The Shmooze


Literary Lions and Lionesses are the Mane Attraction at Jewish Book Awards Event

By Masha Leon

“To speak of Cynthia Ozick is to speak of magical storytelling,” said Francine Klagsbrun, a board member of the Jewish Book Council, before presenting Ozick with the council’s lifetime achievement award at its 60th annual National Jewish Book Award ceremony, held March 9 at the Center for Jewish History. Ozick’s response was a literary dissertation leading off with: “Lionel Trilling, one of the most influential literary critics of the century… and the first Jew to have been officially appointed professor of English at Columbia University, is remembered in particular for two Jewishly oriented statements, one more shocking than the other:Read More


Forward and Forverts Celebrate the Past and the Future at Gala Dinner

By Masha Leon

“A good newspaper.. .is a nation talking to itself,” said Jane Eisner, editor of the Forward, quoting playwright Arthur Miller at the Forward Association’s March 8 “Looking Forward” fundraising gala, held at Mandarin Oriental.Read More


Having a (Purim) Ball

By Masha Leon

It was raves and roasts at the February 28 Museum of the Moving Image’s salute to Alec Baldwin”, held at Cipriani 42nd Street. It was also an adieu for the museum’s founding director, Rochelle Slovin, who has led the institution for the past 30 years.Read More


Yid Lit: Michael Showalter

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

From the Borscht Belt to poop jokes, Jewish comedy comes in many forms, and Michael Showalter has a little of both in his repertoire. The comedian, who wrote and starred in the films “The Baxter” and “Wet Hot American Summer,” has lent his many gifts to his new “humoir,” “Mr. Funny Pants” (Grand Central Publishing), which plumbs his “latchkey” suburban upbringing via self-deprecating humor. He spoke with the Forward’s Allison Gaudet Yarrow about his self-conscious comedy and the Jews who dig it, and about his spiritual encounter with a mitzvah van.Read More


Journalist-Author Philip Gourevitch — Former Forward Staffer — Honored by France

By Masha Leon

“You are a man of books and stories,” said Antonin Baudry, cultural counselor of the French Embassy in New York, as he introduced Philip Gourevitch, recipient of France’s Order of Arts and Letters, at the January 31 ceremony held at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. “You are a voice not only for France, but Europe… a correspondent in Asia, Europe, Africa, Siberia, Cambodia… the Iraqi War…. You first worked for the Forward, before working as a freelance writer.”Read More


Remembering Italian Jewish Community Leader Tullia Zevi

By Masha Leon

I met Tullia Zevi, who died in Rome on January 22, at 91, when she came to New York for the October 7, 1996, Appeal of Conscience Foundation dinner honoring then prime minister of Italy Romano Prodi. She invited me for tea at Hotel Elysée, the East Side boutique hotel where she was staying. Since I had visited Rome two months earlier, our conversation focused on the current status of the Italian-Jewish community.Read More


Jews Who Rescued Jews: Two Heroic Jewish Women Honored By Hidden Child Foundation

By Masha Leon

“Ignored by historians… the general public, even by the Jewish people, are the heroic deeds of Jewish rescuers,” Hidden Child Foundation vice president Rachelle Goldstein told the nearly 200 attendees of the organization’s seventh International Rescuers Day program, held January 19 at the Anti-Defamation League’s headquarters. “Today we honor two Jewish women, Renee Wiener and Andree “Poumy” Moreuil, who would not shrink and tremble in their hiding places.”Read More


Shylock in Yiddish: New Yiddish Rep Presents Jacob Adler’s Historic “Shylock” at Center for Jewish History

By Masha Leon

Not a single candy wrapper, cough nor cell phone interrupted the New Yiddish Repertory’s January 13 reading of “Shaylok, oder der Koyfman Fun Venedig,” a Yiddish adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” at the Center for Jewish History. The evening was, in Broadway speak — a smash hit.Read More


Six Degrees Of Tour de France

By Raphael Mostel

It turns out that the world’s most famous bicycle race, the Tour de France that just completed its 2010 run, has an unlikely origin: It was a direct result of the notorious Dreyfus Affair.Read More


Oliver Stone Says ‘Sorry’

By Nathan Burstein

Maybe he’s not such an expert on natural born killers, after all.Read More





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  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • 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:
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