Even when I have been disenfranchised from God and synagogue, I have always been culturally proud to be a Jew. A source of that pride is the Jewish tradition of helping the oppressed, and our involvement in social movements such as labor and civil rights.
Vice President Biden’s daughter Ashley married Dr. Howard Krein, a Jewish doctor from Philadelphia, on Saturday at the bucolic St. Joseph’s of the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware, which is the same church where she was baptized. In the official statement released by the vice president’s office, Joe and Dr. Jill Biden said, “We’re happy to welcome Howard into our family, and we wish them all the best in their new life together.”
While he is waiting for Larry David to decide if there is going to be a ninth season of the HBO hit “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” comedian Richard Lewis is embarking on a comedy tour that will take him to Carolines on Broadway in New York City and the Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia in the coming weeks. Lewis, who ranks 45th on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 greatest stand-ups of all time, has literally been able to spin his years of therapy into gold. While the show will change nightly, the audience is practically guaranteed a story about the nanny, date or mother-in-law “from hell.”
Joshua Bell, the mop-topped musician who plays the $4 million “Jewish” Stradivarius previously owned by Israeli Philharmonic founder Bronislaw Huberman, is perhaps the world’s most recognized violinist. His playing to a naked Greta Scacchi in the movie “Red Violin” garnered the film an Oscar for best score. His violin solos have also been featured in “Angels and Demons,” “Ladies in Lavender,” “Defiance,” and Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s soon-to-be-released “Flowers of War,” starring Christian Bale.
Legendary drummer Max Weinberg, one of the original members of the E Street Band, took a night off from Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” concert tour on March 27 to talk about his life and lessons learned at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Weinberg improbably started a second career at the age of 40 as bandleader on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” when Springsteen disbanded the band in 1989. He then followed Conan to the “Tonight Show.” What most people don’t know is that the musician voted best drummer in the 1986 Rolling Stone critics poll can’t read music. The Arty Semite had a chance to catch up with the maestro during his visit to the museum.
While the critics savaged and the rest of the world yawned, Jews in Cherry Hill, New Jersey eagerly tuned in to ABC to watch “Have a Little Faith,” by Mitch Albom, best-selling author of “Tuesdays With Morrie.” The Jewish community there is hopeful that now, when an outsider asks about “that Rabbi,” they’ll be able to answer with pride, referring to Congregation Beth Sholom’s Rabbi Albert Lewis, the subject of Albom’s sappy book-turned-TV movie. Up until now, that question might instead have brought to mind the scandal-ridden former Rabbi Fred Neulander. The founding rabbi of Reform temple M’kor Shalom is currently serving 30 years in prison for hiring two hit men, including a former congregant, to murder his wife. (Disclaimer: my mother taught Hebrew school under Neulander).
What is it about the daughters of Democratic politicians and Jewish men? Former Vice President Al Gore’s daughter Karenna married Andrew Schiff, who is descended from a long line of German Jews. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s only daughter, Chelsea, married Philadelphian Jew Marc Mezvinsky in a ceremony presided over by a rabbi. Now, Vice President Joe Biden let it slip that his daughter Ashley has become engaged to Dr. Howard Krein, a Jewish otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia — and my doctor. At an event in Delaware on Friday, he kept gushing about “his future son-in-law.
The Wall Street Journal opinion page is one of the most reliably pro-Israel editorial pages in the country. When its deputy editorial page editor, Bret Stephens — who also has the distinction of being the youngest person ever appointed editor of the Jerusalem Post — spoke at Drexel University this week, he not only carried the WSJ flag in the pro-Israel department, but explained why others should join his camp.
Officials from Comcast, which provides cable service to one-fifth of the homes in the United States, met today with representatives of Al Jazeera English (AJE) to discuss the possibility of adding the channel to the Comcast cable lineup. Currently, the 24-hour AJE is not available in most U.S. cable television markets. It is only offered in the United States through MHz Networks multicast channels on Comcast, Verizon Fios, and Cox to 2.4 million subscribers in Washington, D.C., Toledo, Ohio, and Burlington, Vermont.
Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, kicked off the book tour for his memoir, Known and Unknown, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on February 9. Historian Michael Beschloss, the author of eight books on American presidents, moderated the event.