Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More news of the day...

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has completed his trip to Israel.
Brady, the New England Patriots’ two-time Super Bowl MVP, left Israel Saturday night after a visit coordinated by Boston’s Jewish federation and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a strong supporter of Israel.

"I think it’s important" to share the Israel experience, Brady said.
Interesting Purim article. Interesting Purim op-ed by Jeffrey Goldberg
As chance would have it, it was on Purim that I tried to cross from Iran to Iraq. Purim is the famously disorderly holiday, celebrated today, that commemorates the hairbreadth escape of Persia's Jews from annihilation at the hands of the evil vizier Haman. The Purim story is recounted in the Scroll of Esther, which was read last night, Purim eve, in synagogues all over the world — including those in Iran, which is home to a remnant of a great and exceedingly old Jewish community. Judaism predates Islam in Iran by 1,000 years.

Purim is the ne plus ultra of the "They Tried to Murder Us, They Failed, Let's Eat" subcategory of Jewish holidays, and it is a self-consciously raucous day, a Jewish Mardi Gras when even rabbis are expected to drink themselves oblivious. It is possible to imagine, though, that Iran's intermittently persecuted Jews, living today under a president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the historical truth of the European Holocaust while threatening a new Middle Eastern one, might see Purim not as a story of tragedy averted but as one of tragedy foretold.

The Purim story is suspenseful, ribald, comic and almost certainly false, a fantasy of revenge and redemption. Scholars generally agree that it is a pseudo-history introduced into Judaism about 2,400 years ago, at a time when the memory of Jerusalem's conquest by the Babylonians was still laying Jews low. In the story, the supercilious King Ahasuerus chooses the beautiful Esther to be his queen. Esther, who keeps her Jewishness hidden, has an uncle, the stoic and brave-hearted Mordechai, who does not conceal his faith, and who earns the wrath of Haman when he refuses to bow down before him.[...]

It is an outlandish story on several counts, not least of which is that ancient Persian kings tended to tolerate other gods and the men who worshipped them. Such tolerance, it must be said, is one of the main attributes of polytheism; Jews were not seen as threats to the theological order of pre-Islamic Persia.
TV Squad speaks with Fred Goss and Nick Holly from Sons and Daughters. I admit that I have not seen an episode of the show yet.
JK: What experiences did you bring in to writing the show? Are there elements of both your families in the show?

FG: Absolutely. Nick and I are both products of divorce, and teen pregnancy, the whole Jewish wife scenario is certainly taken from my life -- I'm going through the same thing with my wife in raising our kids Jewish and I'm not Jewish -- so a lot of the ideas definitely sprang out of our own personal experience with our modern extended families.

NH: Then we change it so we're not sued. But the inspiration is the worlds we grew up in.

JK: That's a funny scene, where Cameron's little daughter says, "Aunt Rae says we're going to hell because we're Jewish!"

FG: That's kind of a reverse improvisational exercise, because we started the scene by giving the four-year-old that line and then improvised everything after it, like how would you feel if you walked into the room and your daughter said that. So that was the genesis of that scene.
Red Sox Manager Terry Francona will have his contract extended to 2008.

Here's a statement by Peter Sullivan, candidate for Congress:
State Rep. Peter Sullivan released the following statement regarding the Demers Group "St. Patrick's Day Breakfast and Roast":

While the goal of helping the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth is a laudable one, I cannot, as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, accept a free ticket to this event.

While the general public is charged $75 per person to attend the breakfast, members of the legislature are offered free tickets. Given the fact that the event is hosted by a lobbying firm with an interest in legislation pending before the House, I have decided that it would raise the appearance of impropriety to attend.

As a member of the House, I have made tougher ethics law a top priority. As a candidate for Congress, I have pledged to pursue reform in Washington. I can't allow those principles to be compromised for a plate of scrambled eggs and an hour's worth of bad jokes.

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