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Apr 18th, 2008
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It’s Yelp for sheitels — the first-ever wig review site

Myriam Schottenstein, the founder of ShayTell, a sheitel review website, and her daughter. (Courtesy of Schottenstein) NEW YORK (JTA) — First there was “Tinder for bras.” Now there’s a Yelp for sheitels, the wigs worn by many married Orthodox Jewish women. ShayTell may be the first-ever online customer review site for wigs. It’s certainly the most cleverly named. And if you’ve never considered the demand for such a site, consider this: When was the last time you bought, say, a computer, without knowing a thing about its quality, components and warranty? That’s a predicament facing many observant Jewish women, says ShayTell’s founder, Myriam Schottenstein. After all, some wear sheitels every day, and the wigs typically cost from $1,000 to $4,500, she says (that’s not a typo). “There are so few resources available on this huge purchase,” she says. “It’s really discouraging.” So Schottenstein, a self-described “review junkie” who purchased her first sheitel when she married two years ago, set about to change that. Backed by her brother, “serial entrepreneur” David Schottenstein, ShayTell launched in the spring. “My aim is to provide more transparency, accountability and really bring more clarity to this,” she says.pre bonded hair Traditionally, sheitels are a word-of-mouth purchase: Women rely on the advice and experiences of their friends and family before seeking the services of a local vendor. “There’s no centralized information,” says the 28-year-old Brooklyn resident, noting that most manufacturers don’t have functional websites. “I think people mean well, but there’s a lot of secrecy in the industry.” Some of these mysteries include: Where does the hair come from? Was it processed? Was it dyed, or can it be dyed in the future? What kind of warranty does the sheitel have, and what services are included? This lack of reliable information about quality wigs comes at a stressful time: Engagements in many traditional communities tend to be short, and suddenly, amid all the planning and upheaval, women go from knowing nothing about sheitels to finding themselves “thinking about baby hairs,” Schottenstein quips — small, wispy bits sewn around the forehead and temples to make the wig appear more natural. “The process is unnecessarily difficult,” she says of sheitel shopping. “I want to make it as easy as possible.” On the ShayTell site, users can specify a price range and see an array of wigs by various manufacturers, and read reviews by other users. “I Love my Barbara” wig, according to one review. “Color is gorgeous … hair feels great and looks natural.” Another reviewer was less enthusiastic.

“Within a few months I had split ends everywhere and the wig just feels dry and straw like,” she writes. The practice of women covering their hair varies widely from Orthodox community to community, ranging from full wigs to headscarves to hats and fascinators. In general, however, observant Jewish women cover their hair for modesty reasons, creating a zone of privacy that can only be shared by married partners. That doesn’t mean the intent is to make married women unattractive. As one Chabad website for women explains, “even if her wig looks so real as to be mistaken for natural hair, she knows that no one is looking at the real her. She has created a private space, and only she decides who to let into that space.” A woman’s hair can be “protected” with a beautiful, natural-looking wig — and hence the serious shekels many Jewish women spend to purchase a wig that looks just so. “You want to get the best quality hair — that’s not a commodity that’s so available,” Schottenstein says, explaining the high prices. “What other product do you get that comes from a human body part?” Since ShayTell’s soft launch at the end of March, the site has drawn more than 5,000 visitors over the past two months, and more than 65 companies are reviewed. And Schottenstein plans to expand. She hopes to make ShayTell “a central place for all your sheitel needs” by creating a comprehensive directory for those in the sheitel business — everyone from vendors to stylists — as well as photo galleries for manufacturers. In addition, there will be a resale section for women to sell sheitels that didn’t work for them. Ultimately, ShayTell’s goal isn’t making money — it’s about creating community.remy hair extensions “Women should help other women with this leap in their life,” Schottenstein says. RELATED: Covered-up chic: Modest swimwear is having a moment This Israeli startup will match your breasts with the perfect bra

Nick Denton, founder of Gawker, talking with his legal team before Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in court during his trial against Gawker Media at the Pinellas County Courthouse in St Petersburg, Florida, March 8, 2016. (John Pendygraft-Pool/Getty Images) Journalists like to comfort themselves with the old axiom that if each side of a conflict thinks you favor the other, you’re doing something right. Gawker Media, the aggressive gossip blog and mini-media empire now facing a fight for its financial life, boasts enemies on all sides. In fact, Gawker has had the distinction of being accused of anti-Semitism and being the frequent target of anti-Semites. On Friday, Gawker’s owner Nick Denton announced the company is filing for bankruptcy to get out from under a $140 million judgment awarded to professional wrestler Hulk Hogan after Gawker broadcast a sex tape featuring Hogan and the wife of one of his friends in 2012. Hogan’s suit, financed in large part by Silicon Valley titan and Gawker target Peter Thiel, is at the center of a debate over the ability of aggrieved gazillionaires to bankroll libel and privacy suits and muzzle media outlets. Gawker is also entertaining bids from other publishers, including one as high as $100 million.perruques cheveux naturels Denton is Jewish, and white supremacists and other hate sites have tagged Gawker as part of a Jewish media conspiracy. One white power blogger calls Gawker a “filth rat-faced Jew website,” in an article titled, “How The Jews Ruined American Icon Hulk Hogan.” Infostormer, a site bent on “destroying Jewish tyranny,” calls Denton “Jew vermin.” On the flip side, FrontPage, a news website founded by 1960s-radical-turned-conservative-firebrand David Horowitz, calls Gawker “an anti-Semitic website brimming over with hatred and contempt for Jews and the Jewish state.” FrontPage points to a 2007 post in which an unnamed Gawker blogger, reporting that some Israeli bookstores would be open on the Jewish Sabbath to sell copies of the latest Harry Potter novel, wrote that “these are Jews, let’s remember, and a buck’s a buck.” A columnist for the Chicago Tribune wrote that the Harry Potter post “a) shows the perils of being too hip for the room, or b) is stupefying in its casual offensiveness.” Gawker also earned a subdued rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League earlier this year when it set out to undermine a feel-good Twitter campaign by Coca-Cola. Essentially, Gawker tricked Coke’s Twitter account into tweeting out sections of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” “It is highly unfortunate that Coca-Cola’s attempt to encourage all of us to make using the Internet a more positive experience encountered this roadblock, and also revealing of how pervasive the challenge is,” Abe Foxman, then-national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said at the time. Denton, born and raised in England, is the son of Marika Marton, a Hungarian Jew who escaped the Soviet invasion of that country in 1956, and Geoffrey Denton, a Yorkshire-born economist. During the Hulk Hogan trial, Denton’s lawyer invoked the publisher’s mother in describing Gawker’s commitment to the First Amendment. Gawker lawyer Michael Berry said Denton’s mom was a Hungarian Jew “who survived the Nazis,” and later escaped the Soviet occupation of Hungary. “Mr. Denton grew up with parents who’ve seen first-hand what happens when speech is suppressed,” Berry said. “He wants the public to have the simple, unvarnished truth … the unvarnished truth about public figures.” That “unvarnished truth,” it turns out, made Gawker a target. Some say rightfully so, as slime and innuendo shouldn’t be protected “free speech.” Others defend Gawker as a courageous if snarky truth-teller. That divide extends to the commentary over the Hogan lawsuit and Thiel’s role in funding it. “Thiel’s desire to protect individual privacy even in the age of the Internet is certainly defensible, and making this case in court represents a justifiable use of his own funds,” writes David French for the National Review. Margaret Sullivan disagrees. “Gawker’s offerings certainly aren’t the Pentagon Papers, or the revelations about spying on citizens by the National Security Agency,” she writes in the Washington Post. “But when a vindictive billionaire can muscle his way into a lawsuit with the intention of putting a media company out of business, there’s reason to worry.”

Rabbi Joe Rapport speaking at Muhammad Ali’s funeral, June 10, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube) Billy Crystal recalled the legacy of his “big brother,” one rabbi led mourners in a chorus of “I am Ali” and a second rabbi criticized Israel’s government as part of Friday’s funeral service  for Muhammad Ali at an arena in Louisville, Kentucky. The famed boxer and civil rights activist, who died June 3 at age 74, chose two rabbis among the clergy he wanted delivering eulogies: Michael Lerner, a liberal magazine publisher and activist, and Joe Rapport, the rabbi of Congregation Adath Israel Brit Shalom in Louisville Crystal, who in the 1970s performed a one-man comedic sketch framed as a boxing match, “15 Rounds,” that celebrated Ali’s triumph over racism, said he got “lost in him,” like he never had playing any other character. Ali, after one performance, gave him the ultimate compliment: “Little brother, you made my life better than it was,” Crystal recalled. “He taught us that life is best when you build bridges, not walls,” Crystal said, earning knowing laughter and applause for the sly dig at a presidential candidate who would keep Ali’s coreligionists from entering the United States. Lerner, the founder of Tikkun magazine, was blunter than Crystal in referencing Trump: “We will not tolerate politicians or anyone else putting down Muslims, and blaming Muslims for a few people,” he said to a standing ovation. He went on to express solidarity with Muslims, including by likening Israel’s government with terrorists, and to all but pitch subscriptions to the magazine he publishes, Tikkun. “We know what it’s like to be demeaned,” Lerner said of American Jews, whom he said he was speaking for. “We know what it’s like to have a few people who act against the highest visions of our tradition, to then be identified as the value of the entire tradition. And one of the reasons that we at Tikkun magazine, a magazine of liberal and progressive Jews, but also an interfaith magazine, have called upon the United States to stand up to the part of the Israeli government that is oppressing Palestinians, is that we as Jews understand that our commitment is to recognize that God has created everyone in God’s image and that everyone is equally precious, and that means the Palestinian people as well as all other people on the planet.” After a litany of other demands of the U.S. (end drone strikes, end private funding of elections, tell Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get out of the West Bank, end poverty), Lerner twice repeated the web address of an organization he spearheads, Spiritual Progressives. While some called Lerner’s eulogy “powerful, inspiring and brave,” others labeled it an “embarrassment.” As his theme, Rapport chose a commandment Jews should be familiar with – kindness to strangers.perruques cheveux He recounted how Ali and his daughter Hana once picked up a man hitchhiking home from church. The man was thrilled to meet the legend, and at the drop-off, Hana gave the hitchhiker her number and told him to call her whenever he needed a lift home from church. Ali, tears in his eyes, recognized that he had inspired his daughter, Rapport said. Rapport said that those who admired Ali also recognized his generosity in themselves: “We can say each of us in our hearts there’s a little bit of Ali in me.” “I am not the fighter that Ali was, and I may not have the courage which he never lacked, and I am definitely not as pretty, but in my heart and in my hope and in my prayers, I am Muhammad Ali,” ‘ Rapport said. He then led the stadium in a chorus of “I am Ali.” Another speaker recalled how Ali’s vision of a welcoming Louisville extended to Jews – including one of his closest friends, sports journalist Howard Cosell. Pastor Kevin Cosby spoke about the pride Ali instilled in African-Americans, and listed those who “stood with him in the mud” when the establishment marginalized him after he refused to serve in the Vietnam War. Among those was Cosell, who defended the former Cassius Clay and was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic adopters of the champion’s Muslim name. RELATED: Muhammad Ali vs. the Jews: A split decision Muhammad Ali pleaded for Daniel Pearl’s life

Steven Colbert drawing a swastika on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” June 14, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube) America, 2016. Where a comedian mocks a major party’s presumptive presidential nominee by drawing a large Nazi symbol on television, and no one is really surprised. The swastika, courtesy of CBS’s “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, came after a routine ribbing of Donald Trump, who in the wake of Sunday’s terrorist attack in Orlando seemed to imply that President Obama may have willfully ignored the threat. “We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump told Fox News on Sunday. “There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.” To Colbert, Trump’s claims sounded like “something my racist aunt would say at a picnic.” But to try to suss out Trump’s meaning, he turned to a glorified chalkboard he called the “Figure-it-out-atron 5000.” “I’ve got to think like Trump, so first, I’m not going to take my meds,” he said. “Woooo! I see patterns where none exist!”lace front wigs Then, connecting lines at right angles between the words “Trump,” “radical Islam,” “inconceivable” and “bad thing,” he drew a swastika. By the first zig-zag, the audience was on to him, cheers rising as he completed the symbol. He soon erased it. But not before posing next to it with a grin.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., addressing supporters via internet live stream. (Screenshot from YouTube) WASHINGTON (JTA) — Bernie Sanders told his followers that the priority now was defeating Donald Trump and the bigotry he said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee represented. He pledged to work with Hillary Clinton to make sure that happens, although he did not yet withdraw from the race for the Democratic presidential nod. “The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly,” Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, said in an address live-streamed Thursday evening to his followers marking the end of the primaries campaign. “And I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time.” Sanders, the first Jewish candidate to win major party nominating contests, noted his differences with Clinton on some issues, but, in a shift, emphasized that the greater threat was Trump, the real estate magnate whose securing of the Republican nomination has roiled the presidential race with accusations that his campaign is undergirded by bigotry. “After centuries of racism, sexism and discrimination of all forms in our country we do not need a major party candidate who makes bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign,” he said. “We cannot have a president who insults Mexicans and Latinos, Muslims, women and African-Americans. We cannot have a president who, in the midst of so much income and wealth inequality, wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very rich. We cannot have a president who, despite all of the scientific evidence, believes that climate change is a hoax.” Clinton, the former secretary of state, last week secured enough delegates to be declared the presumptive nominee. Sanders is credited with nudging her to the left on issues like Wall Street reform, income equality and trade protection. He said he would continue to press Clinton on those issues, but for the first time in months, Sanders emphasized that he and Clinton shared much in common. “It is no secret that Secretary Clinton and I have strong disagreements on some very important issues,” he said. “It is also true that our views are quite close on others. I look forward, in the coming weeks, to continued discussions between the two campaigns to make certain that your voices are heard and that the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda.” Sanders did not back out of the race, likely because he wants to leverage his delegates to shape the platform at the party convention in Philadelphia next month. Still, his address would likely be welcomed by the party establishment, which wants Sanders to campaign for Clinton after she is formally nominated, and to keep his followers on side in the general election. Also likely to be assuaged by the speech: The pro-Israel establishment, rattled by Sanders’ sharp differences with Clinton on Israel, where Sanders has said the party should be balanced and take into account Palestinian claims. He did not mention Israel at all, and had only one sentence on foreign policy:”We must make certain our brave young men and women in the military are not thrown into perpetual warfare in the Middle East or other wars we should not be fighting.” Sanders said he would also work to transform how the party selects its nominee, opening up the nominating process, and urged the party to extend its campaigning into all 50 states. “The current Democratic Party leadership has turned its back on dozens of states in this country and has allowed right-wing politicians to win elections in some states with virtually no opposition – including some of the poorest states in America,” Sanders said. “The Democratic Party needs a 50-state strategy. We may not win in every state tomorrow but we will never win unless we recruit good candidates and develop organizations that can compete effectively in the future. We must provide resources to those states which have so long been ignored.” A 50-state strategy, spearheaded by Howard Dean when he led the Democratic National Committee in the mid-2000s, helped Democrats win Congress for a period and elect President Barack Obama. Dean, a former governor of Sanders’ home state, Vermont, also led an insurgent presidential candidacy in 2004 that nudged the party left. Since 2011, however, and under the stewardship of Sanders’ nemesis, DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the party has focused more on securing swing states. Sanders called on his followers to remain involved, a signal to some Sanders’ backers who on social media have said they have been disillusioned with the process and may sit out this election. He said that instead they should considering running for office. “I hope very much that many of you listening tonight are prepared to engage at that level,” he said. “Please go to my website at berniesanders.com/win to learn more about how you can effectively run for office or get involved in politics at the local or state level. I have no doubt that with the energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown that we can win significant numbers of local and state elections if people are prepared to become involved. I also hope people will give serious thought to running for statewide offices and the U.S. Congress.”

Mike Huckabee speaking at a cornerstone dedication ceremony for a new Jewish settlement in eastern Jerusalem, Jan. 31, 2011. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images) (JTA) — During a visit to Israel, Mike Huckabee, an ex-governor of Arkansas and former candidate in the U.S. Republican presidential primaries, defended the anti-Muslim rhetoric of presumptive nominee Donald Trump, whom Huckabee said would make a “great president” for the Jewish state. “It’s not racist. I think a lot of people are acting like what Donald Trump is saying is so unbelievable,” Huckabee told Israel’s Army Radio Thursday in reference to the Republican presidential candidate’s call in December for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. “Actually, what he’s saying is what every country on earth does right now.” “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but virtually all the terrorists who are doing the kind of murders we’re seeing in America are Muslims,” Huckabee said. Data from the New American Foundation shows that of the 28 deadly domestic terrorist attacks carried out in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, 10 of those attacks were related to Islamic extremism and 18 were carried out by right-wing extremists. Huckabee, a supporter of Israel and Jewish causes who ran unsuccessfully in the party’s primaries in 2008 and 2016, said Trump would be “a great president for Israel,” who “unlike Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama will see that the partnership with Israel is as essential to Washington just as it is essential for Jerusalem.” Last year, after Trump called for a ban on Muslim immigration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying he “rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” adding, “The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.” Of Israel’s 8 million citizens, 1.4 million, or 17.5 percent, are Muslim, according to its Central Bureau of statistics.cosplay wigs Huckabee also said the Obama Administration was failing at dealing with extremist Muslim terrorism, because it does not label it as connected to radical Islam, including after the June 11 slaying by a American man of 49 people in Orlando. The perpetrator of that attack expressed his sympathies for the ISIS terrorist group. “The policies of our current administration have not been helpful in going after ISIS in part because you can’t treat a disease unless you identify it as what it is. The president was more angry over a Republican calling him out for not using the term radical Islam than he seemed to show for the act of terrorism itself,” Huckabee said. On Tuesday, Obama dismissed this criticism in a televised address, in which he said: “Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction. Since before I was president, I’ve been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism.” § A U.S. Coast Guard vessel patrolling New York Harbor, New York City. (Education Images/UIG via Getty Images) NEW YORK ( JTA ) — The body of a Long Island Jewish man who went missing while paddleboarding off the coast of Long Island Sunday was found. A tugboat crew found Gary Turkel’s body Friday morning in the Atlantic Ocean about 30 miles off the shore, the Long Island Herald reported. In a statement posted on Facebook, the Rockaway Nassau Safety Patrol, a volunteer group that led the search after the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its extensive search Tuesday, said, “It is with profound sadness that we confirm Mr. Turkel has passed away.” Gary Turkel (LinkedIn) “We are pleased that his grieving family is at least able to find some sense of closure now that his body has been recovered,” the statement, signed by the group’s coordinators and search-and-rescue supervisors, continued. “We implore the public to treat this with an appropriate level of respect. We wish our deepest condolences to his grieving family.” Turkel, 41, was a father of three and global manager of the market specialist team at Bloomberg, the financial data provider. He was a member of the Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach, an Orthodox congregation in Atlantic Beach, New York. Turkel was last seen alive Sunday afternoon paddleboarding without a life jacket. He was reported missing that evening. In a Facebook post, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom-The National Synagogue recalled how Turkel “walked down the aisle at my wedding” and was with him when he met his wife at Yeshiva University’s Stern College. “Gary is the one who played foosball with me all through High School and college,” Herzfeld said. “Gary is still the one who made me laugh more than anyone else I know. He was always a great friend to me and I know that I owe so much to the friendship and support he always gave me. I will always be eternally grateful for all the love he gave me. My heart breaks for his family. Baruch Dayan Emes.”