A Catchy Chanukah Song by Senator Orrin Hatch

The senior senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, has written a Chanukah song!

Senator Hatch has written many other songs, including “Heal Our Land,” which was performed at the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.

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Madonna’s Second Date in Israel

Madonna will resume her international Sweet & Sticky Tour in London on the 4th of July. The tour will end in Israel. After the September 1, 2009, concert in Tel Aviv quickly sold out, a second performance date was added for September 2, 2009. It has been 16 years since the pop diva last performed in Israel, although she has been a visitor to the country a couple of times since then.

While in Israel, Madonna plans to go to the Wailing Wall with her children, including her newly adopted Malawi daughter Mercy, age 3 or 4, and adopted Malawi son David Banda, 3.

The Israeli tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth reports that Madonna’s friend Justin Timberlake will be joining her in Israel. The two share an enthusiasm for Kabbalah. Mr. Timberlake has been studying the esoteric Jewish mysticism at the London Center with Madonna.

There have been no announced plans that Mr. Timberlake will perform on the Sweet & Sticky Tour, but it is rumored that there may be some onstage surprises.

I Am A Jerusalemite

Stanley Goldfoot, the founder and editor of The Times of Israel, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. At age 18, he packed a bag and moved to Palestine. The British police sent him back to South Africa, where he was drafted into the army.

Mr. Goldfoot returned to Tel Aviv. He worked as a journalist and participated in activities in opposition to the British Mandatory Power. He officially made aliyah to Israel in 1956. On November 24, 2006, he passed away at the age of 92.

In 1969, Mr. Goldfoot published his controversial Letter to the World from Jerusalem in the first issue of The Times of Israel. However, the Letter remains as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. (The entire text is printed at Israpundit.)

Aish.com has produced this poignant film from Mr. Goldfoot’s words:

See Also:
A JEWISH HERO IN OUR TIME

Arnold Schwarzenegger Returns California’s Nazi Loot

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was on hand on April 10, 2009, when two paintings belonging to the state were returned to the grandchildren of their original owners. Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer, who owned a gallery in Berlin, fled to France in 1933 to escape Nazi persecution. The Nazis auctioned off 100 paintings from the Oppenheimer’s collection in 1935, to raise money for Reichfluchtsteuer, a “flight” tax designed to strip Jews of all of their assets.

Two of the paintings, “Portrait of Alvise Vendramin” and “Portrait of a Bearded Gentleman,” ended up in the collection of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. They were on display at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, which was deeded to the state of California in 1972 to become part of the state park system.

The families of the Oppenheimers two daughters fled Germany in 1940. Jakob Oppenheimer died in France in 1941. His wife Rosa was taken from France by its German occupiers to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where she died in November 1943.

The father of Austrian-born Governor Schwarzenegger was a member of the Nazi Party. Returning the paintings on the second day of Passover to Peter Bloch, 73, of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Inge Blackshear, 73, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the governor said, “”I am humbled to play a role in undoing this terrible wrong for the heirs of Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer,” adding that the Holocaust was “one of the darkest crimes against humanity in the modern era.”

See Also:
Hearst Castle paintings given to owners’ heirs [SF Gate; April 11, 2009]
Calif. returns art to heirs of Holocaust victims [AP; April 11, 2009]

Rock the Matzah

Passover or Pesach begins on the 15th day of Jewish month of Nissan in the Diaspora, which this year is the evening of April 8, 2009. It commemorates the Exodus from Egypt and deliverance to freedom after enduring many generations of enslavement. Unleaven bread, or matzah, is eaten for the eight days of the festival. The matzah is symbolic of the Jews’ rush in leaving Egypt. The bread they prepared for their meals did not have time to rise.

To all of my Jewish and Christian friends celebrating with a seder, here is a musical video performed by Michelle Citrin and William Levin, featuring 20 suggestions of things to do with leftover matzah.

Ms. Citrin is a diminuitive performer with a big voice. You can hear more of her music at myspace.com/michellecitrin. William Levin is an animator, known as the Jewish Robot.