Whether they know it or not, Jon Stewart and Samantha Bee are having the same conversation all Jewish communities are having now, and, like all good satire, the real-life version is no less absurd. To the (tiny) extent that this wasn’t just Adelson masturbating his own ego, the Sheldon Adelsons of the world refuse to call the Occupation what it is because, as even someone with the deficient moral sense of Adelson would have to admit, occupying another people is inherently immoral. Christie was not being anti-Semitic, rather Adelson is being anti-semantic. For the sake of Israel, we as Jews must refuse to allow this issue to be the next semantic game the far-right plays with the public to in order to deny reality and impede progress. Victims of this campaign already include: planet Earth, science education, the LGBTQ community, and Americans without health insurance. Call it “Operation: Crush Terrorism”, call it “Israel Hanging Out in the Backyard,” call it “We Love the Palestinians So Much We Just Can’t Leave Them Alone,” call it “Gap Year for Young Israelis,” call it anything you want besides “Occupation,” it is morally unacceptable for any nation to occupy another, and the sooner we all get our heads out of the sand and see things as they are the better off the whole world will be.
Speaking of which….
The PJ Library, a program that distributes free Jewish children’s books, recently decided to distribute the award-winning The Purim Superhero by Elisabeth Kushner by request only because its main character comes from a two dad (and zero mom) family. A trustee of PJ’s sponsoring organization, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, said the choice was made in an effort to not offend others’ religious sensibilities.
By this logic, in certain states, those with such sensitive sensibilities ought to keep their children locked inside at all times lest they see a family with same-sex parents and take offense or even—God forbid—meet a child raised by such a family and respond to them as though they’re people, let alone fellow Jews. But why stop there? Any book featuring families: eating food with fewer than 3 kosher certifications, breaking Shabbat, interacting with non-kosher animals, dressed “immodestly,” boys and girls playing together, or
not supporting Israel ought to likewise be given out by request only so as not to offend anyone. Maybe the solution is that some parents let their kids out of the house “by request only.”
With this move, PJ Library is sending the message that the world is a scary place and the role of books—especially children’s books—should never be to prepare readers to face otherness.
I sometimes think news services forget that news is only when something unexpected happens.
“Pat Robertson says something totally reasonable.” Now that would be a good headline.
A kosher, Shabbat-keeping nightclub called Shachar opened its doors April 5 in Moscow. The club’s founder, Ilya Lipetsker, told JTA that he wanted to create “a slice of the Tel Aviv nightlife and thus allow Moscow Jews to immerse themselves in that scene.”
It’s clear that Mr. Lipetsker has been to Tel Aviv many times; as everyone knows, the city is famous for the piety of its club scene. I think it’s fantastic that now all of Moscow’s Jewish youth have a place to go where they can go get their freak on with some of the hottest kosher bodies in Russia (but never on Shabbos, God-forbid). Problem of inter-dating and intermarriage in Moscow: Solved!
Derek M. Kwait graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and is editor in chief of New Voices.