Shabbat Surfing: These Are The People in Our Neighborhood

These Friday posts have become a nice way of looking out at the world beyond the 16th Street J. If I could summon an image for today’s post I would draw a circle around us at 16th and Q, then a slightly larger circle that would probably go north to R Street, then a  larger circle that would take in the entire District, another that encompasses the Beltway, then moves out to include Baltimore, and then after that, (why not) the whole world.

First, our neighbors National Museum of American Jewish Military History at 18th and R Streets were recognized in the Washington Post today for a new exhibit that documents the first protest against Hitler’s regime. Organized by Jewish American war veterans, the march took place  March 23, 1933, when Hitler had only been in power for three days, and led 6,000 people to City Hall in New York while a crowd of spectators 10 deep watched.

Our friends at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center will be presenting the New African Films Festival today through March 17. Tickets are still available for tonight’s opener, Ezra which will be introduced by Danny Glover.

This Sunday, the final episode of The Wire airs on HBO. We’re sorry to see the end of this quality series and reliable employer of many a DC actor trekking up I-95 to Baltimore for day-work. So is a blogger at JSpot, but she worries (with some reason) that the series may conclude by too simply pointing to a Jewish bogeyman.

Over the pond, in the U.K. a group of 14-year old Yeshiva girls refused to answer a question about Shakespeare on a national exam to protest the antisemitism in The Merchant of Venice. The true genius of this manuever was that the question on the exam was actually about The Tempest (which often gets accused of racism for its portrayal of Caliban). Meanwhile, around the internet, bloggers slapped their foreheads in dismay although the school’s principal, said he was “proud.”

Of course, our sympathies are with the family and friends of the 8 students murdered in the terrorist attack on the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Finally, with Purim just around the corner Shabot 6000 channels Kanye “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” West, for a new cartoon musical shpiel extravaganza! (Probably NSFW, unless your boss is like, totally cool.)

Shabbat Surfing: Leap Year Edition

  • Dr. Marion Usher, our interfaith guru, was interviewed on NPR’s Tell Me More. According to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religious Life, 44 percent of adults change their religious affiliation from that of their childhood. A roundtable of spiritual counselors discusses how the challenges of intimate interfaith relationships might support the new findings.  It airs today on WAMU at 2pm but can be heard on their website as well.
  • The blogosphere has been buzzing with posts analyzing Barack Obama’s positions on Israel and Tim Russert’s injection of Louis Farrakhan as a campaign issue. The JTA has a decent round-up of all bloviators and a follow-up post with more reactions. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton’s Jewish supporters soldier-on in Ohio, and John McCain’s  campaign, in a weird manuever, suggests a tri-lateral debate between the candidates’ Jewish surrogates and then withdraws at the last moment.
  • Prince of Petworth asks a question that’s occurred to me every time I’ve walked out our Q Street entrance for the past 11 years.
  • Jehan Harney, a local filmmaker, gets selected for an online film festival for her documentary, Soul Mechanic that tells the story of a Muslim mechanic who creates artworks inspired by three religions in his garage.
  • The National Capital Memorials Advisory Commission rejected a sculpture as a memorial to victims of terrorism designed by New York sculptor Suse Lowenstein, whose son was killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The commissioners said they preferred something more abstract and timeless than Lowenstein’s 76 figures of women locked in the pose they were in when they learned their loved one had been killed. The figures in the work, Dark Elegy are nude, which the artist says reduces them all to the same level, but which the commission feared would offend some sensibilites and encourage distasteful vandalism. While I understand the commission’s decision, I was profoundly moved by Lowenstein’s work when it was displayed in my home town some years ago, and hope it can find a home somewhere in the DC-area.
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