Friday, June 30, 2006

Mazal tov to Zalman and Rochol Chein!!!!

Last Sunday, the 25th of June, 2006, Zalman Chein and Rochel Posner were wed. It was beautiful and moving... and I apologize for the mad delay on getting the pics and video online... my hard drive is basically full so I'm working it out. But for starters, here's one vid from the wedding, more to follow. Mazal tov, again!

R' Shlomie Chein at the Ohel

Here is a photo of Chabad Student Center's Rabbi Shlomie Chein saying tehillim on Gimmel Tammuz, the yartzeit of Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt'l, at the latter's resting place, known as the "Ohel."

Check out Shmais News Service for more pictures.

Milkhic Shabbos Pot Luck at the 12 Tribes Co_Op

Yeeeehaww!!! Shabbos is almost here. I'm trying to gather up all my children of Zion to celebrate the Friday night Sabbath meal. If you're interested, email Bring something tasty and dairy around 8:00 (tentative). It's time to welcome the Shabbos Malka, the Sabbath Queen!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gimmel Tammuz

This evening ends Gimmel Tammuz, the 3rd day of the month of Tammuz of the year 5766; it is the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (zt"l) 12th yartzheit.

Since I don't have the proper words to express the significance of the day, here is an excerpt from a post on
Gimmel Tammuz is an interesting occasion. The day officially marks an end to the Rebbe's lifetime. But reality tells a different story. Through brief glances around the world, into Chabad activities (and peoples' lives) - a different picture emerges. There are countless continued stories, actions taken, lives changing, and growing achievements connected to the Rebbe's life, making it quite artificial to acknowledge that there can be any sort of end connected to the Rebbe. When the Zohar wrote that a Tzaddik is more in the world after his passing than during his lifetime, he wasn't joking around.

Gimmel Tammuz is a celebration of an extraordinary kind.

On Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe was not laid to rest;– he became more vibrant.

On Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe didn't leave us behind; he moved us forward.

On Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe didn't reveal his mark on the world; he was just beginning.

On Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe gave us a world with nothing untouched by his genius, his warmth, his vision. There is no area in life where one cannot turn to the Rebbe for his wisdom and advice. There is no way to avoid his insightful, tangible and relevant lessons. They make a home wherever you go. They find you wherever you are.

To see the Rebbe today is not a matter of memories. While telling stories and reading the Rebbe's works is central to understanding the Rebbe's lifetime, we should not settle with the past. We need not struggle and search to find the Rebbe. On Gimmel Tammuz, he gave us a very personal gift. He gave us the gift of himself, unlimited. All we need to do is tune in. All we need to do is look around.

Original post.
Gimmel Tammuz has already ended in New York, where the Rebbe is buried. However, there is a tradition to send letters to the Rebbe for "guidance and intervention On High." To send a letter to the Rebbe via the internet (which will be printed out and torn up at the Rebbe's gravesite), click here; it is appropriate to do so throughout the year, not only on Gimmel Tammuz.

The Weapon is Prayer

Life makes warriors of us all. To emerge the victors, we must arm ourselves with the most potent of weapons. That weapon is prayer.

-----Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

As you probably know by now, two young Israelis have been abducted by Palestinians within the last few days. One, Eliahu Ashrei, of blessed memory, was found murdered, his young life and potential cut short far too soon (may G-d avenge his blood!). The other, Gilead Shalit, is still believed to be alive.

Israeli troops have entered Gaza in an operation called "Summer Rain", but seem to have done little other than arrest a number of Palestinian government officials. Some sources even suggest that the Israeli government is under pressure from the US to not strike at targets in Gaza, all while rockets continue to rain on Sderot.

At times like these, we need to pull out the most powerful weapon we have: Prayer. Please pray for the safety of Gilead ben Aviva, pray that rockets stop falling on Sderot, and pray that Olmert and his gang finally get the testicular fortitude needed to keep the people of Israel safe.

Even if prayer is not part of your regular practice, please just take 10 minutes today to beg and plead with Hashem to set things right. Prayer is our most powerful weapon, but it requires that we use it to see results.

UCSC Chancellor Commits Suicide

DentonAs many of you already know, UCSC's ninth and only openly gay chancellor, Denice Denton, committed suicide this past Saturday morning. She jumped out of the 44th floor of a San Francisco apartment owned by her partner, Gretchen Kalonji.

The SF Chronicle reports:
Denton, a well-regarded engineer, had been named this spring in a series of articles examining UC management compensation. She had been criticized for an expensive university-funded renovation on her campus home, and for obtaining a UC administrative job for Kalonji.
Indeed, Denton had requested some $30,000 for a dog run as part of $600,000 in renovations to the home, and many were outraged when a six-figure position was created at UCSC just for Denton's partner.
Denton, 46, died Saturday morning after jumping from the Paramount at Mission and Third streets, police said. The building is advertised as San Francisco's tallest luxury rental apartment building. A guest at the nearby Argent Hotel called authorities at 8:17 a.m. to report a body on the roof of a parking structure below the apartment building, police said. The medical examiner ruled her death a suicide.

Denton had been on medical leave from the university since June 15 and was expected to return to work this week, said UC Santa Cruz spokesman Jim Burns. She was absent from the university's commencement exercises last week because she was not feeling well, he said.

Full article
Baruch Dayan HaEmes. A memorial ceremony for Chancellor Denton will be taking place today, Thursday, June 27 at 10am at the Music Recital Hall at UCSC, followed by a reception.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

CSC Video

We all know that G-D SQUAD loves to mine the internet for digital gold (read: videos, pictures, and other media concerning UCSC Jews). Well, he struck a nice little nugget today. Here's the 2004/5 Chabad Student Center video. I assume most Jewish sluggies out there have seen it already, but I'm posting it for those who want to see it again and for those who haven't yet seen it.

These are definitely images from a different era; Zalman was still a bochur (mazal tov again! Details to follow...); Ze'ev and Mendel hadn't had their upshernishes yet; Devorah Leah's cooking was great (well, some things never change); the Russian Mafia was still in town. G-D SQUAD even makes an appearance (fat bowl of hash to the first person who can find me). Jay kay about the "fat bowl of hash" part... for those that aren't obsessive bloggers, that was a reference to one of Yoseph Leib's posts on Cannabis Chassidis. But I really do make an appearance.

Anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mazal Tov Larissa and Micha!

Guest post by Frum Mommy.

This past Sunday on the 29th of Sivan I was fortunate enough attend the wedding of Micha Adler and Larissa Golerkansky (a UCSC alumna). I really am happy to see Larissa begin a new stage in her life and G-d willing we will be together for many more simchas. Larissa looked amazingly calm and focused during everything. Here are some of the pictures with a brief description.

Here is Frum Baby with the kallah. Frum Baby was so excited about being at the wedding. She had been talking about it for weeks. I think the highlight was seeing Larissa in her dress and having her picture taken.

In this picture you can see the choson and kallah.
The wedding ceremony was officiated by
Rabbi Wohlgelernter of S. Diego where the couple will move to next.

The couple is being entertained by friends and family

Here we have Benyomin Cantz entertaining the
Adlers by making "wine" for the couple and then pouring out some into cups.

Big Challlah!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Jewish Learning in SF

From JensList, for the SFers:
What's a Jew to Do?

Ever wonder what Jewish tradition has to say on hot topics in the
news? Want to hear from activists, and ask questions that are on your
mind? Interested in thinking and talking with other concerned folks
about how to respond to social problems?

"What's a Jew to do?", you might say! We wonder, too. So, JGate,
American Jewish World Service, and Progressive Jewish Alliance
started a new salon series to ask, argue, and act on hot topics of
the day. All are welcome, Jewish or not!

Our first salon is on immigration, and takes place next Tuesday
evening. Details are below. Please join us! If you have ideas of
other issues we should discuss in future salons, email or call to let
us know your suggestions.

What's a Jew to Do . . . About Immigration?
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Join us for an evening of questions, answers, discussion, and thought

l Robert Rubin, Legal Director with the Lawyer's Committee for Civil
l Rabbi Bridget Wynne, Rabbinic Director of JGate,
l Nelly Reyes, immigrant family advocate in San Francisco since 1991.

We'll explore Jewish perspectives on immigration, the debates about
current immigration policy, and issues facing people in the
developing world that may influence their decision to come to the
United States to live and/or work.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Private home near the inner Sunset in San Francisco.
Address available upon RSVP.
Light refreshments provided. Space is limited, so RSVP today!
Contact Bridget Wynne at JGate at or

Friday, June 23, 2006

Shabbat Shalom!!!!

Anyone Up For A Lil Shabbat??? A Meal? Some rousing wild festive service?

Im thinking about putting something together at my house- the 12 Tribes Jewish CoOp - for this shabbos (6/23), and possibly other shabbatot this summer. If youre interested, let me know! Share your voice! Spread the joy of Shabbos!!
- The Netmessiah

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mazal Tov Zev and Talya!

G-d Squad (and the JewniProj) wishes Zev and Talya Ilovitz a hearty mazal tov on their holy marriage which took place this past Sunday, the 18th of June in Atherton, CA. G-d willing, I'll be able to upload the rest of the pics and video asap. In the meantime, suffice it to say that it was mamish a beautiful wedding and the choson and kallah were mamish meant for each other.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Music in the Gardens

Forwarded to me from Oy Bay!:
The Magic & Mystery of Middle East Sounds

The Consulate General of Israel presents:

The Yuval Ron Ensemble
featuring guest percussionist Dror Sinai

Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade
Mission & Third Streets, San Francisco
Thursday, June 29, 12:30 PM

Enjoy your lunch outside
Don Quixote's
6275 Highway 9, Felton
Thursday, June 29, 8 PM
$12 Adv / $14 Door

With special guest belly dancer Janelle

The Yuval Ron Ensemble presents the sacred and folkloric musical traditions of Jewish cultures of the Middle East and North Africa in a unique musical celebration. The concert program features Hebrew and Andalusian songs from Morocco, Yemen, Andalusia, Bukhara and Israel.
For more info about the Yuval Ron Ensemble visit the Ensemble page at:

Yuval Ron - oud, saz, musical director
Tehila Lauder - vocals, percussion
Nimrod Nol - violin
Dror Sinai - percussion, voice

Yuval Ron is an Israeli composer and record producer of international reputation. His ensemble was featured in the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles in 2002 and 2005 and International Peace Festival in Korea, International Folk Music of Lublin, Poland, and in numerous events worldwide. He received commissions for symphonic works on Jewish music themes from Yo-Yo Ma Silk Road Ensemble, the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, the Los Angels Jewish Symphony and the Pittsburgh Jewish Festival. Yuval collaborated with leading Moroccan cantor Rabbi Haim Louk, Sufi master teacher Pir Zia Khan, and produced the record One Truth – "a window into the divine passion and poetry of Sufism" with the Turkish Sufi master musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek.

Dror Sinai is an Israeli performer, educator, and guest artist, as well as the founder of Rhythm Fusion, Inc. in Santa Cruz, CA. Dror has performed as a solo artist and has appeared in ensembles of many different musical styles, with other talented artists, including Yair Dalal, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Yuval Ron, Alessandra Belloni.

Consulate General of Israel, San Francisco

Sorry for the no-frills presentation. I'm on vacation!

Friday, June 16, 2006


The 2005/6 school year is officially over. It seems like all my friends are graduating, and all the undergrads are going abroad in the Fall. I wish you all success wherever life takes you.

The JewniProj has had its successes and its failures. I didn't know exactly where it would go when it was first launched last January. I wanted to bring the community together more online and create an open forum where people could express their concerns and opinions freely; I wanted to increase UCSC's Jewish presence online, and create a more informed Jewish student body. It was an ambitious goal, especially since we were grass-roots and didn't have the explicit support from the UCSC Jewish org machers in the beginning. But we thrived for the most part.

The JewniProj is officially going into Summer mode. Now, since the blog was designed mainly for UCSC students, that means the blog doesn't serve the same purpose during the summer. Some of our contributors have assured me that they'll continue posting throughout the summer, but it's not very likely judging by the amount of posts that they have composed in the past month. So, for the summer it will be what it will be, and in the Fall, if things go as planned, the blog will resume and function as it has the past six months. I'll still be in Santa Cruz through the summer, so I'll update as often as possible and announce any Jewish events that I hear about.

I want to sincerely thank all of our contributors who have taken time and effort out of their busy schedules the past half-year to work on this blog, without pay, without class credits, without even knowing if anyone in the world was reading it. Thank you for believing in this project, and I hope you will all continue to contribute in the future.

And now it's summertime. The fish are jumpin and the cottons high The wild blackberry bushes around town are in bloom and will be heavy with fruit within a month's time. Traffic and noise pollution have both already noticeably decreased with the exodus of UCSC's student population. In the evenings, I can hear the far-off echo of laughter and cheer from the Boardwalk, the crest of whose wooden roller coaster curves on the horizon towards the ocean; I believe there is a cliche about life being a roller coaster. Sorry for waxing poetic, I'm in a very brooding mood, and I don't know how many are still reading, since it's the summer.

We want Moshiach now.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

He'Brew: Messiah Bold

Since I lived in the Bayit back in 2004, there has always been a 'quick list' of kosher alcohols up on my fridge. One of the first bullet-points is this: "Note: Nearly all unflavored beers are acceptable, but He'Brew is preferred." Yes, that's He'Brew: the Chosen Beer (for the Chosen People, I might add).

Now, some of you may be grumbling and thinking, "I've had better beer." Or maybe, "What could be non-kosher about alcohol to begin with?" Or maybe, "I'm hungry so I'm grumbling about it." Well, in a blind taste-test, He'Brew got rated Jewiest out of 35 different beers. Jay kay, I made that up. But it's a good beer in my opinion, and the shtick definitely goes a long way.

So what's up with alcohol being kosher, you ask? Well I'm no rabbi, but as far as I understand it, there's not really a worry that there will be pork in the vodka (although I've heard a rumor, unconfirmed, mind you, that Jagermeister has deer blood in it?). Rather, the worry is that either a non-kosher ingredient will be used for flavoring or coloring (e.g. the food colorants cochineal and carmine are made from ground beetles), or that non-kosher grape-derived alcohol will be used to fortify the alcohol content, or that the alcohol will have been stored in caskets that previously held non-kosher wine.

But all this talk, and the whole purpose for this post was to let you guys know that He'Brew is coming out with some new brews and they're throwing a couple parties, SF-style, in celebration.

As reported on Jewschool:
Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Doctors
Monday June 19, 8:00pm @ Amnesia (853 Valencia btw 19th & 20th)
Hebraic bluegrass dance jams with The Jewgrass Boys
Voted Best Bay Area Blue Grass Night–FREE!
Genesis 10:10 and Genesis Ale go head to head…nose to nose…is bigger really better? You Decide!

National Release Party
Thursday June 22, 6-10pm
Toronado aka Temple of Beer, the Mothership, Beer Utopia (547 Haight Street, SF)
For the first time ever all of The Chosen Beers will be on draft including 2 brand spankin’ new 10th Anniversary radical offerings, Genesis 10:10 and Bittersweet LEnny’s R.I.P.A.
For more info, check the Jewschool post.

In Context (better late than never)

Submitted by Eitan Altshuler

The Finkelstein gathering/protest was a different kind of night for me. Usually in Santa Cruz, Israel advocates have to take the position of un-PC, conservative, war-mongering assholes - well at least from the other side's point of view. However, the night Finkelstein came into town it felt that the pro-Israel contingent had gained the liberal, 'I'm going to patronize your guilty conscious' upper-hand. Our message was simple enough for any idiot to understand. Finkelstein speaks hate, and therefore doesn't belong here. We didn't care that that his facts were wrong or his historical perspective lacked integrity - No, we were sending a message that Finkelstein shouldn't be here because he says bad things about people. He's just not a nice guy!

It's not that I agree with that approach. It's just that, unfortunately, I think, it works to a large extent in Santa Cruz, where people think more with their hearts than with their minds. So, usually when I advocate publicly for Israel, I feel very self-conscious and am always questioning my beliefs as to whether I'm doing the right thing; that night, however, I didn't have to. At that time, I was for "liberal" values, for being nice guys, trusting and loving your fellow human beings, and not spreading hatred towards a certain group.

Do I know if it worked? How am I supposed to know? I don't know if I have expressed myself too well here, but I think many of you know what I am trying to convey. My frustration is with the simple-mindedness of the people in this town - how you have to always appeal to their hearts instead of their minds. Holding candles, sticking up morally, self-righteous noses, and giving them a good ol' fashion Santa Cruz, liberal guilt trip is, unfortunately, much more effective than just giving them the facts and letting them make their own decisions.

I think intellectual individuality is dying in this town!

Never Forget

Matisyahu is Artist of the Month on Xbox Live

I was surprised when I recently saw an enormous advertisement for Xbox Live, Microsoft's online videogame service, on the 'net which stated that Matisyahu was Artist of the Month on Xbox Live. The videogaming crowd, I thought, wasn't one that liked Matisyahu much, but apparently Microsoft thinks otherwise. They even wrote a little piece on him, albeit a kind of silly one in my opinion:

Artist of the Month:


Reggae has always been associated with faith and religion. Its roots are deeply entrenched in the Rastifari movement, songs about oppression, freedom, and in praise of Jah. Starting in New York, Matisyahu has begun to explode into the popular consciousness, singing not about Jah, but about Jehovah. The former Matthew Paul Miller lends both his Hassidic name and vocal stylings to the band.

After gaining popularity and street cred with various performances in New York, where the band is based, and on the East Coast, Matisyahu appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly, where they were introduced as "the most exciting thing happening in music today." Praise has continued to be poured upon the band as their public image expands. Their stunning combination of reggae and dub styles, often mixed with rap and beatbox elements, has been compared to such bands as Sublime, and while the music may not be "pure" enough for reggae traditionalists, it has served to elevate reggae music in the minds of a whole new generation.

Matisyahu's third album, Youth, was released in March to vast critical acclaim and immediate success. It hit number one on Billboard's Digital Album charts, tracking downloads, almost immediately. Matisyahu is touring this summer in support of Youth. Be sure to check out the free Matisyahu content offered on Xbox Live® to see and hear something completely different. A band fronted by a guy who takes his faith as seriously as his music, Matisyahu is a rare and exciting new voice in music. Check out tour dates and samples at their official site.

One thing, though. Don't expect to catch the band performing on Friday nights or Saturdays. That just ain't kosher.

I was thinking that his popularity had significantly decreased as of late, but judging by his status as Artist of the Month, it seems to indicate the opposite. They managed to not mention the word Jewish or Judaism even once throughout the whole writeup, except when alluding to it by including 'kosher' and 'hassidic,' which I guess have become a part of our cultural vocabulary by now. Well, if anyone has an XBox, then you can get free Matisyahu content off the Marketplace and apparently even chat with the man himself (click on the image). I don't, but I'll be fine with his amazing albums that I already have.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Train derails in Israel, number of dead rising

A seven car passenger train derailed after hitting a pickup truck in Netanya on Monday, killing five people and injuring 67.

NETANYA, Israel — Five people were killed and 67 injured in central Israel on Monday when a train carrying hundreds of passengers slammed into a pickup truck, causing a locomotive and three rail cars to overturn, police and rescue officials said.


Police said the truck had stopped at a closed train crossing, but was pushed onto the tracks by another vehicle that plowed into it from behind. The driver escaped before the train struck, and tried to alert Israel Railways to the vehicle on the tracks, but wasn't able to avert the train wreck, media reported. The train, traveling at high speed, crashed to a stop several hundred meters (yards) from the crossing after slamming into the side of a small hill covered with eucalyptus trees.

Full story.
If it wasn't already enough that Israelis are getting hit with rockets, now they are dying in trains as well.

Palestinian Myspace Predators

No joke.
DETROIT - A 16-year-old honor student from Michigan tricked her parents into getting her a passport and then flew off to the Mideast to be with a West Bank man she met on, authorities say.

U.S. officials in Jordan persuaded her to turn around and go home before she reached the West Bank. She returned home Friday.

Katherine R. Lester is a straight-A student and student council member, her father said. “She’s a good girl. Never had a problem with her,” Terry Lester said.


The age of consent in Michigan is 16; Katherine turns 17 on June 21.

Full story.
I repeat, no joke. I don't know which part of the article is more unbelievable... that a Palestinian is preying on US high school kids through Myspace; that this girl "tricked her parents into getting her a passport" and then without them noticing, bought a ticket to Israel and actually went; that the age of consent in Michigan is 16; that the article actually implies that it would have been fine if they had sex anyway because the legal age of consent in Michigan is 16.

And possibly the strangest part of all is that I found the link to this article on No joke.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

David Zeller

David Zeller from Jerusalem: Musician, Teacher, and Author
Wednesday, June 14 7:30 pm
Santa Cruz Hillel, 222 Cardiff Place, at the base of the UCSC campus
$10 - $20 donation

Rabbi Zeller's presentations capture young and old as he weaves theory and experience into a joyous and heartfelt fabric. Drawing inspiration from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach Z"L, he skillfully blends old niggunim with newer psychological insights. This internationally respected singer, teacher, and pioneer of modern Jewish meditation will be our guest in Santa Cruz for only one night.

For more information call Shirley at 685-2710, e-mail shalom [at] , or go to

Israel Holding Over 200 Sudanese Refugees in Prison

Yes, I was shocked tonight as Shiranne drove me home from the Maidle Place and we heard over the radio (BBC) that Israel had detained over 200 refugees from the Darfur region who had illegally entered Israel via Egypt seeking refuge.

Various thoughts raced through my mind at first, like: That's ironic that refugees from Darfur are fleeing to Israel from Muslim persecution. I thought Israel was the big bad wolf of the Middle East? Of course, which Arab country is going to help any refugees, especially non-Muslim ones? Oh wait, didn't something like this happen before, like in the early 1980's when Israel had to intervene in Lebanon to stop Muslim persecution of Christians there? But as usual, I digress.

Israel claims to have detained the Sudanese refugees because Sudan is considered a terrorist country and they feared that terrorists would be infiltrating into Israel along with refugees. However, at this point some of the refugees have been held in Israeli prisons for over a year without even a trial. And that is the ultimate irony: Israel, established as a safe-haven for Jews fleeing persecution and genocide the world over appears to be turning a cold shoulder to these Darfurian refugees in their time of need.

Currently, numerous humanitarian organizations are pressuring Israel to revise its stance. Even Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has thrown in his two cents: "We as Jews are obliged to help not only Jews. I was a refugee and therefore I am in favor of admitting refugees. [...] History constantly chooses a capital of human suffering, and Darfur is today the capital of human suffering. Israel should absorb refugees from Darfur, even a symbolic number."

Continue reading in the New York Times, Haaretz, or the Washington Times.

We're all over the place

I just stumbled upon a very rough edit of the Chabad on Campus national Shabbaton video (there's not even sound yet), and, as per usual, UCSC Jews got some nice visibility.

For instance, here's Rabbi Chein and Naomi in the Children's Museum. I'm looking forward to the final version.

The national Shabbaton took place at the beginning of this year in Crown Heights, New York. A handful of UCSC students attended; one of them apparently had such an excellent time that he has attended two years in a row. Werd.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

New Bay Area Blog

A new blog entitled Oy Bay! just launched this month, which focuses on Jewish life for young adults in the greater Bay Area. It's spearheaded by Tomer Altman, a Bay Area resident and active member of the J-Blog community. This is an ambitious undertaking, and one that I'm excited to see taking place.

Increasing numbers of young, involved, post-college Jews in the Bay Area are joining Jen's List and the Mission Minyan listserv for info about events and activities, but listservs are by nature exclusive; having one central blog-location where all events will be posted and available to everyone will, I believe, increase the spread of information and the number of young Jews getting involved.

The JewniProj wishes Oy Bay! much success in the months and years to come; you should unite our community online and in the real world. Hatzlacha rabah!

Also, if anyone is interested in being a part of Oy Bay!, they're "currently looking for bright, involved, and well-spoken Jews to join us as contributing writers. Contact taltman [at] for more information."

If any of you sluggies will be around this summer, I suggest bookmarking Oy Bay! ( and checking it often.

Shavua tov!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Party at the Co-op

This motza'ei Shabbos (Saturday night) there will be a party at the Twelve Tribes Co-op, supposedly mandatory for all Leviathan staff. Just wanted to put that out there.

Last Shabbat of the school year!

Yes, sadly, this is it. But don't fret; the Chabad Student Center and Hillel are both finishing the year with a bang (all events are free).

Friday Night Live at the Chabad House: Services scheduled for 7:00 pm, followed by the always amazing four-course dinner at 7:30. Come for either or both. And in addition to the usual festive atmosphere, it's little Dovid Chein's first birthday! Come help him celebrate.

Hillel will be having student-led services and a Luau-themed Shabbat dinner! And as a special bonus they'll be giving out awards for people who have been involved in Hillel this year!

Good luck on finals everyone. Make sure you take a break and treat yourself to some Shabbat festivities.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Israel in the Gardens

This past Sunday I spent the day at Israel in the Gardens, which was held at the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.

To be honest, I was in sort of a bad mood when I arrived. I was hungry and kind of tired, but it was a celebration of Israel, so I was determined to find something cool nonetheless. The first thing I saw was the Bay Area Women in Black and Jewish Voice for Peace protesting the "occupation." It was a small, sad little group, but I have to respect the fact that they marched silently with their signs while Israel supporters around them were yelling and belittling them. Sucky way to start the day in any case.

I bumped into Levi Welton from Chabad of Berkeley and helped him carry some supplies to the make-a-shofar booth where he was working. Then I walked around to see what the myriad other booths had to offer. There were tons of booths, like it seemed like at least a hundred. Sarah Lefton was there selling her Jewish Fashion Conspiracy wears, Shalom Bochner was at the Hillel table, there was art, clothing, and jewelry from Israel (I recognized the work of Ayala Bar, whose style my mom took a liking to a year ago around Pesach 2005), there were Jewish org booths and Israel booths, arts and crafts booths and food booths. Yep, plenty of booths.

At some point this woman sang HaTikvah on the main stage and I got the feeling that she didn't speak Hebrew nor was she Israeli, which may have totally not been the case, but that's the feeling I got because first of all she skipped a few words (she ended it with "yerushalayiim" instead of "v'yerushalayiim") and some of the words sort of blended into each other. The stage was then converted into a runway for a "fashion show" featuring a bunch of Israeli designers, which really sucked because the models were just community members and most of them, especially the guys, were wearing maybe just one piece of clothing that they were actually modeling (which is to say, the rest of their clothes were just their day clothes). The only good part was when Avigail Perl, one of our own Jewish slugs, came out. That was cool. But overall, I was thinking, "This sucks," so I left to look for something else.

I ran into former sluggy Aleeza Abromovitz who said there was stuff going on inside the Sony Metreon as well, which piqued my interest. As I started to head over there I ran into Misha the Frum Mouse who had spent Passover 2006 in Santa Cruz. He was on his way into the Metreon as well, so we went together to see Rachel Factor's one-woman show entitled J.A.P. (Rachel is a Japanese convert to Judaism who now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two sons). We also caught the last few minutes of the performers before Rachel, Robbie Gringras and Adam Mader.

Strangely enough, Rachel's show was the best part of the day. A large part of the content dealt with her awkwardness as a Japanese youth in Hawaii, issues of fitting in, of self-esteem, and so on; stories anyone could identify with. The amazing part was when she described the feeling she felt in a Jewish setting, how she felt more at home there than anywhere else, and now she calls Jerusalem, the focal point of Jewish history, home.

After Rachel's show, we went back out to the main stage where Rami Kleinstein and Shiri Maimon were performing, so we got some of that action for a bit, during which time I saw a few more Jewish slugs. (Altogether, I spotted nine people who I would count as Jewish slugs). Chabad was hooking people up with Ask Moses water (not to be confused with Kabbalah water), and I got hooked up with a sweet Camp Gan Izzy hat as well. So, at the end of the day, it was pretty cool.

Also there was a party at Ruby Skye in the evening, but I didn't attend. But that was probably pretty cool too.

Professor Dressed Unorthodoxly, Students Observe

Many students were dumbfounded today when Professor Bruce Thompson arrived to History of Modern Israel for the first time ever without his usual dress shirt. Confused whispers were heard throughout the hall.

"He's just wearing a t-shirt!" gawked fourth-year student Josh Feldstein. "He has a Ph.D. from Stanford, for crying out loud! He's betraying his own kind!"

Professor Thompson mumbled a vague apology about the heat and then segued into his lecture. But like many other students, Shirah Goldfarbowitz just couldn't concentrate: "It was disturbing. Like, he can't just do that to us. I think he knows that this is a fine university, we have standards here." In reaction to this passionate disapproval, another female student was heard saying, "Calm down."

One student who arrived late to class at first thought he had entered the wrong room, but realized it was just that Professor Thompson was wearing a t-shirt.

When questioned about the change in style after class, Professor Thompson somehow ended up talking about how British accents can make anything sound more authentic, effectively evading the subject.

Please note: This story is fake news. While the incident did actually occur, no one cared and all the quotes are made up.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Gmail now available in Hebrew and Arabic

Google has recently made available Hebrew and Arabic as languages for Gmail users. You can already set your account to be displayed in many other languages such as Swedish, Russian, Romanian, and Suomi, but Hebrew and Arabic took a bit longer to implement. Here's the official announcement:
Two more Gmail languages

We've just launched Arabic and Hebrew language interfaces for Gmail, as well as several new features that will improve the Gmail experience for the people using those interfaces. (You can change the Gmail language interface on the Settings page in your account.)

This was my first project at Google, and I ended up learning a lot about Arabic and Hebrew by talking to native speakers. I'm really pleased to have worked on a launch that will help some of these folks use Gmail and make it available to even more users (we now offer 40 different language interfaces).

They allow you to write your messages either from right to left or left to right, which is a pretty neat feature. When I switched mine to the Hebrew display, I realized how little of the language I really know. Maybe if I keep my Gmail in Hebrew I could improve, but this could be really fun and useful for all you native Hebrew and/or Arabic speakers.

Email me at jewslug [at] if you don't have Gmail and I will send you an invite if you would like, as that is the only way to sign up for an account.