The Shmooze


Israel-America Two-for-One Night in N.Y.

By Masha Leon

“In New York, two for one is a great deal,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the audience at the January 21 joint Israel Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic Orchestras’ gala benefit concert. “You got two conductors [Zubin Mehta and Lorin Maazel], two Mehtas [the conductor and his mother, Dehmi Mehta], two orchestras and two mayors,”…Read More


Have a Lice Day

By Wendy Belzberg

My business partner and I work alone in a small consulting company. Our offices consist of two rooms side-by-side with a thin, common wall in between. I close my door whenever I place or receive telephone calls, but my partner listens in and comments as soon as I hang up. Recently he overheard a conversation I was having with a formerRead More


Sometimes a Gift Is Just a Gift

Judaism. “I’m kind of obsessed with Freud,” she said.Her Freud doll has become one of her favorite distractions; she dances with Freud to Destiny’s Child and treats Freud like a teddy bear — sleeping with it every night.“This sounds really insane,” Hernandez said. Yes, go on. “Freud has these felt pants…. Whenever I went to bedRead More


At 28, a Woman Finally Feels Like a Jewish Adult

By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

Over the past two months, I’ve been in synagogue on Shabbat four times, way more than normal, because of back-to-back family bar and bat mitzvahs. I was asked to read from the Torah at two of the services, for the first time since my own bat mitzvah 15 years ago.It seems only fitting that I received my taped recordingRead More


No Need To Buy Parents Fancy-Shmancy Condo

By Wendy Belzberg

My parents asked me to buy them a condominium in a swank building. I can afford to do so (even though the amount is not pocket change to me), but I turned them down. My parents have saved up all of their lives and have put aside a sizeable nest egg. They have the financial wherewithal to purchase the apartment for themselves. Since I said no, IRead More


Moses and the Miracles Of Wood and Water

By Burton L. Visotzky

In memory of Martin Luther King Jr., who taught us how to go forward. Our rabbis teach us in a midrash that when God created trees, they were full of pride because of their towering stature. Then God created iron, and those trees that could foresee the axe trembled with fear. “Why do you tremble?” God asked. “No axe can be formed to cutRead More


Does Kiddush-Happy Hubby Need Intervention?

By Wendy Belzberg

On Shabbat my husband drinks almost an entire bottle of wine by himself. He makes kiddush and, after the rest of the family has had their obligatory taste, he polishes off the bottle. Does this mean he is an alcoholic? Should I be concerned? — Bottoms up By all means be concerned. As for whether your husband is an alcoholic, you would knowRead More


Tucking Away Childhood in a Pink Bag

By Sophie Glazer

When our daughters were young my family threw itself zestfully into Jewish observances. We lit candles on Friday nights and said Havdalah. We wrote our own Purim play and made magnificent Esther costumes. We baked Rosh Hashana challah and built a sukkah. The girls went to the temple nursery school, religious school and children’s services. OurRead More


Beware of the Hardening Heart

By David Curzon

This week’s portion, Bo, describes the last three plagues: locusts, darkness and the slaying of all the firstborn of Egypt. Is it conceivable that Pharaoh’s stiff-necked, self-destructive behavior, so vividly portrayed in the story of the plagues, could be interpreted in such a way as to actually have lessons for ourselves? IRead More





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  • “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.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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