Thursday, March 27, 2008

Afterthoughts on Mixed Chicks Interview

So I was interviewed on the Mixed Chicks Chat Pod Cast yesterday. I almost didn't make it on the show because I didn't realize that America had gone through daylight savings. Here in Israel we are about 7 hours ahead of EST time. We have a form of daylight savings here, but it happens at a different time of the year.

So about an hour before the show I decided to get a little of sleep so I didn't go to work today overly tired. When I woke up by chance I decided to check out the Mixed Chicks site, and I noticed that it looked like the show had already started. Thank God I checked in and I was able to get on the show.

Since I was invited to on the show several months ago, I began thinking about what kind of things to talk about. One of the reasons that I wanted to do this is because I come from a long line of very talkative people. I didn't want to go to far in tangents, and I also didn't want to get to deep into talking about things that are hard to understand.

There are a number of topics that involve Judaism that are at times hard to explain in simple terms. It was very refreshing to once again talk about some of the things I blog about that are sometimes difficult to write without going into 20 pages of stuff.

If you missed the podcast you can find Episode 43, both versions the edited and the unplugged version here.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ehav Ever on Mixed Chicks Chat

Reminder!

On Wednesday, March 26, 2008 I will be a guest on Mixed Chicks Chat podcast, the only live, weekly podcast about being racially and culturally Mixed. The show is hosted by Fanshen Cox and Heidi W. Durrow.

The title of the episode that I will be appearing on is Mixed and Jewish. It airs live 03/26/2008 05:00 PM EDT. The show is recorded and will be on the Mixed Chicks Chat web-site in the past shows sections.

More information about my upcoming appearance can be found at the Mixed Chicks Chat Schedule. Just in case you miss the appearance it will be recorded and can be downloaded or listened directly from the Mixed Chicks Site.
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Movie I Really Want To See

I heard about this film on Mixed Chicks Chat. It is a film called I'm Through With White Girls. It sounds really interesting. It was directed by Jennifer Sharp, written by Courtney Lilly, and executive produced by Phyllis Johnson. It was created by Turn Soul Films and has won the following awards.

2007 Awards
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE – URBAN MEDIAMAKERS Film Festival
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE – Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE – Roxbury Film Festival (Boston, MA)
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE – Hollywood Black Film Festival (Los Angeles)
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE – Pan African CANNES Film Festival (Cannes, France)
BEST ACTRESS – Atlanta International Film Festival
BEST ROMANTIC COMEDY – Houston Worldfest Film Festival

Trailer #1


Trailer #2


As soon as it comes onto DVD I am buying it.‎ Read Entire Post!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chubb Rock Interview

I loved the hip-hop from the 80's and the 90's before the gangster rap era. One of my favorite artists was Chubb Rock. I liked the fact that his music was fun to dance to and that he seemed like a real respectable person.

Chubb Rock - The Chubster


I don't listen to much rap now a days, mainly because I can't relate to it, so I end up sticking to the old school songs I grew up with. So It was interesting when I found out that Chubb Rock was working on a new album. The following is an interview with Chubb Rock from 2007.

Chubb Rock Interview Part 1
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival



For more information about the film festival check out the Mixed Chick Chat page here.‎ Read Entire Post!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tribute To The 5 Deadly Venoms

I loved the 5 Deadly Venoms (circa 1970's) when I was younger. The 5 Deadly Venoms revolutionized martial arts films. It would be cool if a good remake was done of some of their films.

5 Deadly Venoms - I had 5 pupils


Five Deadly Venoms Documentary part 2


Five Deadly Venoms Documentary part 3
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Monday, March 17, 2008

Understanding Judaism – Jews and the World

I was watching a show on You Tube a few weeks ago done by the magician/comedy team of Penn and Teller. They have a show on Showtime, which is titled “Bullshit” where they explore what they perceive to be false, fake, or basically BS things or issues. One of the issues that came up in one episode is the Bible. I didn’t watch all of it, but from the start I already knew what their premise was. That is the same old run for Bible criticism of “Use translations and non-Jewish sources as the proof that the Bible is incorrect and false.” The second point is to blame human suffering on the Bible and religion, as if humans are not responsible for human suffering. Most of the time these shows concentrate on what is termed the Judeo-Christian perspective of the Bible, which really means the Christian and non-Judaic perspectives of the Bible.

Thoughts on Bible Criticism

Personally, I could care less about criticism of the Bible, since I don’t read the Bible (English text), I read and study the Tanakh (Hebrew text). The Hebrew text was the original and was always analyzed by Jews using OUR sources and OUR methods of understandings that were passed down to us for thousands of years. There have been critics of Judaism and the Tanakh for thousands of years, and none of them were able to destroy the Jewish faith or the Jewish people. So the critics are here one day and gone the next and the Tanakh still stands.

It stands for a very important reason. We Jews who lead our lives by the Tanakh do so without caring which direction the winds of the world blows. Those winds blow one direction one day and another direction the next. We also have seen enough evidence to prove the Tanakh to be true from OUR sources, and even from non-Jewish sources. We also don’t have to prove anything to the world, this being the most important factor. It is not up to me to prove out Hashem (The Creator). He created everything, exits outside of human time, is beyond various elements of human interaction and understanding. I on the other hand I am finite, I get sick, I have to eat, and I am only on this earth for an eye blink when compared to universal history. Taking all of that into account why would Hashem need me to prove his existence to the world. Existence by itself proves that something created it, or started the process if you will. Even looking at this in evolutionary terms, whatever force started the process of universal and eventually human development could be called “God” whether you believe it is the big bang or a sentient being.



Banana Nut Bread and Judaism?

It is not the job of the Jew to go out into the world and force the world to accept it. It is like someone who believes that banana nut bread is tasty, why should they have to go out and prove it. He/she may tell people about the bread, they may brag about it, and they may be seen in public eating, but why should they make the world accept that goodness which is banana nut bread. If a person sees the banana nut bread being eaten by someone who loves it, and they have questions about its taste the lover of the bread can explain it to them. He/she can also explain what they know about how it is made. Said outsider may want to also partake in the banana nut bread, but that is his/her fee will choice. Also, imagine if the Banana Nut bread was capable of showing the world that it was the best bread (or cake) in the universe. Which opinion would you go by then? The person who partakes in the banana nut bread or the banana nut bread?

This is somewhat of a rough and silly allusion, but it is just one way of understanding how Truth works. This is how it works for those of us who believe in it believe that Hashem gave our ancestors Truth with a capital T, which was the Torah, the prophets, and the writings of our sages. Yet, it is not our job as Jews to make people believe that is the case. It is our job to live by it and be examples of it.

One day that Truth will reveal itself to all of humanity and whatever incorrect beliefs exist will be corrected by the Truth, and what is correct will be uplifted and available to all of humanity. Only then will humanity find the rest that so many seek, but in order to get there it takes work in the here and now. We as Jews haven’t done everything perfectly, but we also haven’t done everything incorrectly either. Yet, every day and every moment is a chance to be a living and breathing example of Truth. So going back to those who spend their lifetimes trying to prove the Tanakh wrong. When they are dead and gone the Tanakh and the Jewish people will still be here.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Creative People Part 2

Once again another group of videos that I find interesting. For some reason it seems like the Star Wars crowd are very creative with videos. Two of the four videos are from Star Wars fans. Enjoy.

Black20 - PG Version of 300


Black20 - Darth Vader PSA


Darth Vader vs. Japanese Police


Superman - How It Should Have Ended
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Friday, March 14, 2008

Creative People: Part 1

These videos speak for themselves. I like it when people use their creativity to come up with interesting stories or humor.

What If Lightsabers Were Real?


Punch Robert's Urban Ninja II
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Monday, March 10, 2008

Ehav Ever On Mixed Chicks Chat

Mark your calenders!

On March 26, 2008 I will be a guest on Mixed Chicks Chat podcast, the only live, weekly podcast about being racially and culturally Mixed. The show is hosted by Fanshen Cox and Heidi W. Durrow.

The title of the episode that I will be appearing on is Mixed and Jewish. It airs live 03/26/2008 05:00 PM EDT.

More information about my upcoming appearance can be found at the Mixed Chicks Chat Schedule. Just in case you miss the appearance it will be recorded and can be downloaded or listened directly from the Mixed Chicks Site.
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Saturday, March 8, 2008

European Racism in Soccer

I recently came across this piece on You Tube concerning racism that exists in the world of European soccer. It is an interesting and disturbing piece, especially in light of how people often hold up Europe as being high class societies. This is one of the reasons that I would never visit most of Europe.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

A Black, Jewish Officer in the Civil War

The following article was written by Phil Downey about his great great grandfather Morris Morris who Black and Jewish.

A Black, Jewish Officer in the Civil War
Written by Phil Downey

My great great grandfather Morris Morris aka Lewis Morrison was an officer in the Louisiana Native Guard. Morris' mother's maiden name was Carvalho. It is my understanding through oral family history that Morris Morris was Jewish. I have also come to learn that Morris was also part black *I do not know what percentage. Morris migrated to New Orleans with his mother from Jamaica shortly before the war began. I have confirmed through the Jamaican Jewish Genealogy website, that the Carvalho's of Jamaica were Jewish.* I also believe Morris' father was Jewish, though I have no firm proof on this matter. There is a website dedicated to the Louisiana Native Guard which contains information and photos of Morris Morris. After the war Morris changed his name to Lewis Morrison and went on to become one of the great stage actors of the latter 19th century. I believe he changed his name for two reasons:
  1. To escape his African heritage. He was probably considered a Creole in New Orleans. In his photos he has predominantly white features, and:
  2. To escape his Jewish heritage. Sadly Jews and Irish Catholics, next to Blacks, were the most despised of White ethnic groups in the late 19th century.
I do not believe that he would have been able to pursue his career in acting had he not changed his identity, FYI, Lewis is the grandfather of Joan and Constance Bennett and the great grandfather of Morton Downey, Jr.

Morris Morris Most Generally Known for His Mephistopheles

Morris Morris' regiment, "The 1st Louisiana Native Guard," organized as a Confederate Home Guard regiment in June of 1861 and was accepted for service as a Louisiana Militia unit by the Governor of Louisiana shortly thereafter, but was not documented as having seen combat as a Confederate regiment. After the Union occupation of New Orleans in 1861/62, some Black and mulatto officers and enlisted men of the regiment accepted Union service and formed a new USA regiment under the same name. Therefore, although Morris Morris served briefly as a Black Jewish Confederate officer, most of his military service and all of his combat service in the War was as a Union officer. The reorganized "Native Guard" did fight in many battles on behalf of the Union.

At the battle of Port Hudson the 1st Louisiana Native Guard, USA, was the first Black Regiment to fight in combat for the Union.

Historically, Morris Morris is more correctly listed listed as a Union officer.‎ Read Entire Post!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Understanding Judaism Part 1

The Torah as a Testimony

In the next few posts I will present information discussed from a Traditional and Orthodox Judaism. I define Traditional Judaism as the Torah understandings and traditions that came out of the Middle East directly from Jewish communities who have always been in the Middle East. Orthodox Judaism I define as the Torah understandings and traditions of the descendants of Middle Eastern Jews who made their want into Europe. The two are one and the same on some level with miner differences in culture. I make the distinction since most people are familiar with Jewish movements that came out of Europe, but not those that came out of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Instead of relying on my own words or opinions I will try to find videos or writings by various Judaic scholars from around the Jewish world. I also intersperse this group of posts with some comparisons in Jewish liturgy and music.

Rabbi Amnon Yitzhaq Lecture

Below is part 1 and part 2 of a video, done here in Israel, of Rabbi Amnon Yitzhaq speaking on whether one can take the Tanakh (Hebrew) as a valid source of religious truth or simple as a collected group of histories.

Rabbi Amnon Yitzhaq

Rabbi Yitzhak is widely involved in "Kiruv" ("bringing [secular Jews] closer [to Torah Judaism]"). He is the head of the 'Shofar' organization, which, among other activities, distributes his lectures on audio and DVD's around the globe. Rabbi Yitzhak was born in Tel Aviv, Israel to a Yemenite Jewish family. He was brought up in a non-religious home, and became religious at the age of 24. Eight years later he established the Shofar organization for promoting the "return to religion" amongst the Jewish Israeli population.In his lectures he dresses in traditional Yemenite Jewish clothing.

In order to understand some of the points of his lecture you have to understand that Traditional and Orthodox Judaism bases itself on what is called מסורה (Mesorah). Mesorah refers either to the transmission of a (religious) tradition or to the tradition itself.
  • In a broad sense the term can refer to the entire chain of Jewish tradition.
  • In a narrow sense the term refers to the tradition of the Masoretes used in determining the precise text of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible):
Rabbi Amnon Yitzhaq's lecture is in Hebrew, but there are English subtitles.

Torah - A testimony for generations (pt.1)


Torah - A testimony for generations (pt.2)

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Judaism and Intermarriage: Part 4 Genealogy

If you haven't already read the previous posts you will need to do so before reading this section.

Judaism and Intermarriage Introduction

Judaism and Intermarriage Post 1

Judaism and Intermarriage Post 2

Judaism and Intermarriage Part 3 Race

Origin of Titles


The original name for the people we now call Jews was עברים Ivrim (Hebrews). The word "Hebrew" (in the Hebrew language, "Ivri" singular and “Ivrim” plural and in Egyptian “Habiru”) is first used in the Torah to describe Abraham (Gen. 14:13). The word is apparently derived from the name Ever, one of Abraham's ancestors. Another tradition teaches that the word comes from the word "Eyver," which means "the other side," referring to the fact that Abraham came from the other side of the Euphrates, or referring to the fact Abraham was separated from the other nations morally and spiritually. Another name used for the people is Benei Yisrael, which refers to the fact that the people are descendants of Jacob, who was also called Yisrael.

The word "Jew" (in Hebrew, "Yehudi") is derived from the name Judah, which was the name of one of Jacob's twelve sons. Judah was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, which was named after him. Likewise, the word Judaism (Yahadut in Hebrew) literally means "Judah-ism," that is, the religion of the Yehudim. Other sources, however, say that the word "Yehudim" means "People of G-d," because the first three letters of "Yehudah" are the same as the first three letters of G-d's four-letter name.

Jewish Migrations

After the national Israelite and Judean federations were crushed first by the Assyrians and later by the Babylonians, between 700 BCE to 586 BCE, the surviving Israelites migrated to various parts of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Southern Europe. As the years went on Jews who descended from those Israelites traveled further into those regions and established religious and social communities, the national aspect of Judaism not existing again until 1949.

According to genetic research, it is beleived that the first group of Israelites or Jews reached a particular region took in a few female converts from said region. After about 1 or 2 generations of this, said Jewish community had enough legally Jewish members to no longer need converts to boost their numbers. After that point, as well as with the social status of Jews declining in most parts of the world, those Jewish communities became closed. What this means is that number of converts to Judaism joining the Jewish communities became either minimal or non existent, depending on the region. This was expecially the case when persecution or suppression of Jews began in most parts of the world.

Later Jewish Communities and DNA Testing

DNA testing of the major Jewish communities have shown that most Jewish communities, no matter how far apart, have a common DNA signature amongst a good number of its members. This means that for about the 2000 years Jews have maintained very strict marriage rites, as well as a lower intermarriage rate to non-Jewish communities. This is of course changing modern times in many Western countries with assimilation. Yet, this is happening with, American Jews, more so than with Israelis and European Jews.

The video below gives a view of Jewish genealogy. It does not of course cover every Jewish community based on country, but most of the major ones. To see a bigger more clear version click directly on the video.

Jewish Genealogy in a Glance


Conclusion

The Talmud and Kabbalah teach us that marriage is not merely a union between two totally independent individuals. Marriage is the reunion between two halves of the same unit. A couple shares the same soul, which, upon birth, divides itself into two incomplete halves. Upon marriage, they reunite and become, once again, complete. What we are dealing with here is not only a union on the physical, emotional and/or intellectual level. What we are dealing with here is a union on the deepest, most essential level of self. There are souls that are compatible for marriage and there are souls that are not.

As was mentioned in my previous posts the main focus of Judaism is to maintain a Jewish religious, national, and social community amongst Jews. Race is meaningless in marriage, if both partners follow the religious, national, and social codes. i.e. both parents are legally Jewish, either through conversion or through a Jewish mother, and they live as Jews. Judaism has a method with which non-Jews, from any culture, can join the Jewish faith and nation. Yet, there are of course religious requirements for anyone wanting to do so.

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