It must be a slow news day at the Jewish Daily Forward, a venerable New York-based newspaper.
Here are two of the five headlines on Friday's front page:
Meanwhile, buried on page three is a story about political pressures that may force Hamas to join forces with its rival party in the Palestinian authority, Fatah, or face a total collapse.
The first article noted above, written by reporter Rebecca Spence, is about the owners of a barbecue restaurant in Rockaway Beach, Missouri. (Talk about "far Rockaway"!) Rockaway Beach was once a thriving tourist resort but in recent years has fallen on hard times due to competition from the far glitzier nearby town of Branson (where, Tim Hulsey tells me, one can see Anita Bryant perform early in the morning -- early enough so you can skip breakfast in an effort not to lose it during her stage show).
Branson counts about 10 million visitors in a year. So when two men, known to have catered food for The Oak Ridge Boys, arrived from Branson and set up a barbecue restaurant that attracted some 500 people Saturday nights for live music and dancing, many town residents credited them with helping to revive their flagging economy.Nice mayor. Maybe he should move to Branson to be close to the orange juice queen.
But the pair’s presence also generated a flurry of controversy. According to the two men, a handful of local figures, including the mayor and the president of the Chamber of Commerce, have tried — with little success — to drive them out of town. One member of the barbecuing duo, Ron Mangum, had a Jewish father and retains a strong Jewish identity, which he suggests is one factor in the opposition he faces. But he says the issue has more to do with the fact that he and his business partner, Brian Mellott, are also partners after hours.
At a recent party to celebrate a developer’s bid to build a casino in Rockaway Beach, population 600, the mayor was reported to have been crystal clear in expressing his sentiments about Mangum — who is also the publisher of the Oklahoma-based gay newspaper the Gay Guardian — and his partner, Mellott. According to witnesses, Mayor Tom Strom said that he was “tired of the two faggots down the street, and if I don’t start getting the support of the ones here, I am going to resign.”
Seven of the 16 residents who attended the gathering, including the hostess, Susan Riggs, one of the town’s four aldermen, have signed notarized affidavits attesting to the mayor’s inflammatory remarks.
The second article, by Nathaniel Popper, begins:
The evening of August 30 was a dark one for the kosher food ndusry.I can see the listing on Amazon.com now: The Alice B. Toklas Kosher Cookbook.
First, a group of rabbis in New York discovered boxes upon boxes of nonkosher meat in the warehouse of a major kosher meat distributor. At roughly the same time, in Pennsylvania, federal agents seized 726 pounds of marijuana at a kosher slaughterhouse.
The drug bust occurred in Birdsboro at the G & G Poultry facility, which produces kosher chicken under the strictest rabbinic supervision. According to an affidavit from a federal customs agent, the authorities tracked the movement of marijuana in and out of the factory’s parking lot for more than a week before moving in.