“You People” is a Netflix original that, on the surface, is about two millennials who fall in love and navigate their relationship. It is a more complicated take on the usual rom-com than we are used to, as it attempts to deal with issues that can arise in interracial relationships. Although the intention is there, the execution ended up doing more harm than good because of its Jewish representation.
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This is the first of (what will hopefully be) many Dvar Torahs. Every week, Jews read a section of the Torah, what is commonly known as the Jewish Bible. That section is called a parshah. When someone delivers a sermon on the parshah, it is called a Dvar Torah. My Dvar Torahs will be published on Fridays, so you can read about what the Jews read that week and the message I am taking from it.
Being Jewish is a central part of my life. It dictates my morals, how I view myself in the world and how I spend much of my time. When I share this with most people, they are astonished. They ask how I can subscribe to an “organized religion” and how I can be so passionate about something so contested. Most are curious as to how I can center so much of my life around one thing. The truth is, though, that everybody has a religion. They just don’t see it as such.
Last night, I was scrolling through YikYak mindlessly. My roommate and I were sitting next to each other, and she announced that it was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. She made a post about it on the app, and then we quickly forgot about it. A few moments later, someone commented saying that their relatives had been murdered during the Holocaust. I privately messaged this person, asking them if I maybe knew them. They answered that no, they didn’t think they knew me, as they were not active in the community.
Technology, especially our cell phones, has become a part of our way of life. Most of us can’t remember leaving our dorms or apartments without it, almost like it is attached to us. I am certainly part of this group, although I wasn’t always.
Warning: This column contains spoilers for "Do Revenge" and "Glass Onion."
There is this sound on Tiktok that goes “Maybe you just need to go back to the ocean.” Under this sound, users post about traveling abroad or places with personal significance. I have seen iterations of this trend that lament the end to one’s study abroad experience, as well as posts from first or second generation Americans visiting the places their families emigrated from. I almost added to this trend myself, wanting to post old pictures of myself in Israel, excited to announce that I would return soon. I ultimately decided against that, though, because I wanted to keep my excitement to myself. I knew that this trip, my first time visiting Israel since I was 16, would be special. I just didn’t know how special it would be yet.
I have unfortunately lost several friends and family friends since I started college. Two of these friends passed within just days of each other, under very different circumstances. All of these deaths have carried their weight, their shock and grief.
Between the Orthodox Union’s summit on antisemitism currently taking place in New York and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s announcement on Monday that an interagency group will be formed to “increase and better coordinate U.S. government efforts to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of bias and discrimination within the United States,” there seems to be no shortage of concern around the rise in antisemitism. The formation of the White House group, it should be noted, comes after a letter from over 100 lawmakers and advocates at the White House summit which called for fears about the rise in antisemitism to be addressed.
I have always felt a tinge of jealousy around Christmas. Not because I want to decorate a tree or I like the idea of a random old man coming into my house in the middle of the night, but because of winter break. Winter break is purposefully put during the time of Christmas and the New Year, which are also both federal holidays. I remember thinking to myself “What about my holy days? What about my New Year?”
One may not think that a former president, a prominent contemporary rapper and a podcaster have much in common. And yet, it came as almost no surprise to many when it was reported that the three were having dinner together. Former President Donald Trump, rapper Kanye West and podcaster Nick Fuentes broke bread together over the weekend for purposes that are not entirely clear.
Noa Kirel has long been a household name in Israel. She is a pop star who has had a number of hits and has recently been gaining attention abroad. I, as someone who tries very hard to keep up with Israeli pop culture, have dipped in and out of Kirel’s music. It is very classically pop, with some Middle Eastern-style beats and many of her songs are in Hebrew. She has recently gained international attention as well due to her being named as the Israeli representative to Eurovision, which Israel recently won in 2018.
Dave Chappelle’s opening SNL monologue certainly has given viewers a lot to talk about. There were parts that I found really, truly funny. And there were parts which I felt walked the line of playful jokes and antisemitism. Since Kanye West’s Twitter rant and its aftermath, “antisemitism” seems to be the hottest buzzword. There’s almost too much going on for a Jewish opinion columnist like myself to write about, but it is necessary to unpack what Chappelle said.
Kanye West has long been a controversial public figure, which has become especially true in the years since Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from the Atlanta-born rapper. It has been public knowledge for quite some time that West suffers from bipolar disorder. It has also come to light from Kardashian that he does not take medication to help him improve his mental health and is generally unapologetic about his behavior. All of this is despite the fact that his mental illness has hurt his family and is one of the causes for the couple’s divorce. West, both in spite and because of this, continues to maintain his fame. The consensus has been that West is a man who should not be taken seriously. However, something has shifted in the last month; West’s rhetoric has become dangerous.
At this point, you’ve probably seen Kanye West’s string of antisemitic tweets and statements. West’s statements have caused him to rightfully come under fire. Some of the brands he was working with have cut ties with him, including JP Morgan Chase, as have even some of his friends. West, in short, was vilified by the media, but frankly, I think it was justified. There was nothing acceptable about West’s antisemitic comments, and this kind of thing should not be brushed off, especially when it comes from such a public figure. There is much, much more I could say about West and the things he’s said and the harm he’s done, but for now I will turn my attention to a different event.
December 31st is an exciting time for many. There are parties, copious amounts of glitter, fireworks and the annual ball drop. New Year's Eve is a time for celebration but it’s not really time for much else. Sure, you get together with friends and make some half-baked resolutions that you’ll forget about in a month, but New Years isn’t exactly a special time.
The New York Times article ‘In Hasidic Enclaves, Failing Private Schools Flush With Public Money,’ was a report heard around the Jewish world. Despite being written by two Jewish reporters, the piece is filled with antisemitic tropes and fails to make valid points about yeshiva education. Unfortunately, the New York Times’s reach is such that now thousands, if not millions, of readers now have misinterpreted the reality of Hasidic schooling.
Put yourself in my shoes for a moment. Imagine that you have a cultural identity that is so dear to you that it is the most important part of your life. You have jewelry and clothing that signifies it, decorations in your home for it, and you are always reading and learning about it. This cultural identity, however, is shared by a very small percentage of the campus community, and shared by an even smaller percentage worldwide. Thus, you spend a large amount of time interacting with people who just don’t understand this part of your life, and it’s exhausting. Connecting with others isn’t impossible, but it does mean that a lot of the things you say, do or think are markedly different from those around you. Your day-to-day interactions either have to be filtered so that you don’t confuse everyone, or they require a massive amount of educating others. And, either way, no one will really get it because they’re not in it.
Reading the news is typically difficult for most, whether it be learning of a war or pandemic death tolls, something new and terrifying being discovered in the ocean or space, or the most depressing climate update ever, the endless headlines are enough to make anyone want to bury their head in the sand. And, although it is called “news,” these stories can feel very repetitive as if all of the reports are coming out of Groundhog Day-esque nightmares.
I attended a Jewish school for 12 years. In this school we had a strong focus on Hebrew, the Tanach (Jewish scriptures) and Jewish history. It was there that I learned about the World Zionist Congress, a meeting in which Jewish leaders gathered to discuss their vision for a Jewish state. Now, around its 125th anniversary, I am taking a step back and examining what has happened since that fateful assembly.