The Shmooze


A Racy Rewrite With Steamy Romance

By Devra Ferst

Anne Frank’s diary has a few ellipses where parts were left out. Her story, one of the most famous in the world, is not completely known. What was so revealing that Otto Frank, her father, who published her diary in 1947, wouldn’t let the world see?Read More


Bobby Fischer, Back From the Grave

By Ezra Glinter

Bobby Fischer was once the greatest chess player in the world, before he devolved into a ranting, rabid antisemite, despite the fact that he himself was Jewish. By the end of Fischer’s life, the only country that would have him was Iceland, where he died in 2008 of kidney failure, leaving behind some $2 million and no will. Now, The Associated Press reports, Iceland’s Supreme Court hopes that exhuming his corpse will help determine who gets the loot.Read More


Just Two Minutes To Tell Your Story

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

On a tepid Monday evening at the Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan, a glut of Jewish authors sat alphabetically in a subterranean, windowless ballroom, clutching prepared remarks or copies of their recently published and forthcoming books and networking with fellow Jewish writers. Over the course of several days, 196 of them took two minutes each to sell themselves and their work to the Jewish Book Network — an association of Jewish community centers, synagogues and cultural organizations — which will summon their favorites to the country’s far corners, giving lucky authors an unparalleled platform to push their books.Read More


Bollywood Does Eva Braun

By Ezra Glinter

Something tells us this will not end well. Bollywood filmmaker Rakesh Ranjan Kumar is directing a Hitler biopic focusing on the Fuhrer’s relationship with his companion Eva Braun, to be released at the end of this year. Titled “Dear Friend Hitler,” the film takes its name from the term used by Gandhi in a letter begging the German dictator not to go to war.Read More


The New (Jewish) Face of Rap

By Devra Ferst

Music writer Jon Caramanica said it right in the New York Times on June 8: “Biracial Jewish-Canadian former child actors don’t have a track record of success in the American rap industry.”Read More


Of Religion and Rubbers

By Michael Kaminer

‘It keeps adults safe.” That’s the explanation Rabbi Melissa Simon hears parents give kids about the bowl of colorful condoms in the front office of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, the West Village gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender shul where she’s a rabbinical intern. And at “Faith in Latex,” a panel on religion and rubbers hosted by Fifth Avenue’s Museum of Sex last week, that sentiment provided a cogent catchphrase for one of the evening’s themes — that the imperative to protect a life can supersede biblical strictures against contraception.Read More


A Comedy of Biblical Proportions

By Nathan Burstein

Following in the footsteps of Mel Brooks and Monty Python, a top Israeli comedy troupe is turning its attention to the Bible.Read More


The Pixies Cancel Israel Concert

By Alex Weisler

The Pixies in 1988 sang about being “stuck … out here on the Gaza Strip” in the song “River Euphrates,” but the alternative rock band has canceled a planned concert in Israel after an international outcry over the May 31 flotilla raid.Read More


Pocketing The Dough

By Devra Ferst

Wars over the best New York bagel have likely ensued since the first Jewish immigrants arrived in lower Manhattan. “Zabar’s!” some Jewish families shout about where to buy their Sunday brunch bagels. “Absolute Bagels!” No, “H & H Bagels!”Read More


Pink Hitler Posters Cause Outrage

By Laurie Stern

Clothing store New Form’s new ad campaign, which places Hitler on 18-foot-tall posters in Barbie-pink military garb and has him wearing an armband with a red heart in place of a swastika, has sparked outrage among the residents of an Italian city.Read More





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  • 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.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
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