the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Jewish mothers always worry. You know the Jewish Mother's answering machine:

If you want chicken "zup," press 1. If you want a "kneydl" (matzoh ball) mit the soup, press 2. If you want varnishkas, press 3. If you want home-made rugelach for dessert, press 4. If you want to know how I'm feeling-- "dershlogn"/depressed-- you are calling the WRONG NUMBER since nobody ever asks me how I am feeling.

Yesterday I worried about whether my children and grandchildren would carry on their traditions.

Today I worry about an article in The New York Jewish Week, Feb. 4, 2012, that states that "Israel must launch a military attack against Iran within days, according to one expert--months, according to others--if it is to prevent Iran from going nuclear."

And Leon Panetta believes "there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June--before Iran enters what Israelis described as a 'Zone of immunity' to commence building a nuclear bomb." (David Ignatius, Washington Post)

On a much less serious note, comedian/actor, Milton Berle (1908-2002) was the master at telling jokes about worrying:

The boy and his mother stepped up into the bus. The driver said, "How old is that boy?" The mother said, "Four." The driver said, "He looks about ten." The mother said, "If you had his worries, you'd look ten too!"

The man is a born worrier. When he greets you, he says, "Good morning-- maybe."

A friend of mine knows what to worry about. He's got a secretary and a note from a bank, and they're both overdue. Check out Milton Berle's Private Joke File - Over 10,000 of his best gags, anecdotes, and one-liners.

And then there's the joke about Meyer, who has a "farshlepteh krenk" (a sickness or matter that hangs on endlessly). "Der dokter" tried to be reassuring. "Don't worry," he said. "Many people talk to themselves."

"Der patsyent" (patient) said, "I know, but I'm such a bore!"

Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman discuss what Jews should worry about and forget to worry about. They suggest that we NOT worry about global warming, the recession, life savings lost to Bernie Madoff and the Super-virus. Instead, they say, we SHOULD worry about getting to Miami for the winter ("de vinter"), being charged for High Holy Day tickets, and dropping a bundle on Las Vegas Night at the synagogue.

Jews even worry in restaurants:

Two men finished a "batamt (delicious) meal at Ben's Deli and looked at the check put down by the waiter. One man said, "Let's split the check. You wash, I'll dry."

Marty and Priscilla went to a lovely fish restaurant in Boynton Beach, Florida. Marty ordered a Tuna on whole wheat. The waitress said, "We don't have whole wheat today. You'll have to take "vays" ( white) bread."

The next afternoon, Marty again ordered Tuna on whole wheat. There was no whole wheat. For a week, he asked for whole wheat only to be told there was none. At the next lunch, he decided to end the charade and said, "Give me a Tuna on "vays" bread.

The waitress said, "Aren't you the man who usually orders whole wheat bread?"

Morris, 92 years old, is concerned/worried about his future. He is confident about his children's love, and announced to his golf buddies, "I'm not going to worry about old age. I have four kids, and I'll just spend three months with each one."

"Yes," Alvin replied, "but what are you going to do the second year?"

People worry about the high cost of heating bills. Karen Burgard of Grass Valley, CA, told the following story:

My husband and I keep the thermostat in our house at a cool 60 degrees. When my mother and sister were visiting us during a sharp cold spell, mice invaded our kitchen. As I was setting traps, I asked my husband, "Do you have any idea why these mice are coming in?"

"Well," I heard my mother whisper to my sister, "you know they didn't do it to get warm."
Source: Reader's Digest, Life in These United States, True stories, Feb. 1987

Izzy is very worried. His wife has never used the "f" word--except when she speaks about "flanken, " "forshpayz," and "fresn." He asks the "dokter', "How do you get a sweet 80-year-old lady to use the 'f' word?"

The "dokter" smiles and says, "Get another sweet little 80-year-old lady to yell "BINGO!"
Marjorie Wolfe agrees with Mary C. Crowley: "Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway."


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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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