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A Thought For The Sabbath

Shmuel writes Luke: Perhaps you aren't aware of the offense some things you say may cause - I'm no-one to go by, I try to take what you say in my stride, but others may react differently. I know I dish out potentially offensive things to you too, but that's cos I know you can take it. Well if you had to go for therapy, maybe that's a good thing, but perhaps try a new therapist, the last one didn't do the trick apparently!

Another Rabbi Arrested For Playing With Kids

Most Jews I speak to on the topic of clergy abuse of children find it inconceivable that rabbis do this at the same rate as priests. I disagree. In the past year in Los Angeles alone, three Orthodox rabbis have been arrested for sexually abusing kids.

From the New York Daily News: A city rabbi was busted after he tried to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl over the Internet, police said yesterday.

Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum, 54, director of the Jewish Center for Spiritual Care at the New York Board of Rabbis, was arrested in his Manhattan office yesterday after a month-long sting operation, cops said.

The New York Board of Rabbis Web site states that its chaplains "serve men, women and children in scores of institutions throughout New York State" and offer "solace, comfort, compassion - and a taste of love" to Jews who cannot celebrate festivals with their families.

Cecille du Bois Prefers To Read Books Than Make-Out With Guys

Cathy Seipp's 13-year old daughter Cecille du Bois writes: "And everyone thinks I am a lesbian. The truth is I'm not, but since I am not interested in making out with random guys and other foolish thing, I prefer to read books. But...I must improve my personality by not being so snappish."

Heart Be Still - I Meet Righteous Babe Sharon Waxman

I arrived at the Los Angeles Press Club party, hosted by Cathy Seipp, Amy Alkon and Emmanuelle Richard at 7PM , 2/20/03. Emmanuelle and her husband Matt Welch, remarkably sober, were the first familiar faces I saw. Then Cathy. The bar hasn't opened yet.

I cling to Cathy. She always introduces me to the coolest people. Tonight they include former Buzz columnist Hillary Johnson.

I'm thrilled when my buddy David Poland lumbers in shortly before 8PM.

Mickey Kaus takes me along for the ride when he talks pop music with a former Jewish disco star of the 1970s.

I was reading Mickey Kaus in The New Republic in 1985 when I entered college. Mickey wrote about what a boring and provincial paper the Los Angeles Times was. Kaus is still undecided about the war against Iraq, but he leans towards opposing it. I can't believe that Saturday night I get to be on a panel with this guy I've been reading avidly for almost 20 years.

Mickey wrote for New West magazine with Steve Oney, a regular contributor to Esquire, who has an important new book coming out in the fall from Random House on the lynching of a Jew in early 20th Century America.

But the highlight of the evening without doubt was when I circled around to David Poland. A tall beautiful blonde stands next to him and next to her, a debonair aristocratic Frenchman Claude.

David: "Sharon Waxman meet Luke Ford."

Heart be still, it is that spunky journalist from the Washington Post, whose work I've admired from afar for years. And now here she is, in the flesh, with her husband and fellow scribe.

Sharon: "Are you really Luke Ford?"

Luke: "Yes."

Sharon is adorable. She turns 15 different shades of red and stutters and stammers. I quickly apologize if I've been over the top in my praise of her. We end up chatting for 20 minutes. Claude smiles and listens. Sharon lectures me about journalistic responsibility. I listen closely because this is my Hollywood hero.

My only regret is that I didn't get to buy her and Claude a drink. I buy almost everyone else in the place a drink. I'm on a high.

Sharon has three young kids that Claude stays home and looks after. She's a religious Jew.

I finally meet Forbes scribe Rishawn Biddle, the only black man on hand tonight. I've been reading him for years. He agrees with my comments about bloggers antiseptic coverage of race.

I like my black girls and Rishawn sure likes his white girls. I think my friend Tiffany Stone intrigues him.

Tiffany wins $10 from screenwriter Colin (Farm Sluts) after she proves that "Tiffany Stone" is her real name. Someone cracks a dirty joke and Tiffany turns up a disaproving face. She's a lady, a sensitive girly girl.

Rishawn's LA bureau chief at Forbes reads this tawdry site regularly.

I meet my old friend Dianne Bennet, former Hollywood Reporter columnist turned matchmaker. She's bought a big beautiful new home. I've known her since my acting days eight years ago.

I run into Dr. Susan Block who interviewed me on her TV show a few years ago.

Bernie Brillstein sits in a corner holding court.

Poor Cathy Seipp and Matt Welch have been hit on by almost every writer acquaintance for a job at Richard Riordan's new paper, LA Examiner.

I have my first chat with Moxie, who gets an amazing number of hits. It's not easy for a shy gentle soul like hers to go into the outer world where complete strangers presume to be on intimate terms with her just because they read her website.

A slender blonde from a Roman Catholic background, Moxie usually dates Jewish guys but has no interest in converting to Judaism, not wanting to break her parents' hearts.

I find out that David Poland gave Susannah Breslin her first turn as a movie critic.

I think Poland's feeling the strain of writing an extra column a week for moviecitynews.com and it has cut into his Hot Button column.

I try to introduce Jill Stewart to David but he's too shy and Jill's too busy. She's been working hard to increase the number of newspapers running her political column from four to eight. I think she'd be better suited on the radio to KABC or KRLA rather than stupid talk KFI.

Poland can't figure out whether he prefers to be ridiculed or praised on my site. His presence peps up my mood. He's a big tall oak tree I can lean against. He spends most of the night talking to me, Tiffany and Cathy Seipp and walks out with me at 10:30PM.

Poor David gets deluged with emails when I write weirdly mocking rants about him. There aren't many other people I could do that to without losing a friend.

The LA Press Club has saved my social life. I'm glad they've changed their meeting night away from Friday PM. I love hanging out with writers. I'm honored that so many of them read me. I heard tonight what a significant role this site plays in melding the public image of numerous journalists. Waxman urges me to use my power responsibly.

JustMrT writes: "Don't get a swelled head. (This would be particularly unfortunate, in your case.) These people are just buddying up to you because they hope you will introduce them to Chaim Amalek."

Cecille du Bois, Cathy Seipp's charming 13-year old daughter, is the talk of my evening. Cathy says Cecille is much nicer than she was at her age. I get to meet Cecille Saturday night at AFI.

I spot the shy managing editor of the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Amy Klein. I see her socially a lot, including at shul, but she's always on the sidelines. She gets so many Jewish complaints on the job I think it wears her out.

Klein tells me that the Journal is not a Federation paper (under the thumb of the local Jewish Federation) and its hard-hitting approach gains many complaints from Jews used to softball Jewish journalism.

Moxie writes: I did get to chat with the ever charming Luke Ford who tried earnestly to get me to abandon my shiksa ways and convert to Judaism. I respectfully declined, but did squeeze in a few quotes from the Talmud for effect.

He introduced me to David Poland, whom I had heard much about from that that crazy canuck Weis. Luke's gal-pal Tiffany Stone is as intelligent and sweet as she is beautiful. Speaking of intelligence and beauty, I got to catch up with Emmanuelle who just completed a story on Phil Spector all while moving and getting settled in her new digs.

The True Story Of When Barry Levin Last Ran Into Don Re

When was the last time defense attorneys Don Re and Barry Levin crossed paths? This story is a gem and I will tell you all about it as soon as I find out.

True Love Waits - I Publicly Renew My Vow To Chastity, Humility & Poverty

In a telephone conversation Thursday, David Poland made cynical and disparaging remarks about the selective way I practice Orthodox Judaism. His words cut me to the quick and caused me deep spiritual introspection. Thus, I decided to publicly renew my vow to have no sex before its time.

Why Must I Make Tawdry Personal Remarks Instead Of Dwelling On The Issues?

A few weeks ago, I went to a public dialogue between Temple Sinai Rabbi David Wolpe and author Stephen Fried. After listening to 90-minutes of thought provoking conversation, what did I come home and write about? That Fried chewed gum and didn't put on a yarmulke until just before taking the platform.

Is that journalism? Is it Torah? Is this how an Orthodox Jew reports on his Conservative brethren, seeking every tawdry opportunity to impugn and degrade the seriousness of their religiosity? What Would David Poland Do? Every day I see something wonderful in his Hot Button column.

Between smacks on his gum, Fried said much that should be of interest to Torah Jews, goyisha Jews and dumb goyim (including the black, brown and yellow varieties).

Rabbi David Wolpe' first question: "Before coming here, I was at a shiva house where I met a rabbi who said I could quote him by name, [University of Judaism rosh yeshiva] Brad Artson. I said to him, 'What should I ask Steve Fried?' [Rabbi Artson replied] 'If you beat believed in a God and a Final Judgement, would you have written the book the same way?'"


Stephen, taken aback: "Wow. That's the first question? When people are upset about a book and they come to talk to you, they expect that the point you brought up is one you totally haven't thought of. It doesn't occur to them that you might have thought of it, carefully considered it, and still made the same decision. I've been doing [journalism] for 20 years. I spent four years researching the book and I had a lot of time to think about what I could and couldn't do... I think that some of the people upset with the book are under the impression that this was done off the top of the head. It wasn't.

"There are a group of rabbis with specific concerns about [the book]. I hear from a lot of people who have a warm response, some of whom are surprised to hear about what the rabbis are upset about. I don't think the issues that the rabbis have focused on would be in most people's top ten [list of concerns with the book]."

Rabbi Wolpe: "When you first contacted me about what you were planning to do, I thought, 'This is a book that will interest few people.' I couldn't imagine that change of leadership in a synagogue would be a big topic."

Stephen: "I owe David and his family a great deal of gratitude. They were patient with me. I'm not sure that they understood what the book was going to be. Neither of us did."

Rabbi: "It's like the blind people and the elephant. You give everybody their slice but you are not going to go over the whole book with anyone, which makes sense."

Stephen: "The process that I set out to watch, and the people in it, changed so much over time that I don't think any of us could have expected many of the things that happened that the book ended up being about.

"You guys left when your father changed jobs [when Fried was eleven years old] and left our congregation in Harrisburg, [New Jersey]. When you are eleven years old and your synagogue changes rabbis and people are talking about it for years, you remember that.

"The book was always a combination of me dealing with my own spirituality and being back in a synagogue, and your father announced his retirement and said I could follow the life of the synagogue. I'm not sure he knew what that meant. The rabbi search was supposed to be a contained thing. The retirement was supposed to be a contained thing. Certain types of books grow organically.

"You never know how a book will sell and I really don't care. The best thing about books is that you get paid in advance for them."

Rabbi Wolpe: "I've had several rabbis say to me that what they want every member of their board to read it."

Stephen: "I have this deep belief that a lot of things happen in life because people communicate badly. Every family would like a guy like me to come in and ask all the questions that they never got to ask so they can stop being upset about things... I started my career doing an investigative piece about a series of teenage suicides in a small town where the parents still didn't know anything about what their kids had gone through. It became my job to recreate the kids' lives and figure out what had gone wrong.

"Most people don't know the basic processes of synagogue. And when there's a rabbi search, they find out afterwards many of the things they didn't know. What Har Zion did was right and wrong."

Rabbi Wolpe mentions a comment he made to Fried that he asked Fried to not put in the book. Fried agreed. The rabbi wondered if it was because Fried was Jewish and not just an observer of Jewish life.

Stephen: "In all big investigative projects...you've been around so long, you've become kinda an insider. I'm Jewish but I'm not a rabbi. I tried to let the reader in on any possible bias, on times when I'm sitting in synagogue and I'm wondering - am I a journalist or am I praying? If people make a reasonable request to not include a comment, then [Fried tries to accommodate them].

"Investigative reporting is my strange way of becoming part of a community. It's easier for me than to just go in and hope that people will be nice to me."

Rabbi David Wolpe: "My father said he personally had no complaints but had he known the synagogue was going to fall apart, I wouldn't have agreed [to cooperate with Fried] because it is painful for me to see this place fall apart and have it all documented so that everybody could read it. He thought it was going to be a nice graceful exit and a nice graceful entrance and everything would be fine.

"A rabbi [say Perry Rank] goes in for an interview that he assumes will be confidential, and what he says or doesn't say, or his deficiencies are there for thousands of people to read. Is it a legitimate journalistic undertaking to violate by proxy someone's confidence because someone on the committee says something to you?"

Stephen: "Using the term 'violate by proxy' gives me some idea where you stand on the issue. I understand. Part of the book was to follow the rabbi search. The search committee did not allow me to sit in on their meetings but this committee, like every other committee in a synagogue, is a sieve. And I don't think there is anything wrong with...letting the rest of the community know what is going on in the committee. I have been through a number of rabbi searches in different congregations and I have never known one to be secretive. As soon as a rabbi candidate leaves, people ask people on the committe, what was the rabbi like? What did you like about him and what did you not like about him?

"In this case, there were many rabbis who did not get an interview and were angry about it. Some of the rabbis who were angry about the book...felt badly treated by Har Zion. And then to see it in a book was even worse.

"I talk about a lot of different rabbis in the book. Some of them I sat down with and interviewed them about their interviews. The ones who are referred to in anything more than a paragraph or two fall into that category. The rabbis they considered heavily, I spent time with.

"One of the complaints that people have made is that rabbis should be different from everybody else who is hired in America. This is no different journalistically than covering who will be the next schoolboard president or the next president of a major corporation. The process has value. Following the process has value. I stand by it journalistically and Jewishly.

"One of the things the rabbis are claiming is baloney - that the search committees are private. Many synagogues put the pictures of the rabbi candidates in the bulletin. They come in and speak.

"I tried to be careful to deal with rabbis by the rules they lived by. I wasn't trying to trick rabbis into thinking I wasn't a journalist. When I talked to them, I always had a tape recorder or laptop. I was never trying to lull anybody into thinking I was just their pal and wasn't going to write a book.

"Some of [the rabbi critics] have had revisionist moments about whether they talked to me. I've heard people who [gave me] things to put in the book and then I hear from their colleagues that they are mad that it is in there. I don't blame them for that. It is a weird thing to be a character in a book."

Rabbi Wolpe: "For anybody who has ever been quoted on anything, your words on a page always feel different from the words coming out of your mouth, so there's an initial shock, particularly for people who have not seen themselves quoted before."

Stephen: "Part of the problem here is that the Jewish press ignores rabbis except to write your commentaries."

Rabbi Wolpe: "There's no reporting on them."

Stephen: "Because synagogue life is ignored by the Jewish press, rabbis are not used to the normal give and take than anybody else would have. Every rabbi I know is a voracious reader of the media. And when it comes to Israel, they are happy to see this level of journalism pushed to the Nth degree. I've had rabbis write that I needed their permission to print true things about them. Even public things about them, such as what their previous jobs were. This is a fantasy. Rabbis are public figures.

"One of the rabbis who has been the most voracious attacker of my book, who wrote a letter to one of the major Jewish newspapers that reading the book was immoral, is one of the people I took something out that he begged me to take out."

Rabbi Wolpe: "There's a human desire to have your activities known, but not in a bad way. I read through the book. I thought it was fine. Yet, if you think that everything that was negative about [Wolpe's family] didn't strike me with a special force..."

Question: "So what happened at Har Zion?"

Stephen: "The process got out of everybody's control. They are still piecing it together. Har Zion made a deal with the Rabbinical Assembly [union for Conservative rabbis] that once Rabbi [Jacob] Herber had been a rabbi for six years, they could install him as senior rabbi. By the time his six years had come up, there was internal stuff going on in the synagogue, so the synagogue announced they were postponing his installation. They believed that would allow everybody to take a deep breath, have a reality check, and make the situation better. Instead, it made everybody lawyer-up and be scared and it was no big surprise when four months later, people were discussing offering Rabbi Herber a buy-out of his contract. Word got around the congregation and people went nuts because they felt something was happening behind their backs that they didn't know about.

"This led to a raucous congregation meeting that 600 people came to. Rabbi Herber decided to resign."

Rabbi David Wolpe: "My father was in the forefront of the egalitarian movement in Conservative Judaism. He hired the first female rabbi ordained [at Jewish Theological Seminary] Amy Eilberg. When [Rabbi Gerald Wolpe] came, it was a very traditional synagogue. I remember that when he interviewed there, he was asked, 'How do you feel about coming to such a traditional place?' And he said, 'How do you feel about hiring such a radical rabbi?' They hired him. There was a meeting where they were going to take a vote over whether could have aliyot and read from the Torah and I really wanted to go. I knew it would be a huge meeting. I knew some of the players. He wouldn't let me go. He said to me, 'I don't know what people will say about me and I don't think you should be here to hear it.'"

It reminds me of when my mother brought me to Glacier View in the summer of 1980 to see a week-long conference about my father's heretical views. Many people said many nasty things about my father and it upset me tremendously, even though I had promised my mother that I wouldnt' get upset.

Rabbi Wolpe: "The thing I resent most about the book is nothing that is in the book but it makes people come up to me and put their arm on their shoulder and say, 'Now I understand you...' And I just think, 'What page are they thinking of?'"

Stephen: "The thirst for information about the rabbi [in congregations] is unbelievable."

Rabbi Wolpe: "The hardest part of being a rabbi is the inevitability of disappointing people all the time. If I went to every life cycle event, it would be all that I do. Yet it's that family's only Bar Mitzvah."

Kim Masters Fails To Advance Anthony Pellicano - Steven Seagal Story

I laid down my $3.25 to buy the March issue of Esquire magazine to read Kim Masters article on private eye Anthony Pellicano, alleged to have been behind the intimidation of Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch. Despite weeks of work, Kim doesn't advance the story. There's nothing new here except that Pellicano called her back because he thinks he's her friend.

Kim writes that Pellicano's Hollywood career appears over. And that action star Steven Seagal and Pellicano don't like each other. According to the informant who fingered Alexander Proctor as the one who vandalized Busch's car, Pellicano was working on behalf of Steven Seagal.

The rest of the Esquire issue is a waste. I could find nothing in it to hold my attention for five minutes.

Major Dirt about Anthony Pellicano

Deepthroat says: "Kim Masters was a total clip job (Esquire could give a sh-- about Hollywood - they just do it to please the publishers). John Brodie has something coming out in GQ. He's talking to all the right people. Finally, major dirt about Anthony Pellicano that has nothing to do with maligned reporter Anita Busch!"

Jim writes: Luke: "You played beautifully into the hands of Pellicano with the Busch thing. He attacks, then discredits. His m.o. is always to discredit the victim after his initial attack. Of course, I'm not telling you anything you don't know. How much did he pay you? If he paid you less than $3,000 you got ripped off."

Luke protests his innocence. Jim responds: "yeah right. pellicano always "uses" his "friends" in the press to discredit his victims. he always uses the ones who need money. gotta hand it to him. this time he used them to discredit one of their own. it was smart. you doth protest too much, sir. hats off. you did a good job, and you've kept your silence ... i'd hire you. when i have a similar problem i need taken care of, i'd like to call you. i would think with you being an internet journalist, he probably tried to short-change you but i hope you didn't take less than $3,000. whats your fee?

"The woman at Esquire, Kim Masters. Bert Fields is her attorney. Bert Fields is close friends with Pellicano. I don't know for certain but I would bet that pellicano helped that woman with her book on Sony."

Dennis Prager For U.S. Senate

Dave Berg, a producer for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, writes in the Washington Times:

Mr. Prager has one drawback: He likes his job on the radio so much that he may not want to give it up to run for the Senate. He says he already has an audience, and may already be doing the work God wants him to do He admits he doesn't really like politics, but he's considering the possibilities.

He recently told his listeners, "I'm not naturally political. It's not the way I think. But what if it does give you a forum to touch more lives? What if it does?"

Mr. Prager is painfully aware of the political realities involved in a Senate campaign, which can cost up to $60 million. Such a heady environment tends to attract two types of people: multimillionaires, who can afford to pay for much of their own campaign expenses; and those for whom politics is a way of life. He abhors both trends, and insists that if he did decide to run, he would be the kind of candidate that the Founding Fathers had in mind: He would do it to serve his country, not his career or his whims.

Despite his reluctance, Mr. Prager has solid backing. Jerry Parsky, who ran presidential candidate George W. Bush's campaign in California, recruited Mr. Prager and believes he would make a formidable candidate. White House political guru Karl Rove is also said to be impressed, and Lionel Chetwynd, an Emmy-winning writer-director and the White House Hollywood liaison, is on board.

Mr. Prager would need to raise about $10 million for the primary, and already has solid financial pledges from members of the Republican Jewish Coalition and others.

Guard Your Tongue

My tongue is killing me.

I must've spoken lashon hara (gossip and slander).

The Orthodox Jewish way is to realize that one law rules the universe - it's moral and physical. So when something bad happens, it's an opportunity to repent of your sins.

A physical explanation for the agony on the tip of my tongue is that I burned it while sipping herb tea last week, and then exacerbated the pain by chewing cinammon gum.

My tongue hurts when it sits in my mouth, when I move it, when I eat and drink and make-out. What sort of soothing ointment does one rub on a sore tongue?

David Poland suggests gargling. Stone suggests a homeopathic pharmacy. What's that?

David wonders if I'm going to become a serious entertainment journalist or will I settle for writing about my feelings ad nauseum? He says I'm more of a flogger than a blogger. There were also unkind words about my mental sanity, my various predilections and how they conflict with my version of Orthodox Judaism. But I'm not the type of guy to take a private conversation and make it public.

Lord, if you could grant me anything right now, skip over my aching tongue and my desire for chastity, and grant me sanity. Amen.

Shmuel Nerdsky writes: "To be honest, the ---- thing, which I discovered after further looking into your website won't at all work with the person I had in mind. You're a cross between Dennis Prager, Al Goldstein, Lenny Bruce and Jerry Seinfeld. If I can find a cross between Dr.Laura, Wendy Shalit, Sarah Silverman and Elaine, I'll send her your way."

JMT writes Luke: "You've been writing some good stuff lately. Has your team of physicians and therapists finally found the right combination of powerful psychotropic drugs?"

Danny Provenzano Speaks Out About Bad Journalism

Accused Mob associate Danny Provenzano writes Luke: "there's nothing worse then a f----- ignorant coward who speaks what he does not know. i didn't spend millions of dollars and 6 years defending not only my life but my honor to have some scum bag write fictional story's about why my exposure is only three years, when you would give up your own children not to do a day!!! do your home work you wannabe report... as i sit here thinking about leaving my wife and children...it's people like you that make me sick.... go f--- yourself my name is Danny Provenzano"

Danny Provenzano is the great nephew of murderous Teamster bobb Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, who died in 1988 while serving a 20-year sentence for racketeering.

Khunrum writes: "Luke, Are you the f--king ignorant coward he is referring to? If so may I suggest you voluntarily enter the witness protection program? I don't think Mr. Provenzano is a Hollywood gangster. I believe he is the real thing."

According to the October 2002 issue of Vanity Fair, Provenzano paid a visit in the fall of 2000 to his very good friend Steven Seagal on the set of Exit Wounds in Toronto. "There was a lot of talk between people of questionable merit and Steven," recalls Damian Lee, who was in town at the time. "[Seagal was saying to people], 'I have a problem. Can you help me with this stuff down in New York?' Some guys were muscling him. " During Provenzano's visit, according to both Nasso and Provenzano, it was determined that Seagal would no longer be in business with Nasso. He'd now be working with Provenzano and his fellow producer, who was none other than Sonny Franzese.

9/6/02 New York Post: DANNY Provenzano phoned yesterday to dispute Vanity Fair's report that he's replaced Jules Nasso as Steven Seagal's producer. Provenzano is set to go on trial this month in New Jersey as a Genovese racketeer. He has also directed "This Thing of Ours," and he's been hired by producer Anthony Esposito to helm "Sinking Springs," about a motorcycle gang that deals drugs to Amish kids. "He's a very good director," Esposito says. But Provenzano told us: "I would never work with Steven Seagal ever. I don't like people who are disloyal to their friends." Seagal, according to Vanity Fair, "had been bad-mouthing [Nasso] to a federal grand jury."


What is the significance of Steven Seagal's friend Danny Provenzano pleading guilty Wednesday? I hear he's only going to serve one to three years, which means he's talking. If I were Seagal, I'd be nervous. To get rid of his partnershp with Julius Nasso, Seagal went to Provenzano but Provenzano didn't have the power. Sonny Franzese, a scary guy at 84 years, had the power. Sonny Ciccone, a threat to Seagal on behalf of Nasso, was frightened away by Sonny Franzese. When Franzese was put away in jail, Nasso and Ciccone went back to work against Seagal, according to court documents. They've owned Seagal for 15 years.

Why Seagal break with Nasso? Because Seagal's career was on the skids. He became heavily involved in this Buddhist stuff. Danny Provenzano was telling Seagal, you don't need this guy Nasso. Come with me. Seagal and Provenzano didn't have the juice until they hooked up with Sonny Franzese, who then went to jail.

The Burning Bush: Jewish Women Write About Their Sexuality

Editors Rachel Kramer Bussel and Karen Taylor seek nonfiction, personal essays by Jewish women about sexuality for the anthology tentatively titled The Burning Bush: Jewish Women Write About Sexuality.

We seek essays covering a broad array of topics about the intersections between Judaism and sexuality, about how they inform and impact each other. Essays should explore the connections, differences, and multifaceted nature of our lives as Jewish women and sexual beings.

Possible topics include:
Jewish sexual role models
Judaism and sexual prowess
Judaism and sexual shame
Judaism and sexual modesty
Menstruation and sexuality
The Mikvah and our experiences with it, both physical and spiritual
Is being/looking Jewish sexy?
Stereotypes about Jewish women (frigid, don't like oral sex, greedy, etc.)
Fetishes for Jewish women
Masturbation Adultery Sexuality and motherhood
Interactions with Jewish vs. non-Jewish partners (are sheggitzes sexier? is foreskin unclean/unerotic?)
Conversion and sexuality
Being half-Jewish and sexuality
Losing your virginity
Judaism and S/M

These are just some suggestions; be creative! Please explore the way these or similar issues have impacted your own life. Essays should be between 1,500 - 5,000 words. Reprints will be considered but original work is preferred. Send 2 hard copies of your submissions plus SASE to: Rachel Kramer Bussel Prince St. Station P.O. Box 39 New York, NY 10012

Please email any queries or questions (but not submissions) to rachelkb@earthlink.net

Please feel free to suggest any essays on the topic that you feel would make suitable reprints for this anthology. This call is for works by Jewish women, including transgendered people who identify as women.

Lucian Emmet Hora Weighs in on Bloggers

Lucian Emmet Hora writes: Your blogger-like piece on Blogging is proof that on occasion, when you choose to write about something more important than the por*ogra**y business or Luke Ford, you can deliver the goods. These sites seem to offer nothing more novel than personal opinions which, like assholes, everyone has. But they are less intellectually honest than assholes, because whereas your asshole exercises limited control only over timing and none over content, Blog writers are just as subject to self-censorship as everyone else.

This self censorship is almost everywhere these days, and some of it can be pretty damn funny. Some time back, before my rising weight made trips out of my hovel the ordeal they now are, I met a pornographer, a real one, who to be fair was unusually bright. (This was at an opening/reception for the author of a book of dirty pictures.) In a better ordered world, X would have passed on X's genes to a half dozen kids, but instead X is barren and (because of age) will die without issue. Anyway, unprompted, X began to tell me that X once had a sexual experience with non-human mammalian species. (Given your unhappy history in reporting this sort of thing, I choose to censor myself here by not identifying the species or the person.) X had no problems discussing this with a total stranger, and seemed to take pride in X's willingness to break and discuss taboos so fundamental that neither bears nor beavers nor bees break them.

Of course, there are taboos, and then there are TABOOS. Since I am not much of an animal lover and would rather talk politics, the discussion turned to the Saracen invasion of the West and the issues raised by heroic Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci in her writings on same (and if I misspell any of this, shame on you Luke for not being a proper editor). X was shocked, SHOCKED that anyone would dare discuss such matters outside of the home, and quickly rose to defend the party line. Diversity is good! White people are bad! Fallaci is a fascist! That which reduces our sense of a common culture is great! All things that most reasonable people (which excludes feminists and marxists), if pressed, admit that they do not believe. The discussion was joined by others, and X left in a huff disgusted that anyone would dare discuss such things in the presence of erotica. Sharing your experiences with the instituition of bestiality was fine for X, but talking about immigration was not. Such are the times we live in.

Measuring Intelligance By Brain Waves

Andrew Sullivan writes: We're beginning to be able to measure such intelligence not simply from the results of written or practical tests but from live imaging of actual brain activity. Egalitarian ideologues have long resisted the notion that there is such a thing as general intelligence and that it is at least partly hard-wired and inherited. But as science advances, and our understanding of working memory and intelligence deepens, the evidence for such intelligence could become irrefutable. Imagine at some distant date going into an exam room and getting hooked up to brain monitors. No need for grad students grading papers. No need for SAT results. Just a brain scan to check how smart you are. Fantasy now. But you can already see the implications of current research. Blank slaters, be afraid. Your time is running out.

Chaim Amalek writes: The surest way of terminating this line of inquiry would be to study if there are any differences based on race, and finding that there are. On the other hand, if they find that there are not, the spigot of cash will open wide.

Cathy Seipp's Launches Website

Here. Cathy writes: My 13-year-old daughter's new friend Holly, an exchange student from Korea, came over for dinner the other night and made a point of remarking on how "delicious" everything was, though it probably seemed strange compared to Korean food.

What a contrast to the typical American child's standard comment, which I've encountered over years of attending children's birthday parties: "I don't eat that. That's weird." (My standard response: "Tell someone who cares.")

Whenever I finish an article, I feel elated, but when I have to start one, I feel miserable. (Same is the way with life, once you are born, you have to swallow your breath and modestly thank your mama, but once you're dead, you feel relieved of your hard work and relax in your celestial glory. I must add, from my mother's philosophies)

Jane writes Luke: I think it would be a good deed (a mitzvah!) for you to tip off Cecile DuBois as to an item on her site. Unless she's got personal experience of Jodie Foster's sexual preference, she's out of line. She's presenting Foster as a lesbian as a fact, and you know as a journalist, that it's speculation on DuBois' part. I don't really care one way or another about Foster's sleeping partners, but there are ways to write about rumors in a way that don't get you sued.

The Daily Journal Of Cecile du Bois

2/17/03 : Dad, like any Jewish father, tells me that I should marry a man whose values are the same as mine (How boring a marriage that would be!)and that values are ingrained in religion, and since I am very Jewish happy, I would not be happy with a non Jew, but damn, all of my past crushes, including the horse all have been nonJews! (And the horse preferred the new testament!). Since only once have I gone through from not telling the world I'm jewish, (when creepy Mr. Carver, the new teacher was meeting Dima and I at lunch the first question he asked us was our nationalities, and I lied and told him that I was French-Canadian!)But I am LOUD about my Jewishness, by pronouncing in class that not all Jews have hawk noses (I said: "Look at my nose, is it huge?") and the class roared with laughter and mocked me. But some people mistake me for Armenian or Russian. But my Armenian misanthropic Science Club instructor Mr. Tavekian announces proudly how he hates Russian by calling my Russian friend not by her real name Judy, but: DAVARSHA! (and that's not Russian!), and yelling at us: "You work like a bunch of lazy Turks!) to laughing about Georgians, but when I asked him how he could tell I was Jewish, he said quietly that he was half Jewish. Oy Vaye, goes the world!

Luke Prepares For His Blogging Panel Feb 22

Luke: I want to make my panel more interesting than Saturday night's.

XXX: The problem with the panel Saturday night was that the people were generally too impressed with themselves. Too green. No "edge" (for lack of better word). The one guy who had some perspective and miles on him, Doc Searls, is a tech geek. The rest were just overeager attention seekers to one degree or another. Your crew is a little more weathered. They all should be funnier, too, and none of this bumbling false modesty that prevailed on Saturday.

You can read an account by Susannah Breslin--a woman who's just a little too impressed with herself. Her blog consists of finding some kind of porn pic and writing a caption of some sort for it--but she thinks she's saving the world.

Luke: "I've checked it out many times but there's rarely any content. Just silliness. I've read her articles in Salon. Usually well-written but relentlessly pro-porn."

XXX: I mean, compare that to Cathy Seipp or Emmanuelle Richard or even the Carly Milne site. Heather Havrilesky is a quick study--kind of a professional cynic, probably quite personable if you get to know her but she has an aura of rudeness.

I think you'd do well to question the bloggers what they feel their personal responsibility is to a readership that would be, by nature, isolated and lonely and whether they feel they have a duty to shine a light onto those wayward readers rather than dragging 'em through the muck of despair. I just felt a wave of reassurance coming over me knowing that yourmoralleader.com still links to LF.net. I think you should allow yourself to be introduced as such--I don't think you've exploited that tag enough.

Luke: I take my writing as a moral mission. Beneath the humor and sarcasm and anger, there beats the heart of an ethical monotheist. I do feel a personal responsibility to my readership. I try to reply to all my email that is spelled and punctuated correctly. I do feel a duty to shine a light for my wayward readers to places of eternal sustenance, like church and synagogue. I believe the surveys that the more people use the internet, the more unhappy they become. We need human company, which is one reason why I go to shul in the morning to pray.

XXX says: I think you should ask both Volokh and Kaus why you are a more observant Jew than either of them.

Cathy Seipp is great--that's really my fantasy of a Jewess.

Kevin Moore says: "I like Susannah Breslin's Reverse Cowgirl. It's an interesting to see a females perspective on sex. She's pretty too Luke. You might like her.

"Go to alexa.com and type in slashdot.org [ranking 1179] ompare traffic from slashdot.org to setgo.com, lukeford.com or even avn.com [around 10,000]. Slashdot is the original blog and shows the power of the blogger and Slash has been in New York Times and many other publications. There is even a term if you actually paid attention when a site gets linked from a blog. It's called being "Slashed" : in reference to the massive amount of traffic Slashdot gives to a site it links. Babe Report is another huge blog then can bring in tons of traffic. So whoever wrote blogs are stupid (you or someone else) needs to look into it a little more."

Susannah Breslin writes a cranky column on the blogging event, telling people not to email her unless they know her well. The perils of fame and fortune and MTV pilots.

Susannah Breslin writes: before the panel started, i had to pee, as i am a nervous type that way. someone, though, was in the can. therefore, my bladder was holding up the entire panel. i whined and i moaned and i knocked repeatedly on the door. who the hell was taking such a massive dump? maybe an entire five minutes went by before the door opened. it was Doc Searls. did Doc have a terrible colon problem that turned trips to the toilet into long, dramatic ordeals? perhaps, i realized, i had rushed him, inadvertently damaging his colon, and at some later date his bowels would explode inside of him because of me. later, on the panel, Doc revealed what he had been doing in the toilet was blogging. or, so he said.

when i started talking on the panel about censorship and segued into people who ---- dogs, that was when the guy who brought his kids left. thank you. brilliant idea bringing the children, by the way.

apparently, Moxie was there in disguise [LF: no she wasn't, she just kidded she was there, she stayed away because she didn't fancy meeting Susannah Breslin, didn't fancy a cat fight with the cowgirl]. awhile back, i mocked Moxie's blog on my blog. i guess this compelled her to come to the event en costume. why, i am not sure. did she think i might box her ears or something? Moxie, i was too busy worrying i was going to get hit by a flying pocket protector to do that. maybe she was mad i didn't ask her to sit on the panel. too bad. maybe next time. maybe not. also, she called me "Inverse Cowslut," which is funny, if i think about it.

Luke says: The new Arts & Leisure editor at the New York Times, Jodi Kantor, is totally hot looking.

Boring Jew Books

I've read some great works of Jewish journalism in the past few weeks - Postville by Stephen Bloom, The New Rabbi by Stephen Fried, Walking The Bible, Holy Days, Jew vs Jew. I've also read some deadly dull books, including anything by Daniel Gordis and Milton Viorst. I never can find an original thought in their works. Viorst is married to the superb author Judith Viorst but his What Shall I Do With This People is rote. Kaddish by Leon Wieseltier is a mixture, as is all of Leon's writing. He badly needs an editor. Rabbi Elliott Dorff's books have their moments of insight.

Rabbis Dorff, Brad Artson (Rosh Yeshivah at University of Judaism) and Perry Netter at Temple Beth Am have yet to return my phone calls or emails requesting an interview about the talk of Conservative rabbis - The New Rabbi.

I've just finished The Catcher Was A Spy: The Mysterious Life Of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff. It's an uneven book. I saw myself in Moe Berg and it scared me. Moe lived the life a recluse who refused to commit to his religion or to anybody. He talked endlessly about himself. Everything he did was a posturing for attention. He closed his heart to others. God, please, do not let me end up like this.

Do I Desecrate G-d's Name?

Ben writes: I just found your website last night, and admittedly have not read every page, but I did read a section a few entries ago where you were taken to task by someone for claiming (contrary to fact) that you are an Orthodox Jew, presumably because your conversion was made under the auspices of a Conservative rabbi, while you engage in lashon hara [unnecessarily hurtful speech]. You strongly denied ever claiming to be Orthodox, and then proceded to try to duck the charge of lashon hara.

To my surprise, I read the following in your current entry: "I will use my own group - Orthodox Jews - as an example of separatism." Your own group? That's a pretty clear claim to being Orthodox. Your former correspondent seems to have hit the matter squarely on the head. You *do* make claims of Orthodoxy, contrary to fact. No matter. Whether you're Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, or a Jew from Planet X, you've got to know that being an observant Jew - a practicing Jew of any stripe - is incompatable with the sort of chillul HaShem [desecrating G-d's name] you engage in on your webpage. I'm sorry if it hurts you to read it, but you make Jews look bad. You make gerim [converts] look *very* bad. So much so that it makes one wonders if that's not a major goal of your website.

Please, please, please - for the sake of your own neshama, for the love of the Jewish people, for the love of HaShem [G-d], please reconsider your public behavior. Please find out what the definition of lashon hara is, among other things. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said "If you believe that you can damage, believe that you can fix. If you believe that you can harm, then believe that you can heal." He might as well of said, "If you believe that you are damaged, believe that you can be fixed." Levi, you were granted a great privilege and a gift when you converted. I'm begging you - please start living up to it. You will be so much happier if you do.

My Thoughts On Feb 22 Blogging Panel

Is "blogger" just another word for wanker?

Regarding the American Cinema Foundation's Freedom Film Festival, 7 p.m. at the AFI campus, 2021 N. Western Ave, Feb 22. Admission is free.

I've never used "Blogger" or any type of blogging technology. I've always thought of myself as a writer and publisher. My primary goal in my journalism - internet and otherwise - has always been to transmit information. Style and entertainment come second.

Most people I know do not know the meaning of the word "blog."

In my experience as an internet publisher, people don't take you seriously until you write something about them or someone close to them that affects their lives. Then they beat a path to your door.

I've found that there's nothing like publishing someone has AIDS or has had sex with a dog to grab their attention.

If you affect how a person is viewed by people important to him, then even if your subject refuses to read you, you can not be ignored. You have penetrated his life and shaken it up with or without his consent.

I've learned to not care so much when producers and other people I want to write about don't answer my interview requests. I have no deadline on this site. I know that as I develop and publish a mountain of information on my subjects, they will come around. There's nobody I can't reach if my information is good enough.

The overwhelming number of blogs have no impact on the public discourse because the information they present doesn't affect many people. Most blogs don't offer much valuable not-to-be-found elsewhere material.

Blogging is dominated, like most professions, by a few intelligent white males - Andrew Sullivan, Matt Drudge, Mickey Kaus, Glenn Reynolds. Blogging is a meritocracy - you get visitors by offering something of value.

From the February 22nd panel description: "Getting rid of the gatekeepers has expanded the range of political and cultural opinion in America, while making it impossible to know which sources to trust."

The expansion of political and cultural opinion in America and the world has been moderately expanded by blogs, but only moderately. You still won't find honest discussions of race, for instance, in any of the mainstream blogs but rather on sites of nationalists (black, white, Jewish, Muslim, asian, etc). Nationalists at least say what they think.

Journalists tend to prefer people who say what they truly believe, except on matters of race, where racists are usually made to look stupid and evil.

Most mainstream writers pretend race doesn't matter. Yet even a doctor, a good doctor, knows that a patient's race predisposes him to different diseases and affects how he will react to various medications.

What do I mean about a lack of honest blogging on race? Virtually everybody prefers to live among his own kind (see a recent issue in The Atlantic magazine). Many whites I know don't want to live near blacks, for instance, and many blacks and asians prefer to live among their own people. I constantly hear and sense various forms of hatred for outside ethnic groups, yet this rarely breaks through in an uncensored discussion in either the mainstream media or on internet blogs. You will find it on internet newsgroups.

Tom Wolfe recalls that on the day President Kennedy was shot, he went into various ethnic neighborhoods in New York and found they all tended to blame outside groups for the assassination. Wolfe wrote up a fascinating story that wasn't published because American newspapers are 19th Century Victorian gentlemen who sanitize the news and don't like publishing such harsh truths.

Neither do blogs, though they constantly trumpet their fearlessness and zealous pursuit of truth, no matter what the price.

Yes, blogs led the way in decrying Senator Trent Lott's comments supporting a segregationist candidate from the 1940s, but as National Review Online columnist John Derbyshire pointed out, none of them mentioned the simple reality that there are tens of millions of whites in America who do not like blacks, and almost all of these whites vote Republican.

I've interviewed countless liberal Hollywood producers at their rich homes in elite Los Angeles neighborhoods like Bel Air and none of them want to live around blacks. I'm not condoning their attitudes. I'm just pointing out a reality in the way people think - a reality that is not expressed even on blogs because it is a socially unacceptable thing to do so.

From Monday's New York Times: "A survey released last week of birth certificates statewide showed that for the first time since the late 1850's, just a decade after California was seized from Mexico in the Mexican-American War, a majority of newborns are Hispanic. More than two-thirds of the Hispanic babies are being born here in Los Angeles County and surrounding Southern California."

I don't know many white people (Dennis Prager excepted) who welcome this. Demography is destiny.

Manhattan, composed of 80% liberals, is about the most racially segregated place in America.

I will use my own group - Orthodox Jews - as an example of separatism. Most Orthodox Jews, be they black or yellow or white, want nothing to do with non-Orthodox Jews, let alone non-Jews, except to make money off them. See the excellent book Postville for Stephen Bloom's deadly accurate portrayal of WASPs vs Lubavitch Chasidim.

It also seems that large portions of non-Orthodox Jews do not welcome Orthodox Jews pouring into their neighborhoods. See the book Jew vs Jew. Blogging is an excellent way to explore and describe these issues but most bloggers are too timid. Orthodox Jews don't want to write anything that might show their community in a bad light. Non-Orthodox Jews can't generally penetrate Orthodox life.

The West allows almost every third world country to have self determination. What about self determination by various ethnic and religious groups in our midst?

Status is another fascinating subjects not honestly explored by blogs I read. Most of us are obsessed with avoiding embarrassment and attaining as a social status as we can. Yet this struggle is rarely recorded by the most navel-gazing of bloggers. It's too embarrassing.

The intense hatreds and insecurities I feel on a regular basis rarely find themselves articulated in the blogs I read. Maybe I am just more insecure and hate-filled and prone to jealousy than other writers or maybe even bloggers are not comfortable exposing themselves emotionally.

I loved the book The New Rabbi because it traced out the sort of human frailties I am prone to, as are the people I know well.

About knowing which sources to trust - every source, every person accumulates a track record that allows any intelligent and informed person the ability to decide which sources to trust.

"Have we produced a nation of Tom Paines or navel-gazers?"

Blogging that matters will never be primarily about either option. Tom Paine drove opinion. Most people will not be driven to visit a particular blog to find out an opinion. They will primarily be driven to find out information, facts, or perspectives not presented in mainstream news sources.

The reason that bloggers tend right is that the mainstream media tends left, hence creating a gap that can be filled by non-liberal writers. Also, as Mark Steyn points out, there's a lack of bloggers in Britain because the best writers there have newspaper columns, while the major newspapers in America are dull affairs that do not hire the liveliest writers.

Navel-gazers will never grab a substantial portion of internet traffic because people are mostly interested in themselves and not in writers who concentrates on themselves. Still, there's nothing wrong with navel-gazing. I do it constantly here. Navel-gazing will gather hits to the extent that the navel-gazer, in his introspection, touches on core human themes that strike chords with readers. Navel-gazing is not inherently of less value than driving opinion like Tom Paine, or just reporting facts or lively links like Matt Drudge, though in practice it overwhelmingly tends to be of less value to most surfers.

Here are the blogs (using the term broadly) I read and in the approximate order I consult them:

* Drudge Report
* Jim Romenesko
* MovieCityNews
* LAExaminer.com
* Instapundit
* Matt Welch
* Ken Layne
* Emmanuelle Richard
* Marc W.

On Love's Own Terms

Why, after seven long years, did Luke Ford still have the power to hurt her? She'd left their marriage behind and tried to forget, succeeding beyond her wildest dreams as a caterer in New York. But Bonnie was home again, back in Georgia to orchestrate her sister's wedding to Luke's brother. Luke was a self-made tycoon now, more devastating than ever. Shamelessly she abandoned herself to him, her reason and common sense betrayed by passion. Luke wanted a second chance, but could she risk her heart again? Did she really have any choice?

By Cathlyn McCoy (AKA Fran Baker)
Silhouette Desire #132 (out of print)
Waldenbooks Bestseller List

Why Do Jews Keep Talking About How Jewish They Are?

I was chatting with a non-Jewish friend Sunday night. She said she was eating bagels the other day and overhearing Jews talk about how Jewish they were, a constant concern among Jews. Why? Christians aren't always comparing how Christian they are?

I supplied the answer: For 2600 years, Jews have been a minority wherever they've lived and hence have had to identify themselves in large part in opposition to the majority culture. Thus while "goy" literally means "nation" and is not perjorative, the word usually functions in a perjorative sense among Jews because we define ourselves as being different from the goyim. If we weren't different, we'd soon be Gentiles. We must constantly fight against being swallowed up by the majority culture.

Saturday Night's Heavily Hyped Blogging Panel A Great Big Bore

XXX Blogger writes: I listened to it. It was interesting in a basic way. Nothing was said that was so profound. It was basic NPR-style entertainment for the psuedo-intelligencia. The average Torah tape is more illuminating though. It's kind of empty headed to get philosophical about blogging.

Joh3N writes: I do have to give mad propz to Xeni for moderating the event, but I felt things fell a bit flat. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm pretty sure that the panel, and arguably most bloggers, express themselves best in their medium, which happens to be a keyboard. To me, the discussion was best summarized as 'blogging's cool, we like it, you seem to like it'. Where was the debate? Also, I'd rather have seen Ev's announcements (Audblog and the Google purchace) detatched from the questions, since answering the question 'How does blogging intersect with community based web media?' with 'um....one other thing, Google bought blogger!' seemed a bit off.

Xeni Jardin writes: A couple hundred or so geeks, writers, and webloggers from near and far show up, wearing "Hello My Blog's Name is:" stickers, and blogging throughout the event via hiptops and WiFi-enabled laptops. Lots of bloggers who'd only known each others' work online met each other in person for the first time. This is extremely cool, and really fun to witness. The crowd overflows out of the packed gallery, into Chung King Road; attendees outside who are standing too far away from the gallery doors to hear the panelists clearly just whip out their laptops and crank up the live Shoutcast audio stream. This is insane. And somehow, it works.

Luke says: Blogging is only a technology, like pens and paper and typewriters. It's what you do with it that counts. Most intelligent computer savvy people I talk to, including one in Eugene Volokh's First Amendment law class at UCLA, do not know what a "blog" is. And they won't until a blog breaks news about them that shakes them up. Then they will damn well know what a blog is.

Narrowly defined, I don't consider myself a blogger, though I do not object to the term. Linking to other people's work and commenting on it has always been a minority of my work online.

To have a significant impact on your field as an internet columnist, you have to number one or you get lost in the crowd. David Poland stands out because he's number one at what he does, and he does it on a daily basis, and he can't be ignored. There are hundreds of internet movie columnists but David is about the only one that industry players read every day. David names names, and you can sense him starting and shaping conversations all around Hollywood.

Matt Welch posted 02/14/2003 11:45 AM: Cool Blogging Conference in Chinatown! Come see Tony Pierce, Heather Havrilesky, Doc Searls, Ev “I Invented Blogger” Williams and other Internet All-Stars Saturday night! It’ll be a blast.

Cathy Seipp's Daughter Cecille Has Her Own Web Site

Cecile du Bois writes: Cathy Seipp, my mother, has been a writer she started college at the age of 17. After graduating at the age of 20 from UCLA, she started doing clerical work after her job in college as a writer for The Daily Bruin where she met her friend Debbie Gendel. Three years ago, my mother stopped her job at Media week online and has been working for UPI International for a while. She writes about everything from why feminism is absurd to attacking the progressive classroom.

My aunt, Michele Seipp, is an Audrey Hepburn when it comes to style and has the looks of Winona Ryder. With talent for acting and improv and occasional sketching out articles or comics for the Los Angeles Times, screenwriting and sold shorts for TV, my aunt knows a lot about Hollywood and its highs and lows. Living in a stylish apartment nestled in the midst of BH, she can walk to a coffee shop, eat Mexican, or Italian and feed her cats in the same morning. One of her past film appearances was The Blue Iguana and parts in other films.

Oldies - Stay Out Of My Friday Night Live

About five years ago, Rabbi David Wolpe and cantor Craig Taubman founded a wonderful monthly Friday night event for Jewish singles 21-39 - Friday Night Live at 7:30PM the second Friday night of every month at Temple Sinai in Westwood on the corner of Beverly Glen and Wilshire Blvds.

The event was modeled on what Bnai Jeshurun does on the Upper Westside of Manhattan every Friday night, getting over 1000 singles to celebrate the Sabbath.

Friday Night Live in Westwood became so popular, oldies and couples with children started coming. So Temple Sinai started Friday Night Live for them at 6PM.

So I'm at Temple Sinai Friday night at 7:30PM and it's full of oldies. And it really bummed me out. I was there to meet hot looking young chicks and wherever I looked, I saw sagging skin.

Other things that bummed me out at Friday Night Live:

* People dressed casually, such as in jeans. This is not appropriate in a shul.

* People chewing gum. Inappropriate in a shul.

* Talking on a cell phone, not turning a cell phone off.

* A young mother sat next to me with her seven-year old daughter. This is not an event for kids. Then the mother gave her daughter a pen and paper to write on. Writing is prohibited by Jewish Law on the Sabbath. Desecrate the Sabbath all you want, but don't do it in shul.

* Typical secular liberals. There's no decorum. They dress sloppy. They go where they're not wanted. They let their kids run around. Jewish parents don't discipline their kids. Black parents beats the crap out of their kids, though they still turn out to be hoodlums.

Now, I'm not asking that security guards keep ugly people from entering the building during times when I'm trying to meet chicks. But I do ask that old people restrict themselves from events plainly marked for people 21-39. Otherwise it's Gresham Law in action - bad drives out good.

And no, I did not find any of the 70-year old spinsters appealing. Though I supppose I could hook up with a really rich widow, wait her out, and inherit both her wealth and her grand daughter.

Do you know why this is happening? Because the basic shape of the demographic curve for Jews is deformed. Too old, not enough of the young. All the result of too much schooling of the females, not enough baby-making.

To be honest, this is what is leading me towards shicksas.

I'm left with the dregs of the Jews, and I don't have the status to reach past the dregs to cop one of the young ones on my own.

Cathy Seipp On Maureen Dowd

From the Washingtonian Magazine: I don’t know Dowd, and I live in Los Angeles, not Washington, so I only see her when the Times flies her out to the summer TV press tour every July.

She cuts a memorable figure because she attends press conferences in a bizarrely casual getup: tank top over sports bra over sweatpants over running shoes, with hair up in a clip and—this part never varies—sunglasses worn indoors. (Is there something about Washington retinas that makes them peculiarly sensitive to the light in Los Angeles hotel ballrooms? The only other attendee who affects the sunglasses-indoors shtick is the Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes.)

Dowd’s goin’-to-California costume is, at first glance, merely a dated and preposterous notion of how the natives dress around here—as if I assumed the thing to wear to any Washington event were a Reagan-red Adolfo suit. It’s silly, clichéd, and corny. But more than that, it’s a patronizing display on Dowd’s part. Just like her columns.

Dark City, White Protest

Chaim Amalek writes: I live in a dusky city, a place that provides constant harbingers of things to come. And as a member of a race in steep demographic decline, I often feel the need to seek out settings where throngs of my racial kinsmen can be found, which is not easy to do in a minority white city like New York. Fortunately, today provided such an opportunity, and all in the cause of peace.

Tens of thousands of people took to the frigid streets of New York today to support Sodom Hussein in his struggle to face down Yankee imperialism. It would have been a glorious sight, but for the fact that People of Color - the majority of New York - seem to have been excluded from the march, for virtually every marcher was white, with maybe a few Saracens thrown in. No Negroes, no Puerto Ricans, no Africans, no PetzlQuatle Indians, no Hindus, no Chinamen, no Mongols, no Uzbeks. Just pale white liberals, making everyone else feel unwelcome. Shameful. Just shameful.

Khunrum writes: Chaim.. As a child of the late sixties I attended a few anti war protests. Why I even marched along side Allen Ginsburg and Phil Ochs in one demonstration. The main purpose for my attending was not to protest the war, which indeed I was against, but to smoke marijuana (a filthy habit I eventually gave up) and attempt to score some "peacenik poontang." Occasionally I was successful. The vibes at these anti war demonstrations was always joyful with young longhairs in a festive spirit.. So I guess the question is: what type mood did you encounter today? I am guessing the old lefties were in a somewhat dour frame of mind.

Chaim writes: Regarding the rally today, some attractive young white women, but mostly the same old same old lefties who pop up at every rally against the West. No people of color, other than cops.

I think the way out of this pickel is to make nice with Sodom by giving him Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Sodom knows how to deal with Saracen fanatics. Two months of his rule and the Wahabist foe will be no more.

Rob writes: I do not consider myself a "hawk" by any means and I certainly support all Americans right to assemble and protest anything, but I can't help but think most of these protesters are just guilt plagued liberals looking for some outlet. They drive there in their monster SUVs, sipping Starbucks coffee from disposable plastic cups, screaming "NO Blood For Oil!" Then they zip off to a PETA rally wearing their fur coats. Hypocrites.

Why I Can't Proofread Before Publishing

My boss IM'd me: "Can't you proofread these things before posting them?"

How should I respond?

Gnome Chomsky suggests:

1. CFS. Tell him he is coming awfully close to triggering the provisions of the American's with Disabilities Act in insisting of you that which he knows you cannot do.
2. racism
3. Diversity is so important, that it extends even as to diversity in truth.
4. you are lazy
5. No facts can be checked until you have done me all manner of favors.
6. We are at code orange, and all he cares about is spelling?
7. Your words are SACRED, as is, and must not be tampered with.
8. The mafia will kill you if you tell the truth, so you have to lie every now and then.
9. Nobody is perfect, especially the sort of cretins who read your porn web site. Why make them feal even worse about themselves by not including some obvious errors?
10. The guy isn't paying ME any money, so why should I?

PS It occurs to me that it would be a viable business model for women to sell dildos door to door, like the Avon lady of days gone by.

Rob writes: Luke's Only Excuse: Piss Poor Work Ethic.

What Should Luke Tell The Feb 22 blogging panel?

Blogs-internet web logs-have become one of the hottest new phenomena in media. What does this have to do with freedom? Everything. Until now, the media have always had gatekeepers?but now, print and live video can be self-published from the desktop. Getting rid of the gatekeepers has expanded the range of political and cultural opinion in America, while making it impossible to know which sources to trust. Have we produced a nation of Tom Paines or navel-gazers? L.A. journalist Catherine Seipp, whose early ’90s media columns in Buzz are widely considered a precursor to this revolution, will host a panel of the city’s more prominent bloggers. At press time, invited authors include: UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, Mickey Kaus, Ken Layne, Matt Welch, Heather Havrilesky, Emmanuelle Richard, Luke Ford, Forbes’ Rishawn Biddle.

Helpful writes: Rule One: Pay your slander insurance premiums on time.

Tell This Panel they are all LOSERS, Warn them of the power of numbers

Chaim Amalek suggests: Be a contrarian! Here are some things that need be said:

1. Blogging is just the tail end of the internet mania, of interest only to impoverished public policy types, dorks, and other pathetic losers.

2. According to Lou Dobbs on Moneyline this evening, more Saracens (muslims) went to Mosque today in the UK (to say nothing of in France) than Christians will attend church this weekend.

3. The European women of France, Italy, and Germany cannot be bothered to have children. For example, in Italy - Italy! - the average woman has only 1.1 children. Sure, they have all manner of economic argument to make here, but given the awesome fecundity of the Saracen woman in these same lands, they don't seem to be universal arguments against having children. Points 2 and 3 have millions of times more import to us (including those assembled to discuss blogging) than anything relating to blogging.

Again, Bloggers are mostly losers without money. Blogging is to publishing what masturbating to the images in a copy of Hustler magazine are to f------ a woman who appears in Hustler magazine. Even in the internet space favored by dorks, instant messaging and email are far more important than the low cost vanity publishing that is blogging.

And be sure to tell them that you got these insights from Chaim Amalek, a Proudly Liberal Upper West Side Citizen of the World who shops at Zabars and attends lectures at the 92nd Street Y.

Susan Sontag, Hateful Lesbian Jewess in NY, writes: That is sooooooooo 1997-ish. On the other hand, this emmanuel woman is seriously hot. Her hubby is a lucky guy, even if he is an impoverished blogger. But he really needs to knock her up.

Why don't you date Moxie? She is the right age for you (well, a bit on the high side, but still okay), blonde, and shiksish. Plus, she lives near you. No hot blogger chicks live here.

OH - also worth discussing on that panel is "Table Talk" - just quote from it and discuss amongst yourselves.

W. writes: AMALEK: they're not actually a loser bunch ... most (if not all) are gainfully employed by one media organization or another. if anything, LF is the saddest sack in this crowd, so his criticism wouldn't fly.

Khunrum writes: Not so fast young man. Luke is doing quite well job wise and just received a generous pay increase. Last time I checked the bloggs of Moxie and Tony Pierce they were both unemployed and begging for money on their sites.....I'm sure there is honest work for these two healthy young people if they weren't so indolent. May I suggest parking cars or waiting on tables for a start?

Amalek replies: Well, Luke is the only one in the bunch I've ever met or ever will meet. anyway, the broader truths are what count - immigration, Saracen fecundity, the fact that I will never get to have sex with this Emmanuel person or even that Moxie woman while they are still desireable, etc. Besides, how much money is there to be had in blogging?

Now, what about you? If I were you, I would relocate to LA and move in with one of those blogger chicks who seem to adore you. What's so great about Toronto? Every time I am on the phone with IBM Technical support to squeeze another six months of life out of my ancient computer, they inform me of the horrible cold up there (seems that's where IBM bases its support - NORTH somewhere of Toronto).

I never read anything about bloggers on Page Six in the Post.

W. writes: at this precise moment in time, there is little reason for me not to move ... the problem is, once i got to L.A. i would probably end up doing even *less*. the paper that layne and welch are running has a lineup of locals 300+ long. i think luke is actually considered in the front of that line, though (he can probably thank emmanuelle for that.) would be happy to work in the TV industry, however i have no contacts whatsoever, and anything that involves intelligence in that medium seems NYC-based anyhow.

Khunrum writes: Here's an instant Hollywood rapport builder: "I think that Luke Ford is a first-class shmuck!" The Hollywood movers and shakers will be fighting to share both cocaine lines with you.