the schmooze

Note:  The Yiddish word for “plagiarism” is “plagyat”;
           the Yiddish word for “vandalism” is “vandalizm.”
           The Yiddish word for “carelessness” is “kerlasnas.”
            “der redner” means “the speaker”
           “politish rede” means “political speech”
           “spiel” is defined as a high-flown talk or speech,
           especially for the purpose of luring people to a
           movie, a sale, etc.; pitch
           In Yiddish, a “ghostwriter” is a “ghostvriter.”

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Wilson Mizner said, “Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research.”

Jimi Hendrix said, “I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.”

What do these people have in common?

Jordan A. Hulseberg
Ted Sorenson
Lawrence Bernstein
Richard N. Goodwin
Arthur M. Schlesinger
William Safire
Chris Matthews
Peggy Noonan
Ben Stein
Sir Ronald Millar

They were all speechwriters.

Jordan A. Hulseberg, the son of Jewish-German immigrants, wrote for President Calvin Coolidge. 
Sir Ronald Millar wrote for Margaret Thatcher.
Richard N. Goodwin wrote for JFK and Lyndon B. Johnson
Arthur M. Schlesinger wrote for JFK.
Pat Buchanan, William Safire, and Ben Stein wrote for President Richard Nixon.
Chris Matthews wrote for President Jimmy Carter
Peggy Noonan wrote for Presidents Ronald Reagan and
George H. W. Bush
Michael Waldman wrote for Bill Clinton

The editorial (“leyt”) board at Newsday (July 20, 2016) said, “Prominent people don’t often write their own speeches.  There is a long list, however, of successful people who have made the same mistake of not checking every word of the ghostwriter.  And there is no shortage of software commonly used by high school (“mitlshul”) teachers to catch lazy (“foyl”) students.”


Melania Trump has been making the news.  Fox News Politics carried the following headlines:


  Meredith McIver worked with Melania on her
  opening-night convention speech.  She said, “I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused.”   McIver offered her resignation to Trump and his family, “but they rejected it.”

What was Donald’s reaction to the lifting of about 70 words/three passages?

 “The media is spending more time doing a forensic
 analysis of Melania’s speech than the FBI spent on
 Hillary’s emails.”   (Note:  The Yiddish words for
“forensic analysis” are “forensik analisis.”)

 And Trump’s de facto campaign manager, Paul Manafort said, “There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech.  These were common words and values.  She cares about her family,” he said.

 Judith E. Ganz wrote in a letter to the New York Times

Re: “How Melania Trump Sent Speech Veering Off Course” (front page, July 20):  What is worse? 

  1.  Melania Trump’s blatant plagiarism or
  2.  pretending that the Trumps share the same moral values as the Obamas.  I choose B.

An interesting thought:  Are there plagiarism standards for rabbis?

Rabbi Steven Wernick publicly apologized to two prominent rabbis for his use of their words in his own writings without attribution.  He said that “plagiarism standards for rabbis are looser than those applied to journalists and academics.”

Randy Cohen, the original writer of the New York Times
Magazine’s Ethicist column, “suggests that Christian
pastors be allowed to deliver sermons written by others…”
He made a similar argument for rabbis.

“He [a rabbi] has to be psychologist to his flock, he has to be a skilled administrator…he has to be a gifted writer and an inspiring orator?  Who can do even one of these things?” Cohen asked.
  (Source: “When May a Rabbi Use the Words of Others?”
  by Josh Nathan-Kazis, Forward, Aug. 24, 2012)

 Rabbis can consult Torah Fax in Davie, Florida.  They run a sermon email subscription service for rabbis.  Some sites pay the authors for individual sermons about $50 apiece.  They sometimes buy up sermon libraries.  And rabbis can consult sourcebooks, like “A Rabbinic Anthology” by Claude Montefiore and Herbert Loewe.  They can go online to “Try My Rabbi,” a website (“vebzayt”) which allows rabbis to share their sermons.

  Rabbi Steven Lebow, Temple Kol Emeth, shared his sermon titled, “Superman & Batman, You and Me”
  (Feb. 2, 2014).

  Another 5-star sermon available online was titled,
  “Humpty Dumpty”:

  Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
  Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
  Humpty Dumpty shouted Amen;
  God put me
  Together again.


MARJORIE WOLFE fondly remembers Milton Berle, the standup comedian and actor.  He was known as “Mr. Television,” “Uncle Miltie,” and “The Thief of Bad Gags.” He once told Larry King, “I don’t steal people’s jokes.  I just find them before they’re lost.”


Search for Stories Beginning with the Letter
N O P Q R S T U V W   Y Z
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

Yiddish Stuff
Jewish Humor
Schmooze News
More Majorie Wolfe
Jewish Stories
All Things Jewish
Jewish Communities of the World
Site Designed and Maintained by
Haruth Communications