The Shmooze


The Prophet’s Song for the Choirmaster

By Isaac Meyers

First Day: EXODUS 19:1-20:23;NUMBERS 28:26-31,EZEKIEL 1:1-28 & 3:12; Second Day DEUTERONOMY 15:9-16:17, NUMBERS 28:26-3, HABAKKUK 2:20-3:19.* * *Shortly before the Babylonian Exile in 587 BCE, Habakkuk in his workshop meditates on the visions he has seen: Babylonian soldiers storming westward toward the Kingdom of Judah, drivenRead More


Rabbi, Can You Spare a Dime? Coping With Hard Times in a Town That Was Just Getting By

By Lisa Keys

LYNBROOK, N.Y. — Rabbi Howard Diamond is smoking a cigarette, standing outside his synagogue, Congregation Beth David. It’s just a few blocks from the Lynbrook stop on the Long Island Rail Road, within rattling distance of the overhead tracks. It’s late and he’s tired, but there is always, always work to be done in thisRead More


White-Collar Blues in a ‘Jobless Recovery’

By Daniel Treiman

The recession that officially began in March 2001 ended within a year after it started, most economists agree. You would not know it, however, from the masses of job seekers — often solidly upper middle-class — still lining up for the services of the nation’s Jewish vocational agencies.Even as the American economy has seen steady if modestRead More


RSVP — And Keep Your Mouth Shut!

By Wendy Belzberg

While going over our calendars for the next few weeks recently, my husband informed me that that coming Sunday evening we would be going to a Harvard Hillel dinner and that the Monday of Memorial weekend we are to attend a bat mitzvah. I should add that Labor Day Monday is slated for a family wedding — the family being that ofRead More


Upping the Ante: Poker Night Is for Real Men

By Max Gross

For a while the Hapless Jewish Writer nursed the delusion that he was not a bad poker player. You might say it began one night in Israel, when he relieved his Israeli and American co-players of more than a hundred shekels (about $25). He was euphoric.As it turns out, it shouldn’t have surprised the HJW that he could beat Israelis. MostRead More


Treating All Daughters Equally

By Wendy Belzberg

I am the father of two wonderful daughters: One recently got married, and the other is a single mother with two children. I am in a position to secure a home equity loan at a low rate, and I would like to help buy a house for my single daughter and her children. My concern is that my other daughter will feel resentful. Even though she and herRead More


Workmen’s Circle Seder Hits High Note

By Masha Leon

More than 300 guests joined in celebrating the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring star-studded April 13 gala Seder at the Grand Hyatt. Narrated by Eleanor Reissa and Adrienne Cooper, the streamlined program, under the baton of artistic and musical director Zalmen Mlotek, showcased the Workmen’s Circle Chorus, New Yiddish Chorale and a roster of…Read More


Greenspan’s Limited Power To Fix the Economy

By Gus Tyler

The American economy is in trouble and seems to be headed for double trouble. Will the reappointment of Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan help to turn things around?Based on the record — three consecutive terms of the Fed under Greenspan — the answer is a resounding no. And it is not Greenspan’s fault. He is not a man whoRead More


Looking to the Marshall Plan as an Iraqi Model

By Gus Tyler

The following is an open letter to President Bush on rebuilding Iraq. Dear Mr. President,The big shooting is pretty much over in Iraq. What you have done will undoubtedly make history.Now, as you know, comes the hard part. How to make peace — a peace that will win back old friends and make it clear that Uncle Sam had and has no imperialRead More


Testy Mother-in-Law Moves In, and Stays

By Wendy Belzberg

My mother-in-law became ill last September when she and her husband were visiting for the High Holidays. Though she has fully recovered, it has been eight months and my in-laws are still in our home. My mother-in-law is critical of everything and everybody save my husband, bickers nonstop with my father-in-law and meddles inRead More





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  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • 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."
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