The Shmooze


“Adolf Eichmann Trial: Fifty Years Later” a Pivotal Revisit to the Jewish Museum Ballroom

By Masha Leon

“Israel of the post-Eichmann trial [era] was forever different,” said Ido Aharoni, consul general of Israel in New York, at “Adolf Eichmann Trial: Fifty Years Later,” held at the Jewish Museum on February 13. The event was co-sponsored by the Israel Consulate and the Anti-Defamation League’s New York region. Aharoni continued: “It was the Eichmann trial that reminded us Israelis that for more than a decade — since the establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948 — we had been fearful of touching our own past…. The trial served as the first and most significant opportunity for the champions of the remarkable Zionist rebirth to comfort the survivors who silently lived among us.” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman welcomed an audience packed into the museum’s ballroom, where bleacher seating had been installed to accommodate the crowd. All were spellbound by the recollections of Tami Raveh, daughter of Gideon Hausner, who was attorney general of the State of Israel from 1960 to 1963 and chief prosecutor in the Eichmann trial, and Itay Arad, grandson of Isser Harel, who was director of the Mossad from 1952 to 1963 and commander-in-chief of the Eichmann Operation.Read More


Leon Botstein Wows at YIVO

By Masha Leon

“If, in the future, [Yiddish] will have the same status and [culturally] stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Latin and Greek, we won’t be doing so badly,” Bard College president Leon Botstein said at the January 9 launch of the YIVO-Bard Institute for East European Jewish History and Culture Winter Intercession Program.Read More


The Unsinkable Sally Goodgold

By Masha Leon

“If she had been on the Titanic, it would not have sunk,” said NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, one of the eulogizers at the August 21 funeral of Sally Goodgold, whose death at the age of 82 on August 18 sent shock waves through New York City’s civic and Jewish communities. The funeral was held at Plaza Memorial in Manhattan, and the casket was draped with New York City’s flag — a rare honor, for which Sally’s son, Jay Goodgold, thanked the Commissioner and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.Read More


Meat Loaf on the Menu at UJA Long Island Summerfest Fundraiser

By Masha Leon

“We are totally blown away by the turnout,” said Scott Smith, corporate chair of the UJA-Federation of New York’s twenty-first annual Summerfest, at Westbury’s NYCB Theatre on August 10. “Tonight we have [a record] 1,400 people in the house!” The crowd was treated to an astonishing pre-concert diet-defying buffet before being entertained by rock ’n roll artist Meat Loaf. Chaired by Rachel and Frank Zuckerbrot, who head UJA’s New Leadership Campaign, the event raised $1.6 million for UJA-Federation.Read More


Israel Cancer Research Fund Luncheon Showcases Haim Werner

By Masha Leon

At the Israel Cancer Research Fund luncheon, held August 10 at The Yale Club of New York City, ICRF-funded scientist Haim Werner gave a presentation on his research specialty: the connection among hormones, obesity and cancer. At the heart of his address was a discussion of what is now known as Laron-type dwarfism.Read More


Jewish Poverty on Menu at Met Council Luncheon Honoring Builder of the Year Jeffrey Levine

By Masha Leon

Few believe that Jewish poor exist,” New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in his keynote address at the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty luncheon, held July 26 to honor Builder of the Year Jeffrey Levine.Read More


Eye Candy and Open-Space Connections: Spotlight on Hampton Designer Showhouse Interior Designers Gideon Mendelson and Keith Baltimore

By Masha Leon

One week after the Hampton Designer Showhouse Gala Preview Cocktail Party, held July 23 in Bridgehampton, N.Y., to benefit Southampton Hospital, I met with two of the 25 interior designers who had been chosen to decorate a room in the Showhouse: Gideon Mendelson, head of New York City based Mendelson Group, and Keith Baltimore of Baltimore Design Group, which is based in Port Washington, N.Y. Never again will I look at a professionally designed room without reflecting on some of the philosophical imperatives about the use of space and the function of design postulated by these two designers.Read More


"Sarah's Key" Author Tatiana de Rosnay and Filmmaker Gilles Paquet-Brenner Sound Off

By Masha Leon

“I am not a person who scares easily, but of this scene I was scared,” said Gilles Paquet-Brenner, director of “Sarah’s Key,” during the interview at the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo a few days before the film’s July 22 opening. He was referring to the film’s re-creation of the panic that ensued during the July 16, 1942 round-up by French Police of Jewish men, women and children who had been herded into Paris’s Velodrome d’Hiver (Vel’ d’Hiv’) sports stadium before being shipped off to their death.Read More


Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal Spellbinding at U.S. Holocaust Museum Dinner

By Masha Leon

“There are traditional forms of anti-Semitism…. There is Holocaust denial…. There is also growing Holocaust glorification,” keynote speaker Hannah Rosenthal said at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s New York tribute dinner, held June 2 at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Rosenthal, President Obama’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, addressed “Holocaust revisionism and relativism — where government agencies, museums, academic research and the like are grouping the lessons of the Holocaust with other repressive regimes.”Read More


General Robert Magnus and 50 Marines Honor Fallen Heroes at Jewish Center

By Masha Leon

“In front of the Torah, we pay tribute to those who served our country,” said Rabbi Yosie Levine of the Jewish Center, in Manhattan, which hosted the May 30 Jewish Community Memorial Day Event, “An Appreciation of America’s Service Members.” With a U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard on the bimah, Levine told the guests: “Each Shabbat we pray and say todah [thank you]…. May God bless America.”Read More





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  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
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