the schmooze
(*big talk, little action)
Not with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has been described as "Dr. Phil with a Yiddish accent." Others refer to him as the Jewish Al Sharpton. Shmuley disagrees. He says, "Al Sharpton is a rabble rouser. He protests race infractions. Where do I run around screaming anti-Semitism? I just don't think in those terms."

The Washington Post "tsaytung"
(newspaper) said of Boteach, "He's Dr. Ruth with a Yarmulke." Ilana Arazie asks, "Has Rabbi Shmuley fallen off his 'beema' (Hebrew word for synagogue stage)?"

Lynn Harris says,"Boteach is sort of like Supernanny with a beard."

Shown below are the 5 W's (Who, What, When, When and Why) of Rabbi Boteach:

"nomen" (name)
Rabbi Boteach's name is pronounced"Bo-ta-ach." For many, he's simply known as "Shmuley."

"mishpokhe" (family)
Shmuley has a wife and "akht" (8) children.

"heym" (home)
Shmuley, born in Los Angeles, has lived in Oxford, London, and Miami Beach. He currently lives with his wife and family in Englewood, New Jersey.

"shalom" (peace)
The vanity license plate on Shmuley's trailer reads: SHALOM.

"aparat" (camera) shy
Shmuley is certainly not camera shy. He's probably one of the most recognizable rabbi in the world.

"get" (divorce)
Shmuley is the child of divorce. He says he believes in keeping families intact at almost any cost ("prayz"). Irene Schweitzer, a licensed clinical social worker, says, "Boteach's deep-seated painful feelings surrounding his own parents' divorce remain with him-- unprocessed and unconscious..." In 2001, Shmuley lambasted Rudy Giuliano for having a messy divorce.

"for gezunterhait" (Travel in good health)
Shmuley drives a specially equipped Airstream trailer to the homes of families in crisis. It's known as (The) Heal Mobile.

Bar Mitzvah "droshe" (speech)
Shmuley's son, Mendy had his bar mitzvah in May of 2006. He said--in part--, "You now become a man, Mendy, and you have a choice as to what kind of man you will be. Small men want to be loved. But big men are prepared to be hated. Small Small men tailor their actions to suit the multitude.

But big men will do the right thing no matter how much it inflames the masses... You have made me proud to be your father. But from today, you become a man. Be a big man, Mendy. Live for the big things that electrify the heavens and cause the earth to quake."

"veynen" (cry/to weep)
According to Joe Eskenazi, Shmuley "can be unpleasantly intense, and he goes five-for-five in reducing his counseling subjects to tears (approaching the Barbara Walters pantheon. But he does seem to get through."

"bukh" (book)
Shmuley, a multi-tasker, has written 16 books. In January of 1999, excerpts of his book titled, 'Kosher Sex" appeared in Playboy "zhurnal" (magazine). The L'Chaim society were particularly upset when he REPORTEDLY received a fee of $200,000 from Playboy.

Shmuley's book, "Hating Women," shows his concern about society's growing "bitl" (contempt) for women. Examples include the TV shows, "The Bachelor," "For Love or Money," and "Average Joe." He says that during commercial breaks, women are objectified to sell "bir" (beer),"oytomobils" (cars), and every other product under the "zun" (son).

"anives" (humility)
In Shmuley's book, "Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments," the dedication reads, "To Michael [Jackson], who taught me humility."

Shmuley was once one of Michael Jackson's closest spiritual advisers. In 2004, Shmuley said, "Michael's life is in serious decline even without this indictment. He has not sort of gotten that there has to be major changes."

"bashtetikn" (to acknowledge)
In Shmuley's book, "Kosher Sex," he acknowledges that his mother was scandalized by her rabbi-son writing a book with this title. On the acknowledge- ments page he writes, "And although by the book's publication date she [his wife] will have changed her last name to Smith and had cosmetic surgery so that none of her friends recognize her, I do want to thank my extraordinary wife for all her devotion and support."

"televisye" (television)
Reality TV star, Shmuley appears in the program "Shalom in the Home." The TLC Channel program has an average of a"milyon" (million) viewers. His goal: to restore peace ("shalom") and tranquility ("zakhtkayt") in the home.

He's not the first rebbe on TV. There is Rabbi Marc Gellman (from "The God Squad"), the rabbi on Sex and the City who converted Charlotte, and the rabbi on Grey's Anatomy, who dealt with the pig-heart-in-a-Jew dilemma.

"haldzn" (to hug)
"kushn" (to kiss)
Shmuley writes, "My daughers and sons, when they walk into the house, they have to give me a hug or kiss. I tell them, "I don't care if the president of the United States is waiting for you. I will stop whatever I'm doing and wait for a hug and kiss."

Msgr. Hartman ("The God Squad") gives Rabbi Marc Gelman a handshake, followed by a hug and a kiss on the cheek. It's a regular ritual, a sign of an abiding friendship which transcends show biz. Hartman adds that there is a planned message in the symbolic kiss and hug on TV. "This is a visual medium. People will react more to our friendship than the concepts we develop."

Shmuley points out that the Jewish toast "L'Chaim" means not "to life" as it is commonly translated, but "to lives" in the plural. "No one could live life by themselves. We all need someone else. So there's no point in toasting life, because life that is not shared is unlivable."

"hunt" (dog)
Shmuley has a Maltese "hunt" named Marshmellow, a gift to his kids from Michael Jackson

"barimtkayt" (celebrity)
Shmuley said, "I find the whole idea of celebrity distasteful."

"gastgeber" (host)
Shmuley has played host on singles cruises off the coast of Alaska.

"tsol" (number)
Shmuley said, "I believe we have to make the world ("di velt") more Jewish. Why is it accepted that we live in a Christian world? Because of numbers? That's an absurd reason."

"basheydnkayt" (modesty)
Shmuley said, "The whole reason you dress modestly until now is to create the excitement for when you take it all off. It safeguards the natural allure and attraction of the human body."

"ineveynik" (inside)
According to Shmuley, "There's too much (emphasis) on the external and not enough on the inside and that is why we are not building strong relationships."

"vayblekh" (feminine)
Shmuley says, "Men love bringing out the feminity in a woman."

"betn mekhile" (to apologize)
In "Kosher Sex" we read about the handling of a difficult patch or argument in a marriage. Shmuley writes, "Apologize if need be, even if you're convinced that you're correct and they're wrong. Love is far more important than being right. Lose the argument and win back your spouse."

"meshuge" (crazy)
In "" we read,"How crazy that on Sundays we take our kids out to shopping malls rather than rivers, to the multiplex rather than a lake ("ozere"). How tragic that we sit them down in front of inane video games rather than take them on a hike. When we expose our children to concrete, we bring out their artifice. But when we expose them to beautiful mountain ("barg") vistas, we bring out their authenticity."

"umglik" (accident/mishap)
When Pittsburgh Steeler's quarterback, Ben Roethisberger, suffered a serious injury ("vund") in a motorcycle accdent, Shmuley wrote: "How silly that a man of such promise and such intelligence, who lead the Steelers to victory in last years' super bowl, could be so stupid when it comes to his own safety?"

"elfter" (llth) commandment
According to Benjamin Sosks (, Shmuley told one reporter, his own 11th commandment is "Thou Shalt do anything for publicity and recognition."

"konkurs" (contest)
In 1998 Shmuley entered the "Preacher of the Year Contest," sponsored by the London Times. He became the first Jew to reach the final rounds. He took "tsveyter" (second) place. The next year he won.

"perfekt" (perfect)
Shmuley believes one should not obsess over finding the perfect mate because that partner will in fact become perfect through the raising of a family, the establishment of a home ("heym") and the transformative act of sex ("geshlekht").

"firer" (leader)
When Shmuley was 13, he met Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, whom some considered then to be the Messiah and still do today, even though he has passed away. The Rebbe--as Schneerson was called--bestowed upon Shmuley a generous blessing and later dispatched him, at age 22, to Oxford to serve as a religious emissary. There he founded the L'Chaim Society.

"group counseling"
Shmuley offers two group counseling sessions at his New Jersey home. Sessions are held on June 26, 2006 ("How to Recapture the Desire in your Marriage"), and on June 27, 2006 ("Having Men and Women Understand Each Other's Needs"). The cost: $250 per couple.

"brust" (breast) feeding
Shmuley says, "...breast-feeding often gets in the way of the marriage itself. There are 2 effects: One is the de-eroticization of a woman's body. The second, a husband and wife can't even sleep in the bed because the baby is either in the bed or the baby cries and takes all the mother's attention...We have to begin to question if the family is better off with a baby on the bottle because no matter what benefits there are to a baby with breast-feeding, these would all be severely undermined if the parents marriage itself began to crumble."

"blien"(to flourish)
Shmuley disagrees with the popular notion that young people should establish themselves in a career before they marry.  He argues "your career will flourish when you are married. When you have a bad day with your boss, you can come home and find comfort in your wife's arms. That will give you more sustenance for your career."

"nief" (adultery)
Shmuley explains that there are 3 types of adultery--mental adultery, in which you think about others: emotional adultery, in which you begin to rely and confide in others: and obviously, sexual adultery.

female pop stars
Shmuley says that female pop stars like Britney and Madonna have "pushed the envelope past provocative and into the downright pornographic. 'Tween girls across the country ("dos land") follow their lead, and standards for how women should be treated plummet."

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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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