HAMPTONS ERUV HULLABALOO: A proposal to erect an eruv in tony Westhampton Beach, N.Y., has prompted an ugly backlash from some quarters. The New York Jewish Week has the story.
HILLEL’S SUPER SAYING: Iron Man, Batman, Will Smith’s “Hancock,” Adam Sandler’s Zohan — this is the season of the “reluctant superhero,” Rabbi Simcha Weinstein writes in The Jewish Press. Weinstein, author of “Up, Up and Oy Vey! How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero,” argues that such heroes are particularly inspiring. “The reluctant superhero speaks to that urge we all have to be something greater, to selflessly serve others and make the world a better place,” he explains. “It is as if all these fictional characters have taken to heart the haunting words of Hillel: ‘If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?’”
FILLING AIPAC’S COFFERS: Who is filling Aipac’s coffers? Writing in The New Jersey Jewish News, former Aipac chief lobbyist Douglas M. Bloomfield credits the U.S. Department of Justice, Steven Walt and John Mearsheimer, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Arab media.
SPEKTOR SERENADES ISRAEL: An eclectic lineup of performers, including Mandy Patinkin, Oscar the Grouch and quirky singer-songwriter-pianist Regina Spektor, took to the stage earlier this month at Washington D.C.’s Israel at 60 celebration on the National Mall. The Washington Jewish Week caught up with the Moscow-born, Bronx-bred Spektor and found out what Israel means to her. “So many times in history, Jews seem to [be] living in harmony and [to] be accepted,” she told the paper, “and all of a sudden, [the] tide turns and they’re not welcome anymore, and in that way it’s so nice to know there’s one place in the world where that can’t happen.”
MILWAUKEE’S FROZEN FALAFEL: Milwaukee may be best known for its beers, but a local company is setting its sights on the frozen falafel market. The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle has the story.
CELEBRATION TIME: San Francisco’s J. kvells over the city’s new Contemporary Jewish Museum.
FREE LUNCH: L.A. Jewish Journal editor Rob Eshman attends a Birthright Israel mega-event and has “a flash of insight into how to get disaffected Jews excited and involved in Jewish life: Make it free!” Among his proposals for programs in the same vein as Birthright, the wildly successful program that has sent tens of thousands of young Jews on free trips to Israel, are: a free year of Jewish education for kids (“Schoolright”), a free week of summer camp for teens (“Campright”), a free year of synagogue membership (“Prayright”) and a free year’s membership in an online dating service (“Dateright”).
RICH DOWN UNDER: The Australian Jewish News finds that members of the tribe are well represented on BRW magazine’s annual list of the wealthiest Aussies. The paper reports that Australian Jewish billionaires occupy the second, fourth, sixth and seventh slots on BRW’s “Rich List.”
ENLISTING CANADA’S JEWS: Canada’s military is stepping up its efforts to recruit Jews. General Walter Semianiw, chief of military personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces, tells the Canadian Jewish News that the recruiting campaign will include appearances at synagogues and schools, “part of a broader effort as part of a diversity piece.”
TORY TOUTS CO-EXISTENCE: Former leader of Britain’s Conservative Party and current Jewish member of Parliament Michael Howard lends his stature to the cause of Jewish-Arab co-existence in Israel. Writing in Britain’s Jewish Chronicle, Howard urges his fellow Britons to “support projects which encourage Jews and Arabs to live and work together and to build that degree of trust between the two communities which can be so important in the wider context of peace.”
BRITAIN’S JEWISH BEAUTIES: The bevy of beauties competing to be the next Miss England include a pair of lovely Jewesses: 22-year-old Miss London, Leah Green, and 19-year-old Miss ModelZed, Samantha Freedman. Britain’s Jewish Chronicle discovers that the two are queens with causes. Green is hoping to show that it’s okay to be shapely, like her. “I thought that maybe I could try to get the message out that it’s not a bad thing to be voluptuous and a size 12,” Green tells the J.C. “I would like to promote real women, curvier women.” Meanwhile, Freedman notes that all the pageantry has a higher purpose. “A lot of people don’t know that the competitions are charity-based,” she says. “All the contestants have to raise money for a particular charity.”