The Shmooze


Groupies Gearing Up for Louisville ‘Lebowski Fest’

By Max Gross

As every “Big Lebowski” devotee knows, you don’t roll on Shabbes. So when Will Russell and Scott Shuffitt announced plans to have the Second Annual Lebowski Fest on a Friday night, fans of the 1998 comedy were aghast.“We kept getting e-mails saying, ‘You can’t have this on Shabbes,’” Russell told the Forward. Thankfully, the 500 toRead More


Dance Fever at Sutton Place Synagogue

By Masha Leon

The Sutton Place Synagogue in Manhattan “rocked” as the 220 guests at the June 16 Yiddish Artists & Friends Actors Club & Yiddish Theatrical Alliance Annual Dinner Dance Gala waltzed, cha-cha’d and hora’d to the beat of Mitch Kahn’s Orchestra.Corey Breier, master of ceremonies, club president and recently appointed president of…Read More


Firetruckism

By Marjorie Ingall

I’m working really hard on saying “Independence Day” without smirking. To me, it’s not a holiday; it’s the name of a movie that started the whole cynical tradition of opening big, dumb, “Oooooh, explosions!” gazillion-dollar summer blockbusters. (Okay, so “Independence Day” is the first action flick to feature Judd Hirsch and theRead More


A New Take on Old Ethics

By Allan Nadler

In one of the more unsettling lines in modern Yiddish literature — a genre hardly lacking in disturbing sentiments — a young man who has left the yeshiva for a secular life is rebuked by his former classmate: Don’t you remember what our rabbi taught? He who has studied in the Mussar yeshiva will never again be able to enjoy his life! YouRead More


Cultural Awards Serve Up Feast for the Soul

By Masha Leon

The National Foundation for Jewish Culture’s June 2 Jewish Cultural Achievement awards dinner at the Plaza — co-chaired by Morris Offit and hosted by actor Ron Leibman — was a feast for the soul.Among the roster of participants delighting the 350 guests who helped raise $500,000 for the foundation was National Public Radio host Scott…Read More


Arguing the World: A ‘Conversation’

By Masha Leon

Sparks flew at the civil and witty “Conversation” between Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and Natan Sharansky at the June 2 Aleph Society dinner at the Essex House. When moderator Charles Krauthammer expressed astonishment at the return of antisemitism 50 years after the Holocaust, Steinsaltz — author of 60 books on the Talmud,Read More


Blessing of the Second Chance

By Faye Moskowitz

I might have been bat mitzvah when I turned 13, but in truth, no such ceremony was available to me as a daughter of Orthodox parents, and so I waited 57 years before I finally stood on the bima to observe my spiritual birthday.Under the guidance of Rabbi Avis Miller at Adas Israel Synagogue in Washington, several dozen women in my cohort completedRead More


Don’t Make Your Groom Abandon China

By Wendy Belzberg

My sister-in-law has generously offered to throw me a baby shower. I have always thought that, according to Judaism, baby showers are prohibited. Also, I thought I was supposed to wait until the birth to bring any baby gifts into my home. What is the proper etiquette, and how do I address this diplomatically with my sister-in-law?Read More


Woodbine Museum Opens Doors to American Past

By Ethan Porter

Michael Azeez has a long personal history with the Woodbine Brotherhood Synagogue. “My earliest memory,” he said, “is in the synagogue with my father, tying his tallis in knots.”It is something of a tribute, then, that Azeez has spearheaded the restoration of the historic building in southern New Jersey and opened, within the synagogue’sRead More


Ethics of Charity Is Far From Black and White

By Wendy Belzberg

My sister, with whom I have a difficult relationship, works full time for a charity for which I have little respect. She has asked me to donate to her charity a five-night stay in a resort that I own. I donate room stays often, but there is no public-relations upside from her group, and five nights is twice as much as I usually give.

— WhyRead More





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  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
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  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
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