New Jersey's Jewish News on my big news.....

Newspaper clippings...delightfully old school. My favorite newspaper, the New Jersey Jewish News ran an article this week about my new position at Moving Traditions. (Thank you Andrew and Johanna -- for this and for all your local coverage!) 


Nice press in the Jewish Exponent

Philadelphia's Jewish newspaper has a short piece on my big news. The Exponent was stellar when it came to covering the work of Birthright Israel NEXT in Philly, including doing a great piece on the Shore House.


Sharing some big news

For Immediate Distribution


Deborah Meyer

Executive Director, Moving Traditions


As organization nears 10,000 Jewish girls in Rosh Hodesh: It’s A Girls Thing! leader is appointed to champion new educational approach for teenage boys

Jenkintown, PA—Monday, November 29, 2010—Moving Traditions, the Philadelphia-based non-profit that focuses on the intersection of gender and Judaism and has been a pioneer in the field of Jewish education for teenage girls has appointed Rabbi Daniel Brenner to lead the organization’s efforts for teenage boys. Rabbi Brenner, who since 2007 has served as the founding executive director and the chief of education and programming for Birthright Israel NEXT, will assume the role on January 3, 2011.

Rabbi Brenner’s appointment follows Moving Traditions’ release of Engaging Jewish Teenage Boys: A Call to Action, a comprehensive report offering seven lessons and seven principles to help Jewish educators more effectively inspire teenage boys to stay connected to Jewish life. Distilled from three years of research, 40 focus groups with Jewish boys, and extensive program development, the reports finds that putting boys’ developing masculinity – their journey to manhood – at the center of male-focused Jewish programming will keep more boys engaged in Jewish life beyond bar mitzvah.

“I am extremely pleased to announce the addition of Rabbi Daniel Brenner to the Moving Traditions staff,” said Deborah Meyer, Executive Director of Moving Traditions. “With his deep knowledge of Judaism and the Jewish community and his success in launching an innovative national program, Daniel is perfectly suited to enlist policy makers, funders, parents, clergy and educators in Moving Traditions’ Call to Action to more effectively meet the needs and interests of Jewish teenage boys.”

Brenner is anticipating a challenge.

“This is the Jewish community’s biggest blind spot,” Brenner stated. “Participation by young men in Jewish life outside of Orthodox circles declines rapidly at age fourteen and never truly picks up. The time has come to train educators to address the ethical and developmental issues that are relevant to young men post-bar mitzvah, to introduce new approaches to the intellectual and spiritual traditions for men found in Jewish life, and to bring Jewish women and men together to address changing gender roles and shared responsibilities.”

Rabbi Brenner brings two decades of experience in teen and young adult education, including work with inner-city youth at the Fresh Air Fund, and in Jewish summer camping, including Camp Ramah and JCC Camps. Prior to ordination at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Brenner served in synagogues as educational director, youth advisor, and teacher in Hebrew High School and he worked with Israeli teens at Kibbutz Gezer. Following rabbinical school, Brenner served on the faculties of CLAL–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and the Auburn Theological Seminary, where he created a multi-faith curriculum for the international teen youth program, Face to Face/Faith to Faith. Rabbi Brenner’s work with men includes volunteer prison chaplaincy with Jewish men at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania and teaching in a Master’s degree program at Sing Sing Prison. He is also the father of two sons and a daughter.

Sally Gottesman, Chair of Moving Traditions, has known Rabbi Brenner since the late 1990s when he served on the faculty of CLAL. She added, “With Daniel’s leadership, Moving Traditions will enable the Jewish community to keep more Jewish teenage boys engaged in Jewish life by helping them explore who they are as Jews and as young men – thereby strengthening the Jewish future.”

About Moving Traditions

Moving Traditions inspires women and men, boys and girls to engage more deeply with Judaism. Gender serves as our framework because it is shaped by culture and thereby defines who we are and who we can become. Moving Traditions’ logo incorporates the word masorot (traditions) because of our belief that every generation is called to move Judaism forward while remaining true to its profoundly moving traditions.


Jewish New Media Innovation Fund

While in a meeting on a much more serious proposal to the Jewish New Media Fund, I had a vision.


Provocative Poetry

You know that other kind of poetry, right? The non-provocative kind....well, this ain't that. This is pro-vocative. Positively inclined to vocate at any given moment. OK, OK, enough riffing on the title, I get it.  I am honored to be reading this coming Friday night at B'nai Keshet in Montclair NJ with some serious poets:

Jessica de Koninck ‘s collection, Repairs, is published by Finishing Line Press. Her poems appear in anthologies such as The Breath of Parted Lips, Voices from the Frost Place, Vol. II, Mischief, Caprice and Other Poetic Devices and in journals. Poems appear in The Valparaiso Poetry Review, Bridges, The Paterson Literary Review, US 1 Worksheets, the Edison Literary Review, Lips and elsewhere.   Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.   A resident of Montclair and former Councilwoman, she is a graduate of Brandeis University and Boston University School of Law, counsel to the South Orange–Maplewood public schools and anticipates receiving her MFA from Stonecoast in January 2011.

Deborah Garrison is the poetry editor of Alfred A. Knopf and a senior editor at Pantheon Books. Prior to joining the Knopf Publishing Group in 2000, she spent fourteen years at The New Yorker magazine, where she edited both fiction and nonfiction and wrote criticism for the books section. She is the author of A Working Girl Can’t Win and Other Poems (1998) and The Second Child (2007). Her poems and pieces about poetry have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Slate, and other journals.  Garrison is also Education Vice President at Bnai Keshet.

Martin Golan’s short-story collection, Where Things Are When You Lose Them, explores the losses that come with any life lived fully and well. The book is a follow-up to his novel, My Wife’s Last Lover. He works as an editor at Reuters, and is also a private writing coach. He’s published poetry, fiction, and essays in many magazines, among them Poet Lore, Fiction Warehouse, and Bitterroot, where he served as associate editor for several years working closely with legendary poet and mystic Menke Katz. His latest published work, a poem soon to appear in the magazine Lips, addresses the similarities between a singles’ bar and reading poetry in public, such as a Friday night service at a Montclair synagogue.  Golan is a Verona resident.

Madeline Tiger’s tenth collection of poems, The Atheist’s Prayer, appeared from Dos Madres Press, (Spring, 2010); her other recent collections are The Earth Which Is All (2008) and Birds of Sorrow and Joy: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2000(2003). Her work appears regularly in journals and anthologies. She has been teaching in state programs and private workshops since 1973 and has been a “Dodge Poet” since 1986. She lives in Bloomfield, NJ, under a weeping cherry tree.


Dream Come True

Growing up in North Carolina, basketball was a huge part of my childhood. I played driveway ball everyday after school with my neighbors and played for the Temple Israel team in the Church League. During the 70s and 80s, before we had pro teams in Charlotte, ACC college basketball players were our heroes. We went crazy in '83 when NC State won the NCAA and Jimmy V raced around the court in celebration. When Jordan went from Carolina to the pros, we felt as if one of ours had shown that we truly were the best at the sport.

Last night, thanks to Jeff Rosen, owner of the Maccabi Haifa team, I finally had my chance to show off the skills learned on the Glankler's driveway against the pros. After they took on the New Jersey Nets on Sunday, the Haifa team had an open scrimmage sponsored by a few Jewish organizations (thank you Metrowest Federation) and I got to play with Avi (pictured here) and the other guys. It was a great time -- thank you to all involved!

p.s. Sylven Landsberg (no 13 in the first photo) played in the ACC for Virginia...here's a massive dunk he threw down in his college days.



Occasionally the internet gods bless me with a 'stumble upon' --- a moment when I come across an article or video that I never intended to find. The video link below is one such wacky gift -- with music composed by a German by the name of Daniel Brenner. And it is perfect timing -- Coming as it does right before we Jewish folk roll the entire Torah and start again, with the beginning. Here is a contemporary commentary on the Creation....




Sukkah City

Moments of brilliance in the creative arts are rare in the Jewish world. (although last week's Galeet Dardashti performance at Le Poisson Rouge was quite amazing)so praise is due to the men (and the organization - Reboot) behind Union Square Park's latest display, Sukkah City. Foer, Cove, and Bennett have concocted this brief explosion of Jewish arts - spun out by artists Jewish and not who worked within the confines of sukkah making. (I love most of them, but "Log" is my personal favorite)

Sukkah City is perfect as it is - a display of architectural creativity that uses organic elements. But I did think of some potential side commentaries that might evolve:

1) A menu for each sukkah that matches the artistic qualities of the structure.
2) A folktale for each sukkah that conjures up something about the artistic theme.
3) A soundscape for each sukkah -- could be very minimalistic...could be just noises or could be symphonic works, or live band playing on handcrafted organic instruments.
Sadly, only one of these sukkot will stay up during the actual holiday, and I imagine that the sukkah that Chabad will be putting up will be of the pre-fab, aluminum pole rectangular variety. (ball is in your court, Chabad -- how about stepping up and designing a sukkah-city type model this year?)

Anyways -- go see this before it is taken down this evening!


A Poem for Kol Nidrei

Kol Nidrei

Men in white space suits sucking asbestos out of the basement

All the vows
All the promises
All the words that passed across my lips
Let them be as if they never were

Every speck of it suctioned into the long curling accordion tube and out into the hazard container on the back of the truck

All the vows
All the promises
All the words that passed across my lips
Let them be as if they never were

The hum of the negative air filtration system

All the vows
All the promises
All the words that passed across my lips
Let them be as if they never were

When they leave, I go down the stairs,
the once rusty, encapsulated pipes
skinny, painted white,
a skeleton.


Rosh Hashannah Predictions 5771

Please note that all of these predictions are within a margin of error
of +/- 2 percent. Enjoy! Daniel


78% of people will pay more attention to the stickers that say
“This prayer book donated in memory of” than the actual prayers.

34% of American three-year-olds will make mildly annoying shofar
noises on the car ride home.

67% of rabbis will say with great sincerity the words “t’shuvah means
more than repentance” but never actually get to the part where they
explain what else it means.

62% of husbands will call out to wives “where are the f*@#ing tickets?”

82% of male worshippers in Reform synagogues will spend the New Year
staring at the assistant rabbis’ curves.

67% of worshippers in Conservative synagogues will whisper "what page
are we on?" at least twelve times during the service. 82% of those
questioned will have no idea.

73% of female worshippers in Orthodox synagogues will experience hat envy.

81% of worshippers in Reconstustionist synagogues will wonder why
after twenty years they are still meeting in a moldy church.

45% of men who take medication for erectile dysfunction will close
their eyes during the Shema.

36% of residents of the Twin Cities area will say, under their breath,
“the brisket is a little dry.”

28% of shofar blowers in the Mid-Atlantic states will lift the shofar
skywards and have to adjust their tallis.

48% will prefer the honey cake with the little crushed walnuts.

100% of Jewish poets will imagine the “Who shall live and who shall
die” liturgy as a Mad Lib.

17% of Jewish Women International members will inadvertently send
musical Rosh Hashannah e-cards to their entire list of email contacts.

Honey wholesalers will once again experience the 2% “Jew-bump”

91% of all Jews will feel that services ran “about an hour too long.”
88% of them will blame it on the rabbi.

22% of Jewish grandmothers will leave messages for their grandchildren
on voice mail – and know that they are home. 99% of them will be home.

Only 24% of Jews over the age of ten will spill wine or grape juice on
their clothing.

84% of the Jewish population will have that awkward moment when
someone whose face you recognize but name you have totally forgotten
waves, smiles and asks “how are you?”

74% of all people who do a responsive reading will enter into the
gates of repentance.

- Daniel S. Brenner



Food pantries run low over the summer months and the collective contributions of those of us who are marking the High Holidays can make a big difference. Here's a little video that is part of an effort I am working on to feed those who are in need this season.


Buddy Holly Cheesehead!

My all-time favorite street musician from Madison, Wisconsin, the artistic genius Art Paul Schlosser, just appeared on America's Got Talent in the Chicago auditions and was given three rather large red Xs. This is a low point for American television. Schlosser, who did not reveal his real name on the show but went by the moniker of Buddy Holly Cheesehead did wear a large foam block of swiss cheese on his head. I, and other philosophy majors were mesmerized by his work in the 80s including the infamous:

"I see a watch, I see a watch, I see another watch, all that I see is called infinity"


Some Memories of Lee Hancock Z'L

Photo: One of the favorite albums of Eugenia Lee Hancock Z'L

I just heard the news that a mentor, Rev Dr. E. Lee Hancock, passed on to the next world

I was lucky to have worked with Lee in 2004 and 2005 when she was Dean at the Auburn Theological Seminary. The first thing I think about when I think of Lee is that Lee was cool. She had great taste in music – she introduced me to IZ – the Hawaiian singer who has that amazing cover of “It’s a Wonderful World.” She liked wacky religious art – especially Madonnas that were 3D and popular folk renditions of Women’s religious experience. She got the “Jewish” thing -- not sure how to say this, but she had a Jewish sense of humor if that is possible…she got what Jews think is funny. We laughed a lot.

Lee was tough. Watching her face chronic illness and still carry herself so beautifully was inspiring. Lee was an amazing preacher. I’ll never forget the time I heard her in a one-day seminar on Alzheimer’s speak on the theology of disability. She spoke with such poise and elegance and courage.

I remember the many times that Lee and I sat together in her office kicking around ideas that later changed lives -- The MMEC, the doctoral program with NYTS, the Evolution, DNA, and the Soul series…all sorts of great energy and creativity came from Lee’s mind and heart.

Lee was a great light. Her absence calls on all of us to glow a little more.

May her memory be for a blessing.


The Smooth Jazz Stylings of Yotam Silberstein

Forgive the blurry picture, but this is one of my sons (on the left) meeting Yotam Silberstein this past Saturday night after his gig at the Baird in South Orange NJ. Who is Yotam Silberstein? I didn't know either, but after hearing him I wanted to make sure that my son had a picture with him so that one day he could look back on the night he heard a rising star in the jazz world. You can check Yotam's music out here. Yotam is currently a student at the New School and his guitar sound is similar to Russell Malone -- he can pull off the soulful and bluesy as well as the Grant Green meoldic riff. While other young guitarists try to impress with speed, he only occasionally verges off into Stanley Clarke finger-tap land. He listens deeply. Yotam exudes joy in his playing, often singing along with his solos, reeling his head back, wildly tapping his feet with the drummer. Accompanied by George Cables -- a pianist who played with Sonny Rollins and other greats in the 60s -- Silberstein was respectful of the veteran, asking if Cables wanted to do an intro on a tune. Cables declined, preferring to hear what Silberstein was bringing to the stage. I can understand where Cables is coming from -- it is a great gift to hear a new talent as good as this.


Steve Nash, Arizona, and Immigrant History

Steve Nash has always been one of my favorite NBA stars. His brilliant passing, his hustle, his ability to slash through defenders, draw a triple-team and dish back for a teammate to score are all commendable. And I once read in the New York Times Sunday Mag that he has a rug made of used shoelaces. As his Phoenix Suns have recently taken a stand against the Arizona Immigration law, I was looking through my files to find some of the words I once wrote on the subject and I came up with this speech, delivered in Battery Park in 2006. Seems like some of them are still relevant.

Jewish Perspectives on Immigration

Rabbi Daniel S. Brenner
Delivered February 1, 2006
New York Immigration Coalition
Battery Park, New York City

Before I say a few brief words regarding Jewish teachings on immigration, I want to say that today I am standing on what is for me and my family sacred ground. It was on this spot that 100 years ago, my late grandfather, Herschel Brenner, then a six year old boy from Częstochowa, Poland began his new life. I often imagine that family of nine, in a small Brooklyn apartment, my great grandfather working a job as a stone cutter, learning a new language, becoming Americans.

For Jews in America, any reflection on immigration must include the tale of the S.S. St. Louis -- a ship of 937 Jews fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 that was not welcomed into American or Cuban ports. The boat returned to Germany where most of the passengers were eventually murdered by the Nazis.

A Jewish perspective on immigration policy begins with the biblical command:

"Do not stand idly by while someone's blood is being spilled" (Leviticus 19:16)

Today, as war and famine continue to lead strangers to these shores in search of protection and asylum, we must be mindful of the need for a safe haven.

There is a classic Jewish joke on the topic.

It is the beginning of the Nazis rise to power in Germany and a Jew from Vienna, desperate to find a safe place for his young family, gets an appointment at the visa office.

“Where to?” the visa officer asks.

The Jew does not have an answer.

The officer points to the globe that sits on the desk. The Jew spins the globe, meditating on each continent and each country.

“Well, where to?” the officer says.

Finally the Jew replies:

“I hate to bother you, sir, but do you have any other globes?”

But the notion of a safe haven is only one of the teachings on immigration that has strong roots in the Jewish tradition.

The classic Biblical text on how we are to act towards those who come into our land from other lands is cited in the interfaith statement. Leviticus chapter 19 verse 33-34:

33 "When an alien resides with you in your land, do not harass him.
34 You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the LORD, am your God.

But it is an oversight to read this verse without reading the two verses that follow it

35 "Do not act dishonestly in using measures of length or weight or capacity.
36 Just balances, just weights, a just measure for flour, and a just measure for oil, shall you have: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Why is a law about strangers followed by a law about honest measurement in the marketplace?

Because in order to create a society which treats the alien as the natives are treated, we must begin by creating a just, transparent, economic system. One which does not cheat immigrants, one that does not create a second class of citizens who must hide in the shadows for fear of imprisonment and deportation.

The biblical laws were very clear – if one lived among you and followed the minimum ethical standards- the Noachide laws- then it was a responsibility to treat that person
with the same love and concern that we treat our other neighbors.

Today we are most concerned with the way in which the proposed legislation, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act, goes about enforcement.

Andrew Grove, a Jewish survivor of Nazi Germany, wrote last week (1/26) in the Wall Street Journal:

The bill contains a provision punishing anyone who "assists, [or] encourages . . . a person who . . . lacks lawful authority to remain in the United States" to remain here….
This could change the nature of our society in a way that I have seen firsthand. As a Jewish child hiding from the Nazis in Hungary, I saw how the persecution of non-Jewish Hungarians who hid their Jewish friends or neighbors cast a wide blanket of fear over everyone. This fear led to mistrust, and mistrust led to hostility, until neighbors turned upon neighbors in order to protect themselves. Is this what we want?

We are a nation that respects the rule of law. But we would be wise to remember the teaching of the 18th century Chasidic Rabbi Simcha Bunam. He asked the question - Why in the verse in Deuteronomy 16:20 does it say: 'Justice, justice shalt thou pursue'? Isn’t it enough to say the word once? It repeats to teach us that we may use only justifiable methods even in the pursuit of justice."

Today we are here to send a message to the Senate and the White House. And in particular I would like to address our President.
Mr. President, in January of 2004, you said:
“Over the generations, we have received energetic, ambitious optimistic people from every part of the world. By tradition and conviction, our country is a welcoming society.”
And last night you emphatically stressed the contribution of immigrants to this nation.
But until the words terrorism and immigration control are detached from one another then we are not creating a welcoming society. In fact, the moral failure of the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act lies in the very title of the bill. Terrorists use legal means to gain entry - the two men who crashed planes into the Twin Towers came to the U.S. on tourist visas and extended them to student visas. But we should not let the memory of that horrific day create a society of suspicion, detention and deportation for the roughly eight million women and men who could not afford to come here legally. These women and men are praying that they will simply be allowed to work and feed their families without being labeled as felons.
Mr. President, Senators, direct your heart to theirs, have compassion for their prayers, help us all, as a nation, to act humbly, love kindness, and walk with God.


The Hummus Wars: a.k.a. Battle of the Bulge

Lebanon regains hummus title from Israel

May 9, 2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Lebanon for the second time in a year has wrested from Israel the title of making the largest plate of hummus.

More than 300 Lebanese chefs on Sunday created a more than 23,000-pound plate of hummus, in the presence of a Guinness World Records representative, more than doubling the Israeli record set in January.

The chefs reportedly used 8 tons of boiled chickpeas, 2 tons of sesame paste, 2 tons of lemon juice and 154 pounds of olive oil for their creation.

Lebanon claims ownership of hummus, a traditional Middle Eastern dish made of chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, and accuses Israel of stealing the product and marketing it as Israeli. Its exact origin is unknown, though presumed to be Arab.

My commentary: Gentlemen, this is pure insanity. For the good of humankind,let us put this competition behind us and face-off for the title of Most Delicious Hummus.


Atlantic City

Very few conferences in Atlantic City spill out onto the Boardwalk....but an 80 degree May day with a nice wind...you can't go wrong. My inclination, of course, was to skip the meeting and simply get the "$1 Reading" Fortune in the store behind us. But then I saw the sign that says $5. Oh well...I guess I'll have to wait for the future to find out what happens.


Bet for Badu?

Every once in a while while checking Google News one stumbles upon some wack-ness with Jewish content. Case in point is this from recording artist/performance artist Erykah Badu. What is with this cheeky Bet? A reference to a B-side? A reference to Bereshit? A reference to the mystical teaching "do not look at what is behind, above, or below, but only what is ahead"? A play on "Badu"? Do we have another celebrity kabbalist on our hands?

Apparently the Dallas Police Department is not down with her artistic expression.

But I for one am a fan -- if every celebrity chose a Hebrew letter to don on their cheek, children everywhere would have an easier time in Hebrew school.


How to Search for Chometz

How to Search for Chometz

the foamy spray of oven cleaner
snap of rubber gloves
squeak of Brillo pad against caked on shmutz
creak of refrigerator wheels on their once a year trek
wish-washy of the mop
splish-splashy of scalding water
vrum-vrumy of the vacuum

smack – the carpet runner that leads from the front door to the back hall is taken outside and whipped like a Hebrew slave

This is how you search for chometz, humming the soundtrack of freedom.


Kareem Abdul Jabar and Mos Def in one day?

Bizarro day. First, I'm in the airport in Newark at the gate getting ready to board the plane to New Orleans and Kareem Abdul Jabar walks up behind me, slips into the elite access lane and then ducks his head under the door and heads to the plane, bent over. Then I'm at Bon Temps Roule seeing the always amazing Soul Rebels and Mos Def walks beside me, gently pushing my friend out of the way to get closer to the stage.

What are the chances-- a rabbi rubs shoulders with two black Muslim celebrities in one day???

Malcolm X must be turning in his grave.


Retro Judaism

Below is an audio only version of the talk I gave in Charlotte:

Going Retro?

The Next Generation's Search for Jewish Authenticity


From the Charlotte Observer...

This event has been rescheduled for tomorrow night -- Tuesday, March 2nd - come on down!

Rabbi Brenner to speak at Jewish Federation event
Campaign kickoff is Feb. 21One of the nation's most influential rabbis will speak at the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte’s 2010 campaign kickoff event at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Temple Israel.Rabbi Daniel Brenner, executive director of Birthrigh
By Joe Marusak
Posted: Monday, Feb. 08, 2010

One of the nation's most influential rabbis will speak at the Jewish Federation’s 2010 campaign kickoff event at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Temple Israel.

Rabbi Daniel Brenner, executive director of Birthright Israel Next, was recently named by Newsweek as among the 50 most influential rabbis in America.

Birthright Israel Next is the largest effort to foster Jewish cultural, intellectual, civic, spiritual and philanthropic life for adults ages 22 through 32.

Brenner was hired by the Birthright Israel Foundation in 2007 to launch a wide-reaching effort to engage the more than 200,000 North American program participants and their peers in Jewish communal life.

Born and raised in Charlotte, Brenner was educated at the Hebrew Academy before attending Charlotte Latin School and graduating from Myers Park High School. He has a bachelor of arts in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin and both master of arts and rabbinic degrees from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

In his speech, “Going Retro? The Next Generation's Search for Jewish Authenticity,” Brenner will address the future of Jewish life in America, what the next generation will bring to the table and how the Jewish community can connect and engage them.

Those attending can make their annual gift to the Jewish Federation’s 2010 Annual Campaign. The campaign enables the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte to make a difference in the lives of millions of people in Charlotte, Israel and 60 other countries.

The money supports programs that feed the hungry, care for the elderly, educate the young, provide assistance for the troubled and intervene on behalf of families in distress who are unable to meet their basic needs.

Tickets for the event are $25 each and can be purchased online at www.jewishcharlotte.org, by calling 704-944-6757 and by visiting the Federation office on Main Street at Shalom Park.

For more details about the Main Event with Rabbi Brenner, contact the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte at 704-944-6764 or www.jewishcharlotte.org.


Dr. Mel Silberman Z'L

My father-in-law, Dr. Mel Silberman was one of the most amazing men I have ever met. He passed away this past Shabbat, after a thirteen year battle with cancer. We have posted eulogies and other memories at Remembering Mel


Macho Macho Man...I want to be a....

Sorry folks, this header has nothing to do with the late 70s Gay club scene. Machismo, though, is a great topic. I just crafted a piece for the New Jersey Jewish News.

"Professor Daniel Boyarin’s 1997 work Unheroic Conduct: the Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man was the counter-text to the Zionist typology of the new Jewish man as farm laborer and warrior. Boyarin sparked a new intellectual movement which sought instead to preserve and reinvent the gentle, studious, and "indoors" nature of the Jewish man.

Popular child psychology works such as William Pollack’s work Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Manhood and Peg Tyre’s The Trouble with Boys have fueled a growing concern that..." read it here.


NYU Wagner School's Berman Policy Archive Rocks!

thanks to the fine archivists over at NYU, someday a researcher might stumble upon some of my scribbles. They have 23 of my essays up on this page.

And a ton of searchable other stuff. Wow.




A Jewish Star: Nissen Brenenson from COLlive.com on Vimeo.

This right here folks is my cousin Nissen Brenenson singing his heart out. Nissen is a Chabad rabbi and is the educational director of the Jewish Childrens' Museum. I've seen him rock out at a Karaoke bar in the basement of a Days Inn. This is a bit more polished and sans boa.