(JTA) — Moments before they were scheduled to start singing at an impromptu memorial vigil outside the Jewish Museum of Belgium, the 13 members of Yale University’s Jewish a cappella group were still unsure what number to perform.
Fresh off the train from Paris, Magevet’s men and women had not initially planned to perform anywhere near the museum during their biennial international tour in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
But they decided to show up after hearing on Saturday that an unidentified shooter had killed four people at the Jewish museum in central Brussels.
The following day, they were already standing at the solemn vigil that the Jewish community of Brussels had hastily organized. And while they were full of emotions, they still had no proper set for that performance before the 2,000 people who showed up.
“It was not even clear whether it would be possible for us to sing at all,” recalled Yale sophomore Joshua Fitt, 18.
If you’ve ever been the sad recipient of an Ivy League rejection letter, you’re in glitzy company.
Maggie Gyllenhaal has revealed that she was turned down by Yale and wait-listed at Columbia. “I wanted to go to Yale, but they didn’t accept me,” she told Gotham in their June 28 issue. “Columbia didn’t accept me at first, either — they put me on the wait list. Once I was there, I realized I wouldn’t have finished college if I weren’t in the city.”
Catch Maggie, self-proclaimed almost-college-drop-out, in “White House Down.” Take that, Yale!
On Monday, Ruth Franklin wrote about sharing a stage with Yann Martel. She is the author of “A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction.” Her blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog series. For more information on the series, please visit:
I’m occasionally asked whether I really think that at this late date, 60 years on, anything new can be said about the Holocaust. But people have been asking this question virtually since the end of the war.
When François Mauriac famously encountered the young Elie Wiesel in Paris in the early 1950s, he was amazed, as he would write in the introduction to “Night,” that Wiesel’s book, “coming as it does after so many others and describing an abomination such as we might have thought no longer had any secrets for us, is different, distinct, and unique nevertheless.” Reviewing Piotr Rawicz’s surrealist Holocaust novel “Blood From the Sky” in 1964, Theodore Solotaroff wrote that “by now there has been a glut of books and articles, reminiscences and diaries, documentary histories and objective analyses that tell us everything we need to know about life in the ghettoes and prisons and death camps.” And yet those who write about the Holocaust continued to surprise then, as they still do now.
Craig Breslow, an Oakland Athletics relief pitcher, has been called the smartest man in baseball more than once. And after graduating from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and nearly matriculating at NYU’s medical school, the title isn’t necessarily unwarranted.
But Breslow, a “proud” Jew and New Haven native, is getting some publicity for a different, if not entirely unrelated, moniker: the baseball player most likely to cure cancer. Since starting his Strike 3 Foundation for cancer research two years ago, Breslow has raised over $250,000 and helped Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital fund a pediatric bone marrow program. For his efforts, he’s the A’s nominee for the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes on-field achievement in tandem with off-field humanitarianism.
The New York Times is reporting that Rabbi James Ponet officiated, alongside Reverend William Shillady, at the Saturday evening wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky.
Ponet is Yale’s Jewish chaplain and heads the university’s Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale. Read his bio here. At Yale, he’s taught a seminar on “The Family in Jewish Tradition,” with sexpert and Bintel Brief guest columnist Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
He has written about the Hanukkah story for Slate, and, back in 2003, the Forward reported that Ponet was among those who voiced concerns about controversial poet Amiri Baraka’s visit to Yale. During that visit, Baraka offered “evidence” that Israel was forewarned about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
A Reform rabbi, Ponet received ordinationin 1973 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
The Clinton-Mezvinsky nuptials took place about two hours before the end of Shabbat.
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