Monday, November 10, 2008

Jew Like Me, Jew Really Like Me!

Due to overwhelming response I have decided to make some cameos to my blog site. Now that I am a minivan owner I am sure my entries will take a different tone. Which direction they may go I am not even sure. I might even make things less static and start a facebook page then I will know what type of person likes this site and information. Even without writing an entry in months 1,000 people a week still visit here.

I am still pumped to see Defiance which opens next week and I also wanted to report that the only living brother which the film was based on has been cleared on the criminal charges he and his wife incurred for taking an elderly woman from their living community and dropping her off in Poland (where she was from several years prior) at a senior home and leaving her there. Story below:

Kidnapping charge dropped against Aron, Henryka BellCourt allows couple to return to Palm Beach Towers condo
By MICHELE DARGANDaily News Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Leaving a 93-year-old Palm Beach woman in a Polish nursing home against her will was "horrible and disgusting," but it doesn't warrant a kidnapping charge, a prosecutor has decided.
In a letter to Palm Beach Police Detective Nicholas Caristo, Assistant State Attorney Michael Rachel wrote that, because Janina "Nina" Zaniewska went to Poland voluntarily before allegedly being abandoned there, any criminal act occurred in a foreign country.
Rachel wrote that charges of grand theft, organized scheme to defraud and exploitation of the elderly can be pursued against Aron Bell, 80, and his wife, Henryka Bell, 58.
Rachel's letter was among 200 pages of discovery documents related to the arrest and prosecution of the Bells, whom authorities accuse of draining Zaniewska's bank account of $250,000.
The Bells remain free on $120,000 bail each. One of the conditions of their pretrial release had been that they not live at the Palm Beach Towers, where the couple and Zaniewska all live. But a circuit judge ruled Monday that the couple can return to their Towers home.
The Bells have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Steven Gomberg, attorney for the Bells, said he doesn't see "any smoking gun" in the documents released Monday.
"The woman was all alone, had no family, and she needed a great deal of assistance and care," Gomberg said. "They had a long-standing relationship. Everything was arranged and immortalized by lawyers, doctors and accountants. This was not some sort of back-room deal. They just wanted to help her with her finances. Hindsight being 20/20, it would have been better if it had gone through the courts. It seemed prudent at the time."
Gomberg said the money has not been lost and that the Bells merely reinvested it for Zaniewska.
"Mrs. Zaniewska hasn't lost a penny," Gomberg said. "The money was placed where she wanted it to be. The money is all available. It's all going to be restored. It could have been at any time had this taken a different course."
Witnesses, however, suspected more than altruism was at work.
Rose Marie Felice, the receptionist at the Palm Beach Towers, remembers Zaniewska as "such a happy, cheerful lady, always stopping by the front desk to have a chat and socialize." That is, Felice said, until Zaniewska was befriended by the Bells.
After that, Zaniewska became "almost like a stranger to all of us at the front desk. The Bells seemed to take over every aspect of her life, not letting her even say hello to us," Felice said in a written statement.
Pamela Leikala, manager of the Regent Bank at Palm Beach Towers, called police after she became suspicious of the Bells' involvement in Zaniewska's financial affairs.
"Mrs. Bell did all the transactions," Leikala wrote in her statement. "I did not see Ms. Zaniewska, so I asked Mrs. Bell to bring her in as I had not seen her for a while. Ms. Bell gave me a hard time and did not want to bring her in."
After looking into Leikala's suspicions, police found Zaniewska in a nursing home in Poland, where she says the Bells left her against her will. Police say the Bells took her to Poland in May under the ruse that it was to be a vacation. Instead, they left her in the home and returned to Palm Beach, according to Zaniewska's testimony.
The State Attorney's Office declined to file kidnapping charges because there was not enough evidence to prove the charge since Zaniewska went to Poland voluntarily, Rachel wrote.
"Ms. Zaniewska has fervently stated throughout that the Bells, while in Poland, left her at a Polish assisted living facility ... against her will," Rachel wrote. "This act was horrible and disgusting. But because it was done in a foreign country, and because none of the elements were committed here, the charge of kidnapping is not legally tenable in Palm Beach County."
In an Oct. 5 interview with police, Zaniewska said the trip to Poland was to be a good time and an occasion to see friends.
"From the bank records provided, it appears that most, if not all, of Ms. Zaniewska's funds were either transferred or spent by the Bells well before this trip to Poland," Rachel wrote.
Zaniewska was returned to the United States Oct. 4, after a U.S. Embassy official visited her in the nursing home and determined that she'd been placed in the home against her will.
The paperwork released Monday included:
* A living will signed by Zaniewska on April 1, 2005, designating Henryka Bell her health-care surrogate in case Zaniewska is incapacitated.
* A last will and testament signed by Zaniewska on April 1, 2005, designating Henryka Bell as her beneficiary. Aron Bell is the beneficiary if Henryka dies first.
* A last will and testament signed by Zaniewska on Oct. 26, 2007, leaving all of her property and insurance policies to her friends Marcella DeMuth-Gintowt and Yaga Oshesici. If neither of them survives her, her property will go to St. Edward Catholic Church.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jewish swimmers pace U.S. to relay gold

Breaking News
Jewish swimmers pace U.S. to relay gold
Published: 08/11/2008
Jason Lezak's stirring anchor leg lifted the U.S. men’s 4x100-meter relay swimming team to the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics and a world record.Lezak and another Jewish swimmer, Garrett Weber-Gale, comprised half the U.S. squad with Michael Phelps and Cullen Jones. The Americans finished Monday's race in 3:08.24, erasing the world mark by about 4 seconds.
Lezak swam 46.06 seconds in managing to overtake world record-holder Alain Bernard of France. Lezak, who picked up his third career gold medal, trailed by nearly a second heading into the final lap. His time would have beaten his American record in the 100 freestyle.Weber-Gale followed Phelps’ opening leg with a time of 47.02.The U.S. team had beaten the world mark in the qualifying round with a team that did not include Lezak or Phelps but did have Ben Wildman-Tobriner, another Jewish swimmer.Phelps has now earned two gold medals in his bid to win eight and break the mark of seven set by Mark Spitz, also a Jewish swimmer, in the 1972 Games in Munich.
On Saturday night, 41-year-old Dara Torres made history by becoming the oldest swimmer to win an Olympic medal when she anchored the U.S. women's 4x100 freestyle relay team to a silver. The Netherlands won the race in a world record 3:33.76, with the Americans finishing in 3:34.33.
"As I’ve said from the beginning of this, age is just a number," Torres, a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, told The New York Times.
For Torres, the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympics, it was her 10th medal.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

An Unintended Jewing Lucas got it half right

Well I just got finished watching the 2004 update DVD of Star Wars VI with 2 of my kids. I had not seen it since it came out originally in the theater 25 years ago. Where did the time go? Anyway what started out as an ironic comment to Carrie Fisher being the daughter of Hayden Christiansen and Natalie Portman has as usual gone much further and may I say goes back a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...
I am sure it was not purposeful (hence the title of my blog) but isn't it ironic that Portman is 100% Jewish and Christiansen a gentile (wouldn't know it from the surname :) making the twins half Jewish (by blood, I know in orthodoxy it is the religion of the mother). So it works out that Carrie Fisher has a Jewish dad in real life and it would have worked out perfectly if Han Solo (Ford) was her twin as he has a Jewish mother in real life. But where our story goes into Jewish randomness (which is always the goal) is that Mark Hamill who played Luke (with no known Jewish ancestry) is that in Nov of 2003 he complained that he couldn't get his daughter into the A-List Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties in Hollywood (see below). Then just 3 days later he ends up voicing Luke Skywalker in an episode of the Family Guy in which the main character feels he needs to convert to Judaism to be successful (also added below). Finally I lifted a piece off the Internet comparing Star Wars to the Holocaust. But as we all know everything goes back to the Jews and you can challenge me on that in my game "Back to Jew". And yes, yes while we are talking about space and sci-fi I do know that the hand solute that Spoke (Jewish Leonard Nimoy) makes is the Jewish sign of the Kohen (ask your grandpa) which is one of the several ways that Star Trek goes Back to Jew. (If you are wondering what Nemoy is up to these days I have added a photo for your enjoyment from his latest picture book, see if you can spot it). So go forth and read..

November 06, 2003


Mark Hamill, the actor who played "Luke Skywalker" in Star Wars, takes a subtle jab at Jewish Hollywood personalities.
"I don't mind the Hollywood caste system. I know the tenuous position I'm in on the entertainment food chain. I don't get invited to A-list affairs. Me? I'm listless," he says. "If anything, it hardens my resolve to say, 'Ah, you're wrong. I'm going to show you by doing this or that or the other."

"But when you do it to my children, that makes me go berserk. And she started being excluded from this one's birthday party or that one's bat mitzvah because I'm not A-list. It really burns my hide when it comes through because they're not in show business - I am."
I hope the ADL do not give him a hard time about this comment, which is clearly not anti-Semitic. Hamill is disappointed with Hollywood snobbery, and criticizes Hollywood players, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. He was probably not even thinking in terms of "Jewish" and "non-Jewish", but merely in terms of the types of events from which his children are excluded. And you can bet there are plenty of bat mitzvahs!

When You Wish Upon a Weinstein
Peter suggests that Chris convert to Judaism in order to become better at math.

Season: 3 Episode: 22
Total Episode Count: 50
Prod. no.: 2ACX05
First Aired: November 9, 2003

Guest Starring: Peter Riegert as Max Weinstein, Mark Hamill as Luke, Ed McMahon as himself, and Ben Stein as Rabbi Goldberg
Featuring: Peter, Chris, Max Weinstein
Also Appearing: Lois, Meg, Stewie, Brian, Jim Kaplan, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Tony Robbins, Optimus Prime
Musical Numbers: "I Need A Jew"

Director: Dan Povenmire
Assistant Director: Sarah Frost
Writers: Ricky Blitt

Plot: Peter gives Lois’s “rainy day fund” to a scam artist selling volcano insurance. On that same night Stewie breaks Meg’s glasses, because he hates being watched while he sleeps, and so Lois tells Peter that he needs to recover the money to buy their daughter a new pair of glasses.

Max helping Peter with the salesmanDepressed by his financial woes, Peter is interested when Quagmire and Cleveland describe great financial successes attained after hiring men with Jewish-sounding names and decides that he needs a Jew to handle his money (though Cleveland pointedly tells Peter the mens' religion is not the point of the stories) in an elaborate musical number based on “When You Wish upon a Star.” When a Jewish man named Max Weinstein (Peter Riegert) has car trouble outside the Griffin house, Peter takes it as a sign and after a footchase, Peter pressures Max into helping him get the emergency money back. Max later recovers the money from the scammer. After accompanying Max to synagogue (“Temple Beth Thupporting Actor”) and inviting him over for dinner, Peter comes to the conclusion that Chris would get better grades and be more successful if he converted to Judaism.

He secretly drives Chris to Las Vegas, Nevada for a quick Bar Mitzvah after Lois displays objection to his idea, but she arrives just in time to stop the ceremony. A crowd, angry that Lois is apparently insulting their religion, chases the Griffins until they escape onto a bus which is full of nuns who are not happy about Peter’s straying from Catholicism.
Star Wars in a Historical perspective
In the movie, written by George Lucas, Episode IV - A New Hope. There are many mythical, religious and spiritual symbols portrayed. The Jedi's believe in the Force, which is a religion of which they abide. The Force is the backbone of the Jedis and they turn to this when in trouble. The opposite of the Force is the "Dark Side of the Force." The Dark Side is lead by and evil Jedi named Darth Vador and his master, the emperor. The opposing side is looking to get rid of the entire Jedi population by using fierce actions by the emperors Storm Troopers.

In the movie the Jedis can be compared to the Jews in World War II. The similarities that both figures share deal with strength. The Jews today have been able to stick together and follow their religion even through the harshest times. Hitler's army, The SS and Gestapo during World War II were after the Jews to demolish their entire race. Hitler would put the Jews though hell. The Jews were forced to move from place to place. They would begin in the ghettos, then onto the concentration camps and worst of all, Hitler put them in death camps where the majority of the Jews died.

Hitler was the one of the biggest icons in World War II, as well as the cruelest, yet most powerful dictator who ever lived. Hitler's ambition was to be in charge of the entire world and he believed that the Jews were in his way. In episode IV Darth Vador and his master are set out to destroy the "good" side of the Force. For instance, in World War II, Hitler used the SS and Gestapo to help him succeed and to keep the Jews retained. Episode IV had Darth Vador using the Storm Troopers, an army which he created out of pure evil, to attempt to stop the Jedis' from ruing there plans.

Regardless of the challenges these groups faced, the force and the Jewish religion will always be strong. Despite the hardships they are faced with, it is important to keep in mind that the good will rise above. Lucas was very creative in using mythical, spiritual and religious symbols in the movie and it showed by all the extreme ratings it has obtained over the years. Episode IV showed a brilliant breakthrough in technology that helped to capture the storyline. Maybe Lucas created some of his ideas for the movie from the history of World War II.

by Anonymous Student

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What Jew Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf Have in Common?

Indian Jones Spoiler Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is really no surprise and an 8 year old could figure it out 10 mins into the film but LaBeouf who plays Mutt is reveled to the audience near the end that he is in fact Ford's (Jones) son. So what they have in common is that they are both half Jewish although the Adam Sandler song refers incorrectly to Ford as a quarter Jewish. The book Jews that Rock which he wrote a forward to is also in correct on several Jews and part Jews but that is for another blog rant. Also interesting weather done on purpose or not but River Phoenix who played Jones as a young man was also half Jewish (blood wise). Here are a few articles that comment on the half Jewishness of Ford and LaBeouf. LaBeouf joins the ranks of Joseph Gordon Levitt and Evan Rachel Wood in my "Jew Watch" Jewish stars of the future. Both Levitt and Wood are 100% Jewish thus the reason they get 3 names:). On another side note about 2 months ago I went to Ford's Filling Station (Owned and operated by his son) and wrote a note on a beer coaster to have Ford's son contact Sandler and half that corrected. On another side not I also passed 5 soldiers when I walked in and I turned around a shook the hand of the one closest to me and thanked him and the rest for their service. When we were seated I had the waitress bring them a round of drinks on me. It doesn't matter where you stand on the war at the end of the day it is these brave men and women that are putting their lives on the line so that the rest of us can sit around and write blogs like this one without having our eyes gouged out and our hands cut off. Now would be as good a time as ever to donate 5 or 10 bucks to Veterans of ForeignWars ( or Paralyzed Vets: (

Harrison Ford's mother was Jewish. His father was Catholic.
From: Matthew Berke, "Half-Jews: What do Gwyneth Paltrow, J. D. Salinger, and Paula Abdul have in common?", a review of The Half-Jewish Book: A Celebration, written by Daniel Klein and Freke Vuijst, on website (; viewed 6 November 2005):
Once upon a time, the half-Jew was regarded as a strange and lonely figure--an outsider both to society at large and to the Jewish people... But as the intermarriage trend has continued, being half-Jewish suddenly seems unremarkably common. Indeed, according to Daniel Klein and Freke Vuijst, authors of The Half-Jewish Book, "halfies" now outnumber full-blooded Jewish children under the age of 11, and they're gaining on the rest.
More important, Klein and Vuijst contend, half-Jewish is not a partial or fragmented identity to be lamented, but rather a "rich and elaborate" double identity to be celebrated. Unfortunately, the authors--a married couple with a half-Jewish daughter-can't decide whether to name-drop glitzy personalities with Jewish origins or to explore their distinct new cultural sensibility. They end up doing a bit of both.
In People magazine mode, Klein and Vuijst provide a catalog of stars who are half-Jewish, including actors Paul Newman, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, David Duchovny, and Matthew Broderick...
Relatively few of the halfies considered here live religiously serious Jewish lives... Indeed, many observe no religion, multiple religions, or are practicing Christians, who, despite their feelings of attachment, are simply not part of the Jewish community... few will reconnect with Judaism...

#17 Shia LaBeouf
April 13, 2008 by stuffjewishyoungadultslike
One of the more recent actors to emerge from the small screen to the megablockbusters, gaining the interest of Jewish Young Adults, is 21 year old Shia LaBeouf. Shia, who spent his early years cutting his acting chops on Disney’s Even Stevens, is now a bona fide meg-celeb, starring in the recent Transformers, and the upcoming new Indiana Jones movie. Even though he is only half Jewish, Shia was admittedly raised as a Member of the Tribe and was Bar Mitzva-ed with the best of them.
LaBeouf’s popularity with the JYA community is obvious, specifically pertaining to the female segment of the population. They see him as an ideal mix of qualities; part menschiness, part edginess. The menschiness means they can introduce him to Jewish Elders without fear of reproach, and the edginess gives him the much coveted title of being a Non-Stereotypical Jew. A Non-Stereotypical Jew is a JYA who exhibits qualities, either physical or mental, that are typically not associated with Jewry. Therefore, NSJs, both male and female, are rare and highly valued for potential mating.
Male JYAs have a unique relationship with Mr. LaBeouf. On one hand, they appreciate his good natured humor and see in him potential fraternization and kinship. On the other hand, Male JYAs seem to exhibit unspoken jealousy toward Mr. LaBeouf, possibly due to rivalry for the attention of females. It is not uncommon to hear a male JYA make a derisive remark about LaBeouf as an obvious show of one-upmanship, specifically when in the presence of a female counterpart.
Even though there is some seemingly negative reaction toward Mr. LaBeouf’s recent stardom, the overall reaction from the JYA community is positive and encouraging. Mr. LaBeouf should feel proud that he has become prominent masturbatory material at Stern College.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jews are safer with Bush

I Blame Bush-- Terror Attacks Down 40% Since 2001
It's all Bush's fault.Terror attacks are down 40% since 2001.Andrew Bolt and The Canadian Press reported this recent study:
A group of researchers from Simon Fraser University says global terrorism is on the decline, despite previous data and public perceptions that suggest otherwise.The university's Human Security Report Project says fatalities from terrorist attacks around the world have, in fact, decreased by 40 per cent since 2001.But... Sadly, there are those who believe that even with Saddam Hussein and the Taliban gone that America is somehow less safe today than before 9-11.And... Total global terror attacks were down 40% late last year due to the 55% decrease in attacks in Iraq.Reuters reported:
A study released on Wednesday reports a decline in fatal attacks of terrorism worldwide and says U.S. think-tank data showing sharp increases were distorted due to the inclusion of killings in Iraq."Even if the Iraq 'terrorism' data are included, there has still been a substantial decline in the global terrorism toll," said the 2007 Human Security Brief, an annual report funded by the governments of Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Britain.For example, global terrorism fatalities declined by 40 percent between July and September 2007, driven by a 55 percent decline in the "terrorism" death toll in Iraq after the so-called surge of new U.S. troops and a cease-fire by the Shi'ite militant Mehdi Army, the brief said.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Vegan Like Jew

Being a chocolate chip vegan I have found myself almost leper even in liberal LA. I found this Jewish view on be a vegetarian and another article about how it feels to not eat meat in a carnivore's world.

Jewish Vegetarianism -- Theological Perspectives on Judaism and Vegetarianism
The Jewish Vegetarian Ideal

Jewish vegetarianism is a philosophy and lifestyle, based upon Jewish teachings and mandates, that prescribes a diet centered on grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and that proscribes the consumption of all animal flesh, including that of fish and fowl. Many well known Jews have followed a Jewish vegetarian lifestyle. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook, the first chief rabbi of modern Israel, considered vegetarianism to be the ideal, the ultimate peace between mankind and the rest of the animal kingdom. He felt that in the Messianic Age, as prophesied by Isaiah (XI:7), we would all be vegetarian again and the only sacrifices offered would be the mincha sacrifice, which was of vegetable origin. Although there is some debate regarding Rav Kook's consistency in following a vegetarian diet, Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen, the current Chief Rabbi of Haifa, has written, "I myself, am a vegetarian, following in the footsteps of my late father, the saintly Nazir of Jerusalem [Rabbi David Cohen], and his teacher, the saintly first Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Isaac Hacohen Kook." Other well known Jewish vegetarians include Rabbi David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, the late Rabbi Shlomo Goren z"l, Chief Rabbi of Israel, and Avraham Burg (vegan - strict vegetarian), the youngest and only religious person ever to be elected Knesset Speaker, whose diet reflects his respect for the sanctity of all life. Thus, Jewish vegetarianism has had many prominent adherents.
In the ideal state of Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden), mankind is described as being vegetarian, and this state persisted until after the Flood in the time of Noach. In Bereishit, perek aleph, pasuk kaf"tet (Genesis I:29), God told Adam and Chava (Eve) that He had given them all of the seed-bearing plants and fruits as food. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 59b) declares, "Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav, 'Adam was not allowed to eat meat,'" citing the above pasuk (verse) from Bereishit. Almost all of the subsequent commentators agree with this assessment.
Vegetarianism can be considered the ideal from several perspectives. We will consider each of these in turn.
Health and Prevention
A plant-based diet is the ideal, as confirmed by medical scientists in recent years. A commentator has suggested that the prescription of a vegetarian diet in Gan Eden could not have been for health reasons because there are many poisonous plants that would be harmful if consumed. This objection does not make much sense, however. If a doctor tells a patient to eat more fruits and vegetables, he is giving a general recommendation for health reasons. Although there are some poisonous berries and plants, he assumes that the patient has the common sense to stay away from them. Similarly, the prescription of this type of diet by God can be considered a general recommendation for the healthiest type of diet.
Judaism stresses the importance of maintaining health and not harming oneself. We are commanded in Devarim, perek daled, pasuk tet"vav (Deuteronomy IV:15) "venishmartem me'od lenafshoteichem" --"you shall guard yourselves most diligently." This means that we must do everything possible to guard our health and not take unnecessary risks. We are also to "choose life above all" (Deuteronomy XXX:19). The well known talmudic principle "chamira sakkanta me'issura" (Chulin 10a) indicates that a danger to health takes precedence over ritual obligations, including Shabbat observance. The Torah also declares that prevention is the highest form of healing: "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His eyes, and keep all of His commandments, I will put none of the diseases upon you that I have put upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord your physician." God is saying here that He is preventing disease. Since, in preventing disease, we are emulating God, prevention is the highest form of healing. With regard to vegetarianism, Rashi's midrashic explanation of this verse is very interesting: he states that God in this context is like a physician who says to a patient, "Do not eat this food or it will make you sick." Modern research has shown that there is indeed a great sakkana (danger) to health from consuming meat, and this by itself provides sufficient reason to require a vegetarian diet from a halachic (Jewish legal) perspective.
Medical Evidence Supporting a Vegetarian Diet
We have learned that nutrition is the primary determinant of health. Virtually all of our chronic diseases are linked to diet (references available on request).
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Risk factors include elevated blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, hypercoagulability of the blood, and presence of diabetes -- all of which can be prevented or alleviated by a high fiber, low fat vegetarian diet. The Lifestyle Heart Trial showed that adoption of a low fat vegetarian diet along with exercise and stress reduction can actually reverse the hardening of the arteries that leads to heart attacks. The implication is that 95% of all heart attacks are preventable. They are not something to be expected as a consequence of aging but rather are the result of an aberrant lifestyle.
All of the major causes of death due to cancer have been linked to diet. The risk of lung cancer, number one in both men and women because of the smoking epidemic, may be increased by animal fat consumption and is reduced by vegetable consumption. Meat consumption is a major risk factor for prostate cancer, number two in men, and fats increase its aggressiveness. Breast cancer, a hormonally dependent cancer, may be linked with higher estrogen levels in women and may reflect childhood dietary practices and even the diet of one's mother prenatally. Cancer of the colon and rectum, number three in both men and women, is strongly linked to both red and white meat consumption. Meat consumption is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer (number four in both men and women), whereas legumes and dried fruits appear to be protective. Ovarian cancer, number five in women, has been linked with dairy (including skim milk), egg, and meat consumption. Lymphoma, number five in men and six in women, has been linked with both beef and dairy consumption in various studies. And the risk of bladder cancer in non-vegetarians is twice that of vegetarians. The message is clear: we would prevent well over half of all deaths due to cancer if people increased their fruit and vegetable consumption and discarded the animal products.
The adult form of diabetes, common among overweight adults, can be prevented by a high fiber vegetarian diet. Seventh Day Adventists, about half of whom are vegetarian, have only half the death rate from diabetes as the rest of us. Vegetarian diets have also been found to lower blood pressure. Kidney stones occur in one out of every eight adults in the U.S., and meat consumption has been identified as a major risk factor. Gallstones are also much less prevalent in vegetarians. High intakes of animal protein increase the risk of osteoporosis. And obesity, which is an obvious sign of an inappropriate diet, speaks for itself.
Modern science has indeed confirmed the Torah's wisdom with regard to the ideal diet.
Ethics and Respect for Life
Judaism forbids the infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering, called tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, on nonhuman animals. This injunction is d'oreita, derived directly from the Torah. So strongly did Chazal (our Sages) feel about this matter that they included "eiver min hachai," the prohibition against removing the limb from a living animal (or more broadly, anything that causes unnecessary suffering to animals) among the seven Noachide commandments. These were the laws that they felt should be applicable to all of mankind and not just to Jews. Many of our commandments relate to the way animals should be treated.
Many traditional Jewish sources refer to nonhuman animals as creatures devoid of reasoning ability, imagination, and morality. Modern science has shown otherwise, and just as we disregard the medical remedies described by the Talmud, we should also discard these characterizations of animals because of their scientific invalidity. Anyone who has had companion animals is aware of their diverse personalities, their thinking abilities, and their capacity for unconditional love, a very positive trait. An article in the International Edition of the Jerusalem Post on August 10, 1996 described an amazing event. A British tourist was swimming in the Red Sea when he was attacked by sharks. He screamed and the water around him became stained with his own blood. As a crew in a boat sped to save him, they saw that he was being circled by three dolphins who had created a barrier between the sharks and him and had thereby saved his life. Similar incidents involving other animals have been recorded as well. Of course, even if animals were not capable of reasoning there would be no justification for exploiting them and causing them pain. Interestingly, in discussing the prohibition against killing an animal and its offspring on the same day, the Rambam (Maimonides) states in Moreh Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed) that "there is no difference in this situation between the pain of humans and the pain of other living creatures," and he points out that imagination exists not only in humans but also in most other animals. Judaism does not equate humans with nonhuman animals, but we must accept the scientific evidence that they are similar in many important ways. And even though they are dissimilar to humans in many ways, that does not give us the right to exploit them merely to satisfy our ta'avah (lust).
Unfortunately, animals today have become straw men for those who feel the need to justify their own actions. The concept of using the Torah to justify one's own gratification at the expense of others is not rooted in Judaism. According to the Torah, God placed man in the Garden of Eden l'ovda uleshomra, to work it and to serve it. In other words, we were placed here not for our own gratification but to serve God. Rather than using the Torah to justify what we do, we should be using it to ask how we can serve God better, by raising ourselves to higher moral and spiritual levels by emulating His mercy and compassion.
We've fallen a long way from the likes of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, who stated, "There are probably no creatures that require more the protective divine word against the presumption of people than the animals which, like human beings, have sensations and instincts, but whose body and powers are nevertheless subservient to people. In relation to them, human beings easily forget that injured animal muscle twitches just like human muscle, that the maltreated nerves of an animal sicken like human nerves, that the animal being is just as sensitive to cuts, blows, and beating as people" (Horeb, Soncino Press, New York, 1962).
Animals raised today under the factory farming system suffer greatly. Their lives epitomize tsa'ar ba'alei chayim. This was recognized by Reb Moshe Feinstein in the case of crate-raised veal calves, whose meat is usually treifah (nonkosher) anyway because of the sicknesses they suffer. Those who saw the movie "Shoah" will recall that the methods the Nazis used for herding Jews toward the gas chambers (a progressively narrowing corridor with the barbed wire covered with greenery) were based upon methods used on cattle. And as some have pointed out, if it's so terrible to treat people that way, then perhaps we shouldn't be treating nonhuman animals that way either.
Although the laws of shechita were designed to lessen suffering, there is no such thing as humane slaughter. In Moreh Nevuchim, the Rambam felt the need to justify shechita, which he did based upon his mistaken belief that meat was necessary for health. Now that we know that meat consumption is not only unnecessary for nutritional sufficiency but is actually harmful, we have to conclude that it represents tsa'ar ba'alei chayim and that a vegetarian diet should be required on this basis alone.
The statement in the Torah that mankind was placed in Gan Eden to take care of it (Genesis II:15) can be considered the first lesson in environmental responsibility. The concept of bal tashchit (you shall not waste) derived from the Torah serves as a reminder to conserve precious resources. The Talmud also gives us laws related to pollution.
Modern factory farming is creating major environmental problems that could be eliminated by a shift toward vegetarian diets. The raising of farm animals is extremely wasteful of resources, especially water. Pollution from animal waste runoff has created ecological havoc in some areas. Worsening of the greenhouse effect and global warming have also been attributed to livestock agriculture.
Clearly, the way animals are raised in the United States and in other countries is not consistent with the Jewish mandate to take care of the earth.

Meatless Like Me
I may be a vegetarian, but I still love the smell of bacon.By Taylor ClarkPosted Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at 11:51 AM ET

Every vegetarian remembers his first time. Not the unremarkable event of his first meal without meat, mind you. No, I mean the first time he casually lets slip that he's turned herbivore, prompting everyone in earshot to stare at him as if he just revealed plans to sail his carrot-powered plasma yacht to Neptune. For me, this first time came at an Elks scholarship luncheon in rural Oregon when I was 18. All day, I'd succeeded at seeming a promising and responsible young man, until that fateful moment when someone asked why I hadn't taken any meat from the buffet. After I offered my reluctant explanation—and the guy announced it to the entire room—30 people went eerily quiet, undoubtedly expecting me to launch into a speech on the virtues of hemp. In the corner, an elderly, suited man glared at me as he slowly raised a slice of bologna and executed the most menacing bite of cold cut in recorded history. I didn't get the scholarship.
I tell this story not to win your pity but to illustrate a point: I've been vegetarian for a decade, and when it comes up, I still get a look of confused horror that says, "But you seemed so … normal." The U.S. boasts more than 10 million herbivores today, yet most Americans assume that every last one is a loopy, self-satisfied health fanatic, hellbent on draining all the joy out of life. Those of us who want to avoid the social nightmare have to hide our vegetarianism like an Oxycontin addiction, because admit it, omnivores: You know nothing about us. Do we eat fish? Will we panic if confronted with a hamburger? Are we dying of malnutrition? You have no clue. So read on, my flesh-eating friends—I believe it's high time we cleared a few things up.
To demonstrate what a vegetarian really is, let's begin with a simple thought experiment. Imagine a completely normal person with completely normal food cravings, someone who has a broad range of friends, enjoys a good time, is carbon-based, and so on. Now remove from this person's diet anything that once had eyes, and, wham!, you have yourself a vegetarian. Normal person, no previously ocular food, end of story. Some people call themselves vegetarians and still eat chicken or fish, but unless we're talking about the kind of salmon that comes freshly plucked from the vine, this makes you an omnivore. A select few herbivores go one step further and avoid all animal products—milk, eggs, honey, leather—and they call themselves vegan, which rhymes with "tree men." These people are intense.

Vegetarians give up meat for a variety of ethical, environmental, and health reasons that are secondary to this essay's goal of increasing brotherly understanding, so I'll mostly set them aside. Suffice it to say that one day, I suddenly realized that I could never look a cow in the eyes, press a knocking gun to her temple, and pull the trigger without feeling I'd done something cruel and unnecessary. (Sure, if it's kill the cow or starve, then say your prayers, my bovine friend—but for now, it's not quite a mortal struggle to subsist on the other five food groups.) I am well-aware that even telling you this makes me seem like the kind of person who wants to break into your house and liberate your pet hamster—that is, like a PETA activist. Most vegetarians, though, would tell you that they appreciate the intentions of groups like PETA but not the obnoxious tactics. It's like this: We're all rooting for the same team, but they're the ones in face paint, bellowing obscenities at the umpire and flipping over every car with a Yankees bumper sticker. I have no designs on your Camry or your hamster.
Now, when I say that vegetarians are normal people with normal food cravings, many omnivores will hoist a lamb shank in triumph and point out that you can hardly call yourself normal if the aroma of, say, sizzling bacon doesn't fill you with deepest yearning. To which I reply: We're not insane. We know meat tastes good; it's why there's a freezer case at your supermarket full of woefully inadequate meat substitutes. Believe me, if obtaining bacon didn't require slaughtering a pig, I'd have a BLT in each hand right now with a bacon layer cake waiting in the fridge for dessert. But, that said, I can also tell you that with some time away from the butcher's section, many meat products start to seem gross. Ground beef in particular now strikes me as absolutely revolting; I have a vague memory that hamburgers taste good, but the idea of taking a cow's leg, mulching it into a fatty pulp, and forming it into a pancake makes me gag. And hot dogs … I mean, hot dogs? You do know what that is, right?
As a consolation prize we get tofu, a treasure most omnivores are more than happy to do without. Well, this may stun you, but I'm not any more excited about a steaming heap of unseasoned tofu blobs than you are. Tofu is like fugu blowfish sushi : Prepared correctly, it's delicious; prepared incorrectly, it's lethal. Very early in my vegetarian career, I found myself famished and stuck in a mall, so I wandered over to the food court's Asian counter. When I asked the teenage chief culinary artisan what was in the tofu stir-fry, he snorted and replied, "Shit." Desperation made me order it anyway, and I can tell you that promises have rarely been more loyally kept than this guy's pledge that the tofu would taste like shit. So here's a tip: Unless you know you're in expert hands (Thai restaurants are a good bet), don't even try tofu. Otherwise, it's your funeral.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Israel Celebrates 60 years and didJEWknow 10,000 visits!

Good job Israel, still not blown up by Iran! And great job to us for getting you to visit and re-visit. didJEWknow is still a baby at about 7mos old. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by and found something interesting to keep you occupied. If you have any random Jewish questions you can comment here or send an email to Keep on keeping on. UJ

North LA Surfers Beware another surfing rabbi in the line up

Many of you are probably familiar with "The Surfing Rabbi" Nachum Shifren but it looks as though another bearded one will be dropping in but don't worry he aint no Kook.

Surfing Rabbi Charges I.V. and Rincon
UCSB Alum Yom Tov Glaser Plays Music and Surfs at His Alma Matter
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Ben Preston

Graduates from the University of California, Santa Barbara are known for all sorts of accomplishments. The list of alumni includes everyone from scientists to musicians, and everything in between. Once a party-focused surfer studying geology and the effects of global warming upon surf spots, Yom Tov Glaser is one of those UCSB graduates who joined the ranks of interesting alumni. Now a Hassidic Rabbi living in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel, Glaser has not lost a bit of his Southern California appetite for surfing, skating, mountain biking and good music. Now, it's his way of connecting with students and friends.

Teaching the Torah though song.
Yesterday evening, Rabbi Glazer breezed into town a bit jet lagged, having just arrived from Israel, and played a little concert for students and community members at Hillel in Isla Vista. Invited by the UCSB Chapter of the Jewish Awareness Movement (JAM), he entertained and taught his audience with a unique blend of rabbinic wisdom, song, and funny stories from his raucous days as a UCSB undergrad. "UCSB is a weird scene," he said, "there are rich kids from SoCal who don't care about anything, and granola kids from NorCal who care about everything. During the Gulf war, UCSB was the hottest protest place in the country, and all the SoCal kids had to learn how to protest from the NorCal kids." Rabbi Glaser participated in many war protests in 1991, and noted that UCSB has a rich tradition of protest. "In Jerusalem, I had dinner with a lady who went to UCSB in the late 60s, and told her about the 'die-ins' we used to have on the lawns on campus. She was like, 'Oh, we burned a bank!'"

No foot pumps, he's skating though the crowd with that guitar.
The Kabbalah—which, literally translated means "receiving"—is the mystical aspect of Judaism which seeks to interpret the hidden meanings and inner secrets of the Torah. The Hasidic movement—began in Europe in the 18th Century under increasing repression of Judaism and as a response to charges that Judaism had become too academic and lost a degree of its spirituality—has been a major force in the popularity of Kabbalistic study. Hassidim believe that the largely esoteric Kabbalah can and should be understood by everyone. Rabbi Glaser's specialty is Kabbalah, and he uses his casual storytelling style and musical talents to teach bits of its wisdom. In addition to singing covers of Bob Marley songs, he has written a number of original tunes that are dedicated to Jewish life and teachings. He also sings reeling Israeli folk songs that get everyone up dancing. By the end the evening, almost all of the 40 or so people who showed up to see him at Hillel were dancing wildly in huge circles as Rabbi Glaser played guitar, sang, and weaved in and out of the crowd on a skateboard he borrowed from one of the students.
One might wonder how someone who was so into partying, surfing and mountain biking might have gotten involved in such a deeply religious life path. "In college, I gained a love for deep conversation," he said, "I remember one night, when I was supposed to be studying for a final, I got into a conversation with two other students in the study room in San Miguel, and ended up talking to them all night. After that, I was addicted to those deep conversations. Then, after graduation, on a trip to Israel, I realized that Jews are the nation of the conversation."

The Rabbi enjoys a few waves at Rincon.
Rabbi Glaser finished his talk by relating people in life to five surfers. The first surfer is the one who paddles shoreward to escape danger; the second, a safe, practical surfer who doesn't take unnecessary risks; the third, one who grabs the bull by the horns and paddles for the big waves, riding the wave of life; the fourth is the surf photographer—the voyeur who observes everything; and the fifth surfer is a guy who lives on Sabado Tarde. "If you've ever been on Sabado, if you didn't know where you were, you could be in Kansas," he said. "It's flat, there are cheesy apartments there…anyway, the fifth surfer doesn't even realize where he is—he's all spaced out."

A few lucky students were able to continue hanging out with Rabbi Glaser this morning, as he was amped to go surfing while in Santa Barbara—something he hadn't been able to do for a few years. Early this morning, after his morning prayers, he cruised down to Rincon with JAM's Rabbi Mitch Goldstein and a handful of UCSB students and managed to score a decent chest high swell. Not only that, but pulling into the parking lot, the group noticed that Kelly Slater was suiting up, getting ready to go out for a surf. Rabbi Glaser and the group of students took advantage of the opportunity, and spent a few minutes chatting with the friendly eight time world champion. Later on, Slater and Rabbi Glaser could be seen talking out in the lineup, in between a few rather impressive sets. The fun didn't stop there, because when Rabbi Glaser and the students came back up to the parking lot to leave, Jack Johnson was pulling surfboards from his truck. Rabbi Glaser couldn't resist chatting up a fellow musician and UCSB alum, much to the delight of the already-stoked group of students.

Rabbi Glaser will spend the rest of his U.S. stay performing a few lectures and concerts around the Greater Los Angeles area, and visiting his family. His parents still live in L.A., and are currently hanging out with the seven grandchildren he brought with him from Israel. Having met Rabbi Glaser in Israel in 2001, Rabbi Mitch Goldstein has been bringing his students to visit on JAM's Israel trips. Although he is a Hasidic rabbi, Glaser still knows how to party. "When I wasn't an observant Jew, I threw these huge parties," he said. "Now, when I have parties for Jewish holidays, I figure God's watching, so I don't want to disappoint." According to his description of these celebrations, busloads of people show up. "Tons of people come, but it's fun with more substance to it," said Rabbi Mitch, who has been to a few of Glaser's holiday parties. As Rabbi Glaser drove away from Rincon this morning, listening to Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker," everyone commented on how much fun it had been spending time with him. Whether or not you believe in everything he has to say, his genuine happiness at his chosen life path rubbed off on everyone.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Shiver Me Tuckas Pirate Jean Lafitte was Jewish

Jewish pirates save Louisiana (Taken from the blog "Pratie Place")

Jean Lafitte's diary states he was born in Port-Au-Prince, Saint Domingue, in 1782. His mother died the next year, so Jean and his siblings were raised by their grandmother, the Sephardic Jew Zora Nadrimal. She told them of her flight from Spain to France with their mother to escape the Inquisition, which tortured and murdered their grandfather Abhorad. (The brothers later falsely claimed the Bordeaux region of France as their birthplace to snag French privateering credentials.)

The family lived a peaceful life in Santo Domingo until the Slave Insurrection of 1791. The Lafitte/Laffite brothers escaped to Martinique where they purchased a Letter of Marque (makes it kosher to seize and loot enemy vessels). Jean married a Danish Jewess, Cristiana Levine, and after four profitable years of privateering the family left for France with everything they owned. On the way their ship was taken by a Spanish Man of War. They were stripped and dumped on a sand cay; days later an American schooner picked them up and took them to New Orleans where Cristiana shortly died of exhaustion and fever.

Meanwhile Jean's brother Pierre, also a privateer, was busted for smuggling. The now indigent brothers briefly worked for U.S. Customs and then got back into pirating. Jean bought this blacksmith shop (built 1772) to front his evil businesses. Pierre and Jean were joined by their brothers René/Renato Béluche and Dominique You, former artillery gunner for Napoleon. They built a headquarters in Barataria Bay.

Captured Spanish vessels were maneuvered into the bay and, by 1811, Barataria was a thriving community with 32 armed warships, more ships than in the entire US navy. Businessmen from New Orleans arrived at night to buy pirates' loot. The operation was so huge, it affected the economy of the whole Gulf. "New Orleans banking declined and it was apparent that Laffite was monopolizing Louisiana's import trade and the commerce of the entire Mississippi Valley." (Jews on the Frontier)

In 1814 Great Britain dispatched an armada and 8,000 men to take Louisiana. Sure of success, they brought along a complete civil governmental staff to rule over the soon-to-be established Crown Colony. The officers offered Lafitte 30,000 pounds sterling and a commission in the British Navy if he would guide their troops through the maze of waterways to New Orleans. Lafitte had traveled the bayous for years and knew them better than anyone; he had even mapped the navigable waterways within 10,000 square miles of delta.

Lafitte pretended to accept the British offer but instead sent word to New Orleans that invasion was imminent. In exchange for a governor's pardon he and his buccaneers would help defend the city.

With more than two thousand men under his command, Lafitte could perhaps have turned back the British himself. But instead of accepting Jean's help, governor Claiborne let a Commodore Patterson attack Barataria. Patterson destroyed the settlement and stole loot worth half a million dollars, claiming it as spoils of war -- though none of it was ever seen by the government. He rounded up and imprisoned all the pirates he could find.

The governor's smugness was brief: reliable sources confirmed that the British were coming; within days their Armada arrived. Andrew Jackson, Commander in Chief of New Orleans, had almost no men or ships and so, amusingly, Claiborne was forced to free the imprisoned pirates (the "Hellish Banditi" as Jackson called them). He needed them desperately.

Jean and Pierre guided the American forces through the marshland maze. An assortment of 4,000 Tennesseans, Choctaw tribesmen, free blacks, Creoles and of course pirates defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans. Although James Madison gave presidential pardons to Jean Laffite and the buccaneers, their loot, surprisingly, was not returned. They were penniless yet again.

Some of the pirates began peaceful lives along the shores of Barataria Bay. The Lafittes, however, went back to piracy. Brother Dominique You was hired to rescue Napoleon from St. Helena and bring him to New Orleans, though Napoleon's death interfered with this plan substantially. Pierre and Jean sailed to Texas and established a colony of privateers off the coast of Galveston. Roger Kamenetz called it a "utopian pirate's den."

Later, Jean became a labor leader in St. Louis. In 1847 he met with Marx and Engels and, admiring their work, opened an escrow account in Paris to help them. There is evidence that Lafitte tried to introduce Marx to the young Abraham Lincoln.

Jean, who had substantially financed one of the earliest synagogues in Louisiana, is buried (perhaps) in a Jewish cemetery in Metairie. (More).

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Genealogy has always been a passion of mine and is very important for Jews as a whole. I read a statistic the other day that half-Jews now out number full Jews. Dershowitz in his book "The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century" from 1997 said by the year 2067 that there would be no secular Jews left in America. I have found at the largely Christian elementary school that my son goes to that several of the practicing Christian parents are of Jewish ancestry. I guess my point is that the Jewish history and culture is a rich one and that Jews were involved in almost every significant action that has taken place in the past 400 years. There were Jews that fought and financed the Revolutionary War in America. An English Jew that fought to the death at the Alamo. 5 Jewish Generals that served in the Civil War on the Confederate side. Half a million that served for America during WWII. Several that sailed with Columbus at one time or another and he may even have been a Jew.
So going forward I will be adding Jewish genealogical links to this site starting with this one for those who may have had family serving in the Soviet Red Army:

Here is some more info on that link:

Database of Red Army Jewish Soldiers Killed in Battles or Missing in Action in World War II

World War II was one of the most cataclysmic event in recent Jewish history. We mourn the six million innocent victims who perished at the hands of the German Nazis and their eager collaborators throughout Europe. We are proud that Jews resisted the Nazis whenever they had a chance–whether in ghettos, in the forests as partisans, or as soldiers in the armies of the Allied Forces. It has always been common knowledge that the Jews of the Soviet Union fought bravely in the Red Army in World War II, known as The Great Patriotic War to the Soviet people. Likewise, it has been known that the Soviet government denied Jews their battle awards and blacked out information about the Jewish participation in the war against the Nazis. The information, suppressed and hidden, nevertheless survived and outlived the "Evil Empire".
When the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, its archives became much more accessible to researchers. One project that started in the early 1990's was to compile a list, from the former Soviet Army and Navy archives, of all Jewish soldiers listed as killed or missing in action. At least half a million Jewish men and women fought in the ranks of the Red Army and the Navy. Many thousands were killed or missing and presumed dead. The work of compiling their names was done by the staff of The Central Archives of The Ministry Of Defense and The Russian State Archives of the Navy, at the request of the Russian Union of Jewish War Invalids and Veterans. The results do not list all Jews known to have died in combat. For example, my father’s cousin Iosif Feldblyum, missing in action 1943, was not listed in the database, nor were a number of his friends and classmates such as Isaak Arbisman, David Datskovsky, Mark Gammer, Grigory Filler, Iosif Kilevsky, Zinovy Zinder. There could be many reasons that files for these and many other Jewish soldiers have not been found. Nonetheless, the database contains about 100,000 names - the most complete listing today. As more records are found and are collected from private individuals, it is possible that additional volumes will be published over and above the eight books available today.
FAST Genealogy Service is offering Jewish genealogists records from this enormous collection. The copyright considerations allow us to present only the English translation of the records (see examples below). The information, including the references to the actual archival files, will undoubtedly open new research venues for many a genealogist who looks for missing links with their families in the Soviet Union of 1920's-1940's.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Here is a fun little site I ran across during my daily Jewish web surfing. Even I missed a couple and scored in the 90s%. They say Steven Segal is not Jewish but from my research he is half Jewish.

I Hart Bochner..

Well I mean I really like him and in a very hetero way from when I first noticed him in Apartment Zero. He was in Breaking Away and a few other films prior but Apartment Zero is where he really seemed like a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately he didn't go the way of a Jewish Jason Patric and instead became a director. If you are a Patric fan and like his film noir roles then I highly recommend Apartment Zero.

Interesting Jewish tidbit; in The TV Version of "The Sun Also Rises" (1984) Hart Bocher plays the lead as gentile Jake Barnes while gentile Robert Carradine plays Jew Robert Cohn. Other Jews in the film playing non Jews include Jane Seymour (Born: Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg) as Brett Ashley and Leonard Nimoy as Count Mippipopolous.

Here is his bio:

Hart Bochner is a handsome, dark-haired supporting actor who has worked in several major theatrical and television movies. He is the son of Lloyd Bochner, a film and TV actor himself, and was born in Canada. As a teenager, he made his film debut in Franklin Schaffner's 1975 film Islands in the Stream. Before deciding to become an actor like his father, Bochner earned a graduate degree in English literature at a university in San Diego. Following college, he appeared in a supporting role in the 1979 sleeper Breaking Away. It was a promising start to his career and he next went on to appear in George Cukor's final film, Rich and Famous (1981). Though he appeared in many subsequent films, Bochner unfortunately has not become a well-known cinema actor though he did turn in a memorable performance as a sleazy yuppie businessman in 1988's Die Hard. With television, he has done a little better starring in adaptations such as East of Eden, The Sun Also Rises, and most notably the TV mini-series War and Remembrance. Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide

I am Iron Jew Man!

One might think since the creators of the comic Iron Man are Jewish that maybe Iron Man is as well. Walk with me here, Iron Man is very similar to the original Jewish superhero the Golem (See Jewish folklore story below). Also Producer, Director and many of the stars in the movie are Jewish or of Jewish ancestory:

From The Jewish News Weekly
Friday May 2, 2008
Celebrities by nate bloom - Downey a superhero
No question — Robert Downey Jr. is a great actor who can be absolutely riveting. That’s why I think “Iron Man” might stand out among the overabundance of big-screen adaptations of comic book heroes.
Downey stars as Tony Stark, a rich industrialist who is captured by terrorists in Afghanistan. Ordered to build a missile for them, Stark instead builds a power armor suit and escapes to America. He improves his suit to the point that he emerges as the tech superhero “Iron Man.” Gwyneth Paltrow plays Stark’s secretary. Shaun Toub, a Persian Jewish actor highly acclaimed for his role as the Iranian shopkeeper in the 2004 Oscar winner “Crash,” has a supporting role as a doctor who aids Stark.
The Iron Man character was created by Marvel Comics’ founder Stan Lee, his brother Larry Lieber (Stan Lee was born Stan Lieber) and the late graphic artist Jack Kirby.
Opening Friday, May 2, “Iron Man,” is directed by Jon Favreau (“Elf”), who is married to Dr. Joy Tillem, a Sonoma native. He says he cast Downey because of Downey’s past history of drug abuse: “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye,” Favreau said. “He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character who is having trouble in high school or can’t get the girl.”
Downey, whose paternal grandfather was Jewish, wed film producer Susan Levin in 2005 in a Jewish ceremony and now describes himself as a “Jew-Bu” (a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation and spirituality). He credits Levin as being critical to his personal and career recovery.

From: D. L. Ashliman's index of folklore and mythology electronic texts
The Golem - A Jewish Legend
In the town of Worms [in Germany] there once lived a pious man of the name of Bezalel to
whom a son was born on the first night of Passover. This happened in the year 5273 after the creation of the world [1579 common era], at a time when the Jews all over Europe were suffering from cruel persecutions.
The nations in whose midst the children of Israel were dwelling constantly accused them of ritual murder. The Jews, their enemies pretended, used the blood of Christian children in the preparation of their Passover bread; but the arrival of the son of Rabbi Bezalel soon proved to be the occasion of frustrating the evil intentions of two miscreants who sought to show to Christendom that the Jews were actually guilty of ritual murder.
In the night, when the wife of Rabbi Bezalel was seized with labor pains, the servants who had rushed out of the house in search of a midwife luckily prevented two men, who were just going to throw a sack containing the body of a dead child into the Jew-street, with a view to proving the murderous practice of the Jews, from carrying out their evil intention. Rabbi Bezalel then prophesied that his newborn son was destined to bring consolation to Israel and to save his people from the accusation of ritual murder.
"The name of my son in Israel," said Rabbi Bezalel "shall be Judah Arya, even as the Patriarch Jacob said when he blessed his children: 'Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up.'" (Genesis 49:9)
Rabbi Bezalel's son grew up and increased in strength and knowledge; he became a great scholar, well versed in the Holy Law, but also a master of all branches of knowledge and familiar with many foreign languages. In time he was elected Rabbi of Posen [in Poland], but later received a call to the city of Prague, where he was appointed chief judge of the Jewish community.
All his thoughts and actions were devoted to the welfare of his suffering people and his great aim in life was to clear Israel of the monstrous accusation of ritual murder which like a sword of Damocles was perpetually suspended over the head of the unhappy race. Fervently did the rabbi pray to Heaven to teach him in a vision by what means he could best bring to naught the false accusations of the miscreant priests who were spreading the cruel rumors.
And one night he heard a mysterious voice calling to him, "Make a human image of clay and thus you will succeed in frustrating the evil intentions of the enemies of Israel."
On the following morning the master called his son-in-law and his favorite pupil and acquainted them with the instruction he had received from Heaven. He also asked the two to help him in the work he was about to undertake.
"Four elements," he said, "are required for the creation of the golem or homunculus, namely, earth, water, fire and air."
"I myself," thought the holy man, "possess the power of the wind; my son-in-law embodies fire, while my favorite pupil is the symbol of water, and between the three of us we are bound to succeed in our work." He urged on his companions the necessity of great secrecy and asked them to spend seven days in preparing for the work.
On the twentieth day of the month of Adar, in the year five thousand three hundred and forty after the creation of the world, in the fourth hour after midnight, the three men betook themselves to a river on the outskirts of the city on the banks of which they found a loam pit. Here they kneaded the soft clay and fashioned the figure of a man three ells high. They fashioned the features, hands and feet, and then placed the figure of clay on its back upon the ground.
The three learned men then stood at the feet of the image which they had created and the rabbi commanded his son-in-law to walk round the figure seven times, while reciting a cabalistic formula he had himself composed. And as soon as the son-in-law had completed the seven rounds and recited the formula, the figure of clay grew red like a gleaming coal. Thereupon the rabbi commanded his pupil to perform the same action, namely, walk round the lifeless figure seven times while reciting another formula. The effect of the performance was this time an abatement of the heat. The figure grew moist and vapors emanated from it, while nails sprouted on the tips of its fingers and its head was suddenly covered with hair. The face of the figure of clay looked like that of a man of about thirty.
At last the rabbi himself walked seven times round the figure, and the three men recited the following sentence from the history of creation in Genesis: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)
As soon as the three pious men had spoken these words, the eyes of the Golem opened and he gazed upon the rabbi and his pupils with eyes full of wonder. Rabbi Loew [also spelled Löw] thereupon spoke aloud to the man of clay and commanded him to rise from the ground. The Golem at once obeyed and stood erect on his feet. The three men then arrayed the figure in the clothes they had brought with them, clothes worn by the beadles of the synagogues, and put shoes on his feet.
And the rabbi once more addressed the newly fashioned image of clay and thus he spoke, "Know you, clod of clay, that we have fashioned you from the dust of the earth that you may protect the people of Israel against its enemies and shelter it from the misery and suffering to which our nation is subjected. Your name shall be Joseph, and you shall dwell in my courtroom and perform the work of a servant. You shall obey my commands and do all that I may require of you, go through fire, jump into water or throw yourself down from a high tower."
The Golem only nodded his head as if to give his consent to the words spoken by the rabbi. His conduct was in every respect that of a human being; he could hear and understand all that was said to him, but he lacked the power of speech. And thus it happened on that memorable night that while only three men had left the house of the rabbi, four returned home in the sixth hour after midnight.
The rabbi kept the matter secret, informing his household that on his way in the morning to the ritual bathing establishment he had met a beggar, and, finding him honest and innocent, had brought him home. He had the intention of engaging him as a servant to attend to the work in his schoolroom, but he forbade his household to make the man perform any other domestic work.
And the Golem thenceforth remained in a corner of the schoolroom, his head upon his two hands, sitting motionless. He gave the impression of a creature bereft of reason, neither understanding nor taking any notice of what was happening around him. Rabbi Loew said of him that neither fire nor water had the power of harming him, nor could any sword wound him. He had called the man of clay Joseph, in memory of Joseph Sheda mentioned in the Talmud who is said to have been half human and half spirit, and who had served the rabbis and frequently saved them from great trouble.
Rabbi Loew, the miracle worker, availed himself of the services of the Golem only on occasions when it was a question of defending his people against the blood accusations from which the Jews of Prague had to suffer greatly in those days.
Whenever the miracle-working Rabbi Loew sent out the Golem and was anxious that he should not be seen, he used to suspend on his neck an amulet written on the skin of a hart, a talisman which rendered the man of clay invisible, while he himself was able to see everything. During the week preceding the feast of Passover the Golem wandered about in the streets of the city stopping everybody who happened to be carrying some burden on his back. It frequently occurred that the bundle contained a dead child which the miscreant intended to deposit in the Jew-street; the Golem at once tied up the man and the body with a rope which he carried in his pocket, and, leading the mischief maker to the town hall, handed him over to the authorities. The Golem's power was quite supernatural and he performed many good deeds.
A day came when a law was finally promulgated declaring the blood accusation to be groundless, and the Jews breathed a sigh of relief when all further persecutions on account of alleged ritual murder were forbidden. Rabbi Loew now decided to take away the breath of life from the Golem, the figure of clay which his hands had once fashioned. He placed Joseph upon a bed and commanded his disciples once more to walk round the Golem seven times and repeat the words they had spoken when the figure was created, but this time in reverse order. When the seventh round was finished, the Golem was once more a lifeless piece of clay. They divested him of his clothes, and wrapping him in two old praying shawls, hid the clod of clay under a heap of old books in the rabbi's garret.
Rabbi Loew afterwards related many incidents connected with the creation of the Golem. When he was on the point of blowing the breath of life into the nostrils of the figure of clay he had created, two spirits had appeared to him; that of Joseph the demon and that of Jonathan the demon. He chose the former, the spirit of Joseph, because he had already revealed himself as the protector of the rabbis of the Talmud, but he could not endow the figure of clay with the power of speech because the living spirit inhabiting the Golem was only a sort of animal vitality and not a soul. He possessed only small powers of discernment, being unable to grasp anything belonging to the domain of real intelligence and higher wisdom.
And yet, although the Golem was not possessed of a soul, one could not fail to notice that on the Sabbath there was something peculiar in his bearing, for his face bore a friendlier and more amiable expression than it did on weekdays. It was afterwards related that every Friday Rabbi Loew used to remove the tablet on which he had written the Ineffable Name from under the Golem's tongue, as he was afraid lest the Sabbath should make the Golem immortal and men might be induced to worship him as an idol. The Golem had no inclinations, either good or bad. Whatever action he performed he did under compulsion and out of fear lest he should be turned again into dust and reduced to naught once more. Whatever was situated within ten ells above the ground or under it he could reach easily and nothing would stop him in the execution of anything that he had undertaken.

On a side note here is a great article on whether the song "Iron Man" was inspired by the comic book of the same name.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hogan's Jewish Heros

John Banner(Schultz), Werner Klemperer(Klink), Leon Askin(Burkhalter), Howard Caine(Hochstetter), and Robert Clary(LeBeau).

Yes if you go to his site you will see he supports Obama so please dont hold that against me for using his info.

Werner Klemperer, Col. Klink in TV's 'Hogan's Heroes,' Dies at 80
By Bernard Weintraub,, December 8, 2000
Werner Klemperer, an Emmy Award-winning actor in television, film and theater whose role as the bumbling Nazi Col. Wilhelm Klink on "Hogan's Heroes" dominated an eclectic career, died on Wednesday at his home in New York. He was 80.
The cause was cancer, said John A. Anderson, his manager.
A love of music dominated the life of Mr. Klemperer, the son of the conductor Otto Klemperer, who was the music director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The younger Mr. Klemperer performed in many opera productions and, in the last two decades, served as narrator with virtually every symphony orchestra in the United States. His narration of Mozart's "Impresario" with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra was broadcast by PBS on "Live From Lincoln Center."
But what stamped his career, and made him famous, was his role in the lowbrow "Hogan's Heroes," the successful and unlikely sitcom set in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. The show, which ran on CBS from 1965 to 1971, starred Mr. Klemperer as the monocled and inept Nazi commandant of the camp in which the American prisoners, led by Col. Robert Hogan (played by Bob Crane), actually controlled the camp.
Mr. Klemperer, whose Jewish family had escaped Germany in the 1930's for Los Angeles, found the role a double-edged sword. "He sometimes felt he was too identified with that character," his wife, Kim Hamilton Klemperer, said. "But it had such a major impact on his career. He loved it when people stopped him on the street. The fan mail he still gets is unbelievable." (The series has been rebroadcast on TV Land).
Mr. Klemperer was nominated for Emmys for each of the six years he appeared on the show, and won twice, in 1968 and 1969, in the category of best supporting actor.
What plainly dogged Mr. Klemperer was the criticism that a show based on the concept of bumbling Germans running a prisoner-of-war camp was simply not funny given the actual events of World War II.
When the idea of a movie version of "Hogan's Heroes" was discussed two years ago, and then dropped, a writer in The Boston Globe, Renee Graham, wrote: "Call this political correctness if you like, but under no circumstances should a film of `Hogan's Heroes' be made. For those who don't remember, this was the 1960's World War II comedy starring Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer and John Banner that presented the Nazis as the biggest cutups since the Keystone Kops. Let's be clear here: Nazis are never, ever funny. Ever. So it's with great joy that I report that the film version of `Hogan' is on ice, at least for now."
Such criticisms through the years bothered Mr. Klemperer. "The show was never intended to be viewed in a serious light," he said in 1999. "Whenever anyone tries to overanalyze `Hogan's Heroes' I merely tell them that it was a funny show, a wonderful show, and I'm very proud of it. And that's the end of that."
But Mr. Klemperer also had early misgivings about the series. He was offered the role as the Nazi commandant by CBS but his agent failed to tell him that it was humorous. When Mr. Klemperer learned that the show was a comedy, he said he was stunned.
"I had one qualification when I took the job: if they ever wrote a segment whereby Colonel Klink would come out the hero, I would leave the show."
Mr. Klemperer played other Germans in two of his more memorable films. He was a Nazi on trial for war atrocities in "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961) and Adolf Eichmann in "Operation Eichmann" (also 1961).

John Banner

Jan. 28, 1910ViennaWien, Austria

Jan. 28, 1973ViennaWien, Austria
Actor. Fondly remembered for his role of 'Sergeant Schultz' in the classic 1960s television sitcom "Hogan's Heroes" (1965 - 1971). An Austrian actor of Jewish descent in his hometown of Vienna, he was forced to leave when Germany and Austria unified in 1938, at the age of 28, during the Anschluss (union) between the two countries. There are reports that he spent time in a German Concentration Camp, but these are unconfirmed. At the time of the Anschluss, he was touring Switzerland with an acting company, and with Hitler's anti-semitic policies, he decided to immigrate to the United States. Rapidly picking up English, he obtained work in the early 1940s in Hollywood, oddly enough playing Nazis or Germans in war films, often uncredited. His trim Nordic look and accent typecast him in the roles of the very villains who would murder his family that had been left behind in Austria - all of whom perished in the Holocaust. His first Hollywood role was in the 1941 film, "Accent on Love," but he more often than not was uncredited in his roles. He regularly found work in such films as "Desperate Journey" (1942), "Immortal Sergeant" (1943), "Tonight we Raid Calais" (1943), "Tangier" (1946), "Rendezvous 24" (1946), "My Girl" (1948), "King Solomon's Mines" (1950), "The Beast of Budapest" (1958), "Operation Eichmann" (1961), "The Interns" (1961), and "Bedtime Story" (1964). He would also play guest star roles on television, finding steady work in such shows as The Lone Ranger, Fireside Theatre, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Father Knows Best, and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. By 1965, he had gained an additional 100 pounds, weighing 280 pounds, and had won the role of Sergeant Georg Schultz, on the comedy series "Hogan's Heroes." In a 1965 interview with TV Guide Magazine, he viewed his Schultz role as "the representative of some kind of goodness that is in every generation." Portraying Schultz as an inept guard, he would become known for his character's ignoring of the shenanigans going on in the camp with his signature "I know nothing! I see nothing!" After "Hogan's Heroes" was cancelled in 1971, he signed on for another television sitcom, "The Chicago Teddy-Bears" (1971), set in the 1930s Chicago of Prohibition, with his character, Uncle Latzi," becoming a lovable bumbling gangster similar to the earlier Sgt. Schultz character. However, the "Chicago Teddy-Bears" flopped and was cancelled in the middle of the first season. After that, he retired to his hometown of Vienna, Austria, where he died from an abdominal hemorrhage on his 63rd birthday, in 1973. The grave shown in the photo is the original site of the Banner grave, but since grave space in Germany and Austria is tightly controlled, the space was rented to the Hübner family. The small grave sign translates as: "Here is the last resting place of the actor, John Banner, known as 'Sergeant First Class Georg Schultz' in the comedy show, 'A Cage Full of Heroes' (in English, 'Hogan's Heroes'). You have provided us with many rememberable hours; you will live forever in our hearts. We, your family, will never forget you."

Robert Clary
Date of Birth1 March 1926, Paris, France
Birth NameRobert Max Widerman
Mini Biography
Born in France, Robert Clary early suffered the pangs of war, being interned in a Nazi concentration camp as a child. After WWII he became a singing star in France, and in 1949 came to the United States to promote his career. He appeared on "The Ed Wynn Show" (1949); still learning English he performed in a French language comedy skit. His comedic skills were recognized by Broadway, where he appeared in several revues, including one which moved from theater to film, New Faces (1954). In the 1950's he was a game show regular, and then in 1965 he became Corporal Louis LeBeau in "Hogan's Heroes" (1965). Later film roles were based around WWII, such as Remembrance of Love (1982) (TV) about Holocaust survivors. More recently he returned to television series, joining "Days of Our Lives" (1965) and appearing in "The Young and the Restless" (1973).IMDb Mini Biography By: Bruce Cameron
Natalie Cantor Metzger
(1965 - 1997) (her death)
Son-in-law of Eddie Cantor and Ida Tobias Cantor
Has a tattoo on his left foream, "A5714," from his time in a German concentration camp during WWII.
Was the youngest of 14 children; most of whom died in the Nazi concentration camps.
Began singing professionally at the age of 12.
He moved to the US in 1949 and found work in nightclubs, then made a name for himself in the Broadway show "New Faces of 1952."
Brother-in-law of Marjorie Cantor, Edna Cantor McHugh, Marilyn Cantor Baker and Janet Cantor Gari
Best remembered by the public for his role as "Corperal LeBeau" in the television series "Hogan's Heroes" (1965).
Was portrayed by Christopher Neiman in the film Auto Focus (2002) about Hogan's Heroes co-star Bob Crane's life.

Leon Askin
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leon Askin (September 18, 1907June 3, 2005) was an Austrian actor.
Askin was born Leon Aschkenasy into a Jewish family in Vienna, the son of Malvine (Susman) and Samuel Aschkenazy.[1] Askin already wanted to be an actor as a child. His dream came true, and in the 1930s he worked as a cabaret artist and director at the "ABC Theatre" in Vienna: in this position he also helped the career of the writer Jura Soyfer get off the ground in 1935. As a highly versatile stage actor, he was well-known as "the man of a thousand faces."
Persecuted by the Nazis, Askin escaped to the United States via France, arriving in New York in 1940 with no money and less than a basic knowledge of English. When the U.S. entered the Second World War Askin joined the U.S. Army. While serving in the military he learned that his parents had been killed at Treblinka extermination camp.
After the war, Askin went to Hollywood, invariably portraying foreign characters who speak English with a strong accent. Fans of the TV series Adventures of Superman recall his portrayals of an eastern European diamond smuggler in a black-and-white episode, and as a South American prime minister in a color episode. He gained wide recognition and popularity by appearing as the stern General Albert Burkhalter in the sitcom Hogan's Heroes in the late 1960s.
Though known to audiences primarily for his film and television work, Askin was extremely active in theater, both as an actor and a director.
As opposed to some other exiled Austrians, Askin never refused to work again in his home country. In fact, in 1994 he permanently took up residence in Vienna, where he remained active until his death, in cabaret as well as the Volksoper and Festwochen. He was awarded Vienna's Gold Medal of Honor.
Askin died on June 3, 2005 in Vienna. He was 97.

Howard Caine- Mini-Biography
Born - January 2, 1926
Died - December 28, 1993
At the age of thirteen Howard moved with his family from his home town of Nashville, Tennessee to New York City where he began studying acting. Learning to erase a Southern accent, he went on to became a master of 32 foreign and American dialects. After service in the Navy during WWII, Caine continued his studies at The School of Drama, Columbia University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Howard was featured on Broadway in WONDERFUL TOWN, INHERIT THE WIND, LUNATICS & LOVERS and TIGER AT THE GATES. He replaced Ray Walston, as "Mr. Applegate" the star of Broadway's DAMN YANKEES. Featured in FROM THE TERRACE, PAY OR DIE, JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, THE MAN FROM THE DINER'S CLUB, PRESSURE POINT and ALVAREZ KELLY, Howard co-starred with Godfrey Cambridge and Estelle Parsons in WATERMELON MAN. Mr. Caine played a featured role as "Lewis Morris" of New York in Jack Warner's Columbia Pictures production, "1776." He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Howard Caine acted in over 750 live and film TV shows. He is perhaps best remembered as "Major Hochstetter" of the Gestapo on HOGAN'S HEROES, a role he played for the six year run of the series. He was featured as "Everett Scovill" (Irving Kanarek), Manson's attorney, on the CBS two-part TV Movie of the Week, HELTER SKELTER. Mr. Caine, always fascinated with the Appalachian five-string Banjo, began mastering it in the mid 1960s. Since the summer of 1970 until his untimely death in 1993, he had taken trophies at 29 prominent Banjo and Fiddle Contests in the Southland for both Best Traditional Banjo and Traditional Singing. He was also a popular "folk-singer" and appeared at a number of prominent Folk Clubs and Folk Festivals. Howard's widow communes with him spiritually yet misses his physical presence deeply. LOVE CONQUERS ALL BUT DEATH
From the Internet Movie Database - mini-biography by Actress, Valerie Webber Caine