upsetting news

Notes on Lecture with Dandelion and Periwinkle

dandelion and periwinkle
Dandelion and Periwinkle as seen in April 2013

This past week I was more than a little distracted by the news in Boston. I grew up in the Boston area – I used to go to the Boston Marathon as a child when it passed through Newton, cheering on the runners. I lived in Cambridge, worked at MIT and spent time in Watertown. I have many friends who live there. Despite my intense interest in the details, I have no desire to become a political blogger. I will refer you to the blog of my friend Daled Amos – he writes well, explains political topics if you want more information and has a background as a teacher. He often quotes other political bloggers.

I have hopes to write a Nature Notes post this week and maybe a recipe for rice salad. If not, they will show up next week. Meanwhile, a few notes of interest:

  • I had the opportunity to attend a lecture at Rutgers by Professor Maud Mandel on
    Muslims and Jews in France: Genealogy of a Conflict. In a tiny nutshell, her premise was to “question past monocausal explanations” (I believe she meant she was suggesting more than one cause). Her book is coming out in January 2014; here are a few of the causes she mentioned:
    1. Jews from Algeria made citizens of France; Muslims were not. (1870)
    2. North African Jews had welcome from established Jewish community; Muslims had no one, initially.
    3. In 1968, Maoists (a group of Leftists) tried to convince Algerian Muslims to side with Palestine. The Maoists equated Palestine with Vietnam. At first, it didn’t work, but later it caught on.
    4. For two years Muslims and Jews worked together on racism (SOS Racisme), but then that fell apart. (1984)

    Rutgers Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life hosts free lectures like this one in the spring and fall; see Public Events.

  • On The Prosen People blog of Jewish Book Council you can read the April Jewish Book Carnival.
  • I published an interview with marketing director David Rekuc: Blog Interview on Marketing, eCommerce and Edison, NJ. Looking to interview other central New Jersey business people, especially those who make good use of social media, websites and/or blogs.

Note about the photo: I love the combination of dandelions with all the purples of this season. I purposely left a few in my front yard, to complement the grape hyacinths, creeping phlox and purple deadnettle. The periwinkle/dandelion photo is actually in a yard a block from my home.

Broken Glass and a Vandal is Arrested

smashed window in Highland Park, New Jersey
Photo by Mason Resnick: Smashed window of Park Place in Highland Park, New Jersey

Yesterday a friend posted online that she had just finished reading The Book Thief and then she discovered five Jewish businesses in Highland Park had their windows smashed overnight. Shortly thereafter Mason Resnick posted these Kristalnacht like photos on Facebook. The end of the story was a disturbed individual was arrested.

I will be visiting the Judaica Gallery today because I need to make a purchase for my daughter – at least those of us that are local can support the businesses that were targeted. Rutgers Hillel and Chabad in New Brunswick also were targeted with smashed glass, as well as the restaurant Maoz. The Highland Park businesses were Jerusalem Pizza, Park Place, Judaica Gallery, Trio Gifts and Jack’s Hardware. Maybe I should go buy some light bulbs at Jack’s.

A big thank you to the Highland Park police for their quick and decisive action regarding this crime.

Update: A Letter from Mayor Steve Nolan (it ends with: “As a community, we are much stronger than a pane of glass could ever be.” – bravo)

Update: An excerpt from a letter from Rutgers Hillel director Andrew Getrauer:

Wednesday morning at 2 AM a Jewish Rutgers student, very
involved in Hillel, was at the kosher Dunkin’ Donuts in Highland Park,
when a man approached him and started a conversation about Jewish
issues. He identified himself as Jewish. This deteriorated into a rant
where the man also declared himself a neo-Nazi and told the student he
should be in a camp and killed like his ancestors, and that he would
start a ‘second Kristalnacht.’ At this point the Dunkin Donuts staff
threw the man out of the store.

Wednesday morning Highland Park woke up to find 5 Jewish-owned
stores with windows broken; 2 Judaica stores, 2 kosher restaurants, and
a hardware store owned by an Orthodox man. A Jewish-owned falafel
restaurant in New Brunswick was also targeted. Hillel staff contacted
the student who had encountered the man at Dunkin Donuts and made sure
he was in touch with police. Hillel staff contacted the ADL and New
Brunswick police to help connect the dots between the various incidents.
There was wide spread anxiety throughout the local community, expressed
thru constant phone calls, emails, Facebook and twitter messages. To
give you a sense of the feeling at the time, people were calling it
“Kristalnacht in New Jersey.”

More details were reported in the Star Ledger, New Jersey Jewish News and other press.

Sad News in the Blogosphere

I learned through Twitter that the husband of Trip’n Mommy, sometimes known as Trip’n Daddy, has died after his battle with lymphoma. His name in real life is Barry Shuter. Sometimes, if you read enough of someone’s tweets, you feel like you know them. Trip’n Mommy has a blog called Trip’n Up, named after her triplets.

May his wife and children be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Update: Ruti Mizrachi wrote a post Barry, we hardly knew ye.

Sky Watch: Urban Drama

Raritan Avenue sunset
I would prefer just to be writing about the sunset my daughter and I saw on Raritan Avenue in Highland Park earlier this week. When we got into the car and I took my camera, she made me promise not to photograph any flowers on our trip. But she didn’t say anything about sunsets.

Unfortunately, there is too much urban drama going on in the home city of photo blogger magiceye. As I type this post, I am wondering about the safety of the Chabad rabbi and his wife, trapped by terrorists in the Nariman house in Mumbai. (Update: Chabad Rabbi and his wife in Nariman house reported killedtortured and then murdered, and more than 125 too many reported dead in Mumbai). Thank you to Dina in Jerusalem for posting about this. To use Twitter for updates, go to or click For updates on Chabad, (Nariman is the name of the Chabad house in Mumbai).

An upsetting post about the Taj by an eyewitness

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ll say I’m thankful that there is an America.

Rally in Highland Park

Received in a synagogue announcement late last night:

This Thursday, September 25 at 7:30 there will be a rally at the corner
of 3rd & Raritan Avenues. The purpose of the rally is to express our
disappointment that the Mennonite Central Committee, the parent
organization of the 10 Thousand Villages store, is hosting the
president of Iran for dinner while he is in New York, and to protest
Ahmadinejad’s calls for genocide against Israel.

Ahmadinejad is basically a modern day Haman. He has threatened to destroy Israel and has held a Holocaust-denial conference. One of the hosts is someone named Penny Pritzker. I’ll let you do the research.