Jim Zorn, You Belong Here!

We’re taking Sally Jenkin’s advice and getting excited about Jim Zorn coming to Washington. Yes, we were disappointed to see Joe Gibbs re-retire. And sure it would have been nice to have had a head coach like Gregg Williams take the throne as the heir apparent and player-favorite, or alternately one with a proven record of winning like Jim Fassel, or even a rising assistant with the glow of a Super Bowl victory fresh on his resume like Steve Spagnuolo. But no. We got Zorn.

And frankly we’re fine with that.

You see, here at the 16th Street J we’ve done pretty well by Zorns over the years. Our immediate past president is Francine Zorn Trachtenberg, and while she never threw for over 21,000 yards in the NFL, she did oversee the J’s wildly successful tenth anniversary celebrations last year.

We’ve also benefited from a longstanding association with radical Jewish music pioneer John Zorn, who conducted his Masada String Trio on the opening night of the Washington Jewish Music Festival in 2005. And before there was JDub — the innovative music label that launched Matisyahu — there was John Zorn’s label Tzadik leading the modern klezmer revival. If hip hop is the driving cultural force behind JDub, then Tzadik was driven by Punk. Continue reading

Tom Lantos – of blessed memory

Tom Lantos z'lThe 16th Street J notes with sadness the passing of Representative Tom Lantos of California. Congressman Lantos was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress and a strong moral presence on the Washington scene.  Lantos was 16 when the Nazis occupied Hungary in 1944. He escaped from a labor camp and eventually came under the protection of Raoul Wallenberg. His experiences during the Shoah were integral to his public service, where he established the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and stood up for causes ranging from the genocide in Darfur, to the persecution of journalists in China, to formal acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide.  He announced his retirement earlier this year with a stirring summation of his biography:

It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a Member of Congress.  I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country.”

May his memory be a blessing.

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