The Schmooze

Six Words Is All it Takes

“Circumcision has been least challenging part.”

“God chose. Said no. Now what?

“Sunday night? Yes, lobster is kosher.”

Millions of words, over thousands of years, have been written about the nature of the Jewish soul. But the most precise distillation of our people’s essence may have finally arrived in fewer characters than a tweet.

“Six Words on the Jewish Life,” a book to be published this week by the online magazine Smith, collects 360 nano-essays on “the wild, weird and wonderfully complex world of Judaism today,” according to editor Larry Smith, founder of the online “home for storytelling” that bears his name. The book is the latest in a series of popular six-word-memoir collections from Smith, including slim volumes on work, love and adolescence, and the first in which Smith tackles the faith of his fathers. (Full disclosure: My own six words, “Lapsed, cultural, and now professional Jew,” appear in the book.)

“I did a Jewish book first because I’m Jewish, and you go with what you know,” said the boisterous Smith, 43, over lunch near his office in Manhattan’s Union Square neighborhood. “But we’re also a people who love to discuss. And I thought the book would be an amazing catalyst for discussion. The book is 360 different ways of looking at Judaism. It’s a perspective that’s at once super-universal, but quite singular.”

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Six Words Is All it Takes

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