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November 28, 2003


• A couple walked into the offices of the Forward and told the following story: The young couple had fought, and, in the heat of it all, the husband shouted that he wanted a divorce. The wife agreed. So they went to the nearest synagogue, Tiferes Yisroel on Allen Street, to find a rabbi and get a get. When they arrived in the office of Rabbi Yosef Lats, they told him they wanted a divorce. But as they waited, they began to regret their decision. The husband gave the rabbi $2 and told him to stop writing the document. The rabbi said it was too late and that the divorce would cost $5. If they wanted him to remarry them, it would cost another $5. The Forward would like to warn Lats and other rabbis who try to make a buck off of other people’s troubles that this kind of funny business could land them in deep trouble.


• In order for both his father and father-in-law to conclude that he was not a complete shlimazl, cartoonist Rube Goldberg had to present them with his contract showing that he was being paid $50,000 a year for his craft. Goldberg, one of the best-known and successful cartoonists, has built his career on creating bizarre and impossible inventions in his cartoons. Goldberg always wanted to be an artist, but his father was opposed to it and convinced him to become an engineer. Despite earning his degree, Goldberg was never interested in the field. While in school, he spent most of his time drawing cartoons for the college paper. Nonetheless, it is obvious that his cartoon inventions betray a strong influence of his engineering background.


• Who would have thought that one of today’s most popular wrestlers was once a yeshiva bokher who studied with such talmudic luminaries as the Hazon Ish? Rafael Halperin, the currently undefeated Israeli wrestler, paid a visit to the Forward. In a juicy Yiddish peppered with talmudic anecdotes, the Vienna-born, Bnei Brak-raised Halperin told how his father was a man of principle who believed that one must learn to make a living and not sit around all day in a yeshiva. All of the Halperin brothers became businessmen, and young Rafael became an expert in the diamond business. But one day about six years ago, after seeing a weightlifting magazine, Halperin became interested in physical culture and began to work out. His yeshiva friends made fun of him, but he pressed on. Inclined toward business, Halperin opened a gym in Jerusalem, which eventually grew to a chain of 53 gyms throughout the Jewish state. His bodybuilding paid off; in 1950 he was named “Mr. Israel.” An American wrestling promoter who was visiting Israel suggested that Halperin come to the United States and become a wrestler, which he did. Since then, he has become successful, though he won’t wrestle on Friday nights, when most of the matches take place.

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