Jewish Fathers in Just Six Words

Announcing the 12 Winners of Our Father's Day Contest

Hollywood Dad: Adam and Jackie Sandler hug children Sadie and Sunny.
Getty Images
Hollywood Dad: Adam and Jackie Sandler hug children Sadie and Sunny.

By Larry Smith

Published June 14, 2013, issue of June 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

What’s the essence of the Jewish father? This was the question the Forward posed to you in a contest to write six-word tributes to your fathers and grandfathers for Father’s Day.

Six words may not seem like much to work with for a people with so much to say. And there are few topics that cause us to release a torrent of opinions and expression more than our own Jewish families. As the editor of the Six-Word Memoir project, my job is to ask people to describe in exactly six words the individuals and parts of their lives that matter most. As a wordy Jew from a family never afraid to share opinions, I had a good feeling that challenging the readers of the Forward to distill their fathers and grandfathers in a half-dozen words would yield thoughtful, heartbreaking and hilarious results.

More than 100 of you were inspired to share your thoughts on the men who raised you. And while it’s always tricky to make generalizations, it was clear to me from poring through your pithy takes on Pop that the Jewish dad isn’t afraid to smother you with puns, fill you with affection and readily offer his opinion on any and all parts of your Jewish life.

After the jump are 19 of our favorite responses: 12 from Forward readers, and seven from some notable Jews. Each of our winners will receive a copy of “Oy! Only Six? Why Not More? Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish Life” from SMITH Magazine. And if you’re having trouble telling Dad just how much he means to you, try starting with six words. You never know where a few words about the ones who mean the most in your life will take you this Father’s Day.

— Larry Smith

Larry Smith is the founder of SMITH Magazine, home of the Six-Word ® Memoir project. He’s the editor of eight books of Six-Word Memoirs.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.