Happy Birthday to two music makers!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 12 days since I last posted anything to this blog. I suppose the 3 kiddies under age 2 is a good excuse for that. Well, after today I will no longer be able to say that I have 3 kids under age 2 since my Big Boy turns two-years-old today. Happy Birthday Josh! Here’s a photo of him eating his “breakfast of champions” for his Birthday Breakfast.

It’s also the 250th birthday of Mozart. So in his honor I post this wonderful quote from “Red” (played by Morgan Freeman) in one of the greatest films ever, “The Shawshank Redemption.”

On Mozart’s piece “Duettino-Sull’aria” from Act III of The Marriage Of Figaro

“I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singin’ about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they were singin’ about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared, higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away. And for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free.”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Josh makes appearance in new Oy Baby DVD

The new OyBaby 2 DVD features a cameo appearances by my (almost) 2-year-old son Joshua as the credits roll at the end of the video.

There will be a print ad that will be appearing next month in Hadassah Magazine. The “credits kids” make up the border of the ad, which features the headline: 10,000 Jewish Kids Can’t Be Wrong! (an oblique reference to an Elvis Presley album called “50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.”) See Josh who appears in the upper right hand corner of the ad below.

For those who haven’t seen OyBaby yet, it is a very well done DVD for Jewish babies and toddlers much like the Baby Einstein DVDs. As a Jewish educator I think the OyBaby DVD and its sequel are wonderful tools for getting the youngest members of the Jewish community excited about Jewish music, Shabbat, holidays and ritual.

You can order the DVDs and music CDs here

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Pat Robertson: Sharon punished with stroke for giving up land

From MediaMatters.org

On the January 5 edition of Christian Broadcasting Network’s (CBN) The 700 Club, host Pat Robertson suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s recent stroke was the result of Sharon’s policy, which he claimed is “dividing God’s land.”

Robertson admonished: “I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU [European Union], the United Nations, or United States of America.”

Although Robertson professed that “Sharon was personally a very likeable person,” he nonetheless declared that “God has enmity against those who, quote, ‘divide my land.’ “

Ariel Sharon, Jon Stewart and Pat Robertson (by Rabbi Jason Miller)I think Jon Stewart set the record straight on the January 5 edition of “The Daily Show” when he showed a photo of the portly Ariel Sharon and surmised that the actual reason Sharon had a massive stroke was because of “fat, age and stress.”

Here’s the brilliant Pat Robertson quote in its entirety:

From the January 5 edition of CBN’s The 700 Club:

ROBERTSON: I have said last year that Israel was entering into the most dangerous period of its entire existence as a nation. That is intensifying this year with the loss of Sharon. Sharon was personally a very likeable person. I am sad to see him in this condition. But I think we need to look at the Bible and the Book of Joel. The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, “divide my land.” God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible, he says, “This is my land.” And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he going carve it up and give it away, God says, “No. This is mine.” And the same thing — I had a wonderful meeting with Yitzhak Rabin in 1974. He was tragically assassinated, and it was terrible thing that happened, but nevertheless, he was dead. And now Ariel Sharon, who was again a very likeable person, a delightful person to be with. I prayed with him personally. But here he is at the point of death. He was dividing God’s land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or United States of America. God said, “This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Tommy Hearns beats his son in TKO

I certainly didn’t think that my (almost) 2-year-old son was in any danger when I let him sit on the lap of seven-time world champion boxer Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns last week at the Detroit Pistons basketball game at the Palace of Auburn Hills. But I was certainly shocked and upset to read today that Tommy Hearns was arraigned on assualt and battery charges after allegedly assaulting his own 13-year-old son.

Had “The Hitman” so much as looked at my kid wrong, no doubt I would have KO’d him — I have a deceivingly strong right hook for a rabbi… don’t be fooled!

From the Detroit Free Press

Boxer Hearns charged with assault

Former boxing champ told to stay away from son
By FRANK WITSIL

Thomas Hearns, a a seven-time world boxing champion, is expected to go before a judge Friday in a preliminary exam on charges he assaulted his 13-year old son Monday.

Hearns, 47, was arraigned Monday before 46th District Magistrate Eugene Friedman in Southfield and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. He was released on $10,000 personal bond Monday and ordered to have no contact with his son.

Police arrived at Hearns’ house in the 20500-block of Norwood in Southfield at about 6:45 p.m. Sunday, after receiving a call from Hearns’ wife, who said there had been a domestic dispute. The teenage boy had a swollen eye and a small cut on his chin, Southfield Police Detective John Harris said.

Harris said Hearns apparently told the boy to go to another room; the teen refused and there was a scuffle. But, Harris said, Hearns and his wife gave slightly different accounts of how the boy was injured. Police arrested Hearns and took him into custody until he was released on bond.

Hearns could not be reached Tuesday for comment. He is to face district Judge Sheila Johnson on Friday.

A court clerk said Tuesday that Hearns attorney had not been identified yet in the file.

Hearns made a boxing comeback in July, after five-years without a fight, beating younger boxer John Long with an eighth-round TKO in the cruiserweight bout at Cobo Arena. At the time, Hearns, who boxed out of Detroit’s Kronk Gym, said he planned “to keep fighting for a long time.”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

University of Michigan gets denied by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal

Working at the U-M Hillel, I have a vested interest in the University receiving large sums of grant money, however, I just read of one significant grant I’m happy the university did not receive. Turns out that U-M was invited to apply for a $20 million investment (only $80 million less than Stephen M. Ross donated to the Business School) from a Saudi Prince who chose Georgetown and Harvard instead. Too bad those schools didn’t do what Mayor Bloomberg did and just return the check uncashed. I wonder what the reaction would have been like in Ann Arbor had the Saudi Prince chosen U-M for his donation. I also wonder if New York Time interviewer Deborah Solomon used her real name when she sat down to talk with Bin Talal?

From the NY Times Magazine

Questions for Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal: Big Imam on Campus
Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal at Rabbi Jason Miller's BlogQ: You just gave $20 million to Harvard and another $20 million to Georgetown to advance the study of Islam, and some are concerned that you are trying to increase the on-campus influence of the Saudi royal family, of which you are reportedly the single wealthiest member.

I don’t have control, and I don’t want control. Period. They approached us with a proposal. Harvard, Georgetown, University of Chicago, University of Michigan and several of the Ivy Leagues.

But your investment company, Kingdom Holding, invited the schools to submit the proposal, didn’t it?

Whom else did you approach? Please. Keep the other universities out. I’d rather not embarrass them. The two winners were Georgetown and Harvard.

Since you’re said to be worth more than $20 billion, with major holdings in Four Seasons Hotels, Saks Fifth Avenue and Murdoch’s News Corporation, why not give an unrestricted gift instead of such a narrowly focused one?

The gift is unrestricted!

No, it’s not. It has to be spent on Islamic studies. Georgetown is renaming a center after you, and Harvard is naming a program after you.

Well, sure! The studies that concern me and fit my overall global vision – they’re Islamic studies. As you know, ever since 9/11, we have been trying to bridge the gap between West and East.

Which has backfired at least once. You became notorious in New York when Mayor Giuliani declined to accept a $10 million donation from you to victims’ families after you suggested that the U.S. was too friendly with Israel.

By the way, my check was taken to the bank and cashed. The problem was with my statement. I accepted that. Subject closed.

Subject reopened. The money was returned to you. Have you told Harvard, as you told the City of New York, that the U.S. needs to “adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause”?

Let me tell you my position. We need to have good relations between the Arab world and Israel. When I sold my Plaza Hotel in New York, it was sold to Elad, which is an Israeli company.

Doing business with the citizens of a country is not the same thing as believing in that country’s right to exist.

We are doing so many things to bridge the gap between Christianity and Islam and Judaism. For example, at my hotel in Paris, George V, you are going to find the Christian Bible, the Jewish Bible and the Islamic Koran in each single room.

That’s a wonderful idea, but a luxury hotel in Paris is a long way from Saudi Arabia, where you could surely spend more money on Judeo-Christian studies.

Look. You have to understand that the population of Saudi Arabia has zero Christians.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller