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These NYC college students want to kickstart a Jewish arts renaissance

(New York Jewish Week) – On a mild Thursday evening in late March, some 100 people gathered at Kistuné, a hip café and bar in the West Village that’s associated with the French-Japanese “lifestyle brand” of the same name. 

Sipping on custom-designed cocktails — like the Refusenik, a Moscow mule with a “resilient mix of vodka, ginger beer and lime” or the Tamar Collinsky, a Tom Collins reimagined and given “very possibly the name of someone you went to summer camp with” — guests mingled, discussing topics as varied as college classes, career choices and their favorite poetry.

Nearly everyone in the room was a Jewish artist or writer; the gathering was to celebrate the launch of “Verklempt!”, a new quarterly print magazine that bills itself as “The Magazine of Jewish Art and Literature.” The 75-page first issue is filled with paintings, photographs, drawings, poetry and fiction solicited from more than 30 Jewish artists around the country. 

“We see the Jewish community as a place where people want to engage with fiction and poetry more seriously,” editor-in-chief Yoni Gutenmacher, a 24-year-old creative writing MFA candidate at Brooklyn College, told the crowd, which included two of his brothers and his parents. “This is a personal dream of mine so I’m very happy that it’s real.”

Specialty cocktails were on offer at the launch party of “Verklempt!” (David Gutenmacher)

The aim of “Verklempt!” (Yiddish-English slang for “overcome with emotion”) is to publish and amplify art and literature with a specifically Jewish lens — hopefully in a way that encourages pursuing art as part of a spiritual journey, Gutenmacher explained. A painting of a man praying with tefillin and tallit; a poem about Leopold Bloom, the Jewish anti-hero of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and a collage of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and a drawing of a half-drunk bottle of Kedem grape juice all grace the pages of the first issue, whose theme is, fittingly, “On Creation.”

“I write fiction and I have a whole friend group and community in New York who aren’t Jewish, and if they are, they’re not really interested in religious or communal Jewish life,” Gutenmacher told the New York Jewish Week. “Then I have my Jewish life on the Upper West Side and all my friends from summer camp and school and everything else who are not really interested in engaging with high quality literature and art. At certain points in my life, I felt like I kind of have to choose.”

By working on “Verklempt!” he’s come to understand that those choices shouldn’t have to be so mutually exclusive, he said.

The journal is a project of Havurah (Hebrew for “fellowship”), an organization founded by two Modern Orthodox sophomores at NYU whose lofty but determined vision is to be the “bearer of a new Jewish renaissance” for young Jews in New York, according to their impressively designed website. 

Founded by Daniella Messer and Eitan Gutenmacher (Yoni’s younger brother), Havurah aims to create a gathering place, a “kehila (community) of frum Jewish creatives” — both virtual and IRL — where Jewish artists can meet and mingle, make art, perform and share ideas about how all of those endeavors connect them to religious life. One of their goals, according to the “manifesto” on their website, is to “invigorate a generation of young Jews and restore the Jewish artistic impulse.” 

While “Verklempt!” has wide-reaching aspirations — the artists they hope to publish can come from anywhere and be of any age — Havurah was founded to appeal to a hyper-specific community: young New York artists who are dedicated to being Jewish and Jews who are dedicated to being artists.

The idea arose during Gutenmacher and Messer’s freshman year of college in the winter of 2022. “I remember going to Israel over winter break, experiencing such an obvious realization that art and creativity is so integral to religious lifestyles,” Eitan Gutemacher, who is studying studio art at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, told the New York Jewish Week. “But [at NYU] for example, in a lot of the artistic programs, if you’re a religious Jew, you are usually the only religious Jew in the classroom, and, more often than not, the only one in the department.”

“Daniella and I wanted to create a community of lively Judaism expressed in any artistic and creative way,” he added.

With funding from the Next Gen Inc., “a start-up style incubator” that’s a project of the World Jewish Congress and World Union of Jewish Students, Havurah pursues their vision through a variety of avenues, including real-life events and performances, such as art fairs, concerts and Torah study conversations held at bars, cafés, apartments and synagogues. 

In addition to the physical journal, the organization’s high-design web site publishes essays, interviews, criticism, reviews and Torah commentaries, as well as “Sessions” for musicians, which are professionally mixed video tapings of live music performances similar to NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts.” 

“When Eitan and Daniella approached us and told us about Havurah, we knew instantly they would be a great fit for our incubator,” Yoni Hammerman, senior manager of the NextGen, told the New York Jewish Week via email. “Their work, to build a university student-run art community, perfectly aligns with NextGen’s mission of amplifying and supporting the voice and the work of Jewish student leaders.”

The Havurah staff — all eight of them are volunteers — believe that their offerings are the first time people who are both deeply involved in their Jewish communities and in their artistic pursuits have had a definable place to gather and collaborate that celebrate both.

“It’s so simple that you’d think it would already exist,” said Yosef Itzkowitz, a 24-year-old artist and poet who has three drawings in the first edition of “Verklempt!” “Jews love writing and art, and love talking about writing and art,” so why not make it happen?” Itzkowitz got involved, he said, after Eitan Gutenmacher reached out via Instagram. 

Of course, similar initiatives have and do exist — for example, the fiction journal publishes original and in translation work from Jewish writers around the globe, while CANVAS matches emerging Jewish multimedia artists with funders and grants. The Jewish Book Council puts out their literary journal “Paper Brigade” with art, interviews, essays and fiction, once a year.

On Tuesday, the inaugural Jewish Writers’ Initiative Digital Storytellers Lab showcased works by creators taking part in an eight-month fellowship supported by the Maimonides Fund. The work shown at Manhattan’s Rubin Museum included animation for Jewish kids, pop songs about women in the Bible and a podcast about the gay Jewish dating scene in Los Angeles.

According to Yona Verwer, founder of the Jewish Arts Salon — “a global network for Jewish visual art” that does regular programming in New York — while what the group is doing may not be “new,” one of the most exciting things about Havurah is how young its members are and how dedicated they are to the cause. 

“Being geared specifically towards people in their 20s” attracts people who have to be “very enthusiastic and very into it,” Verwer said.

“It’s interesting to see this immense interest in Jewish arts” from younger generations, added Verwer, who started the salon in 2008 and now serves as an advisor for Havurah. “When I started the salon, it was something that a lot of people were not interested in. Things have really changed over the years and it’s great to see people so dedicated.” 

Yoni Gutenmacher reads a poem at the launch party of “Verklempt!”, March 30, 2023. (David Gutenmacher)

As of now, contributors are unpaid, though there are hopes that the cover price of “Verklempt!” ($10) may help change that. “There’s a lot of places I see where you submit completely unpaid and it is completely not worth my time,” said Kim Kyne, a 32-year-old painter and sculptor from Los Angeles whose painting was in the first edition of the journal.

“What felt different about this is it feels like everyone’s all in it together,” she added. “Yoni and his brother are super humble and super young. What was really attractive to me about it is being connected with all these other Jewish artists in a way that I haven’t been before.”

Messer and the Gutenmacher brothers understand that the media and literary magazine worlds are very crowded spaces, especially in New York. But for now, they are embracing the heimish vibe and say they’ve seen, first-hand, just how many Jewish artists were looking for a space exactly like this. Submissions are already arriving for the next edition of “Verklempt!”, which is set to be published this summer, and according to Gutenmacher, he doesn’t recognize any of the names — meaning no repeats of last time, and no friends submitting as a favor. 

“Of course, there are Jewish artists all over the world. But it feels different because it has more of a modern take and the younger feel,” Kyne said. “It feels like the beginning of a movement.”

The post These NYC college students want to kickstart a Jewish arts renaissance appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Comparing European, American, and French Roulette at Canadian online casinos

Roulette is the most popular table game at online and land-based casinos alike. You can easily find a seat at the table, place your bets, and hope that the wheel turns in your favour. But you have surely noticed that the roulette section is quite rich, featuring at least a dozen different tables. Most of them come with a different design and different rules. The most popular roulette variants are American Roulette, European, and French Roulette. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences between each one.

French VS European Roulette

We’ll first compare the French versus the European version of roulette since they are the most similar. The layout of the bets and the wheel is basically the same. Even the table layout is pretty much the same at most online casinos. Depending on the provider some differences can be found, like the layout of the table or the order of the numbers of the wheel. But as far as the odds and gameplay are concerned, European and French Roulette are basically the same. 

Both roulette variants have a single 0 on the board and the same number of slots on the wheel and numbers on the table. There are 36 additional numbers you can bet on, along with the standard Red or Black and Odd or Even bets. This means both games come with a house edge of 2.7%. So, the only difference comes from the introduction of two basic rules in French Roulette. 

  • La Partage
  • En Prison

La Partage

This rule applies to even money bets, and in case the ball lands on the 0 slot. The term comes from the French word which means to divide. All even money bets are divided into half, and the player gets one half, while the other half goes to the house. This rule works greatly in your favour, especially if you’re playing on higher bets. 

En Prison

The En Prison bet is also applied to even money bets and only when the ball lands on 0. Instead of counting as a loss, the bets are held on the table for the following spin, and if you win, you get your bet back. Even though you don’t actually win anything extra, the En Prison rule gives you a chance to get your money back without a loss. 

The introduction of these rules lowers the house edge on French Roulette down to 1.35%. This is why many players prefer the French version, as the odds are better for the player. 

French VS American Roulette

The main and pretty much only crucial difference between American and French roulette is the 00 and the layout of the slots on the wheel. The added 00 on the American version means that the house edge is higher. It climbs up to 5.26%, which is almost double the house edge on European Roulette and a massive difference from the 1.35% on the French version. 

Since there is an added 00 number, the layout of the slots on the wheel is different. On the table, the 00 is next to the 0, so it doesn’t make a big difference to the layout of the table. But the rules in American roulette are quite simple. If your number doesn’t come up, you lose the bet. There are no extra rules like in the French version. 


If you go by the odds alone, it turns out that the best roulette variant to play at Canadian online casinos is French roulette. But this doesn’t mean you will lose more when you play American or European Roulette. Many players prefer to play the American wheel as it’s faster and more exciting. With the right strategy and some luck on your side, you can easily make a profit on any type of roulette game. 

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Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism

niversity of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

University of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram – “Never would I have imagined that I’d need to fight for my right to exist on campus,” laments Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard University who is suing the school because “antisemitism is out of control.”

Jewish students have suffered an unrelenting explosion of hate on American higher education campuses—so far with little relief. They have endured antisemitic rhetoric, intimidation, cancellation and violence. But those charged with keeping campuses safe—whether administrators who govern student and faculty behavior or federal agencies responsible for ensuring that schools adhere to civil rights protections—are failing in their jobs.

Many Jewish students have complained to their colleges’ administrators about the injustices. But instead of responding with measures to ensure Jewish students’ safety—like stopping pro-Hamas protestors from hijacking campuses or expelling militants who incite Jew-hatred— administrators have largely shown indifference. In some cases, college authorities have made things worse for Jewish students by appeasing the riotous, pro-Hamas mobs who have been primary perpetrators of Jew-hatred on campus.

Snubbed by college administrators, Jewish students and their supporters have appealed for federal protection, filing Title VI complaints with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the body tasked with enforcing protections under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the OCR, which has the power to levy severe financial punishments against colleges that neglect students’ Title VI rights, has so far rewarded negligent universities with little more than slaps on the wrist.

Until college and university boards of trustees begin hiring administrators committed to Jewish students’ safety—and until the OCR begins seriously punishing antisemitic perpetrators—we can expect no respite. Safe to say, colleges and universities run by arrogant, apathetic administrators will not change until their jobs and schools’ survival are threatened.

College/university administrators don’t take antisemitism seriously. Their reactions to Jewish students raising concerns about Jew-hatred range from indifference to outright hostility. For example, when Mohammed Al-Kurd, who the Anti-Defamation League says has a record of “unvarnished, vicious antisemitism,” came to speak at Harvard, Shabbos Kestenbaum and other Jewish students complained to administrators.

Rather than cancel Al-Kurd’s appearance, which would have been the appropriate action, the administrators ignored the students’ complaints. “Harvard’s silence was deafening,” Kestenbaum wrote in Newsweek. Kestenbaum said he “repeatedly” expressed concerns to administrators about the antisemitism he experienced, but as his lawsuit alleges, “evidence of uncontrolled discrimination and harassment fell on deaf ears.”

Administrators at Columbia University reacted to Jewish students’ complaints about antisemitism even more cynically. In fact, during an alumni event, several administrators exchanged text messages mocking Jewish students, calling them “privileged” and “difficult to listen to.”

When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct, none could say “yes.” The presidents of Harvard and UPenn have since resigned. Good riddance.

Some college/university administrators have outrageously granted concessions to pro-Hamas students. For instance, Northwestern University agreed to contact potential employers of students who caused campus disruptions to insist they be hired, create a segregated dormitory hall exclusively for Middle Eastern, North African and Muslim students, and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists could wield undue influence. Brown University agreed to hold a referendum on divestment from Israel in October.

Similar appeasements were announced at other colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and the University of California Riverside.

So far, OCR has failed to take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. This is evident in recent decisions involving the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Michigan. CUNY was ordered to conduct more investigations into Title VI complaints and report further developments to Washington, provide more employee and campus security officer training, and issue “climate surveys” to students.

The University of Michigan also committed to a “climate survey,” as well as to reviewing its case files for each report of discrimination covered by Title VI during the 2023-2024 school year and reporting to the OCR on its responses to reports of discrimination for the next two school years.

Neither institution was penalized financially, even though the Department of Education has the power to withhold federal funds, which most colleges and universities depend on. There are now 149 pending investigations into campus antisemitism at OCR. If these investigations yield toothless results similar to those of CUNY and Michigan, it is highly unlikely that colleges and universities will improve how they deal with antisemitism.

Putting an end to skyrocketing antisemitism on campus involves three things.

First, donors and governments at every level should withhold funds from colleges that fail to hire administrators who will take antisemitism as seriously as they take pronoun offenses or racism directed at people of color.

Second, the OCR must mete out serious consequences to Title VI violators in the form of funding cuts. This may require legislation that specifically mandates withdrawing funding from offending parties. A bill recently introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)—the University Accountability Act—may be ideal, as it is designed to financially penalize institutions that don’t crack down on antisemitism.

Third, if OCR won’t act, Jewish students and their supporters should turn to the courts. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the legal director of the Deborah Project, a public-interest Jewish law firm, argues that the CUNY settlement demonstrates the futility of going to OCR and that going to court is more likely to produce “a clearly delineated and productive result,” such as punitive and compensatory fines. As of late May, at least 14 colleges and universities are facing lawsuits over their handling of antisemitism on campus since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

As long as college administrators are allowed to ignore antisemitism on campus and as long as OCR and other government institutions fall short in punishing Jew-hatred, antisemitism will continue to plague Jewish students.

The post Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism first appeared on

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Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK

Candace Owens speaks at CPAC on March 2, 2023. Photo: Lev Radin via Reuters Connect

Political commentator Candace Owens claimed on Friday that the US is being held “hostage” by Israel and suggested that AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, was behind the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy.
“It seems like our country is being held hostage by Israel,” Owens, a right-wing provocateur, said during the opening segment of her YouTube show, where she interviewed far-left commentator Briahna Joy Gray.
“I’m going to get in so much trouble for that. I don’t care,” Owens lamented.
Gray, who was the guest for this episode, was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, Rising, after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women. Gray, who claimed her firing was politically motivated, had repeatedly cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught.
However, Owens said that part of the reasons she was addressing the subject was that people were being fired because they were “not happy … when an innocent Palestinian kid dies” or for “critiquing a foreign nation.”
Also on Friday’s show, Owens claimed US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was “wading into some dangerous waters” when, during an interview with host Tucker Carlson, he spoke about how effective the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is at lobbying members of Congress and suggested the group should have to register as a foreign agent that is acting on behalf of Israel.
The reason it was dangerous, Owens said, was because “we know there was once a president that wanted to make AIPAC register, and he ended up shot … so Thomas Massie better be careful.”
Owens was referencing the fact that Kennedy wanted the American Zionist Council, a lobby group, to register as a foreign agent. However, there is no evidence the group had anything to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
Owens and The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, parted ways after Owens flirted with antisemitic conspiracy theories for a number of months, especially following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“In all communities there are gangs. In the black community we’ve got the Bloods, we’ve got the Crips. Well, imagine if the Bloods and the Crips were doing horrific things, murdering people, controlling people with blackmail, and then every time a person spoke out about it, the Bloods and the Crips would call those people racist,” Owens said while still at The Daily Wire. “What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism. It’s food for thought, right? … this appears to be something that is quite sinister.”
Additionally, after getting into a spat with an outspoken and controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, she said, “Are you going to kill me? Are you going to kill me, because I refuse to kowtow to you, and I think it’s weird that you and your daughter are promoting and selling sex toys, that’s why I deem you an ‘unholy rabbi?’”
“You gross me out. You disgust me. I am a better person than you, and I do not fear you,” Owens continued.
The list of controversial incidents involving Owens continued to grow longer with time. In one case, she “liked” an X/Twitter post that promoted the antisemitic “blood libel.” The post read, in response to Boteach, “Rabbi, are you drunk on Christian blood again?”
The “blood libel” is a medieval anti-Jewish slur which falsely claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their religious rituals.

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