Jewish father who took out ad seeking a wife for his son postpones interviews of prospective brides

The Jewish father who took out a full-page ad in an Idaho newspaper seeking a wife for his 48-year-old son has postponed the interviews with prospective brides he scheduled at an Idaho resort.

Arthur Brooks, 78, of Beverly Hills, California, decided to delay his interviews of potential wives for his son, Baron, at the Coeur d’Alene Resort over the weekend after the resort “got a little scared about people losing their privacy,” People magazine reported Sunday.

“I’ve decided now to let a few weeks go by, then we’ll reschedule,” Brooks told People.

The Spokesman-Review newspaper reported Sunday that at least a dozen women, only one local, responded to the ad. The story has been picked up by media outlets throughout the United States and internationally.

Brooks reportedly was surprised by the amount of attention his ad generated.

“I thought I might get a couple of women to respond, then I’d quietly set up a few interviews and that would be that,” he told People. “I want my son to be happy and I thought I was doing a good thing. But it took off in an entirely different direction.”

Last week, Brooks without the permission of knowledge of his son, Baron, took out the ad titled “Looking for a Wife” in the Coeur d’Alene Press, a newspaper in northern Idaho.

Baron Brooks, a broker in the health food trade, told the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Washington, he was shocked and infuriated to learn of the ad.

Father and son met at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Saturday evening, where Baron Brooks gave his father a scolding – then wrapped him in a warm hug, according to People.

“I’d hoped to be married by now and have children, but it’s very challenging in Salt Lake City for a Jewish guy,” Baron Brooks told People. “Most of the women I meet are in their 40s and are done having kids. I came close to getting married a couple of times, but it didn’t work out. So I think my dad felt there was an urgency to make something happen.”

Baron Brooks has agreed to be present for the interviews, which will be held in his hometown of Salt Lake City, when they do happen.

“He’s going to do it anyway,” the younger Brooks said, according to People, “and I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. So if any of these women are truly willing to meet me and they’re not just crazy people out for a free trip, I want to do the honorable thing. And if it happens to lead to something, well, great.”

Idaho Chabad center vandalized

The Chabad Jewish Center of Idaho in Boise was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

A spray-painted message discovered on the building on June 11 read “Zionism = Racism.”

Boise Police Lt. Kent Lipple told the Idaho Statesman that the vandalism would be considered a hate crime since its message was specific to a particular religion.

The Boise community has supported the Chabad center with phone calls, e-mails and visits, Chabad emissary Rabbi Mendel Lifshitz told the Idaho Statesman. Volunteers have offered to repaint the building’s wall.

Jews should oppose Senator Craig’s ouster

Long before Sen. Larry Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, American Jewish groups harbored serious doubts about the Idaho Republican. In June 1990, when Craig, then a congressman, was running for an open Senate seat, the Jerusalem Post bemoaned his “miserable” record on Israel. Pro-Israel political action committees raised more than $55,000 for Craig’s Democratic opponent in the race.

Now Craig, who over the weekend announced that he will step down later this month, is a man with very few friends.

One of his few outspoken defenders in recent days has been a gay, pro-Israel Jewish Democrat from Massachusetts, Rep. Barney Frank. While acknowledging that Craig’s conduct was “hypocritical,” given the Idahoan’s anti-gay rights record, Frank said his crime was “not an abuse of office” and does not warrant resignation.

Frank seemed to be speaking from his experience as an openly gay man, not from his experience as a Jew. But the American Jewish community as a whole should be upset over the Republican rush to drive Craig from office, and not just because as a senator he ended up being a pleasant surprise for pro-Israel activists.

As the late Yale historian John Boswell showed, where there is homophobia, anti-Semitism very often lurks around the corner.

“The same laws which oppressed Jews oppressed gay people; the same groups bent on eliminating Jews tried to wipe out homosexuality,” Boswell wrote.

While his study was based on medieval Europe, his words ring true in modern America. Jews may disagree about the status of homosexuals within our own religious communities, but when there is an upsurge of homophobia in society at large, all Jews should take note.

Craig, even though he insists he is not gay, appears to be a victim of homophobia.

Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives have long tolerated members in their midst who carried on extramarital affairs – with women. Craig’s crime in the court of law is that he allegedly sought to have sex in an airport bathroom, but his sentence in the court of public opinion is so severe because he allegedly sought to have sex with a man.

A double standard is being invoked here, and Jews, as the historical victims of double standards, have a duty to speak up.

The National Jewish Democratic Council is fulfilling that duty, at least in part. In an Aug. 30 statement, the council noted the discrepancy between the GOP’s lenient treatment of Republican Sen. David Vitter, the first-term Louisianan whose name appeared in a female prostitute’s Rolodex, and its swift punishment of Craig, who lost his major committee assignments after the sex scandal surfaced and was pressured into announcing his resignation.

Yet it is one thing to assail the Republican leadership and quite another to put in a good word for Craig himself. We may condemn Craig’s apparent attempt at adultery; we may disagree with Craig’s views on almost every topic; we may support the idea of a Democrat winning his Senate seat in 2008. But the fact remains that in the first year after his election to the Senate, Craig underwent a remarkable evolution from isolationist to Israel supporter. While his colleagues condemn Craig’s “conduct unbecoming a senator,” American Jews should remember Craig’s conduct on becoming a senator.

By 1990, Idaho’s senior senator, the Republican James McClure, had amassed, in the words of the Jerusalem Post, “one of the most anti-Israel records.” Craig, who voted in the House against aid to Israel, seemed likely to follow in the retiring McClure’s footsteps.

As a freshman senator, however, Craig reconsidered his views. He visited Israel and spoke out on the Senate floor in favor of a $10 billion package of loan guarantees to pay for the absorption of Soviet and Ethiopian immigrants. Though he is unlikely to appear on any list of the “most pro-Israel senators,” Craig has consistently cautioned his colleagues about the threats posed to Israel’s security by global jihadists and a nuclear-armed Iran.

The Book of Proverbs instructs us: “Do not forsake your friend.” Craig has been forsaken by his own party, but as Craig has shown concern for the fate of the Jews, we should likewise show concern for him.

Of course, Craig’s pro-Israel stance is not the only reason why American Jews ought to oppose Craig’s ouster. We ought to oppose his ouster because it would signal a victory for forces of hate within the Republican Party.

Seventeen years ago, American Jews tried to prevent Craig from becoming a senator, but now we should be outraged over how he lost his job.

Daniel Hemel is a 2007 Marshall Scholar and is studying international relations at the Oxford University.

Kids Page

Josh Fields, 8, of Thousand Oaks, won the “My Amazing Summer” essay contest.

He wins a gift certificate to the store of his choice.

I went to Yellowstone National Park two days after school ended. It took two days to drive all the way to Yellowstone. We drove through beautiful scenery in five states that I had never been to before, including Idaho and Montana.

In Yellowstone, I saw bison, moose, elk, a bear, trumpeter swans and baby bald eagles. I saw geysers, mud pots and hot springs. I became a junior ranger, which made me very proud. I saw the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Lower Falls, Mystic Falls, the Prismatic Springs and Excelsior Geyser. I also went to Virginia City, which is an old gold mining town. I had a tour of the town and I went gold mining.

After I got home I went to an acting camp called Kids Acting Out West, and we did “Cinderella.” I was a bodyguard. I made lots of friends at the camp. This is the process of what I went through: First, I had auditions. After that I got assigned my part. I practiced and played with my part. We had two successful shows. All in all, I had a great summer!


Idaho Remembers Anne

Not long ago, the mention of Idaho conjured up images of neo-Nazis of the Aryan Nations goose-stepping at their forest redoubt in this Northwestern state.

But now, Idaho will draw some more welcome attention as the home of the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and Park, in the heart of Boise, the state capital.

The park’s dedication in August drew thousands, affirming Idaho’s commitment to tolerance, civil rights and rejection of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, who until recently marred the state’s reputation.

The 30,000 square-foot park, on the banks of the Boise River, includes a life-size bronze statue of Anne Frank, peering through an "attic" window, two reflecting ponds, three waterfalls, reading circles, children’s plaza and an amphitheater.

Engraved on tablets of Idaho sandstone and travertine are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and 60 quotes from such figures as Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., Chief Joseph and Confucius, ending with the quote from Anne Frank’s famous diary, "If God lets me live … I shall not remain insignificant. I shall work in the world and for mankind."

More than 3,000 individuals and businesses contributed toward the $1.5 million cost of the project, including students from 40 Idaho schools who staged plays, washed cars, sold candy and friendship-grams and collected pennies for the $40,000 statue of Anne Frank by Massachusetts sculptor Greg Stone.

More than 250,000 visitors, including 25,000 school children, are expected at the memorial annually, according to Les Bock, executive director of the Idaho Human Rights Education Center, who spearheaded the project.

These are huge figures for a state with a total population of less than 1.3 million. The miniscule Jewish community of about 1,000 makes up less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the state’s total and supports one synagogue, Ahavath Beth Israel in Boise.

The origin of the memorial park dates back to 1995, when an Anne Frank exhibit went on display in Boise. It attracted 45,000 visitors, at that time about 5 percent of the state’s population.

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and Boise Mayor Brent Coles formally dedicated the memorial on Aug. 16, while New York actress Aysan Celik read excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary.

Some of the thinking that went into creation of the memorial is discussed in an informational bulletin.

"Why, in Idaho, do we work so passionately on this endeavor?" it asks, and responds, "Some may say to offset the vocal hate groups who tarnish the reputation of our state; others may say to build a lasting legacy for generations to come; and still others may say it’s simply the right thing to do."

But why name the memorial for Anne Frank? The answer is that "Anne Frank’s story teaches us about human rights in a way that everyone can understand. From her tragic experiences, we can learn how human rights issues affect us all and how to safeguard against similar human rights tragedies."

For more information, visit