Shorts: The Arts

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Jewish cantor new American Idol — online

It’s not the same as center stage at the Kodak Theatre, but Orlando-based Jewish singer/songwriter Beth Schafer has won the latest “American Idol Underground” online competition in the faith-based category.

Schafer’s songs “Still Small Voice” and “Love Multiplies” were voted Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, by visitors to the site (, earning the singer a cash prize as well as recording equipment.

“American Idol Underground” is an online extension of the wildly popular TV series. Schafer is a regular performer in the Jewish music world, touring across the world as well as being the cantorial leader of Temple Shir Shalom in Oviedo, Fla.

KISS rocker commends Israeli soldier

(jta) | KISS front man and bass player Gene Simmons sent a message of support to an Israeli soldier wounded in Lebanon.

Simmons, who was born in Israel and immigrated to the United States as a child, videotaped the message for Ron Weinreich, a 20-year-old tank crewman and KISS fan who was paralyzed by a Hezbollah missile strike.

He noted that his Hebrew name was Haim, and that he was born in Haifa, which was hit by hundreds of Hezbollah rockets during the 34-day war.