Sunday, April 29, 2007

Washington is the city with major power. At a glance, its C-SPAN–ready inhabitants may all look alike, but over time you learn to distinguish the import of the differences that Washingtonians allow themselves. If you see a gaggle of people smoking outside a formal dress event, for instance, you're likely looking at Republicans. Men with close-clipped beards tend to be Democrats who work at nonprofits, or Arab diplomats, And then there are the kippahs (well, kippot, to use the Hebrew plural, or yarmulkes, to use the Yiddish).
Of all the rifts in Washington, the great kippah divide has stirred up the most controversy of late. That, of course, is not what anyone is calling the most recent round of controversy over the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has been charged by academics, liberal journalists, and bloggers with having an undue influence on U.S. policies in the Middle East. : an intra-Jewish community divide over religious practices, concern for Israel, and political affiliation during an era of resurgent liberalism and new Democratic Party strength.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Jewlicious attendees represent the spectrum of Jewish faith

The friends blogged about many topics relating to Judaism positive manner that appealed to young Jews. Rabbi Bookstein "wanted some of that," Abitbol said. So the bloggers and Rabbi Bookstein joined forces in 2005 and created a brand aimed at Jews between the ages of 18 and 26. But the Booksteins are both quick to point out that they didn't do this all alone. A planning committee of 19 students from 11 different colleges and numerous others put in hours of work to pack the weekend full of activities. In addition to funding from local philanthropists Deanna and Allen Alevy, Barbara and Ray Alpert, the Breslauer-Soref Foundation, and Brian and Sarah Chisick, two-dozen sponsors and partners also contributed to the weekend, including StandWithUs, Heeb Magazine, Birthright Israel, American Apparel and Trader Joe's. This financial support made it possible to keep the cost of attendance low. Students paid for the entire weekend, which included all meals, activities, concerts and lodging, if they chose to camp out in the separate men's and women's sleeping quarters. Although the festival aspires to be an that draws students from across the country, a more immediate goal for the organizers is to take their model and offer it to other regions. Lots of people know about us, Abitbol said. "They are aware of what we are doing out here, but they can't come. We want to replicate this festival in places like northern Florida, Boston and other areas without a cohesive infrastructure for young people.

Jewlicious attendees represent the spectrum of Jewish faith. Young women from more liberal streams walked around in shoulder-baring tank tops, while many men covered their heads with kippot. Here people are comfortable "wearing their Jewish identity on the outside," said Rachel Bookstein, director of the Long Beach Hillel and program coordinator for the Jewlicious festivals.