CUTTING CUTTING: The L.A. Jewish Journal examines “brit shalom” ceremonies — ritual circumcision alternatives that have been getting some media attention lately — and finds they’re pretty rare. (“Calling it a marginal phenomenon would be generous,” says one circumcision foe.) Occasionally, the paper notes, parents who don’t want any cutting will still turn to a mohel — of all people — seeking help. “They want the ceremony minus the circumcision,” says mohel Fred Kogen. “I say, ‘Look, I can’t do it for you.’”
NO COUNTER-PROTESTS, PLEASE, WE’RE JEWISH: An Australian Jewish leader argues that public counter-protests against anti-Israel boycotters are counterproductive. “Police, shop owners and centre managers emphatically oppose counter-demonstrations, and for good reason: they play into the hands of BDS demonstrators and they resonate negatively with the public, which detests the import of foreign conflicts onto the streets of Australia — into ‘my backyard’,” writes Vic Alhadeff in The Australian Jewish News.
‘CATCH-22’ AT 50: Author Joseph Heller may identify Yossarian, the hero of “Catch-22,” as an Assyrian, but this is “a paper-thin disguise,” Berel Lang writes in the Forward, half a century after the novel’s publication. “Yossarian’s pilpul, delivered from an American Air Force base in World War II Italy, and his attacks on the idols of the marketplace wherever and however they stand are no less exemplary of the combination of Jewish passion and irony than that of Sholom Aleichem,” Lang writes.
AFTERLIFE IN CYBERSPACE: As Facebook pages for the deceased become places for the living to pay tribute, Denver’s Intermountain Jewish News asks rabbis whether this is any way for Jews to mourn.
SYNAGOGUE SESQUICENTENNIAL: Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, Calif., is marking its 150th birthday, San Francisco’s j. weekly reports.
CONCERN, NOT ANIMUS: The New York Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt responds to criticism that his newspaper is anti-Orthodox.
FROM KIBBUTZ TO COSTA RICA: Turned onto agriculture in Israel, Paul Siegel pursued his vision of “agro-eco pragmatism” all the way to Costa Rica, where his farm produces kosher cheese and organic produce, and hosts nature-loving tourists. “I have more and bigger waterfalls than all of Israel on this property,” Siegel tells the Baltimore Jewish Times.
WHAT’S BEYOND THE PALE?: Leon Cohen of The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle discusses the challenges of defining a Jewish newspaper’s parameters for inclusiveness and open debate.
SEX APPEAL: In the Cleveland Jewish News, local federation honcho Stephen Hoffman writes: “Jewish life is better than sex. It doesn’t have to wait for puberty to be enjoyable, and it lasts a lot longer!”