December 7th, 2016

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Hanuka Cover Contest

Attention, artistic youth: the American Jewish World’s 25th annual Hanuka Cover Contest is in full swing.

UPDATE: The submission deadline for artwork has been extended to 12 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9.

This contest is open to all students attending 1st through 8th grades.

The winning artwork depicting the symbols and meaning of Hanuka will grace the front cover of the Jewish World’s Dec. 16 Hanuka special edition, and the winner will have her or his picture in the newspaper!

In addition, there will be fabulous prizes for the winner and runners-up.

All of the details can be found on a flyer: HERE.

Entries should be designed in a VERTICAL format.

Please send entries to: AJW Cover Art, 4820 Minnetonka Blvd., Suite 104, Minneapolis, MN 55416.

Artwork will not be returned and will become the property of the American Jewish World.

Winning Hanuka Cover Contest artwork, 2015/5776, by Chana Goldberg.

Winning Hanuka Cover Contest artwork, 2015/5776, by Chana Goldberg.

December 7th, 2016

Jewish arts and learning at St. Paul JCC

“Miracles: An Afternoon of Jewish Arts and Learning” will offer an opportunity for participants to explore the idea of miracles in Judaism, including the following questions: How do different people understand miracles? Did miracle stories in ancient Jewish stories actually happen? Do miracles happen today?

The class is a joint project between Hineni, St. Paul JCC and Sabes JCC. Teachers will include Rabbi Sim Glaser, Rabbi Tamar Grimm, Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker, visual artist Lynda Monick-Isenberg and poet Diane Pecoraro.

The class will take place Sunday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. at the St. Paul JCC. Cost is $50/$35 for JCC members.For information or to register, contact Sara Lynn Newberger at 651-698-8807 or sara.lynn@ttsp.org.

December 7th, 2016

Classic jazz vocal band to play at the Dakota

Rio Nido on their first album, 1978’s I Like to Riff

Rio Nido on their first album, 1978’s I Like to Riff

Rio Nido has long been one of the Twin Cities’ foremost interpreters of vocal jazz, dating back to their inception as part of the West Bank music scene of the early ’70s, and the Dakota Jazz Club will host the band’s original lineup for two shows, Dec. 27 and 28.

This lineup consisted of vocalist Prudence Johnson; Tim Sparks, providing both vocals and guitar virtuosity; and guitarist and vocalist Tom Liberman. The latter’s career has included a decade-long stint on A Prairie Home Companion, work as the creative director for Sesame Street Live, and an impressive solo career, including a recent release, Common Denominator, that was named one of the Star Tribune’s Top 10 Minnesota-made recordings of 2013.

The band will play two nights at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 27 and Wednesday, Dec. 28 at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis. For tickets and information, call 612-332-5299, or go to the Dakota website.

December 7th, 2016

Trump’s defense chief pick said Israel can be a pain

Despite critical comments about Israel by Gen. James Mattis, ‘pro-Israel’ Jewish groups are on board with Trump’s choice for Defense secretary

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for defense secretary is on the record decrying the burdens that Israel places on the United States and warning that the Jewish state could be headed toward apartheid. And with one notable exception, the right-wing pro-Israel community is enthusiastically on board.

In 2013, Gen. James Mattis, then recently retired as the top American commander in the Middle East, said he paid a “military security price every day” for U.S. support of Israel. The Republican Jewish Coalition and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, despite waging a fierce battle four years ago against an Obama defense pick deemed too critical toward Israel, are now defending Mattis, who is slated to be formally nominated by Trump on Tuesday evening.

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President-elect Donald Trump with retired Gen. James Mattis following their meeting at Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster Township, N.J., Nov. 19, 2016. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump with retired Gen. James Mattis following their meeting at Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster Township, N.J., Nov. 19, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“The selection of General Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense is a smart and important decision by President-elect Trump,” Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement. “Throughout his career, General Mattis has made the protection of the United States, our assets, and our allies around the world his top priority. General Mattis believes in a strong U.S. military posture and understands the threats we face, like a newly aggressive Iran. He has the type of worldview the leader of our Defense Department needs.”
The comments that have raised concern were made in July 2013, just after Mattis retired as head of the U.S. Central Command, or CentCom, the Pentagon post that oversees most of the Middle East (but not Israel) and western Asia. In his remarks, Mattis praised Secretary of State John Kerry for pushing hard to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, efforts that collapsed in mutual acrimony within a year.

“If I’m Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers out here to the east and there’s 10,000 Arab settlers in here, if we draw the border to include them, either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid,” Mattis said. “That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country,” noting South Africa.

Keep reading →

November 30th, 2016

Gershwin the klezmer

A revival at Park Square Theatre looks at George Gershwin’s Jewish roots

By MAX SPARBER

It has been almost two decades since The Soul of Gershwin first appeared in the Twin Cities. It was first performed as a concert at the St. Paul JCC, titled Gershwin the Klezmer and performed by the Minnesota Klezmer Band.

The current show remains true to its original conception, which was to explore the musical roots of George Gershwin, whom creator Joe Vass calls the “greatest composer of the 20th century” — a viewpoint that is widely shared, as Gershwin regularly tops the lists of most important songwriters of the last century.

The Soul of Gershwin, through Dec. 21 at Park Square Theatre. Features (l to r) Maud Hixson, Geoffrey Jones and Maggie Burton.

The Soul of Gershwin, through Dec. 21 at Park Square Theatre. Features (l to r) Maud Hixson, Geoffrey Jones and Maggie Burton. (Photo by Petronella J. Yisma)

But Vass noticed that, while music writers were adept at finding Gershwin’s roots in classical European music and American popular jazz, there was an entire influence that went undiscussed: Jewish music, especially cantorial compositions and the Jewish social music we now call klezmer. Keep reading →