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Sibling rivalry, baby wars and homecomings, this week on G-dcast. And lessons about leaving home and coming home, ironic in a week when I'm slated to leave my new home to return to my old East Coast home for a bit. Thanks to Brad at the Godblog and Matthue, who's done a bang-up job as education supervisor for the series, for linking to me, too!
Oh yeah, and I'm the narrator. Enjoy!
Thanksgiving special! The deadline for submissions to the Pass the Candle project has been extended to December 5! Note for Talmudically aware folks below.
A few people have brough up the issue of lighting the candle from behind the chanukkiyah (Chanukah menorah) and this is what the PTC project organizers said, after conducting much research:
Specifically, when lighting a menorah in a public forum, you place and light the candles for the perspective of those viewing the candles. And once the menorah is lit you cannot move it. So if you are lighting in front of a window or a crowd for everyone to see, it is acceptable to light the menorah while standing behind it, lighting in the same direction you would as if you were standing in front of it.
This is a week where our focus is not on comedy. Wherever we are, we're still reeling from the international tragedy of loss in Mumbai, and although we feel conflicted about where to go from here, we are beginning to do that thing we do whenever there is pain. We keep moving forward.
Though separate in every way from this week's events, the Koby Mandell Foundation is an organization devoted to moving on after terror. And there's a great American comedy tour in town this week that's raising funds to benefit the Foundation.
Stand Up For Israel presents Comedy for Koby, to benefit the Koby Mandell Foundation, which works on behalf of the families affected by terror.
Featuring top-level Hollywood comics Chris Spencer, Mike Loftus, Modi and Avi Liberman. For more about the comics, see here.
* Wednesday, December 3- Jerusalem- The Maabeda- Derech Hebron 28
* Saturday, December 6- Tel Aviv- ZOA House- Even Gevirol 26, corner of Daniel Frisch
* Sunday, December 7- Raanana- Yad Labanim- 147 Ahuza Street
* Monday, December 8 - Modiin- Modiin Cultural Center - Emek Dotan 49
* Thursday, December 11- Beit Shemesh- Matnas Eshkol Hapayis, Aliyat Hanoar Street, Migdal Hamayim
All shows begin at 8:30 PM with doors opening at 8:00. Individual Tickets are 100 NIS or 75 NIS for soldiers or b'not sherut. Got 10 people or more? Call them about a discount. Buy online, by emailing email@example.com, or calling 054-627-2867.
And tell them you read about it on MyUrbanKvetch.
Forget Chateau Marmont, the Viper Room (do people even go there anymore?) and various Beverly Hills locations...the real celebrity Hollywood hangout: Esther's dreams.
Just this week, my dreams hosted Meryl Streep, David Boreanaz, and Anne Hathaway. Previous weeks have included Tom Cruise, Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd, Zach Braff, Harrison Ford, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Piven, and Anthony Stewart Head. Yeah, I think my cultural influences are pretty clear.
Happy Thanksgiving, to all you celebs and non-celebs out there.
I never heard of the term "immersion journalist" until I discovered A.J. Jacobs and "The Year of Living Biblically," in which Jacobs decided to immerse himself in literal observance of the Old Testament for a calendar year. Then I got it.
Now the rest of y'all are going to experience the immersion journalist on the small screen... the Hollywood Reporter reports that Jacobs and writer David Katz, who both hail editorially from Esquire magazine, are doing a TV project called "Things a Man Should Never Do Past 30," which sounds pretty self-explanatory, and as HR notes, quite Barney Stinsonesque:
"The show is about a guy working at men's magazine who is reluctant
to embrace adulthood and his friend who is an immersion
journalist," said Katz, who is penning "Things" with Jacobs, an
Why should you like it? Well, Barry Sonnenfeld does.
In addition to executive producing, Sonnenfeld -- hot off his Emmy
win for helming the pilot of ABC's "Pushing Daisies" -- is on board
to direct the potential pilot.
"I thought it was a great idea for a show about modern-day men and
women dating and trying to grow up and commit while at the same
time surrounded by many reasons why not to grow up," Sonnenfeld
From the comedic opportunities of the immersion journalist's life to the 30somethings not committing, there's certainly enough material there. Will the concept of "living Biblically" enter the plot of any upcoming episodes? I guess we'll see. But the more I talk to people out here in LA, the more I understand that being hired to create a TV project and actually managing to get that product on-air are two different things. So here's wishing Jacobs and Katz good luck.
I once identified Zach Braff as someone who'd make a great staff member for a Birthright Israel trip. But in this new article in Haaretz (brought to you via the all-knowing Harry and Jerusalemite), the English is a little weird, we learn that Zach recently made a trip to the homeland -- his first since he was a kid -- and was mightily impressed:
Braff says that when you come here, "you just feel
this amazing sense of community. We hear so much about Israel and
politics with the Palestinians and you feel so separate from it. So I
really wanted to see for myself." He says he was "lucky" to be able to
come and see things firsthand and to talk to Israelis. "As a Jew I
think it's really important to come to this place. There is such a
tremendous sense of community, tremendous bond for obvious reasons. I
don't know if Israelis have a sense of it because they live here, but I
Now that he's fallen in love with Israel, the article reports, he's thinking of creating a film that features "a story about an American Jew who visits Israel", and that he "says a story like what he
has in mind is something he's never seen in a movie and thinks it will
be really interesting."
Zach, wanna talk Israel? Give me a call. I'm even local now. I mean, seriously.
If you've never been to a Taglit-Birthright Israel Mega Event, you've likely wondered, how big is it? I mean, is it large? Extra large? Or is it truly mega?
Here's your chance to see for yourself. This footage comes to you from the June 1, 2008 mega event at Latrun, for which I was present. You can't see me in the crowd, but that's because it was a huge crowd. To answer your questions: yes, that's Shi360 from the TACT Family; yes, there was a huge "Taglit" sign made of fire; and yes, they did fly that IDF soldier and his dog onto the stage in a helicopter. Like I said, Mega.
Check it out here:
The Center for Leadership
Initiatives, in partnership with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman
Family Foundation, is excited to announce the launch of The Kivun
Intensive 2009. Kivun, which in Hebrew means "direction," is a
five-month professional development program that will equip 40 of the
finest young Jewish professionals in North America with the top tools
for excellence and impact in the Jewish non-profit sector. See here for a complete program description and to apply.
The Shapiro Family Fellowship
creates a unique opportunity for future leaders to deepen their
personal knowledge and appreciation of Israeli life and society, and
strengthen their Jewish identity and personal connections to Israel.
The second round of Fellowships will be awarded in 2009 to promising
individuals aged 22-28 who currently live in the greater New York
metropolitan area and who have previously been to Israel. Each fellowship includes: A fully paid 17-day trip to Israel, (June 17-July 1, 2009) featuring exclusive meetings with Israeli professionals and experts in the
fellows' chosen careers; Participation in 3 post trip Institutes to be held in the New York area throughout the 2009-2010 academic year; Access to the growing community and network of Shapiro Family Fellows, mentors and peers. See here for more information and to apply.
Mandel Jerusalem Fellows (MA or higher degree required; click here for requirements) The Mandel Jerusalem Fellows (MJF) is a one-year, residential fellowship program based in the Mandel Leadership Institute. This
fellowship is aimed at mid-career professionals with a proven track
record in Jewish educational and communal leadership. MJF provides Fellows with a rich, supportive environment, over the course of a year, in which to: Develop a compelling vision of what they are
seeking to achieve in the next phase of their careers, along with a
strategic plan of how to implement it; reflect on their professional practice, examining the fundamental assumptions that have informed their work to date; and challenge and refine their conceptions of the
goals and methods of contemporary Jewish education, through study with
top scholars, policymakers and practitioners from around the world.
Click here for more complete information and to apply.
A singer/songwriter, a filmmaker, a blogger and a rabbinical student went to the beach. This sounds like the beginning to a joke, but really, it's just one of the many opening lines that introduce moments of note as I adjust to a new city.
Living in an apartment with twice the space and amazing natural light during the day at half the price of Manhattan rent help to assuage any doubts about my choice. As the new kid in town, I'm amassing stories for my repertoire, immersing myself in the daily life of LA through LAist, EW and other online news sources, and paying off the bills I had accrued in New York while living the spartan life of a writer in my "room-of-one's own" studio. I'm meeting other creative people for coffee and conversation, and finding out how the other coast lives.
In my offline life, I'm becoming part of the Los Angeles Jewish community in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood; and in my online life, I stay in touch with the hundreds of friends I've made worldwide through blogging, Jewish conferences like ROI and others, and in-person meetups and even a few celebrities.
There's more, obviously, and there will continue to be more writing about Los Angeles in the months ahead. But there will also be a trip to DC, NY and Miami coming in December, which is an exciting chance to be a part of some cool programming and reconnect with friends and family. And I'm beginning to plan local reunions for the Jewish creative innovators in California and New York for former participants in the ROI Summit.
It's all part of a balanced relocation diet: part old, part new, all good.