancing Jews” instead of the actual lyric, “dancing juice” (slang for booze) but who cares we like the popular music of Bruno Mars. It is mostly happy and upbeat. Even the unrequited love theme in “Grenade” comes out as a positive lyric in some strange ways.

Muhammad Ali’s grandson Jacob Wertheimer was called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah . Jacob is the son of Ali’s daughter Khaliah Ali-Wertheimer and Spencer Wertheimer.  Ali was in the congregation watching with pride according to the Sweet Science boxing website in an article written by Muhammad Ali’s personal biographer Thomas Hauser.

Philosophy is not Jewish. The practice of philosophy is not at all Jewish, since philosophy originated in ancient pagan Greece. In fact we believe philosophy is antithetical to both biblical and Talmudic modes of thought. Although prominent Jews have written philosophical books, including Maimonides, Rav Soloveitchik and Rabbi Dr. Zev Zahavy wrote a wonderful book about cosmology and religious philosophy called Whence and Wherefore.

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