Monday, October 15, 2007

New Web Site!

Please now visit

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Another published article, front page!

Sukkot in Lubavitch Crown Heights: A Time for Dancing and Singing
by Brooklyn Eagle (, published online 10-03-2007

Celebration Covers Six Blocks; Men, Women Dance Separately

By Sharon Udasin
Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle
CROWN HEIGHTS — Sparkling confetti and children’s plastic glow-toys dazzled the air on Kingston Avenue Sunday night as black-clad men danced in jumbled circles till 6:30 a.m., during their weeklong celebrations that follow the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

The festivities began Saturday evening and continued through last night, according to the 71st Precinct. During Chol Hamoed — the days between the onset of Sukkot and the holiday Simchat Torah — Jews of all denominations gather together to celebrate in Crown Heights, said Ben Lifshitz, the creator of a community news source,

Continue reading...

Queens Gazette

In a free Queens weekly!

21-Year-Old Murder Case Finally Comes To Trial


Twenty-one years after a woman was brutally murdered in a burglary of her Sunnyside Gardens home, the Queens district attorney finally brought a suspect to trial.

But the prosecutors fear that their case may be crumbling.

During testimony, a leading prosecution witness said that the defendant threatened to harm his son if he testified and developed a case of amnesia.

Anthony Parilla repeatedly said, “I don’t remember.”
Click here to read the rest of the article..
Or click here for the pdf.

Here's the rest of the issue, from

Monday, October 1, 2007

Chasidic street dancing in Crown Heights!

When I ventured out of my apartment to report on Sunday evening, I didn't have a class assignment or any J-School project -- yet for some reason, I couldn't resist traveling down to Crown Heights at 9:30 p.m. Sure, I ended up writing an article, but I have no idea if it'll ever be published. Most likely, no one will ever read the story but me.

But that's when you know you really love the profession.

Last night, I visited the nabe to observe and take part in Chol Hameod, the festive days that follow Sukkot and lead up to Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Saturday night through Tuesday night, revelers dance in the streets, from about 10 p.m. till 6:30 a.m. I only stayed till 2 a.m, because I didn't want to be traveling back from Crown Heights any later than that. I must say, it was a lot of fun, and I met several great people. While women can't participate in the public dancing, we were certainly able to watch the men in their horah circles and conga lines.

Here I am interviewing State Senator Eric Adams, who was accompanied by Rabbi Moshe Rabushkan, the head of Crown Heights Jewish Community Council. Photo credits to Ben Lifshitz (creator of the online news source

I only have one piece of advice after this event -- getting on the subway at 2 a.m. at Kingston Avenue is probably not the most brilliant idea, and transferring trains at Franklin Avenue is even more idiotic. While nothing happened to me, it was frightening to be standing alone on a platform at 2:30 a.m. for 15 minutes, waiting to switch from the 4 to the 2.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The fun of college living

Yet another link to an interesting Times article today... I never really felt like I was in jail in my freshman dorm at Penn, but then again, I was in the quad. Hill House certainly looked like an out-of-date state penitentiary.

Published: September 27, 2007
In a reversal from 2000, more Americans over all now live in college dormitories than in prisons.


From The New York Times...


Picking Up Trash by Hand, and Yearning for Dignity

Sept. 27,

"An essential class of workers, garbage collectors in India’s capital are among the city’s poorest and most marginalized groups."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


To be quite honest, I wanted to punch the screen (no, J-School students were not among the priveleged few who got to attend the speech itself, but neither were most of the press members) when Ahmadinejad kept saying "60 years ago," when he was condemning Israel. After becoming friends with soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect Israel -- our Israel -- words like these made me want to cry. However, I did really, really like Bollinger's introduction.

But I had to write an objective article as part of a class assignment in one hour following the speech. And here it is... unfortunately not quite as objective as it should've been. Unfortunately, time interfered, and I was unable to include some key points -- just in case you were wondering, women are treated quite well in Iran apparently, and executions without trial are the same as American capital punishment, according to Ahmadinejad. Oh yeah, and Iran doesn't have homosexuals. Wonder why? Now that's a tough one.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad skirted questions about Israel’s right to exist and campaigned for continued Holocaust research during in his speech yesterday at Columbia University.
He no longer denied the Holocaust as a factual event in history, but he claimed his right as an academic to support continued research on the topic from all sides.
“I’m not saying that it didn’t happen at all,” Ahmadinejad said. “Granted, it happened. What does it have to do with the Palestinian people?”
He equated this historical event to a scientific or mathematical theory, capable of changing and developing through scholarly research. Such questions, he said, continue to be inhibited by the “two or three powers who think that they have the right to monopolize all science.”
Ahmadinejad wouldn’t tell the audience whether or not Israel is legitimate nation, even after two probing attempts for the answer by the moderator, Dean John Coatsworth. The president only responded that he supports an election by the people of Israel – the nation he would only call Palestine.
“You know quite well that Palestine is an old wound,” Ahmadinejad said. “For 60 years, innocent women and children are killed by airplanes that break the houses over their heads.”
He sharply repeated the phrase “For 60 years” again and again, citing examples of what he saw as Israeli atrocities against Palestinian victims.
Ahmadinejad spoke by invitation at Columbia’s School of International Affairs and World Leaders Form, in a discussion introduced by University President Lee Bolinger. The Iranian leader walked onto the stage with a simple wave to his audience of approximately 600 people.
“We do not honor the dishonorable when we open our forum to their voices,” Bollinger assured the audience in his introduction. “This forum has nothing to do with the right of the speaker…it is consistent with the idea that one should know thine enemies.”
“Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” Bollinger concluded, sparking a resounding applause.
Ahmadinejad was visibly offended by Bollinger’s remarks, avowing that Iranians always treat their visitors and civilians with respect, including the Jews.
“We love all nations,” Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad is ready to open discussions with the United States and claims that his government has been ready to do so during his entire presidency. He is eager to speak with the leaders of all nations, except for the people of what he called “the Zionist regime.”
Prior to the speech, community members gathered inside the University gates in protest. Students from the Jewish Theological Seminar joined together in circles, singing Zionist melodies and praying for the preservation of Israel. An array of multi-colored yarmulkes and ankle-length skirts decorated the campus, accompanied by the tunes of “Am Yisrael Chai.”
“We respect his right to speak, but at the same time we want to speak against him – anyone who acts like a modern Haman,” said rabbinical student Philip Weintraub, 23, comparing Ahmadinejad to an ancient villain from the Megillah scrolls.
“We need to show that somebody who’s providing mass murder should not be allowed to say his words without protest,” said Daniel Nevins, dean of the rabbinical school at the Seminary. “His freedom of speech is whole country – why does he need Columbia University?”