Showing posts with label are-they-jewish?. Show all posts
Showing posts with label are-they-jewish?. Show all posts

6/11/14

Is Eric Cantor Jewish?

Yes, Eric Cantor is a Jew.

Wikipedia reports about Cantor:
Cantor, the second of three children, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Mary Lee (née Hudes), a schoolteacher, and Eddie Cantor, who owned a real estate firm. His paternal family immigrated from Eastern Europe in the early 1900s and his maternal grandfather was born in Romania. His father was the state treasurer for Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign. Cantor was raised in Conservative Judaism.
Cantor is the House Majority Leader in the US House of Representatives, making him, "the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress in its history." He was defeated in a primary election 6/10/2014.

I met Cantor and his wife at a friend's wedding September 3, 2012 and I chatted with them. I told Eric that I was proud of his accomplishments and that I disagreed with his politics.

Cantor was in the news at that time because he received information about the Petraeus affair several weeks before it was revealed in the press.

Buy my book: God's Favorite Prayers

5/28/14

Is Edward Snowden Jewish?

New Yorker bloggers debated whether Edward Snowden is a hero or a villain:
Snowden was on NBC with Brian Williams.

But what we want to know: is Edward Snowden Jewish?

We will go out on a limb here and, even lacking firm evidence, based on his bio, we will say, no, Edward Snowden is not a Jew. 

Wikipedia says he, "listed Buddhism as his religion on a military recruitment form, noting that the choice of agnostic was 'strangely absent.'"

US News on NBC news reports: "Born June 21, 1983, he grew up in Wilmington, N.C., but later moved to Ellicott City, Md., he told The Guardian. His mother, Wendy, is the chief deputy clerk for administration and information technology at the federal court in Baltimore, a court official told NBC News. His father, Lonnie, is a former Coast Guard officer who lives in Pennsylvania, the Allentown Morning Call reported. A neighbor said he has an older sister who is an attorney."


5/20/14

Is Mark Zuckerberg Jewish?

Yes Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a Jew. He was named Time Magazine's man of the year for 2010.

He was born in White Plains, New York to Karen, a psychiatrist, and Edward, a dentist. He grew up in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Zuckerberg was raised Jewish. He had a bar mitzvah when he turned 13.  He describes himself now as an atheist.

At Ardsley High School he excelled in the classics. In his junior year he transferred to Phillips Exeter Academy.

At Harvard, he majored in computer science and psychology, and belonged to Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity.

5/11/14

Is Timothy Geithner Jewish? No

No, Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama's former secretary of the treasury, is not a Jew.

Geithner was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter F. Geithner of Larchmont, N.Y.

According to the Times, he is married to Carole M. Sonnenfeld and has two children. The Rev. Thomas Keehn, a United Church of Christ minister, officiated at his wedding in 1985.

On 11/22/2008 I received an email reply from Geithner's father-in-law, Prof. Albert Sonnenfeld, confirming that, "Geithner (is) not Jewish, (he was) raised Episcopalian, but (is) hardly religious now."

The reference in Wikipedia that previously (up to 11/2008) said he is a Jew - was removed. See the discussion.

Update 5/14: Geithner has a new book: Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises and was profiled in the Times magazine.

(Reposted.)

4/30/14

Is Donald Sterling Jewish?

Yes Donald Sterling is a Jew. He was born Donald Tokowitz. He changed his name to Sterling. David Suissa reports that:
...he grew up in Boyle Heights [east of Downtown Los Angeles in the City of Los Angeles] and saw his father wake up every morning at 2 a.m. to buy produce and resell it to local restaurants. And that he picked up his father’s strong work ethic to work his way through law school, and when the big firms did not hire Jews at the time, started a thriving practice to help everyday people get legal assistance.

... Donald changed his last name from Tokowitz to Sterling to give himself an aura of success. The name Tokowitz, apparently, sounded too Jewish.
Wikipedia reports he, "was born in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois. He and his family moved to the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles when he was two years old. His parents, Susan and Mickey, were Jewish immigrants."

Billionaire real estate developer Sterling owned the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team but was banned for life by the NBA for ractist remarks in April 2014.

4/26/14

Is Seth Meyers Jewish?

No Seth Meyers is not a Jew. His father's father was Jewish. He married a Jewish woman. But he is not a Jew.

He does not mind being called Jew-ish. You have to see the funny video where he talks about this!



Hat tip to anonymous,
who rightly insisted that I run this.

4/13/14

Is Stephen Colbert Jewish?

No Stephen Colbert is not a Jew.

The Deseret News reports:
Stephen Colbert, the political comedian made popular on "Comedy Central," will be taking over for David Letterman as the host of CBS’ "The Late Show" once Letterman retires.

But Colbert is no ordinary host.

The late night comedian built himself up as a satirical political opinion character who rarely shows a normal side. The New York Times published an article in January 2012 that looked at the many sides of Colbert, including his connection to God through what his mother taught him.

“She taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed, and that’s directly related to the image of Christ on the cross and the example of sacrifice that he gave us,” Colbert said to The Times. “What she taught me is that the deliverance God offers you from pain is not no pain — it’s that the pain is actually a gift. What’s the option? God doesn’t really give you another choice.”

Later in 2012, Colbert’s faith was brought up again by Splitsider, a news blog. Writer Marisa Carroll said Colbert is a devout Catholic, and when he spoke to 3,000 Fordham University students, it wasn’t the political commentator. Instead, it was a more religiously connected man.

"Instead of his pompous 'Report' character, the man on stage Friday night was Colbert the Sunday school teacher, bringing to life a bit of personal history previously reserved for magazine profiles,” Carroll wrote.

In more recent years, Colbert has let his religious side show through his jokes, according to The Los Angeles Times. No matter how side-splitting the jokes may be, or how in-character Colbert remains, the comedy host is still devoted to his religion and continues to follow his faith.

“The man, in reality and character, is a devout and out Catholic, observer of Lent and teacher of Sunday school,” wrote Mary McNamara for The Los Angeles Times. “Unlike other comedians of his persuasion — liberal though disguised as conservative — Colbert does not hide, ignore, downplay or make light of his faith.”

4/12/14

Are Coronary Stents Kosher?

Yes, coronary stents are kosher. In fact they are a miraculous invention.

What are they? Wikipedia says: "A coronary stent is a tube placed in the coronary arteries that supply the heart, to keep the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart disease. It is used in a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Stents reduce chest pain and have been shown to improve survivability in the event of an acute myocardial infarction."

The coronary stent was invented by Julio Palmaz. The stainless steel, insertable mesh stent is expanded once inside the body to hold an artery open and allow blood to flow more freely. Palmaz secured funding for the development of the stent from restaurant owner Phil Romano (Fuddruckers and The Macaroni Grill). Palmaz co-developed the stent with Dr. Richard Schatz, a cardiologist at the time at the Brooke Army Medical Center. We would guess that Schatz is Jewish. They patented their invention in 1985.

The coronary stent is one of the greatest inventions of our time. The stent can be inserted through a small puncture in the groin or wrist and via balloon angioplasty it can open up quickly and with little to no pain a 99% occluded major coronary artery. The procedure takes about an hour and the patient is ambulatory after four hours and can resume many of his favorite activities :-) within one day.

To a person (like me) with CAD this rapid and amazing restoration of a person's quality of life is a true medical miracle of our times.

4/3/14

Is John Oliver Jewish?

John Oliver formerly of "The Daily Show" is getting his own fake-news program on HBO, as reported in The Washington Post (April, 2014).

John Oliver filled in for Jon Stewart in summer, 2013. He is one funny dude.


On 2/6/2011 we wrote:

We laughed out loud at the latest video clip that the Jewish Humor Central Blog posted (hat tip) from the Daily Show's John Oliver.

And then we thought, he is so funny, yes, John Oliver  must be a Jew. But he isn't.

We base our conclusion in particular on his ability to invent a new Jewish holiday for the purposes of celebrating a political victory in Texas as you will see in the hilarious clip below.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jewish Speaker of Texas State House
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

3/29/14

Was Noah Jewish?

No, of course the biblical Noah was not a Jew. There were no Jews in the world until much later.

Abraham, the first Hebrew came ten generations after Noah. And Moses received divine revelation six generations after that.

According to BBC News the new film "Noah" has been criticized by religious groups.

Regarding the Jewish links to Noah (the film) Eric Goldman, my favorite film critic, wrote about the film's Jewish director Darren Aronofsky in the Jewish Standard, "Noah and the Jews." Here is some of what he says.
...Jewish tradition has a long history of encouraging interpretation of the “p’shat,” the literal text. Mr. Aronofsky and Mr. Handel have done so, drawing from a rich mix of rabbinic literature. In contrast, some Christian and Muslim scholars and clergy have had trouble with the film, because it changes the Noah story’s fixed literal reading. Because of this initial reaction, Paramount, the film’s distributor, has chosen to alter its advertising, now saying that the film was “inspired” by the Bible story.

3/25/14

Was David Koresh Jewish?

No David Koresh was not a Jew. He was the leader of the Branch Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists Christians who perished at Waco in 1993.

New Yorker has a section title "ANNALS OF RELIGION" under which they published, Sacred and Profane: How not to negotiate with believers by MALCOLM GLADWELL. Gladwell tells us about Koresh, "David Koresh was born in Houston in 1959, to a fifteen-year-old single mother. He arrived at Mount Carmel at the age of twenty-two, pulling up to the retreat in a yellow Buick—another in the long line of disenchanted Seventh-Day Adventists in search of a purer church."

Gladwell is a journalist known for works which I cite often, like "Blink" and "The Tipping Point." Wikipedia describes his writing thusly, "Gladwell's books and articles often deal with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences and make frequent and extended use of academic work, particularly in the areas of sociology, psychology, and social psychology."

In this New Yorker article he turns to the area of religion and finds an "unexpected implication" in an unfortunate event that occured April 19, 1993. That "implication" is that you cannot negotiate certain things with some believers. It is "unexpected" because neither the ATF/FBI nor the professors of religion involved in the affair at Waco understood that they were not going to be able to negotiate with the Branch Davidians. Gladwell convincingly argues that the standoff in Waco became a human tragedy because it was a fatally bungled attempt at negotiation.

3/24/14

Is Jewish Studies too Jewish?

What kind of a question is that? Is Jewish Studies in colleges and universities too Jewish?

A very good one, it turns out when discussed by Aaron Hughes in the Chronicle for Higher Education. He says that Jewish Studies is too Jewish and he spells out his reasoning and his conclusion that, "Jewish studies, rather than liberating itself from its ideological heritage, has re-embraced it."

Here is one line of his thought that many of us have been harboring but not saying:
Recent years have seen the creation of numerous well-funded and ideologically driven private organizations that seek to make inroads in Jewish studies. I refer, specifically, to the conservative Tikvah Fund, the secular Posen Foundation, and the pro-Israel Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation. These organizations seek entry into the academy—and presumably the intellectual legitimation that it provides—by establishing programs, professorships, and conferences in both Jewish studies and Israel studies at North American universities.

The Tikvah Fund, for example, funds centers devoted to Jewish law (at New York University) and Jewish thought (at Princeton). It also created and subsidizes the Jewish Review of Books, in which scholars (some of whom are associated with other Tikvah programs) air personal grievances, review one another’s books, and trash those with whom they disagree. Tikvah even sponsors a book series, the Library of Jewish Ideas, at Princeton University Press, in which, as a colleague of mine remarked in a recent review, "faith-based sermons and empirically anchored scholarship" commingle uncomfortably. Like Tikvah more generally, the books in this series have no qualms about articulating authentic Jewish ideas and, especially in the inaugural book, these ideas not surprisingly tend to be constructed as religiously Orthodox and politically conservative.

We should be ashamed that we have allowed foundations that push a particular vision of what Judaism is or should be to operate within the administrative structures of universities. None of these foundations, despite appeals to the contrary, are interested in funding scholarship simply for its own sake. The unfortunate result is that Jewish studies, rather than liberating itself from its ideological heritage, has re-embraced it.

3/17/14

Is WhatsApp founder Jan Koum Jewish?



Yes WhatsApp founder Jan Koum is a Jew. Wikipedia reports:
Koum is Jewish and grew up in Fastiv, outside Kiev in Ukraine. He moved with his mother and grandmother to Mountain View, California in 1992, where a social support program helped the family to get a small two-bedroom apartment, at the age of 16. His father had intended to join the family later, but finally remained in Ukraine. At first Koum's mother worked as a babysitter, while he himself worked as a cleaner at a grocery. By the age of 18 he became interested in programming. He enrolled at San Jose State University and simultaneously worked at Ernst & Young as a security tester.
Business Insider writes:
When Jan Koum was growing up, he wasn't well off. His family was Ukranian and moved to Silicon Valley when he was a teenager, according to Forbes' Parmy Olson. They lived in a tiny, government subsidized apartment; Koum's mother babysat to bring in extra money while Koum worked at a local grocery store. Additionally, the family lived on food stamps.

So, when it came time to sign a $19 billion acquisition deal, Koum knew where he wanted it to happen.

Olson writes:

Koum, cofounder Brian Acton and venture capitalist Jim Goetz of Sequoia drove a few blocks from WhatsApp’s discreet headquarters in Mountain View to a disused white building across the railroad tracks, the former North County Social Services office where Koum, 37, once stood in line to collect food stamps. That’s where the three of them inked the agreement to sell their messaging phenom...
Further, "Koum, who Forbes believes owns 45% of WhatsApp and thus is suddenly worth $6.8 billion."

3/14/14

Is Rush Limbaugh Jewish?

Yes, Rush Limbaugh is a Jew. Rush's Conservative Gentile persona is a successful act that has earned him record multimillion dollar contracts in the radio business.

Rush's real name is Ronald Levy. He was born on the upper West Side of Manhattan. His father was a dermatologist and his mother a junior high school librarian. He attended the Ramaz School where he excelled at floor hockey and then Amherst College where he double-majored in art history and chemistry.

Rush was accepted to Albert Einstein Medical School of Yeshiva University. He had to withdraw during his first semester because he could not control his mocking derisive laughter when confronted with the illnesses and infirmities of the hospital patients.

Happy Purim everybody. א פריילעכן פורים
Rush! Rush! Rush! !רָשׁ! רָשׁ! רָשׁ
חַג פּוּרִים, חַג פּוּרִים,
חַג גָּדוֹל לַיְּהוּדִים!
מַסֵּכוֹת, רַעֲשָׁנִים,
שִׁירִים וְרִקּוּדִים!

הָבָה נַרְעִישֶׁהָ:
רָשׁ רָשׁ רָשׁ!
הָבָה נַרְעִישֶׁהָ:
רָשׁ רָשׁ רָשׁ!
הָבָה נַרְעִישֶׁהָ:
רָשׁ רָשׁ רָשׁ!
בָּרַעֲשָׁנִים
//repost from 5769//

3/5/14

Is Idina Menzel Jewish? Is Adele Dazeem Jewish?

Yes, Idina Menzel is a Jew. Yes, Adele Dazeem would be a Jew if she existed. That is the mangled name given to Idina Menzel by John Travolta at the Academy Awards in 2014. No, John Travolta is not a Jew.

To get a mangled Travoltafied version of your name, go to this website. Mine came out "Theo Zamirez". I kinda like that name.

Wikipedia reports on the early life of the actual Idina Menzel:
Menzel was born in Queens, New York. Her mother, Helene, is a therapist, and her father, Stuart Mentzel, worked as a pajama salesman. She has a younger sister, Cara. Her family is Jewish; her grandparents emigrated from Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Her family lived in New Jersey (East Brunswick, Somerset and Marlboro) from when she was in kindergarten to third grade, but she considers herself raised in Syosset, New York.

When Menzel was 15 years old, her parents divorced and she began working as a wedding and bar mitzvah singer, a job which she continued throughout her time at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Menzel herself, however didn't have a Bat Mitzvah after she quit Hebrew school as a girl. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama at New York University prior to being cast in Jonathan Larson's rock musical Rent. She changed the spelling of her surname to Menzel to better reflect the pronunciation the Mentzel family had adopted in America. She was friends with actor Adam Pascal before they worked together in Rent.
Hat tip to our musical good friend who says all of this is amazingly hilarious :-)

2/23/14

Is the Film "The Endless Summer" Jewish?

My favorite movie is Bruce Brown's, The Endless Summer. No, it wasn't Jewish at all that is, until I made it into a metaphor for my quest for perfect Jewish spirituality and the inspiration for my book cover (see below). I haven't found any other Jewish connections to the film or the poster.

Vanity Fair has a story about the famous iconic Endless Summer movie poster. "One Summer, Forever: The Endless Summer poster is 50 years old, and it hasn't aged a minute. Kitchen-table project turned pop-culture phenomenon, the Day-Glo movie promo created by John Van Hamersveld for his friend Bruce Brown’s 1964 documentary is still selling the dream—on T-shirts, TV shows, beer bottles, and dorm walls. Lili Anolik looks back at the moment an iconic image was born, the social upheaval it presaged, and the surfer-dude-slash-designer whose life it changed."

In 1966 I saw a film that documented two boys seeking simple perfection in a quasi-mystical sport. IMDB sums up, "Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters."

The film spoke to me, as it did to many others of a more idealistic age. The essence of surfing of course is the wave. And the lover of surfing no doubt wants to embark on the quest for the best wave. To experience the performance of the essence is to find the perfect wave.

Brown's two surfer dudes found one in South Africa, see the video clip below.

2/11/14

Is Top Philanthropist Mark Zuckerberg Jewish?

Yes, philanthropist and founder of FaceBook Mark Zuckerberg is a Jew. Wikipedia informs us, "Zuckerberg was born in 1984 in White Plains, New York. He is the son of Karen (née Kempner), a psychiatrist, and Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist. He and his three sisters, Randi, Donna, and Arielle, were brought up in Dobbs Ferry, New York, a small town about 10 miles north of New York City. Zuckerberg was raised Jewish, had his bar mitzvah when he turned 13, and has since described himself as an atheist."

The Washington Post reports:
Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan are America’s most generous givers in 2013

Most of us will never see $1 billion in our lives. But that’s just about how much Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated in 2013, topping the list of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s latest compilation of America’s most generous donors.

Chan and Zuckerberg were the youngest donors on the list which logged an overall rise in giving in 2013 as well. According to the publication, the wealthy gave $7.7 billion last year — about 4 percent more than the total in 2012....

...Other technology leaders on the list included eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his estranged wife, Anne Wojcick, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Nineteen of the 50 top individuals and families on the list, including Zuckerberg and Chan, have signed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’s Giving Pledge. The pledge asks the world’s wealthiest individuals to give the majority of their wealth — either in their life or after death — to philanthropy.

2/3/14

Is Obscenity Jewish?

As much as I'd like to say no, anti-Semites and academics agree on this, that yes, a large number of Jews are prominently associated with obscenity in several ways.

Openly anti-Semitic web sites (such as this one "Sex Plague: The Normalization of Deviance and Depravity" and this one: "Secret Sex Life of the Jews") delight in chronicling the associations of Jews with obscenity, pornography, prostitution and the like. I don't recommend that you visit or read those vile sites, even the ones that represent some modicum of fact and journalism. These sites are run by people who hate Jews for people who hate Jews. Most of us agree that anti-Semitism in and of itself is a terribly obscene activity in any society.

And contrary to the constant stream of conspiratorial accusations of the anti-Semites, it's not a secret that Jews have been and are prominent in sex businesses. They are businesses whose barriers to entry were not high. The sex sector historically attracted Jewish businessmen when Jews were barred by anti-Semites from other industries.

There is significant open and credible academic discussion of this subject in new scholarly publications.

Religion Dispatches writes about one book that deals systematically with the issue of Jews and obscenity, "Jews and Obscenity: Is it a Thing?" in their Sexuality/Gender category.

Rachel Gordon reviews there Josh Lambert’s "Unclean Lips: Jews, Obscenity, and American Culture (Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History)."

She says it, "... is part of a growing body of scholarship on American Jews that’s willing to look where others have politely averted the scholarly gaze." Further she writes,