Archive for June, 2013

Stoudemire Wants Slice of Israeli Hoops Team

June 28, 2013

This post first appeared on the Forward.

Amar’e Stoudemire wears a kippah to show his Jewish heritage.

Amar’e Stoudemire wears a kippah to show his Jewish heritage.

Amar’e Stoudemire is showing that he really owns his connection to Judaism.

The Knicks player with Jewish roots announced on his Twitter account that he has joined a group that is trying to purchase the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.

“Excited to join the partnership that is giving back to the city of Jerusalem by offering the Hapoel basketball team a fresh start,” he tweeted Friday morning.

Stoudemire, whose Twitter handle is @amareisrael, joins entrepreneur Ori Allon and others in the bid to buy the troubled team. Hapoel Jerusalem has had a chronic underachievement problem, which has been attributed in the Israeli media to poor management. Overshadowed by powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Jerusalem has failed in recent decades to win any championships. (Stoudemire had actually considered playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv during the 2011 NBA lockout.)

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


SCOTUS Strikes Down DOMA

June 26, 2013

This article was first published as “For Jewish same-sex couples, US court decision is a godsend” in The Times of Israel.

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Jewish gay rights activists on Wednesday welcomed a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court that promises to improve the lives of countless same-sex married couples, including bi-national American-Israeli ones.

“It can’t be underestimated what a historic moment this is,” said Lavi Soloway, a Jewish immigration attorney who has been fighting for LGBT rights for two decades, about the decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

In a five to four decision written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the court voided DOMA, a federal law originally passed in 1996, during the Clinton Administration, which defined marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples are now entitled to federal benefits, according to the court’s decision in the United States v. Windsor case. The Court declined to decide a related case, thereby effectively allowing same-sex marriage to take place in California.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. were in the minority. Scalia read from his dissenting opinion from the bench. “In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us,” he wrote. “The truth is more complicated.”

All of the Jewish justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan — voted with the majority. Many Jewish groups and organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Reform movement, came out in support of the Court’s decision. Orthodox groups were not in favor of it.

“When the decision was handed down, I stopped breathing for a moment and tears welled up in my eyes,” Soloway said. “The decision striking down DOMA will take its place among other key civil rights decisions like Loving v. Virginia and Brown v. Board of Education.”

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Will Madonna Call Tel Aviv Home?

June 26, 2013

This post first appeared on The Shmooze blog at the Forward.

madge-62713It looks like the Kabbalah-loving Madonna may be trading in a London flat for an apartment in the Holy Land.

Madge was apparently seen toting a brochure for a high-end housing project in Tel Aviv. Israel’s Channel 10 reported on a photo circulating on Facebook showing her with sales material from the Meir on Rothschild tower, a 50-story luxury apartment building going up at the corner of Allenby St. and Rothschild Ave. The project is named for the man who has designed it — famed American architect Richard Meir.

We’re fairly certain the steep prices will not be a problem for the superstar. Apartments in the building have already been sold for between $1.4 million and $47 million.

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.