- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Insular Orthodox
"In the United States, as in Israel, 'the highest calling for an Orthodox Jew is to devote oneself fully to religious study, but its not the norm, according to a spokesman for the nations largest haredi [Orthodox Jewish] organization. Here, haredi men typically study for a year or two after high school, 'or more, if they have the financial wherewithal, says Agudath Israels Rabbi Avi Shafran. Then they move into the work force….
"Haredim in the United States are also well-represented in import-export businesses, in retail jewelry, electronics and clothing sales, and as financial analysts, traders and lawyers, Shafran says. U.S. haredim are 'still very insular compared to other American Jews, Shafran says; they dont go to movies, listen to popular music, or bring TVs into their homes. 'They sell TVs, but they dont watch them. They know how to turn them on and how to repair them, but they couldnt tell you whats on Monday night.
"Newspapers are also shunned, 'but to different degrees, Shafran says. Thus, the staid Wall Street Journal, though 'less kosher than some Yiddish-language newspapers, is considered more kosher than the tabloids or the New York Times, which run display ads for womens undergarments."
— Carole Ashkinaze, writing on "In the U.S., its black coats and briefcases," in the June issue of Moment

Hollywood and heroes

"Want to celebrate our World War II veterans? Forget about the movie.
"'Pearl Harbor, a silly love-triangle dud, has little to do with WWII reality. While painting our men as dolts, its historical accuracy is as shaky as its inappropriate debut date. The real attack on Pearl Harbor took place on Dec. 7th, not Memorial Day weekend. But Hollywood entrepreneurs, hoping to pull in mega-dollars during the unofficial start of summer, took creative license with its 60th anniversary date.
"Just like they took creative license with the facts. Panned by most film critics, its a shabby attempt to revise history, to paint a Pearl Harbor picture in which the Japanese were not the villains. But, if they were not, who were? To make matters worse, Disney has created more timid, 'abridged versions of the movie to sell in Japan and Germany.
"But the rewriting of history by Hollywood is just a troublesome blip compared to the way our government is treating some of our real World War II heroes — POWs who survived Japanese slave-labor camps.
"While the Department of Defense wasted millions assisting the makers of 'Pearl Harbor, our government continues to deny veterans … even a penny from their Japanese corporate former captors."
—Debbie Schussel, writing on "U.S. government cheating WWII veterans," May 29 in World Net Daily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Redefining folk

"Crudely speaking, the [folk music] movement drew most of its energy from the collective desire of at least a substantial minority of Americans to return to a previous idea of our national character, one simpler and presumably more 'authentic than the postwar ethos of the Organization Man, Marilyn Monroe and A Ford in Your Future.
"Older folkies, such as Pete Seeger, seemed to yearn for the 30s, when life was hard and dusty, and the good common people could, with the aid of a rousing singalong, sometimes be stirred to rise up against their oppressors….
"[Bob] Dylan transcended the narrow aesthetics of his folkie colleagues, and enraged the elders when he turned his back on politics and plugged into rock n roll, but its undeniable, I think, that he has, through his many stylistic transformations, been a folk musician all his life. He just defined 'folk music differently — more inclusively — than anyone else seemed to in the early 60s."
—Terrence Rafferty, writing on "God Is Dead. Bob Dylan Lives," in the June issue of GQ


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