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


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


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


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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  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • 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."
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