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Haggada acts as outreach tool
Birthright israel has released its 2007 Passover Haggada, which is available for download on the organization's Web site, www.birthrightisrael.com. The Haggada, titled "This Year in Jerusalem," is meant as an outreach tool for birthright alumni.
"Many Taglit-birthright israel participants return with a desire to sustain the connection with Judaism they found through their trip," said Jay Golan, president of the birthright israel Foundation. "This Haggada serves as a resource for our alumni to themselves become a part of the Passover ritual, by virtue of their participation in it."
Taking some cues from "The Downtown Seder," a production of New York-based Downtown Arts Development, Inc., the birthright Haggada focuses on both the traditional Passover story and modern implications, including commentary from World Trade Center memorial architect Daniel Libeskind, song lyrics from musicians Lou Reed and Billie Holiday, and excerpts of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's childhood seder memories in his book, The Kingdom of Memory.
What are you watching?
An average of 583,000 households were tuned in at any given moment Saturday night for the 111-minute broadcast of Israel's scoreless soccer game against England. And just under 550,000 households turned to Channel 2 earlier in the week for the final installment of A Touch Away, the drama about the forbidden love between a haredi girl and a Russian immigrant living across the hall from one another in Bnei Brak. Both programs averaged about one-third of the national TV audience, easily beating the week's third- and fourth-place programs, investigative news show Kolbotek and TV news parody Eretz Nehederet (A Wonderful Country).
'Jacob the Jeweler' faces trial
The celebrity jeweler known in the hip-hop world as "Jacob the Jeweler" will stand trial on money laundering charges here after a federal judge on Monday denied his request to move the case to New York.
Jacob Arabo, a Bukharian-Jewish immigrant born Yakov Arabov, is also known as the "King of Bling." He was arrested in June 2006 at his store in New York on a warrant issued in Detroit. Federal authorities accused him and 16 others of conspiring to launder about $270 million in drug profits beginning in the early 1990s for a multistate drug ring operating out of Detroit. Arabov, 41, has pleaded not guilty.
His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, argued that it would be prejudicial for his client to stand trial alongside drug-dealing suspects and too costly to defend himself in Detroit. But U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn disagreed.
"You should prepare yourself for a trial in the Eastern District of Michigan," Cohn said.
Arabov became popular among hip-hop and R&B artists in the mid-1990s. Notorious B.I.G., Madonna, Kanye West and Elton John have all worn his baubles.