Now THAT’S How You Pose for a Cover

Lior in NY

Praying With LiorIf you’re going to be up in NYC this weekend be sure to head over to the Cinema Village on E. 12th Street and buy a ticket to see the WJFF Audience Award-winning documentary Praying With Lior.  We’d love to see the film get a commercial run in DC, but that won’t happen without a decent first weekend in the Big Apple. It truly is a one-of-a-kind film about an amazing young man, not just living with Downs Syndrome, but inspiring others through the way he lives his life and the manner in which he connects with G-d. As director Ilana Trachtman pointed out at her screening in December, the film industry can get reductive, so the film risks being summarized as, “Downs Syndrome Bar  Mitzvah.” But in truth the film is so much more than that, and they’re counting on a considerable grass-roots movement to help spread the word. Trust me. See the film and you’ll want to be part of that movement.

The Politics of Israel and the IDF

Both the Post and the Times have articles today on the release of the Winograd Commission’s report on the 2006 war in Ehud OlmertLebanon which is highly criticial of both the civilian and military Israeli leadership. Terming the war, “a big and serious failure” for Israel, the report backs away from some of the harsher criticism it had leveled directly at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in its interim report. In that earlier edition, the Commission had accussed the PM of “severe failure” for the rush to war — although now it states somewhat appeasingly that Olmert’s government acted, “acted out of a strong and sincere perception of what they thought at the time was Israel’s interest.” The conventional wisdom is that he will not have to resign…for now.

This will all surely be on the table for discussion next Wednesday at 7:30 pm when Hebrew University professor Dr. Meron Medzini comes to the 16th Street J to for a program entitled Israel 2008: The Political Landscape. Dr. Medzini teaches Israel Foreign Policy at Hebrew University and is the author of The Proud Jewess: A Political Biography of Golda Meir.  The event is free and presented in partnership with American Friends of the Hebrew University.

The following week, on February 14 you can also join us for Dialogue – What Makes an Army Jewish: Ethics, Tradition and the IDF. This discussion will examine more closely the practical impact political and policy decisions have on the responsibilities of soldiers tasked with carrying out the orders of the government. The dialogue will feature Yehuda Shaul, a young orthodox Israeli whose experience as a soldier in Hebron led to the 2002 founding of Breaking the Silence, a group of IDF veterans who give public witness to the impact of their service in the West Bank and Gaza; and  Adam Harmon, author of The Lonely Soldier and an American-Israeli who has served with elite IDF units for over 13 years and has helped capture leading organizers of terror and prevented suicide attacks. The program is subtitled, The IDF in an Age of Checkpoints, Village Sweeps and Targeted Killings, so expected a frank discussion.

Pictures from D25 and MLK Day

Visit the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service’s brand-spanking-new Flickr page which has pictures from their last two major days of service: December 25th and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

A Toast to Tu B’Shevat

Tu B’Shevat Happy Hour

While Tu B’Shevat Seders have gradually been repositioning the holiday as a Green Pesach, the folks at EntryPointDC/ Gesher City in partnership with the Taglit Birthright Alumni Association have found a different way of getting back to nature — the fruit of the vine. Over seventy people enjoyed happy hour at Hudson Restaurant and Lounge on M Street last night for a belated Tu B’Shevat toast to trees and the eventual return of the planting season. Insert joke here about Jews, booze and planting seeds.

“Mom’s The Word” Says the Post

Mother’s Day comes early this year at Theater J and the first gift is the review of 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother from Peter Marks who writes in the Washington Post this morning:

Gold — who’s extravagantly tall (6-foot-3), boisterously gay and unabashedly opinionated — alternates in this piece at Theater J between portions of her stand-up routines and a series of impersonations of Jewish women of varying ages and attitudes toward religious observance…

But comedy of this nature can’t survive for long in the thin, throat-closing air of sentimentality; thankfully, Gold spends more time twisting the knife than prospecting for tears. She gets right, for example, a hair-trigger sense of outrage — guffaw-inducing in its explosiveness — that’s ignitable in a woman of Ruth’s seemingly impatient temperament.

Those seeking an extra dose of Judy Gold should also check out the Screening Room’s presentation of Making Trouble on Tuesday, February 5th. In this documentary, Gold serves as one of four modern Jewish comediennes gathered together to comment on the careers and legacies of the groundbreaking women who came before them. Judy plans to be at the post-screening discussion along with Lauren Antler of the Jewish Women’s Archive, the producers of the film.

Updated: The Examiner and DC Theater Scene loved it even more than Marks.

Beta Testing…stay tuned

We’re expanding to the blogosphere. More to come.

This Week at the 16th Street J

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