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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘star’

A Star Falls Over Chicago

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The Obama Campaign, that strange 4 year marriage of Generation X hipsters, inner city bosses, suburban college educated boomers longing for racial healing, Big Green businessmen and shady Saudis, appears to be finally sinking beneath the waves. It isn’t going out in a blaze of glory, but with mumbles of trending topics.

Obama was always a petty man and his campaign has descended into pointless pettiness, into Team Big Bird, binders full of women and bayonets and horses. Like so much hipster culture, it exists so that the participants can entertain each other with something that no one else thinks is funny or clever. And that elitism is precisely the point. It’s the last resort of losers who hide from their lack of taste behind walls of exclusivity.

Abandoning mass appeal, Obama is getting back to his roots of entertaining upper middle class college kids with his ‘hipness’; both actual  college kids and the overgrown middle aged variety that make up the professional class of the mediacracy who treat the rest of the country the way that they treated the natives on their Peace Corps assignments.

The Obama Campaign was never serious, but it once aspired to an Oprah level of seriousness, to the dignity of the self-help sections where trite observations are recited with great solemnity so that they sound like they must mean more than they do.

For the Northeastern New York Times reader, Obama held out the promise of atonement for the country’s grave racial sins. For the San Francisco wind farm executive, he offered the prospect of a presidency that would be one long endless TED talk with plenty of subsidies for the cunning Greenvestor. And the college student would finally have a president who watched the same shows, listened to the same music and got the same jokes making him the perfect Resident Adviser for the country.

Two biographies and four years later those same people have learned that like that party guest who mentions that he’s a nuclear physicist, a poet and an explorer of supernatural phenomena, Obama wasn’t actually interesting, he just seemed interesting in a cursory sort of way. Obama’s biography made him an interesting party guest, but not past a 5 minute chat, and it in no way qualified him to hold the country’ top job during an economic crisis and two wars.

Obama’s seriously intent tone, the one that signals you to pay attention, no longer works on even the faithful. Like Pavlov’s dogs, they have stopped coming once they realized that just because the bell rings doesn’t mean that dinner or a functional economy will be served. The weighty tone that he once used to deploy to great effect, borrowing the tricks of the preachers that he encountered in his huckstering days, has come to seem as empty as Oprah’s smile or Bill Clinton’s sincere head nod, just another of the tricks of hollow public personalities signifying nothing.

For years and years, he has talked and said nothing of any import. All the talk, the endless speeches and addresses, the verbal and facial tics that indicated seriousness of purpose, have never led to one single thing. Not one problem solved, not one crisis resolved and not one plan laid out and completed in four years with something to show for it.

Somewhere along the way, Obama became boring. He became that one man at a party that you don’t want to talk to because he will go on forever and all his chatter leads nowhere, because for all his conversational skills, he is capable of nothing but talk. And after talking to him for ten hours, you don’t know him any better than you did after ten minutes.

Voting for Obama was never the right choice objectively, but it was the right cultural choice, it was the trend, the impulse that everyone seemed to be following, the style that everyone was wearing and the book that everyone was reading. But trends like that don’t last. How many people will have Lady Gaga songs in their players or Fifty Shades of Grey on their bookshelves ten years from now? This too is the fate of the president of the trending topic, the commander-in-chief of the pet rock and the mood ring with his binders full of women and t-shirts with pictures of horses and bayonets on them. A joke that like Snakes on a Plane or All Your Base Are Belong To Us never gets old until 5 minutes later.

When times are bad, people have a well-known escapist streak. During the Great Depression, lavish musicals were popular. After September 11, Zoolander topped the box office. Facing two wars and a failed economy, the American people followed their own escapist streak to a smooth talking trickster with a soothing bag of promises that were too good to be true. Who wanted to listen to McCain, a man who looked like a walking war injury and kept talking about sacrifice, when you could get big bags of free stuff from a man who offered a post-racial society as a free gift with every vote.

Americans escaped to Obama and now they’re escaping from Obama. The vacation was already being cut short in 2012 and now it’s approaching its blackout date. Instead of taking Americans away from everything, Obama took everything away from them, and now they’re gearing up to take it all back and put him on a back shelf next to last summer’s beach reads and last decade’s pop hits.

Obama is over. And confronting his ‘overness’, that deadliest of fates for a hipster, he is crawling back to pander to his original audience, the graphic designers who put together posters of him on their free time, the celebrities who were eager to form his Jack Pack, to be his Joey Bishop or his Marylin Monroe, the musicians singing about him, the netroots bloggers cranking out their sensations of euphoric immediacy at being in his presence and the professional leftists cheering for him to take down the American Empire like Godzilla took down Tokyo.

But all the trending memes with hashtags and Tumblr pages, the calculatingly overexposed Instagram photos and the celebrities scribbling things on their hands and Twitpiccing the results, can’t bring back the thing that’s over. And even if they could, it won’t make a difference to the election. Hipsters like things that are different before they become popular, because it makes them seem like interesting people. Once something is popular then liking it no longer means that you’re interesting, instead it comes with the ego-deflating revelation that you are just like everyone else, except more so.

There’s no point to liking Obama anymore. Not when Obama is everywhere, more overexposed than Instagram, grinning from every corner, from every screen and magazine cover, selling out to get ahead and making the old faithfuls wonder if he ever stood for anything at all. Theirs is the sad burden of knowing that they will never have their own JFK who died, tragically and horrifyingly, before he could dive all the way into Vietnam, before stories of his carousing hit the papers forcing him to go on television and insist that he never had sex with any of those women.

Obama will not be immortalized by a Communist with a rifle. Instead he is doomed to be mortal, his hair turning white and his musical tastes turning worse. Any day now he will admit to a fondness for Kenny G and after that there will be no saving him from the dread ravages of time. And so he is over because the alternative to him being over is the tastemakers having to confront their own overness. Their own mortality.

If Obama were cannier than he seems, then he would embrace his own fakeness, becoming a self-constructed celebrity, glorifying in his own artificiality, until like Lady Gaga or Lana Del Rey and every third hip hop star with a pulse, his very fakeness would serve as proof of his inventiveness and his media savvy. Such an Obama would present a birth certificate showing that he was born in Kenya to challenge our notions of identity, admit to squandering all the country’s money for its own good and keep us entertained with his latest antics. It might not win him the election, but considering the example of Zoolander, it might, because then instead of being over, he would be a new escape all over again.

But Obama is determined to be a hipster to the very end, instead of embracing the shamelessness of his own media manipulations, he veers erratically between an insincere sincerity and the sneer of the spitefully superior. It’s the performance we saw in the third debate, the antics of every college kid you ever argued with, that combination of smugness and insecurity that marks the hipster as an impossible conversationalist.

The only thing sadder than a hipster is a wannabe hipster and that’s what Obama is now, a man in search of a meme, a one-man band in search of an artfully touching documentary about its travails in the wilds of Portland and a flat line in search of its trend.

Obama does not know how to govern. He does not know how to address the economy or war. The one thing he knows how to do is be popular. That is the one and only skill that he has cultivated in his life. And it is a good skill for a politician, but a politician whose only skill is popularity had better avoid taking responsibility for anything that might make him unpopular.

Popularity is a trend, and like every reality show star still pounding away on Twitter five years later, trying to move their latest CD or comedy club appearance, Oprah’s most popular boy toy since Dr. Oz has failed to realize that he is no longer popular, his moment has passed, his relevance is through and no one wants a man whose only skills are on-camera skills to be the one standing between them and economic oblivion.

The country doesn’t hate him, but it is tired of him. It wakes up every morning, remembers the time everyone got drunk and decided to vote for the cool black dude who talked a lot about hope, winces and then forgets about him all over again until it looks at the latest economic news. It’s over him and it wishes that he would show some dignity and walk away from a job that he isn’t qualified for on his own.

Obama has gotten desperate. His fundraising emails walk the thin line between emotional blackmail and hysteria. Increasingly they read like Cousin Larry phoning for bail money from Tijuana. Shrilly needy they demand that we pay attention to him, that we love him, adore him and spend money on him. They are the missives of a man who cannot conceive of a life outside the spotlight, the vapid fear of a celebrity who cannot confront the real world and cannot understand why their public is walking away.

In the last stages of his career, Obama has become Norma Desmond, waving around a social media gun and shouting, “No one leaves a star. That’s what makes one a star.” But the country has left and what they leave behind is a star falling from the sky over Chicago.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Daniel Greenfield

Crossword Puzzle – Kevarim

Monday, July 9th, 2012

 

Across

1. They may be split

5. Common word

8. Moistens

13. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai

15. Fool

16. Eye layer

17. Flair

18. Not at work

19. Star pitcher who never did for the Mets what Johan accomplished

20. Egg cells

22. The Rambam

24. Wonder

27. Come forth

29. Beauty pageant wear

30. Leah

32. Formal vote

34. Boot part

35. Author Morrison

36. Column’s counterpart

38. Traffic sign

40. Rochel

44. Binge

47. Lanzbom and Solomon, e.g.

48. “___ and the King of Siam”

52. Wrath

53. High ball?

56. Yosef

58. Farm newborn

60. High elected office in Rome, once

62. Great-great uncle of 56 and 63-Across

63. Binyamin

65. Santana, e.g.

67. Wolf down

68. Wall St. debut

70. Two-door car

74. Curl one’s lip

75. Pitied person, for short

76. Rav Yosef Karo

77. First name of a president shot while running for a third term in office

78. Feminine suffix

79. Simcha dance

 

Down

1. Fat letters?

2. After-tax amount

3. Like some humor

4. Han of sci-fi

5. Also

6. Where the Hawks play

7. Statue, perhaps

8. Fool

9. Declares

10. Help settle

11. Umbrella

12. Pie-eyed

14. “When pigs fly!”

21. Lifeless, old-style

23. Honey maker

24. Be in a cast?

25. Seuss resident

26. Bard’s nightfall

28. Form of ether

31. Sensation, slangily

33. Affirmative vote

37. Get hitched

39. Apple product

41. Aquarium denizen

42. Swear

43. Blah

44. Most awesome (in slang)

45. Desecrate

46. Akin

49. Lg. for Kings and Devils

50. Matrix character

51. Invoice fig.

54. Instrument with rina

55. Ox-related

57. Choose

59. Set straight

61. Scruffs

64. Agile

66. Brit’s “Baloney!”

69. Delivery room doctors, for short

71. ET carrier

72. Average

73. In-flight info, for short

 

 

(Answers, next week)

Yoni can be reached at yoniglatt@gmail.com.

Yoni Glatt

Reflections on the Presidential Conference 2012

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The Presidential Conference, dubbed ‘Tomorrow’, did not disappoint. Filled with top brass politicians, journalists, ambassadors, entrepreneurs, academics, scientists and more, the conference was a networker’s paradise; classy, comfortable and conducive to fostering good, new initiatives. Focusing on technology, economy, problems and peace, sessions were strung with a seam of tomorrow with words like ‘shaping’, ‘change’, ‘adaptation’ and ‘innovation’.

Warming up the audience was the adorable media personality, 84 year old Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who built her successful career as a sex-therapist. Sharing the stage with Yossi Vardi, considered by many as the father of Israeli start-ups, Dr. Ruth’s field of expertise dominated the conversation, attracting some awkward moments. They talked about the next generation’s version of relationships due to the role new media plays in the dating world of today – a combination of fields of expertise if ever I’ve seen one.

The opening night was politically star-studded. President Peres bestowed Israel’s highest honour, the Presidential Award of Distinction, on former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Followed by the Honourable Tony Blair, who pointed out that “President Peres was a Minister before I was born,” the feeling in the air was of a triangle of friendship going back many years. Those familiar with Israel’s short history and the contribution these men have made to it, could easily have been politically ‘star-struck’. Kissinger rightfully acknowledged the significance of the award by joking, “It’s not often you hear an 89 year old man say this, but I wish my parents were here to see this.”

Sticking to the theme of ‘Tomorrow’ with the deliberation one would expect from such giants, the men praised the past but emphasized a vision for the future. As a colleague pointed out, most people of the President’s age would talk of their accomplishments or their experiences, or even merely themselves, but President Peres focuses on the future! Investing in programs and technologies and even this conference, the President is clearly embracing a better tomorrow.

In fact, every speaker I heard referenced the theme of ‘Tomorrow’. With varying degrees of optimism, hope, certainty and speculation, almost all said we should lead the change if we don’t want to be led by the change. The leaders that spoke gave glimpses into the challenges of tomorrow, where inadequate preparation for the future may leave a once powerful enterprise completely redundant and failure to properly adapt means the world is passing you by.

There is much to learn by listening to these wise and experienced speakers, and we all appreciate the time given by all those who participated in the conference, but more so, I was moved by the ‘schmooze’ time these men donated. People were accessible, friendly and willing to help, because after all, it’s about the future!

Avi Charney

Jews Clash in Queer Toronto Over Inclusion of BDS Group in Parade

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

A Jewish gay and lesbian group has submitted a request to the Pride Toronto arbitration panel, asking the gay pride parade organizers to ban anti-Israel group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from the festival, according to a report in the Toronto Star.

Jewish homosexual group Kulanu Toronto filed a complaint on Friday against QuAIA’s participation in the July 1 parade, stating that “QuAIA’s “behavior and rhetoric are hurtful to Jewish parade participants and to supporters of Israel”.  According to Kulanu, QuAIA’s comparison of Israel to apartheid South Africa is offensive and untrue.  In an e-mail to the Star, Kulanu executive director Justine Apple accused QuAIA of “hijacking the parade with their anti-Israel propaganda,” and alienating the people of Toronto with their “hateful, hostile messaging”.

Queers Against Israel Apartheid

Queers Against Israel Apartheid

The Star reported that the dispute resolution committee will review the complaint, but may not be able to render a decision in time for the event.

Last week, the Toronto city council voted to condemn the use of the phrase “Israel apartheid,” but also granted $124,000 in funding to the pride parade regardless of QuAIA’s ability to participate.  In 2010, a decision to ban QuAIA from the annual parade was overturned due to pressure from Canadian homosexuals.  In 2011, the city of Toronto threatened to cut funding to the parade if QuAIA was allowed to participate.  In response, QuAIA pulled out of the event, holding an event in favor of BDS (boycotting, divestment, and sanctions) instead.

In January, Tel Aviv was named the Best Gay City of 2011 in an international American Airlines competition choosing the most popular destinations among LGTB tourists.

Malkah Fleisher

Cartoon Rehab: For Whom the iBell Tolls

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This July 2, 2011 cartoon, by Ad-Dustur, was headlined: “Apple Bows to Israeli Pressure and Removes the Palestinian Intifada Website.” The argument against Apple wasn’t so outrageous, free speech and all, but the choice to go with a Jew (further identified by the star of David on the hat) was just unnecessarily nasty.

I’m not sure the iHemingway solution is the funniest idea I’ve come up with, and I welcome better ones. Still, there’s something wonderfully silly about the brave Ernest Hemingway dealing with the Apple revolution the only way he would have: directly and with a lot of teeth.

Totally open for other ideas, though.

Source: ADL Arab Media Review

"Apple Bows to Israeli Pressure and Removes the Palestinian Intifada Website."

"Apple Bows to Israeli Pressure and Removes the Palestinian Intifada Website."

 

—————————————————————————————————————-  

Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab.

We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

Yori Yanover

To Dream The Impossible Dream

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Ashira Greenberg is a pretty, talented and articulate young lady who, at the tender of age of seventeen, has just published a book.

Many of us dream of writing our own book, myself included, but how few of us actually do it.

I went to a recent book signing by the young author, held in the home of family friends Sima and Abe Ancselovics in Hillcrest, Queens. There sat Ashira surrounded by her loving parents, Robert and Dafna Greenberg, facing an overflow crowd. All of us wanted to hear her story. On the table in front of her was a pile of her book, Don’t Judge By What You See.

Ashira was born with cerebral palsy. For elementary school she attended the Yeshiva of Central Queens where the YESS program is located. YESS – Yeshiva Education for Special Students – works with each special needs child and successfully mainstreams many of them. Ashira was mainstreamed but never forgot all the help she received and became a volunteer, working with YESS children in her school.

Ashira loved writing and she dreamed of someday writing a book. In seventh grade she was going through a particularly hard time. “Here I was in a normal school, but I couldn’t do what the other kids could do,” said Ashira. “ So I started to think of writing.”

She was blessed with a very special teacher that year who encouraged her to write. In fact, when the teacher gave out a class assignment to write about “what makes you unique,” Ashira felt that the teacher had specifically picked that topic with her in mind.

She went home that Friday and sat down in front of her computer to write and all of her frustrations came pouring out in poem form. Every time her parents walked into the room she closed the screen. “ They must have wondered what was going on, so now I can tell them, it was nothing unacceptable, I was just pouring out my heart and I didn’t want them to feel bad.” She brought the poem to school that Monday and showed it to her teacher. The teacher was so impressed that she showed it to all the other teachers in the school. They all agreed that it was incredibly well written.

Summers for Ashira were spent in Camp Simcha Special. That summer she asked her bunkmates and fellow campers to write a few paragraphs dealing with their feelings about their disabilities. She discussed with them her dream of putting these essays into a book that would be published. The campers all eagerly complied. But when she sent the work off to publishing houses, rejection after rejection came her way. The common complaint was that the manuscript was too short and too heavy. “Short, we could fix,” said Ashira. “But heavy? This is our life and yes, it is a heavy load to bear.” So the dream of publishing a book was put on hold.

Ashira and her father

Some years passed and Ashira was now a student at Central, Yeshiva University High School for Girls (my alma mater) and managing okay.

One year at the Salute to Israel Parade in New York City she saw her former seventh grade teacher marching with her elementary school. All her dreams of writing a book came back to her as she saw the teacher who had inspired her to write.

Before Ashira began writing again, she and her parents contacted publishing companies to see if any of them would be interested in publishing a book about children and disabilities specifically geared to children. The Israel Bookshop Publishing Company answered in the affirmative and Ashira began to write.

The end result is a beautiful children’s book written in rhyming sentences. One of my favorite parts of the book is where the girl goes to a party in her friend’s backyard and sees lots of children in wheelchairs or with other noticeable problems. She stares and stares at them, thinking that if their arms or legs don’t work maybe their minds don’t work either. The lessons are gently brought home in rhyme, in a way that doesn’t make the reader feel bad. In fact, it is very much a feel-good book, which in itself is a remarkable thing.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Rachelli Edelstein.

What’s next for Ashira? Right now she is looking forward to graduating high school in June and then…”we’ll see what happens,” was her sweet answer.

It’s clear to see that a loving family – Ashira has two younger sisters – and parents devoted to helping her dreams become reality, will help this young lady continue to soar.

Naomi Klass Mauer

Chassidic Chanukah Festival Returns For 31st Year

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The 31st Annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival is getting bigger and better. Over 10,000 people have participated each year since the event was moved to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach in 2007. The upcoming festival planned for Wednesday, December 8, has a star-studded program that will likely see the largest attendance ever.

 

World-renowned child prodigy Ethan Bortnick will once again grace the stage of the world’s largest Chanukah festival. Ethan has a stage presence that is nothing short of remarkable.

 

Jewish music superstar Benny Friedman will be also part of the concert celebration.  Benny’s bestselling debut album “Taamu” was released in 2009, and his rising popularity has made him very high in demand.

 

The festival will also feature twin chassidic acrobats from France. Their dazzling performance will provide an unforgettable viewing experience.

 

 

Twin chassidic acrobats from France

slated to perform at Chanukah Festival

 

 

The festival is held at Hallandale Beach, Gulfstream Park, US1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd. The event is annually produced and directed by Chabad of South Broward, leaders in Jewish Education, social services and community outreach.

 

The festival will be preceded by a 100-car menorah parade, starting out from the Yeshiva Gedolah of Greater Miami, under the patronage of Florida Friends of Lubavitch.

 

Other festival highlights include the lighting of Florida’s Largest menorah, led by Cantor Rabbi Yossy Lebovics and a large lineup of community leaders, free Chanukah gelt and goodies for the thousands of children in attendance, a delicious dinner (for a nominal fee), and scores of valuable prizes.

 

Rabbi Levi Tennenhaus, the event coordinator and Chabad’s program director, encourages those who can afford it to get reserved seating: “The event, as always, is free. However, in addition to our major sponsors, individuals are entitled to reserve VIP seats for $100 per seat. This will help both the festival, which runs at an enormous cost as a service to the community, and individuals who want the luxury and convenience to sit up front with their seats reserved exclusively for them and their families.”

 

For more festival information, and to reserve VIP and box seats, please call 954-458-1877, e-mail Itchabad@gmail.com, or log on to chabadsouthbroward.com.

Reuven Arazi

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/chassidic-chanukah-festival-returns-for-31st-year/2010/11/17/

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