Ben Ehrlich


Rock Stars Hit Jerusalem

By Ben Ehrlich

Several high-profile musical acts are set to rock the holiest city in the Holy Land. The concert, “Jerusalem Rocks!” will take place September 9 at Teddy Kollek Stadium. Billboard Top 40 powerhouse the Black Eyed Peas (who have won three Grammys in the past three years) will headline the bill, which also features progressive hip-hop collective Arrested Development (the group, which won two Grammys in 1993, will release a long-awaited reunion album October 30). The event’s organizers hope to re-establish Jerusalem as an international center of culture.Read More


Making Progress, Bit by (Rib)Bit

By Ben Ehrlich

In their research on Fanconi anemia, Maureen Hoatlin and her four associates at the Oregon Health & Science University have been getting groundbreaking help from a small, slimy source. Hoatlin’s lab has shown that the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) has Fanconi genes and can be used to understand the complex set of proteins that protects our cells from cancer. “The normal function of the Fanconi genes is not completely understood,” Hoatlin explained, “but every time a cell replicates, damage can occur, and Fanconi genes are somehow preventing that damage.”Read More


Big Brother is Watching You

By Ben Ehrlich

CBS found itself in hot water last week. The 24-hour microphones and cameras on the network’s reality-TV show “Big Brother 8” caught contestant Amber Siyavus Tomcavage talking in whispers. “The majority of Jewish people I know, my gosh, so many are so selfish,” she said to another contestant. “So weird.” The 27-year-old Las Vegas cocktail waitress also said she was taught that one can tell who is Jewish “by their last name” and “by their nose.” The statements did not air on CBS, but appeared on both the “Big Brother” after-show feed on the Showtime channel and on the live Internet feed.Read More


Success Is in the Cards

By Ben Ehrlich

Fans of the Israel Baseball League can now take their favorite players home with them. Forty-two top players from the nascent league have their images on baseball cards that kids (and adults) can collect, trade and “flip.” Each card contains a brief player bio printed on the back in both English and Hebrew.Read More


Teachers Take Their Lessons Behind Bars for Jewish Prisoners

By Ben Ehrlich

Rabbinical students Yisroel Silverstein of Brooklyn and Reuven Brody of Miami Beach, Fla., with their black hats and beards, must have looked out of place this summer on “The Farm.” The Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La., which earned its nickname because it is still a working farm, is the largest and perhaps most infamous prison in the United States, with 5,000 inmates. Known for its swampy swelter and constant flooding, the Farm is hardly an Edenic vacation destination. But for Silverstein, 19, and Brody, 20, it was just another stop on a road trip that spanned 20 prisons from Alabama to Oklahoma.Read More






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  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
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