the schmooze


Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Members of the clergy are using "tweets" to keep in touch with their congregants.
According to, "poking, tweeting and blogging may not generally have been regarded as becoming behavior for the parsons of YESTERYEAR but today's vicars are being urged to make the most of modern methods of communcation."

Pope Benedict XVI can be seen tweeting on an iPod. Yes, a transformation is underway to reach a younger global audience.

And another high-profile religious figure to use Twitter is the Archbishop of York. He used Twitter to advertise for a new communications director.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is on Twitter. He recently wrote, "tomorrow we go to Jerusalem with 40 young Jewish Americans, only 3 of whom have been. Should be a beautiful shabbos, G-d willing."

And when one synagogue in Washington, DC, wanted to promote its Hanukkah cooking contest, the staff used Twitter.

Now imagine that YOUR rabbi sends tweets to the members of his congregation. What would they say?

. Results of a computerized survey: The perfect rabbi preaches exactly 15 minutes.
...He is 28 years old and has preached for 30 years...He makes 15 calls daily on congregational families, shut-ins and the hospitalized, and is always in his office when needed.

. A baby naming tomorrow. "Yaacov Yahoo." I assume that the parents met on the Internet.

. Recently met with an engaged couple for a pre-marital talk. Should I quote Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who said, "No chuppah, no shtuppa"? I think it's too late!
Paul Rudnick ("The Pope's Tweets," The New Yorker, July 25, 2011) wrote:
I counsel couples who are about to marry, "If it feels good, stop."

. I consider it a compliment when someone says that I sound just like Rabbi Marc Gellman of the God Squad.

. A member of our congregation is having a "freylekh" (happy) event when their poodle turns 13. I wish them a "muzzle tov."

, I don't think the Bar Mitzvah boy has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). My guess? It's just "shpilkes"-- ants in his pants.

. Re: correct naming of Yom Kippur
A person who owns a Geo Metro or Kia pronounces it "Yahm Kipp' er." Person who owns a Cadillac, says, "Yohm' KeePoor." While the driver of the Mercedez Benz says "Merry Christmas."

. Saturday's sermon: "Real Men Do Ask Directions"
Please note that I always use "f" words in my sermons: flanken, feh!, farbissener, farblondzhet, frassk, fargesn, and farpitst.

. Finished reading "Life, Love, Lox" by Carin Davis. Loved her Moishe's Law-- "You never have good hair when you need it. Good hair happens when you've got no place to go."

. I'm writing a sermon on Internet dating, but don't know the difference between JDate, Frumster, and SawYouAtSinai. Assistance is needed.

. My new password is "rebbi."

. I've just discovered the Yiddish words for website: "vebzaytl" or "vebzayt."

. Natalie Portman named her first son, Aleph. Rabbi Anchelle Perl said, "What would be more meaningful is if she got married and had children in that order."

. Loved this newspaper headline: TALK ABOUT CHUTZPAH:
MICHELE BACHMANN TRIES YIDDISH, FAILS. (She can't pronounce, "chutzpah.")

. Our Yiddish Club is discussing the words for grandmother ("bobe"), grandfather ("zeyde"), grandchild ("eynikl") and great- grandmother ("elter-bobe"). One member of our congregation prefers to be called "Gla-Ma."

. Imagine this: The world's largest matzo-- 82 square feet--was made to celebrate the opening of the new Manischewitz Matzo factory in Newark, New Jersey.

. Rutgers has a new master's program in Jewish studies. Nancy Sinkoff is Chairwoman of the Jewish Studies Dept.

. Our Yiddish Club members have said, "Goy Vey Iz Mir" when Alfred Molina played Teyve in "Fiddler on the Roof."

. Just read the July 14, 2000, column by Arnold Fine ("I Remember When!") in The Jewish Press. He writes, "In our day, there were something like 12 newspapers in New York City. And newspapers were important. On Fridays, when we came home from school, Mama would have washed the kitchen floor and covered it with newspapers. So when we opened the door Mama would yell, "Don't walk on the floor! I just washed it."

. Good news to report: Our "kinder-gortn" (kindergarten) children can count from "eyns" to "tsen" and know the days of the week from "zuntik" to "shabes."

. We're carpeting the synagogue's catering hall/social hall this week. This reminds me of "Murphosky's Law(s)" taken from the 2012 calendar, "The Joy of Jewish Humor" by Marnie Winston-Macauley:

The more expensive the carpet, the greater the probability of a borscht stain.

. The High Holidays are coming. Oy, the seating arrangements! The Seating Committee...The Hardship and Collections Committee...Valium! Valium! Valium! "Danken Got" a Jew, the late Leo Sternbach, invented Valium.

. The cantor has suggested that I take my medication inconspicuously. "Don't line the pills up on the Torah Podium, in the center of the sanctuary," he instructed. Good advice!

. Just received a gift: a box of Jewish fortune cookies. My favorite one read: "May your pastrami never have mayonnaise on it."

. Received an e-mail from Michael Shapiro, Softcase Online, regarding Yiddish as a dead language. He wrote, [IB] Singer said that it was true that if you needed to describe a jet plane or a supercomputer or an ATM machine it was true that Yiddish would not be of much help. BUT if you wanted to call a person an 'idiot,' Yiddish gives you more choices than you need."

. I want to share a piece from the New York Times Metropolitan Diary from 1994. They report the conversation between 2 middle-aged women who are trying to wend their way through one of the more crowded galleries at the Metropolitan Museum. "I think we can skip this section," one of them says, "It looks like the beginning of his Early Mishegos Period."

. Sermon for this shabbos: "Who is the REAL Rabbi David Small?" (from Harry Kemelman's books). He's Talmudic trained, unkempt, lost in his books, someone who publicly chides the Sister- hood for serving non-kosher food at one of their luncheons, and who resides in Barnard's Crossing. Please join us.

. A little humor. The Yiddish word for fairy tale is "maysele." In 2007, Vic Arnell, 69, said, "I'll tell you a Jewish fairy tale. A man asks a woman, 'Will you marry me?' She says, 'No.' [pause] "And he lived happily ever after."

. Do you remember when Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, brought the house down at her confirmation hearing? Sen. Lindsey Graham asked where she was on Christmas Day, during the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound plane. "You know," Kagan said, "like all Jews, I was probably in a Chinese restaurant."

. Another baby naming tomorrow, during shabbat services. I hope there's no "Paci-aggressive behavior"--the tendency for a child's Binky to disappear just when you need it most (namely between 1 and 4 a.m.)--and mysteriously reappears within 30 minutes of the purchase of a replacement.


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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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