the schmooze


Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

deskOn Monday, January 9, Americans celebrate "Clean Off Your Desk Day." My home desk contains piles of assorted paper everywhere. Does it bother me? No! I agree with David Freedman, a self-appointed "mess analyst" and author, who says the concept of organization is context-bound. "If you try to force someone out of their comfort zone, they'll be less productive," he says. "People do better when they're in their natural state - neat or messy."




That being said, I am going to clean off my "shraybtish" (desk) and note its contents:

Nathan grins and answer the question with a story:

A man shows up at the synagogue one Sabbath morning with a dog. The usher stops him at the door. "You can't bring that dog into services, Morris."

"Morris is offended. 'This is no ordinary dog. Lester is a very special dog. Wherever I go he goes.'

"After a few moments of back and forth bickering, the user relents. Morris and his dog, Lester, are allowed into the sanctuary. Man and dog settle into a pew. Morris puts a tallit on Lester and hands him a prayer book. Lester begins to pray. The usher can't believe his eyes. He watches as Lester diligently follows the services. 'Such a clever dog,' he says to Morris. 'He deserves an aliyah. In fact, I think I'll give him maftir.' Lester sprints up to the reader's lectern and performs flawlessly. The usher is astounded. 'That is truly an amazing dog, Morris. He could be a rabbi.' Morris says to the usher 'You tell him; he wants to be a doctor.'"

Rabbi Rifkind then added, "Mrs. Horowitz, when children spread their wings, parents can only hope that they land safely. Perhaps I would have liked for, at least, one of my children to have elected the rabbinate as a career. But medicine is also an honorable profession."

Jewish Mother--The makers of Jewish Mother have remedied the logistical difficulties of constant maternal accomp- ainment: In lieu of an actual mother, a virtual version programmed with more than 100 phrases follows users: "Happy Hanukkah, bubbeleh," she might say. "Of course, I'd be happier if you had kids." The digi-mom even spouts out different phrases based on gender and marital status.

Cerabino says that she will be "doubly traumatized when she becomes school age and ventures into the outside world, a world that will certainly seem strange to her:"

A world where people pedal bikes that have two, not three wheels.

A world where kids play a strange game called tag, but know nothing of the game she knows best: shuffleboard.

A world where there's no such thing as a low-cost "early-bird" school lunch at 9:30 a.m.

And what a shock it will be to find out that "cola" is a drink, not a Social Security cost-of-living allowance payment.

Cerabino's advice: "Run, Chuck, Run. Gather up your family, catch the next trolley and don't look back."

. NYX article, Dec 22, about the Darvick family of Birmingham, Michigan, who celebrated Hanukkah with their family in three different cities via Skype. They call it "Skypanukkah"!

. Datebook listing a culinary walking tour of the Lower East Side and Chinatown, held by Noshwalks. Walk, Taste, Learn.

. Designer greeting card Message: Bom Boom!!
We got eight nights of Hanukkah. Yo! Yo! I hope Ya'll enjoy 'em, spin dat dreidel, serve matzos with a ladle. Have eight times more fun than the Goyim!

. CRIMINAL ("farbrekher") MISCHIEF as reported in The Palm Beach Post: 12/22/11:
A woman who no longer wanted her 23-year-old son to live with her dropped him off in the 2100 block of White Pine Circle. He became angry ("broygez" in Yiddish) and smashed the windows in the residence and fled. (FYI: In 2011, 85% of college grads moved back with their parents!)

Such "narishkayt"--foolishness!

"di vants" (the bedbug) news
New York Magazine ("The Approval Matrix"), Dec. 19-26, 2011, reports that a North Carolina State University-led research team says the reason bedbugs reproduce so fast is because of INBREEDING.

. The Neighborhood News (New York Magazine) reports that in South Williamsburg a Yiddish sign posted ILLEGALLY on trees instruct women to step aside for passing men.

. photocopy of article about the PJ Library, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
The Foundation made its debut in Dec. 2005, sending 200 books with Jewish content to interested families, primarily those with young families. In July 2011, the PJ Library mailed 76,000 books to children in every state and across Canada. Yes, Grinspoon is aiming to spread Judaism one book at a time.

. Article stating the "shlekht nayes" (bad news: the H&H bagel shop on B'way and 80th Street closed. They were in business for almost 40 years.

. e-mail from Brian Blum (Brianblum@
Topic: Talking With Strangers - Casual Conversation": "That's the magic of this place [Israel].
You never know whom you'll encounter. But if you're open to the experience, you nearly always come away enriched."

. Article by Debra Nussbaum Cohen from "The Jewish Daily Forward" titled, "The Shearing Heard 'Round the Hasidic World." Yes, Hasidic reggae star, Matisyahu shaved his face and later posted a statement on his blog saying that there's "no more Chassidic reggae superstar" and "sorry folks, all you get is alias." People gasped in shock!

. Article from Mental Floss magazine, Nov./Dec. 2011: The Israeli version of Oscar the Grouch is his cousin Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means "grouch" in Hebrew. The biggest difference between the two is that when Moishe started on the Israeli show, he lived in a broken-down car instead of a garbage can. The reason? Israeli kids are taught not to play in trash recepticles because they might contain bombs. Moishe also happens to be an observant Jew; he celebrtes Rosh Hashanah by dipping apples into sardine grease for a slimy New Year.

. New York Times article stating that a Hanukkah latke cook-off, with more than 15 participating chefs, was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue.

. Article from People Magazine, July 4, 2011, stating that Mietek Pemper, the Plaszow concentration camp prisoner who typed up the famous Schindler's List, died on June 7 in Germany, at age 91.

. Article stating that former Christian Dior creative director, John Galliano, is to stand trial over alleged anti-Semitic insults. Galliano could face up to 6 mos. in prison and $31,000 in fines if convicted. The news came shortly after Galliano, 50, apologized for his "I love Hitler" remarks, caught on video.

. NYX article titled, "Better You Should Put Coal in My Stocking" by Pete Wells: Hi, Santa, First, I'm sorry I haven't been in touch. I know it's no excuse, but I have been extremely busy, starting around 1981. I'm writing you today because there's some- thing I can't get off my mind: the fruit. (Each Xmas this person received colored pens and books of Lifesavers and an apple or orange in her stockings.)

"Did you notice that the white glass bowl in the kitchen was filled with fruits that looked exactly like the ones in our stockings?"

"To be honest, I feel the same way now about the box of Florida oranges that arrived this morning....So you understand, we're up to our hips in citrus around here, and there's no need to leave oranges for the boys this yeqr....But really, you don't need to. We're good."

P.S. Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe sent all of her children--not grandchildren--apples and oranges from Cushman's. The grandchildren got "gelt."

. Order blank for a $35 chocolate menorah from Michel Cluizel, the French chocolatier. The pareve chocolate menorah allows you to observe the tradition in reverse, eating one candle each night, instead of adding one.

. May 17, 2010, letter to The Bintel Brief: Dear Bintel Brief:
I'm traveling to visit friends who have just discovered thqt they may be harboring a bedbug infestation in their new home. They have called an exterminator, but he hasn't come yet, so they have no idea what type of problem they're dealing with. I've read that bedbugs cause lots of trouble and that they can travel on people, too. I've been dying to see my friends new place, and I'm afraid that they'll be insulted if I stay in a hotel. I don't want to be rude but how can I get out of this? Going Buggy

. Newspaper article about Judge Judy, who tends to sprinkle her statements with words that are obviously Yiddish, like chutzpah (unmitigted gall), kvetch (complain about petty things), etc. On one episode, when hearing a claim about a certain ceramic lighthouse, she referred to it as a tchotchka.

. 3" x 5" index card containing my Jewish Zodiac Thin and rich, you're very high maintenance ("Chai maintenance"?). All you want to do is bask in the heat, getting some "kolir" (color). Consider retiring to Boca or one of the Valencia developments in Boynton Beach. Compatible with bagel and schmear, although you top them both.

. S.A.T.-type question from Jill Seale's book, "Stark Raving Motherhood":

Emily's friends all went out for ice cream. ("ayzkrem" in Yiddish) There were eight friends plus Emily. Three had two scoops of chocolate each. Four had one scoop each of various flavors. One was lactose intolerant and had two scoops of rainbow sherbet. Emily had 2 scoops with sprinkles. Who got in trouble for forgetting to ask permission?
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe invites her readers to join her on a Viking 8-day river cruise to Southern France. The cruise runs from Oct. 21 -28, 2012. She will be the guest lecturer. For details, contact ANDERSON TRAVEL, 877-237-9026.


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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!

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