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Of course that's what they're calling it.
Benyamin Cohen, rabbi's son and intrepid explorer of churches nationwide, announces the paperback release of his book, "My Jesus Year." The trailer (yes, even books have trailers these days) promoting the release has it all: footage of Cohen on the talk show circuit, Jesus puns, and, of course, a nod to the recession. Check it out here!
Curtain up on a bedroom in suburban New Jersey. A giant "e" decorates the room, which belongs to someone with that letter as a first initial. A writer sits at a computer; a four-year-old nephew enters the room.
Nephew: "Doda Esther, why do you have that letter?"
Doda: "Well, Gilly, it's a letter E - do you know whose name starts with a letter E?"
Nephew: "Doda Esther!"
Doda: "That's right!"
Nephew: "But why don't you have a D?"
Doda: "You're right, I should have a D also."
Nephew: "And why not an O?"
Doda: "That's right, there's an O in Doda."
Nephew: "And why not a refrigerator?" (Pauses. Then bursts into a fit of giggling. Then recovers.) "Look, I'm a shark! Chomp, chomp, chomp..."
The writer is at a loss. So she grabs the nephew and starts tickling him.
The end...for now.
For some reason, I felt like this video clip was an appropriate complement. Enjoy.
Israel's always had a little more than its share of hippie tendencies - from communal living arrangements (kibbutzim, moshavim, the army) to sandals and other footwear (Naot that look like Birkenstocks, hello!). Plus, unkempt beards, long hair, songs about peace...welcome to Nahlaot.
But leave it to YouTube to show me how Woodstock (celebrating a big birthday this week, in case the publication you happen to read happens to have not done an article about it) has had an impact on the Israeli advertising industry.
I bring you...Israeli-accented hippies in a van advertising insurance. And I need to ask...would Don Draper have signed off on this ad?
Today, members of PLP's Talent Network received a letter from founding executive director Rhoda Weisman, noting that PLP would be phasing out "formal operations" at the end of this month.
This undoubtedly came as a great surprise to many in PLP's nationwide network of young Jewish leaders, who had participated in many networking and professional development programs ranging from SkillsSummits to Torah study to the flagship programs, LiveNetworks and ThinkTank, which were supposed to launch a new cohort at the ThinkTank4 in October:
Unfortunately, due to the economic climate, PLP will phase out its formal operations effective August 31, 2009. While we hope to resume it in the future with the support of the community and our active group of philanthropists, PLP will continue to live on through its professional and volunteer Talent in new and established organizations.
The letter closed with a promise that Rhoda would continue to be available to PLP Talent network members, who were urged to "watch for a continued presence on PLP's website, Facebook and Twitter."
There's still a lot that can be done via social media, but the in-person events were also really helpful toward cementing friendships and professional relationships. I attended the 2007 ThinkTank and made many valuable contacts; most of them have played pivotal roles in my acclimation to Los Angeles after I moved here last October. Not only did Rhoda connect me with people for networking, but she has also encouraged me personally and generously - offering me at various points her car, a spare bike, and the opportunity to do some social media consulting.
I hope that this will be an opportunity to take a fresh look at this talent network and figure out how to best serve Talent - and the larger Jewish community - in these indisputably challenging times.
PLP was funded by co-founders William M. Davidson (z"l), Michael Steinhardt/The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, Eugene & Marcia Applebaum, Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Robert P. Aronson.
I've been blogging, producing regular content here at My Urban Kvetch and at JDaters Anonymous, for five-and-a-half years. Magazines' worth of content...a book's worth, probably.
But it's been a creative and financial struggle to keep the free content coming. Journalism pays less and less, and sometimes, in the Jewish world, almost nothing. (I once had an editor tell me they paid $15 for original articles, and nothing for reprints.) And financial times present a struggle for us all.
If you believe what you read (and let's face it, most people do), blogging is dying (or straight-up dead, depending on who you ask).
People are fixated on redrawing the line between journalism and blogging, even as that line seems to fade at certain points. Most agree that not all blogging is journalism. But blogging is one way to keep people informed more immediately and frequently than in-depth journalism does. I think that blogging - or Tweeting a link, or sharing something via Facebook - is still about writers creating conversation, building bridges, and trying to understand other people a little better. In other words, it's about writing, and about relationships.
I've never claimed that My Urban Kvetch is a news source. I'm not trying to replace Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, and now the LA Times with some snarky Jewy culturey hybrid. But if you're here, and you're reading, you either know me in some way or like what I have to say. You might not articulate it in this way, but you believe in writers, and you believe in blogging.
I'm not planning to abandon this blog. And I hate asking for help. But since I have always appreciated your support of my internet life, including this blog, I'd like to ask you to take your reading one step further.
There are ways to show you believe.
1) Clap your hands. Show you believe by leaving a comment, starting a new conversation or participating in one that's already taking place.
2) Give something and get something. You don't have to be an altruist to help; there is space on this blog dedicated for ads, and ad prices are affordable - in some cases, goods or services may be accepted instead of monetary payment. Make me an offer. (Contact me at myurbankvetch at gmail.com.).
3) Put something in the Tip Jar or send me a donation directly through PayPal. $5. $10. $18. Consider it an optional subscription to "My Urban Kvetch Magazine." I can't give you a tax credit, but even the smallest amount helps me pay for things like hosting, site upgrades, and outings to Trader Joe's. And in the tradition of tithing, if I hit $100 or above I'll give 10 percent of the total to a charity or Jewish innovative project of my choosing.
Here's a button to make it easier.
4) Buy me a belated birthday present from my Amazon wishlist. There's also a link in the sidebar, or you can search for my account at Amazon.com.
5) Recommend me for paid freelance work, whether it's writing, editing, creative consulting or conducting social media workshops for groups or individuals. I'm pretty sure the Rambam would approve.
6) Forward a post to a friend, by sharing it on Facebook or retweeting it on Twitter.
No matter what your budget, each of you can do one of the above to help me hear your voices and feel your support.
I can't guarantee that blogging won't die a natural death in the next ten years (or sooner). But I can guarantee that as long as My Urban Kvetch exists, it will continue to be a place for the kinds of stories that have caught your interest, and provide interesting commentary on social and pop culture trends, often with the same Jewish flavor that you keep coming back for. As always, I welcome your suggestions, feedback and participation in the conversation.
Thank you for reading and for your continued support.
I can't wait for that list, so I know where to go when I visit, but I'd love to see a similar list for LA. Of course, there are lots of places to go here that have free wifi (a distinct difference from New York), but I haven't found the perfect place. For me, an ideal laptop work environment includes most, if not all of the following:
a) free wifi b) copious seating c) not too crowded on a regular basis d) proximity to outlets/power strips for charging laptop batteries e) good coffee or other beverages, reasonably priced f) relatively quiet, but with no policing squad of librarian-like shushers.
More than just a taste of next year's LimmudLA festival of Jewish learning, this Sunday brings an entire day of programming with some of LA's superstar artists, scholars and community leaders. Featuring:
David Bubis - executive director of JTN Productions Lisa Edwards - rabbi and spiritual leader of Beth Chayim Chadashim Rob Eshman- editor-in-chief of The Los Angeles Jewish Journal Reuven Firestone - professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC Leah Hochman - professor of Jewish thought at HUC Ron Jacobson - former west coast bureau chief for Israel's national television network Jonathan Klein - executive director of CLUE-LA Zoe Klein - rabbi and spiritual leader of Temple Isaiah Eli Lester - creator and teacher of kabbalistic drumming Naomi Levy - rabbi and spiritual leader of Nashuva Monica Osborne - professor of Jewish American fiction at UCLA Cindy Rosenberg - practitioner of spiritual yoga and oriental medicine Shlomo Seidenfeld - director of Isralight LA Sara Tanz - choreographer and dance/movement instructor Ruth Weisberg - dean at USC's Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts Sam Yebri - founder and president of 30 Years After
Date: Sunday, August 9, 2009
Time: 10 AM – 4 PM followed by ice cream and an open music jam session
Location: Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA, 574 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Cost: $50 per person; drinks, snacks, and boxed lunch included
Space is limited and online pre-registration is required.
Register now for yourself, your family, and your friends!