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WOLFE'S WORDSNovember 5, 2009
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We Give Thanks
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Important dates

This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
Farewell, Shalom and Adieu

Being Jewish Magazine

see a .pdf copy of the current issue

An Open Letter from Abba to His Family

Enough With The Political Finger-Pointing!

Revisiting the Haggadah

Eddy's Recipe List
Victoria Sponge

Book Review
Unstrung Heroes

The Outspeaker
Encouraging violence is never correct

Good times and bad times with Batya

Nathan Weissler
What my friendship with Michael Hanna-Fein meant to me

BC's Backlot
The Last Shalom

This And That
My Treasure Chest

Three Symbols of Passover


Lynn Ruth Miller
How we all became part of a bigger story

Mel Yahre
A few words for my friend

Eddy's Thoughts
Don't let life flutter by

The Bear Facts
How I found Michael


It's almost Thanksgiving. The Yiddish word for thankful is "dankbar." And so, we give thanks to Aaron Lansky (The National Yiddish Book Center), YIVO; the return of The Bintel Brief to The Forward; Du Du Fisher (for performing at Carnegie Hall); The Jewish Ethicist; Chmol Pushka (an organization that delivers food to Israel's neediest Jews); the Tenement Museum in NYC; and Hachnosas Kallah Fund (which makes it possible for a kallah and her family to purchase the necessities before the wedding and helps families lead their children to the chupah without shame.)

Thanks for "di bobe" who makes a "bubbella" (the nickname of a kosher-for-Passover pancake made with matzoh meal, stiff egg whites, egg yolks, and sprinkled liberally with sugar).

Thanks to those teachers who know the difference between "ADHD" and "shpilkes"; the God Squad; Jelvis, the Jewish Elvis; Neil Diamond (also called the Jewish Elvis). When Diamond was asked, "What's the most stereotypically Jewish thing about you?" he replied, "Probably that I worry about people when they don't eat--it's the Jewish mother in me. I'm Jewish through and through. Yiddish was practically my first language; my parents and grandparents spoke it when they didn't want me to know what they were saying. But of course, I understood everything."

We give thanks to JDate, Jewish Speed Dating, and (Interesting statistic: More than half of adults in NYC are single!)

Thanks for Jewish Haiku (After the warm rain the sweet smell of camellias. Did you wipe your feet?); Lisa Grunberger ("Yiddish Yoga - Ruthie's Adventures in Love, Loss, and the Lotus Position"); Billy Crystal - (Yiddish is "a combination of German and phlegm"); and Michael Wex ("How To Be A Mensch (And Not A Shmuck").

Thanks to (1-877-Brisket); "nes min hashomayih" (miracles from heaven); "motosikel (motorcycle) clubs like "Chai Riders"; newspaper headlines that read:

"Obama Schmoozed Here" (NYX, 11/9/08)

Thanks for the new Museum of the History of Tel Aviv Jaffa, which opens in December with "Revealing the Hidden City," an exhibit of photography documenting Tel Aviv's evolution into the Mideast's cultural hub.

Thanks to Yiddishists, Benjamin Blech, David Glaser, Sylvia Schildt, Zalmen Miotek, Henry Sapoznik, Fishl Kutner, Marcia Gruss Levinsohn, and David Roskies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Philologos (The Jewish Daily Forward); Binyumen Schaechter's VZMAY; "The Yiddish Dictionary of Fools" by Marnie Winston-Macauley.

"A dank" to Anna Muerstenberg's malapropositions; "Jewish Gangsters, Pimps & Nogoodniks" - Lower East Side (NY) walking tour; Sholem Aleichem at 150; UCLA Center for Jewish Studies; The Jewish Public Library, Cummings Square, Montreal; Jon Stewart; HE-BREW--The Chosen Beer; the late slalpstick comedian, Soupy Sales (Milton Supman and private detective, Philo Kvetch). Soupy said, "Keep your chin up--it'll keep the milk from spilling on your clothes."

Thanks to Janet Perr ("Yiddish or Babies--A Langauge Primer for your Little Pitsol");;; GM (not General Motors;

Thanks to "zayde"--a man who performs lame tricks like finding a quarter in one's ears, or pretending to pull one's nose off. Any older relative adored by children during the holidays.

We give thanks to "zamlers" for the National Yiddish Book Center; Zackary Sholem Berger's blog; "Jewish Currents - The Magazine Of The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring"; "Being Jewish - Relevant Judaism for Modern Life" magazine; the new Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Research Center and Archives; Camp Ramah; and the book, "Chrismukkah" by Ron Gompertz.

Thanks for "Matzo Ball'"--n. A Jewish party or dance held on Christmas Eve; California Senator, Barbara Boxer, who would like to see the issue of health care reform raised at synagogues every Saturday and at churches every Sunday; Michael Feinstein ("The Sinatra Project"); the Yiddish film, "Vu iz mayn kind?" (Where is my child?); and haimishe, Stephen Z. Cohen ("Laugh 'Til You Plotz!').

Thanks to Shane Bertram Baker, star of "The Big Bupkis! A Complete Gentile's Guide to Yiddish Vaudeville." Baker, a Catholic, has just returned to NY from the Univ. of Texas at Austin, where he completed a master's thesis on the Vilna theater troupe for the Germanic Studies Department. As a child growing up in the Midwest in the '70s, Baker became interested in Yiddish while watching Marx Brothers movies. Hearing Groucho use the word "schnorer," Baker says he asked his father what it meant. He was told it was a made-up word. (It means cheapskate in Yiddish.) "How are gentiles in Kansas City supposed to know?" Baker says with a laugh.

Thanks to Benjamin Netanyahu, who sees his mission as protecting the Jewish people from a second Holocaust (Newsweek Magazine, 11/02/09); Dan Goggin, with his melodies and lyrics that echo well known songs: "Matzo Man" for "Macho Man,' "Three Shayna Maidels" (a snappy Andrews Sisters knockoff).

Thanks for Cel-Ray Tonic; David Sax ("Save the Deli") and for his new word, "Pastraminomics": the dollars and senselessness of the New York delicatessen business; Karnatzel--Romanian-inspired salmon, the width of a nickel. Only available in Montreal and best when hung to dry for a week or so.

Thanks for the humor of personal ads that begin, "Have Yarmulka, "Will Travel"; sermons titled, "Thanksgiving Leftovers"; Bernard S. Raskas, who wrote, "The real test of a good housewife is not what she serves on Thanksgiving Day, but how she handles leftover turkey.

Thanks for the "2nd Ave Deli Cookbook"; deli signs which read "CHOPPED LIVER, $17,980.00 per Ton. May be purchased in Smaller Quantities" (Protzel's Deli, Clayton, Missouri)

Thanks to the Red Hat Society concept: fun really does begin at fifty; sermons titled, "Real Men Do Ask Directions"; and the late Molly Goldberg ("Go hang yourself in the closet").

Thanks for "The Gefilte Fish Chronicles, a loving look at one extended family's 100-plus years of celebrating Passover. Dozens of descendants of Abe and Minnie Dubroff gather in Newburgh, NY, to cook, eat, pray, eat some more, and reminisce.

Thanks for hillel sandwiches, made with a mixture of matzah, bitter herbs, and charoset.

Thanks for those inspirational quotes from "The Breast Friends website":

"When life hands out lemons, squeeze out a smile."

Thanks for The Heeb Storytelling Collection, "Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish," edited by Shana Liebman; and thanks to Myrna Goldberger, lecturer, for her self-written one-act play, "Lauren." (She portrays Lauren Bacall, a "nice Jewish girl" who lived her own script. From theatre usher to Hollywood star, she carved out a life in films, and on stage, and defied the odds with her passion and marriage to Humphrey Bogart.) (Lifelong Learning Society, Jupiter, FL).

Marjorie Wolfe says, "We should be thankful for the good things that we have and, also, for the bad things we don't have."

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of a new book titled, "Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers." To order, click here:
Marjorie Wolfe
19 Market Dr.
Syosset, NY 11791
$13 (plus $3.50 postage & handling, USA)
$13 (pus $5.00 postage & handling, Canada)


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