Lauper Live in Israel, Kipah History, ‘Jihad Jane’ Jailed


An '80s singer re-emerges to make her debut in Israel, a teen pop star learns Hebrew and 'Jihad Jane' receives her court sentence. 

Welcome to our first roundup of the most entertaining, fun or all-out bizarre stories occurring in the Jewish world. After all, who doesn't love hearing the latest capers of Jewish celebs or unbelievable true-life events that could be confused with an episode of the X-Files?

This past week did not fail to impress. So now, without further ado, here are our favorite wacky news items of note:

Cyndi Lauper Performs in Tel Aviv

1980s superstar singer Cyndi Lauper took her 30th anniversary international concert tour to Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena on Jan. 4. Lauper, who is not Jewish, was making her first visit to Israel and planned to tour the Jewish state for the entire week, including stops in Jerusalem and at the Dead Sea. At the concert, the 60-year-old tried to keep with the times (and perhaps continue to prove that "Girls Just Want to Have Fun,") by sporting wild red hair and trendy combat boots as she paced through fan favorites such as "Time After Time," "She Bop" and "All Through the Night." 

'Jihad Jane' Handed Ten Year Jail Sentence

On Jan. 6, Montgomery County prostitute-turned-terrorist Colleen LaRose, who was dubbed 'Jihad Jane' by the media, received a 10 year sentence in federal prison for her part in a 2009 plot to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. The illustrator made waves in 2007 when he drew a cartoon depicting the face of the Islamic prophet Mohammad on the body of a dog. During LaRose's trial, an unbelievable story of abuse, prostitution and conversion to radical Islam unfolded before an enraptured audience. Also during her trial, LaRose confessed to fostering hatred for Israel. Though Justice Department officials had sought a much longer sentence, U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker cited LaRose's cooperation with authorities as reasoning for a lighter term. 

Northwestern Basketball Player Makes Kipah History

Northwestern University Wildcats' forward Aaron Liberman sported a purple and white kipah when he took the floor against the Michigan Wolverines on Jan. 5. He is the first player to wear a kipah in a Division I basketball game since 2000-1 when Tamir Goodman, the "Jewish Jordan," played for Towson University. Liberman's appearance in the game caps the success story of a freshman walk-on whose high school experience consisted of playing for the relatively unknown Valley Torah High School in Los Angeles. Though Liberman's time on the court has been limited — his one-minute cameo against Michigan is the only minute he has played so far this season — Jewish sports fans will surely be quick to embrace this new athlete.

One Direction Singer Learning Hebrew?

Harry Styles, a member of the teen sensation One Direction, is reportedly studying Hebrew and even tweets occasionally in Hebrew and Yiddish. The English-Irish boy band has taken the music world by storm after finishing third in Britain's version of the X-Factor in 2010. According to a JTA report, Styles can already write his name and his band's name in Hebrew. Money placed on a spike in Hebrew school attendance in the near future seems like a pretty safe bet.


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