False Dichotomies


Archive for the 'Miscellany' Category

Awarding Good Jewish Teachers

This is a Guest-Post

The Jewish community has always recognized that transmitting the Jewish “mesorah” — tradition — is facilitated through the family and through high quality education. The percentage of uneducated Jews has always been extremely low and even today, a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) points to Israel as the second most educated country in the world.

The Jewish educational system is dependent on outstanding Jewish educators whose vision, efforts and creativity are responsible for guiding and inspiring a new generation to take their place in the Jewish community and in society as a whole. Read more

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The Growing Popularity of Tzfat for Birthright Groups

This is a Guest Post

When Birthright started in 1999 Tzfat was allotted a two-hour visit. Tzfat’s importance was recognized by Birthright which mandated that a visit to Tzfat be built into each Birthright group’s schedule, but other than a short tour of the synagogues and a chance to shop in a safe enclosed lane little additional attention was given to the mountaintop town.

Today, the situation has changed. Tzfat proved to be one of the most popular attractions for Birthrighters and today many tour organizers ensure that their Birthright groups spend at least a half a day in Tzfat.

In addition to the obligatory visits to Tzfat’s synagogues and shopping time on the art street, there are many other opportunities for Birthright groups in Tzfat and, depending on the tour organizer, program staff and guide, the participants can see and experience elements of Tzfat that most tourists rarely see. Read more

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Public Service Announcement

To those who still have falsedi on their Google Readers or RSS Feeds or whatever else it is you use to keep up with the blogosphere, I’m sorry, but I’ve been busy with other projects. This is just a quick announcement to let everybody know that I’ll be back very shortly, and – inshallah – better than ever. There is much to talk about.

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Fall 2012

Whatcha Gonna Do – Shyne

Cheesesteaks – Vinnie Paz

All Time Greats feat Party Arty – Showbiz/AG

Maad City feat MC Eiht – Kendrick Lamar

Choices – Apollo Brown

Looking for Astronauts – The National

Starting Over feat Ben Bridgewell – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

What a Day – Josephine

From the Woods!! – James Vincent McMorrow

Bridge Through Time – Apollo Brown

I Forgot To Be Your Lover – The Revelations

The Chorus in the Underground – Great Lake Swimmers

Octopus – Bloc Party

Only Love – Ben Howard

Guest of the Government – Admiral Fallow

Make the Sound feat Rhymefest – M.A.S.K.

Get Together feat Rapsody – MURS/9th Wonder

What I Do – Jon Connor

BFK – Freddie Gibbs

Cold feat Kanye West – DJ Khaled

Truth Be Told – Apollo Brown/Guilty Simpson

The 11th Hour – Apollo Brown

Pulling On A Line – Great Lake Swimmers

Everything – Ben Howard

How To Make It Through Hysteria – Skyzoo

HVN4AGNGSTA feat Master P – Game

The Red Carpet feat Raekwon & Ras Kass – Evidence

Hip Hop feat Scarface, Nas & DJ Premier – DJ Khaled

I Want You – Cee Lo Green

Work Everyday – Brother Ali

Need a Knot feat Bun B – Brother Ali

My God – Bombay Bicycle Club

The Wolves – Ben Howard

Lose You – Apollo Brown/Guilty Simpson

Never In A Million Years – Apollo Brown

Dudu – Haim Hefer

Ink Blotches – Apollo Brown/Guilty Simpson

All I Really Want feat The Dream – Rick Ross

Diamonds – Ben Howard

Wildflower – Cee Lo Green

Lit Up – The National

Can’t Hold Us feat Ray Dalton – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

They Ready feat J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T. & Kendrick Lamar – DJ Khaled

Still – Great Lake Swimmers

Moscow Evenings – Sunset – The Alchemist

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Music For An Israel Trip


Every year tens of thousands of tourists visit Israel. Some come on organized trips while others travel on their own. One characteristic that the majority of visitors have in common is their desire to experience the Land of Israel and connect to its people and heritage.

Many tour organizers and guides recognize this and make an effort to include Jewish and Israeli music as part of the trip. They view Israel’s music as an opportunity to present the country’s character, emotional pulse, values and experiences. The music of Israel helps to define the country’s identity and encourages the travelers to develop a solidarity with Israelis. Some songs reflect the country’s religious or pioneer history while others indicate the emotional pulse of today’s Israeli citizens. Some well known examples include Hatikva, Old Jerusalem and a number of others found in the Israel Suit released by the Lowell Milken Archive.

A component of this identity involves the inclusion of Hebrew words and phrases that allow visitors to connect to Israel through language. Many people, including many Jewish tourists, know little Hebrew but would like to learn more. Introducing simple Hebrew songs into a group activity or while traveling on a bus is a good way to help familiarize tourists with the language of the country and give them a feeling of inclusion and belonging.

Tour leaders can use song lyrics to initiate discussions about the country’s conflicts, values, attitudes and struggles — many of which are expressed by Israeli performers. When these pieces are translated and discussed with the tour participants it is often possible to provide an overview of the “real Israel” that may otherwise be overlooked.

Finally, many groups engage in a karaoke-type sing-a-long that allows the participants to recall the traditional Jewish songs of their Hebrew schools and summer camps. The importance of these activities cannot be overemphasized because they frequently strengthen the identification that the participants feel with the Jewish Land.

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Second Aliyah Playlist: 15.3.12 – 13.8.12

1.    40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (Up From Below)
2.    Minnesota, WI – Bon Iver (Bon Iver, Bon Iver)
3.    Holocene – Bon Iver (Bon Iver, Bon Iver)
4.    Towers – Bon Iver (Bon Iver, Bon Iver)
5.    Michicant – Bon Iver (Bon Iver, Bon Iver)
6.    Hinnom, TX – Bon Iver (Bon Iver, Bon Iver)
7.    Longing and Losing – Nathaniel Rateliff (In Memory of Loss)
8.    I Gave You All – Mumford & Sons (Sigh No More)
9.    Cardinal Song – The National (Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers)
10.    To Just Grow Away – The Tallest Man On Earth (There’s No Leaving Now)
11.    Lord Knows feat Rick Ross – Drake (Take Care)
12.    Big Beast feat Bun B, T.I. & Trouble – Killer Mike (R.A.P. Music)
13.    Celebrate – Common (The Dreamer, The Believer)
14.    OwNIT – DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles (KoleXXXion)
15.    Represent Intro + Represent – Elzhi (Elmatic)
16.    Volume – Hassaan Mackey & Apollo Brown (Daily Bread)
17.    The Otherside feat Bilal Oliver & Greg Porn – The Roots (Undun)
18.    Deepest Shame – Plan B (ill Manors)
19.    East Harlem – Beirut (The Rip Tide)
20.    Revelation Blues – The Tallest Man On Earth (There’s No Leaving Now)
21.    Palmistry – Great Lake Swimmers (Lost Channels)
22.    Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons (Sigh No More)
23.    Slipping Husband – The National (Sad Sons for Dirty Lovers)
24.    Keep Your Head Up – Ben Howard (Every Kingdom)
25.    Breaking Hearts – James Vincent McMorrow (Early in the Morning)
26.    Down The Burning Ropes – James Vincent McMorrow (Early in the Morning)
27.    Early in the Morning – James Vincent McMorrow (Early in the Morning)
28.    Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree – James Vincent McMorrow (Early in the Morning)
29.    Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft And Low – James Vincent McMorrow (Early in the Morning)
30.    If I Had a Boat – James Vincent McMorrow (Early in the Morning)
31.    Walk Right Up to the Sun – The Delfonics (The Definitive Collection)
32.    Mastered Craftsman – Percee P (Perseverance)
33.    Body Work feat French Montana, Meek Mill & Juicy J – Pusha T (Fear of God II – Let Us Pray)
34.    JoJo’s Chillin – Killer Mike (R.A.P. Music)
35.    Mind Your Business – La Coka Nostra (Master of the Dark Arts)
36.    Holla At Me – Tupac (All Eyez On Me)
37.    Lucky Pressure – Roni Size & Reprazent (In The Mode)
38.    I Know This Game – Sadat X (June 12’)
39.    Stay Fly – Three 6 Mafia (Most Known Unknown)
40.    Hold Me Back – Rick Ross (God Forgives, I Don’t)
41.    I Got This – Big K.R.I.T. (Live from the Underground)
42.    The Brouhaha – Beastie Boys (To the 5 Boroughs)
43.    Excursions – A Tribe Called Quest (The Low End Theory)
44.    Daughters – Nas (Life is Good)
45.    Breakdown – J. Cole (Cole World: The Sideline Story)
46.    Old Pine – Ben Howard (Every Kingdom)
47.    Wind and Walls – The Tallest Man On Earth (There’s No Leaving Now)
48.    Criminals – The Tallest Man On Earth (There’s No Leaving Now)
49.    Moving Pictures Silent Films – Great Lake Swimmers (Great Lake Swimmers)
50.    Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons (Sigh No More)
51.    Awake My Soul – Mumford & Sons (Sigh No More)
52.    The Believer – Common (The Dreamer, The Believer)
53.    Word Iz Bond – DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles (KoleXXXion)
54.    Tao Te Ching – Apollo Brown (Clouds)
55.    Pirates – Rick Ross (God Forgives, I Don’t)
56.    This Old Dark Machine – James Vincent McMorrow (Early in the Morning)
57.    Sparrow and the Wolf – James Vincent McMorrow (Early in the Morning)
58.    Lal Meri Pat – The Legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

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What to do when Press TV come calling

Hi Hoth,

We are recording a programme tomorrow on Press TV about settlements and the boycott movement. I wondered if we could interview you over the phone, satellite or skype. I’m not sure where you are based at the moment.. in London or elsewhere. The programme is at 1.30pm UK time. Please let me know if you can participate.



Hi Amirathe*
Thank you for your email. I don’t mean anything personal, but I have great reservations about assisting Press TV any further – as I stated quite clearly, and publicly, in a piece for the Guardian a couple of years ago: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/09/press-tv-iran-impartial – therefore I will have to turn down your request.

My experiences with the likes of Lauren Booth and her appallingly illiterate, not to mention outright racist, approach to broadcasting flagged up to me quite how venal Press TV’s editorial team must be to commission the likes of her (and George Galloway, et al) to host series on the station.

I wish you all the best, but that does not extend to the company for whom you work,

*Names have been changed

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War is Hell. Just Ask the Hoth.

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The Folly and Courage of Refusal

I had a horrible feeling that it might happen. There had been some speculation that Evra might refuse to shake Suarez’s hand, but nobody seriously entertained the possibility that Suarez would be the one to deliver the snub. I guess they didn’t know Suarez so well. It was gruesome to watch, so gruesome that I could barely watch the super-slow replays. By half-time, though, I had a further thought: whatever else one might say about Suarez, you can’t deny that he’s got balls. Read more


Almost Ready

There won’t be many updates this week, as I’m getting everything ready for my trip to India (via the Balkans). Once I hit the road, you can expect plenty of updates. In the meantime, you can check out the Highbury Gaon on David Lynch’s love of Lodz, and Benjamin on the Heretic and the Philosopher.

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