Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jewish Museum 10/29/10-03/27/11: Houdini Art and Magic part 2 - New York NY |


That Houdini, who was active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries continues to inspire  twenty-first century visual artists such as Matthew Barney, Petah Coyne, Jane Hammond, Vik Muniz, Deborah Oropallo, and Raymond Pettibon speaks to his enduring power of his multi-dimensional prowess and personality.

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Jewish Museum 10/29/10-03/27/11: Houdini Art and Magic part 1 - New York NY


On Friday October 29, 2010 The Jewish Museumwill present Houdini: Art and Magic, the first major art museum exhibition to examine the life, legend and enduring cultural influence of Harry Houdini. The exhibit will explore the career and lasting impact of the magician, escape artist, vaudeville entertainer, silent movie actor, author and lecturer through 163 objects including 26 recent works of art inspired by Houdini.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Despite pressure, Pete Seeger won’t cancel participation in Israeli-organized peace rally | JTA - Jewish & Israel News

Despite pressure, Pete Seeger won’t cancel participation in Israeli-organized peace rally

By Sue Fishkoff · October 14, 2010

Despite his opposition to Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza, Seeger refuses to heed calls to boycott an upcoming peace event organized by an Israeli institution.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So you Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities

Feminism And Romance Go Hand In Hand

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2007) — Contrary to popular opinion, feminism and romance are not incompatible and feminism may actually improve the quality of heterosexual relationships, according to Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan, from Rutgers University in the US. Their study* also shows that unflattering feminist stereotypes, that tend to stigmatize feminists as unattractive and sexually unappealing, are unsupported.

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Only insecure guys want to be with a partner they don't admire and respect as an equal.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Yael Hedaya: Israeli novelist and In Treatment script writer - New York NY


The third season of the HBO psychological drama "In Treatment," a series based on the Israeli dramatic series "BeTipul," begins tonight at 9:00 PM, and tomorrow "Eden," the latest novel by "BeTipul" head writer  Yael Hedaya, will be published in English by Metropolitan Books...


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Sat/Sun 10/23-24: Altneuland - Israeli Queer Cinema Festival - New York NY


Tomorrow October 23rd and Sunday October 24th NYU presents Altneuland, a two-day film festival of Israeli Queer Cinema. The seven movies included at the festival represent some of the finest selections from current Israeli LGBT cinema.

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Art 101: Joan Snyder and Russell Roberts solo shows

"Brooklyn 2010" by Joan Snyder


The works of two abstract painters who are also Jewish New Yorkers are the subjects of solo shows at two Manhattan galleries. 

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hawk or falcon in Prospect Park

Hawk or Falcon in Prospect Park Hawk or Falcon in Prospect Park

A hawk or falcon I saw this afternoon in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY. It alighted on the branch with its kill (a pigeon) which it proceeded to eat.

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Of Cats and Men – The Arty Semite –

October 21, 2010, 1:42pm

Of Cats and Men

By Jake Marmer

Each Thursday, The Arty Semite features excerpts and reviews of the best contemporary Jewish poetry. This week, Jake Marmer introduces the work of Karen Alkalay-Gut, whose first poem appeared in the Forverts when she was 10 years old.

Courtesy Karen Alkalay-Gut

A remarkable Israeli poet and professor at Tel Aviv University, Karen Alkalay-Gut is the author of numerous poetry collections, including “So Far, So Good” (2004). She writes almost exclusively in English, though her writing career began in Yiddish. When she was just 10, her poem “Mein Koter” was published here – in the Forverts.

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Robert Creamer: Two Weeks Out -- Nine Reasons Why Democrats Will Keep Control of the House

With two weeks to go in the 2010 mid-term elections there are a number of good reasons to believe -- contrary to most conventional wisdom -- that Democrats will still control the House once the smoke clears from the electoral battlefield.

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Hopeful article for Democrats. I live in solidly blue NYC; if my health didn't prevent me from traveling this article would motivate me to go to a district with a tight race and knock on doors.

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Apple’s “Back to the Mac” Event: All the Announcements

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I wonder how much it will cost to upgrade to Lion. To upgrade or not to upgrade?

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Which Religion Is More Expensive

Christian churches and Jewish synagogues rely on very different financing models, yet both “appear to raise about the same amount per member,” according to a survey conducted by the Jewish newspaper The Forward (article by Josh Nathan-Kazis).  While synagogue members pay annual dues, churches rely primarily on voluntary donations from members.

The Forward interviewed church and synagogue officials at institutions in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, and Tulsa.  Consider a comparison between a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Atlanta (Ahavath Achim) and an Episcopalian church in Manhattan (Church of the Heavenly Rest):

The two congregations are broadly comparable: Both serve slightly more than 1,000 middle- and upper-middle class households, have a multimillion-dollar endowment, employ about a dozen people and operate on an annual budget of $2.7 million.

Both draw around half their income from regular fees paid by members. But, like virtually all American churches, Heavenly Rest does not charge dues. Like most synagogues, Ahavath Achim does.

At Ahavath Achim, those fees are assigned by the synagogue, with each family paying up to $2,100 per year. Annual pledges at Heavenly Rest? As much, or as little, as you can give. While only one-third of member families participate in the church’s annual pledge drive, those that do give an average of $2,700 — far more than the cost of dues at Ahavath Achim.

So one big difference between the two models is that giving in churches is much less evenly distributed than in synagogues. That said, a significant number of synagogue members give extra, as the charts below (where the orange represents voluntary giving) demonstrate.  In fact, the executive director of a Conservative synagogue in Boston estimates that 95 percent of members give more than required.

DESCRIPTIONGraphs courtesy of the Forward.

Given how easy it is to attend church services without donating anything at all, it’s interesting that members of Christian churches give so generously. Do they do it for the “warm glow,” or do churches have a different, less obvious, means of persuading people to donate?

The Forward has also put together some interesting statistics on how churches and synagogues spend their money. Here’s a preview: your parents will probably worry less if you become a rabbi than a priest …

Dwyer Gunn is editor of the Freakonomics blog. Follow @freakonomics on Twitter.

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Susan Shapiro's "Why I Don't Hate My Mother-in-Law"

Read Susan Shapiro's endearing tribute to her mother-in-law on

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Sign Planned Parenthood's Birth Control Matters Petition

Birth Control Matters is an effort to make no-cost prescription birth control available so that all women can use the method that works best for them and to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.

Affordable prescription birth control is an essential part of health care for millions of women.  The average woman spends 30 years of her life trying to avoid getting pregnant. More than one-third of women voters in America have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point in their lives, and, as a result, have used birth control inconsistently.

Making birth control available at no cost is the single most important step we can take to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.

The new health care reform law represents the single biggest opportunity to advance women’s health in 45 years.  To make this opportunity a reality, the law must require health plans to provide prescription birth control to women with no co-pays, as part of the prevention provision.  This would be a huge step forward for America – and especially for the many of women in this nation who cannot afford to pay for prescription contraception.

The time has come to provide birth control at no cost to every woman who wants it.

Please sign the petition.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Fort Worth councilman offers hope to youths struggling with their sexuality | Local News

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A texas politician who gets it. Very moving. Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns reaches out to GLBT teens with a personal story and a message of hope. Keep a box of tissues handy.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ammiel Alcalay reading Saturday afternoon - New York NY


Poet, novelist, essayist, translator, and scholar of Hebrew and Jewish literature of the Middle East Ammiel Alcalay will give a reading this Saturday afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at the Bowery Poetry Club located at 308 Bowery between Bleeker and Houston across the street from CBGBs.  

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jewish non-fiction author talks in Brooklyn and Manhattan this week and next - New York NY

Forward writer Gal Beckerman will speak at several events this week and next to promote his new book  "When They Come for Us, We’ll be Gone -  The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry," as will Daniel Gordis, author of "Saving Israel - How the Jewish People Can Win a War that May Never End." 

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Monday, October 11, 2010

New York Journal of Books Launches to Fill a Gap

Press release:

New York, NY, October 11, 2010 — Book lovers everywhere now have an exciting new resource for book reviews they can trust. The New York Journal of Books (

) launched on October 6 to meet the need for original online reviews of the same quality as disappearing print reviews.



“We intend to fill the gap that has resulted from the contraction, and in some cases the total elimination, of esteemed print book reviews,” says founder Ted Sturtz. “Unrestrained by page counts and printing costs, we are dedicated to delivering the most comprehensive detailed book reviews in North America written by credentialed reviewers whose knowledge, insight, voice, and measure of the written word permeate our book profiles.”


Thanks to the broad expertise of the NYJB’s team of reviewers, the free site features an eclectic selection of titles sourced from independent publishers as well as imprints of the largest publishers. To help readers make their book selections, reviews are enhanced with rich media, such as video, audio and book browsing.


Visitors to NYJB will also enjoy the immediacy possible only online. Going forward, reviews will be posted at midnight on the date a book is released. When users discover books they want to read, they’ll find that the ability to purchase is conveniently a click away for a truly one-stop experience.


NYJB Publisher, Lisa Rojany Buccieri, author of more than 100 books for children and young adults, lead author of Writing Children's Books for Dummies, and owner of Editorial Services of Los Angeles, noted “fierce attention to the editing and newreviewer selection process will ensure that, as the volume of reviews grows, the quality of reviews will be maintained.”  She added, “At the same time, we also take great joy in the panorama of reviewers on our panel and their truly unique voices.  They don’t simply judge books. They engage, inform, and even entertain our readers.”                                                                    


Advertisers on the site have the choice of appearing on major landing pages to reach a broad audience, or appearing in specific genres (for example, romance or military) that reach a highly targeted demographic or enthusiasts and professionals (for example, cooking, wine, or technology).


For more info:


About NYJB Reviewers

Our more than 130 credentialed reviewers have published: 4,000+ book reviews, 500+ books, 500+ short stories, 20,000+ articles, 12+ screenplays and 24+ playsThey have received more than 75 literary and professional awards.


My reviews are here:

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Eden | New York Journal of Books

David Cooper's review of Yael Hedaya's novel Eden compares Jessica Cohen's translation with Ms. Hedaya's original Hebrew. The novel features two marriages and a teenage girl all of whom are at-risk and in varied states of distress. 


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An excerpt from Eden appears in Words Without Borders

Sunday, October 10, 2010

AFMDA Happy Hour 10/14; Envisioning Justice: NIF's New Generations benefit 10/21

Why is this child of an African foreign worker dressed as an Israeli police officer for Purim? Ilan Spira was the first Israeli photographer to document Tel Aviv’s foreign and migrant workers. Photo: New Israel Fund

Two Jewish fund raising events for donors in their 20s and 30s are coming up in this week and next here in New York.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Jews on the bridge: bagels and bondage 10/10, meditation 10/21 - New York NY

Two events on the Brooklyn Bridge: one for Jewish kinksters and another for Jewish meditators.

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Hope Will Find You: Rabbi Naomi Levy on Faith and her Child's Condition - TIME

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And then Noa corrected herself. She said, "No, Mom, hope will find you." I gasped when Noa said "hope will find you." I lost my breath. Because I had been trying for so long to hold onto hope or to grasp for hope, but my wise child was telling me I didn't have to try so hard or hold on so desperately. She was telling me to relax and let hope in, like a kind of grace. Noa was telling me hope was looking for me. That hope would track us all down.

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Obama Kills Bill Which Would Have Made It More Difficult for Homeowners to Challenge Foreclosures

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Congressional staffers said many lawmakers and White House officials initially didn't realize that the bill, which nominally deals only with notarizations, could have big impact on foreclosure cases.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Erik Satie's "Trois Gymnopédies"

US cities with greatest housing stress

Yahoo Finance: Which Cities Face Biggest Housing Risks?

The second column should decline after 2014 when health insurance reform kicks in.

The third column combines those on fixed incomes (pensions/other retirement income and unemployment insurance payments) with those with no income.

The fourth column, "Housing-Stress Indicator," combines the other three.

To be sure, a high level of income can make crossing the 30% threshold of housing costs-to-income less risky for a borrower. New York, for example, is in the top 10 for the housing-stress indicator among the 49 most populous cities, but the percentage of people without health insurance and unemployment are both below the national averages in the region. The New York area has one of the highest median incomes in the nation, allowing residents to apportion more to housing while maintaining wiggle room to deal with other expenses.

Below is a chart of the 49 most populous U.S. metro areas with their stress readings and components, sorted by the cities with the highest housing-stress indicator to the least.


Metro Area Spending >30% of Income on Housing Without Health Insurance Population Not Working Housing-Stress Indicator
United States, average 37.5% 15.1% 33.1% 85.7
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 57.7% 25.6% 33.3% 116.6
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 54.3% 20.5% 39.5% 114.3
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 54.3% 21.5% 33.5% 109.3
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 53.9% 17.0% 36.4% 107.3
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 49.6% 22.3% 32.2% 104.1
Orlando-Kissimmee, FL 47.6% 21.2% 32.6% 101.4
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 46.6% 18.5% 34.4% 99.5
Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA 48.4% 12.6% 35.4% 96.4
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 50.5% 12.3% 31.6% 94.4
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 48.8% 12.9% 32.2% 93.9
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 41.3% 17.9% 33.5% 92.7
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 50.2% 11.9% 30.6% 92.7
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 39.0% 12.9% 39.1% 91
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 38.0% 18.8% 33.7% 90.5
Jacksonville, FL 40.0% 16.8% 33.3% 90.1
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI 42.9% 14.4% 31.9% 89.2
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 42.1% 11.7% 34.6% 88.4
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 36.5% 19.2% 32.4% 88.1
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 32.2% 24.6% 31.1% 87.9
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 35.9% 16.3% 35.4% 87.6
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA 40.9% 14.8% 31.3% 87
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 32.0% 24.0% 29.6% 85.6
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 43.0% 12.1% 29.9% 85
San Antonio, TX 30.1% 20.0% 34.4% 84.5
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA 42.9% 9.0% 29.9% 81.8
Austin-Round Rock, TX 31.6% 20.5% 27.7% 79.8
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH 35.2% 11.5% 32.7% 79.4
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 37.4% 10.0% 31.7% 79.1
Richmond, VA 34.1% 12.8% 31.5% 78.4
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO 35.0% 15.3% 27.3% 77.6
Birmingham-Hoover, AL 31.0% 12.3% 34.2% 77.5
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC 31.7% 15.7% 30.1% 77.5
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 38.3% 11.0% 27.2% 76.5
Baltimore-Towson, MD 36.8% 10.1% 29.4% 76.3
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 32.4% 13.3% 30.5% 76.2
Oklahoma City, OK 26.4% 17.9% 30.6% 74.9
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 35.3% 9.9% 28.6% 73.8
Columbus, OH 30.6% 12.7% 30.1% 73.4
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 40.2% 4.7% 27.6% 72.5
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 28.2% 13.6% 29.9% 71.7
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 35.5% 7.6% 28.4% 71.5
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN 27.5% 12.4% 31.6% 71.5
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN 28.1% 11.8% 30.9% 70.8
St. Louis, MO-IL 29.7% 10.5% 30.4% 70.6
Rochester, NY 29.4% 7.9% 31.9% 69.2
Kansas City, MO-KS 27.6% 13.2% 27.8% 68.6
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 34.7% 9.1% 24.7% 68.5
Pittsburgh, PA 28.1% 8.6% 31.0% 67.7
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 27.8% 7.9% 31.2% 66.9



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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Siegfried Follies | New York Journal of Books

A rabbinic response to the recent spate of young gay suicides - New York NY


In a Davar Torah on Parashat Noach, Rabbi David Mitchell responds to the recent spate of young gay men taking their own lives (including Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge) by asking us, as individuals and the Jewish community collectively, what we are doing to prevent such tragic deaths. His answer is not nearly enough. 

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spirit Day

Originally posted by at Spirit Day

  It's been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that's exactly what we'd like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools. RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh (top) RIP Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase (middle) RIP Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. (bottom) REBLOG to spread a message of love, unity and peace.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

avoid-these-office-buzzwords: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

My favorite example:

KPI (Key Performance Indicators)

Important measurements, usually of the immeasurable. Example: "The American Psychological Association recently established KPIs for marriage: the weekly incidence of sexual intercourse plus the number of hours spent watching the same TV shows, minus total minutes bickering over the proper loading of the dishwasher."

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Op-Ed Contributor Michael Cunningham - Found in Translation - The New York Times

"...One of the consolations of writing books is the seemingly unquenchable conviction that the next book will be better, will be bigger and bolder and more comprehensive and truer to the lives we live. We exist in a condition of hope, we love the beauty and truth that come to us, and we do our best to tamp down our doubts and disappointments.
We are on a quest, and are not discouraged by our collective suspicion that the perfection we look for in art is about as likely to turn up as is the Holy Grail. That is one of the reasons we, I mean we humans, are not only the creators, translators and consumers of literature, but also its subjects."
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BBC NEWS | Africa | Goat 'condoms' save Kenyan herds

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Maasai herdsmen in Kenya have turned to an age-old contraceptive device, the "olor", to protect their precious goat herds from an ongoing drought.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

CBC News - Canada - Prostitution laws struck down by Ont. court

Terri-Jean Bedford, left, and Valerie Scott, shown in 2009, along with a third woman, launched a constitutional challenge of Canada's anti-prostitution laws. An Ontario court ruled Tuesday the Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers.Terri-Jean Bedford, left, and Valerie Scott, shown in 2009, along with a third woman, launched a constitutional challenge of Canada's anti-prostitution laws. An Ontario court ruled Tuesday the Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers. (Michael Turschic/CBC)

An Ontario court has thrown out key provisions of Canada's anti-prostitution laws in response to a constitutional challenge by a Toronto dominatrix and two prostitutes in 2009.

Ontario's Superior Court of Justice ruled Tuesday the Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers.

'This decision means that sex workers can now pick up the phone and call the police and report a bad client.'— Valerie Scott
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