Category Archives: Life

Jews: Still Rich

This entry was posted in Culture, Life on by .

Are you a Reform Jew? Yes? Can I borrow $5,000? I only ask because a new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that:

Sixty-seven percent of Reform Jewish households made more than $75,000 a year at the time the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life collected the data, compared with only 31 percent of the population as a whole. Hindus were second, at 65 percent, and Conservative Jews were third, at 57 percent.

Full story

There’s also an infographic, but to be honest, I find it somewhat difficult to read.

The Times also has a succinct analysis of why Jews have so much dough:

Many factors are behind the discrepancies among religions, but one stands out. The relationship between education and income is so strong that you can almost draw a line through the points on this graph. Social science rarely produces results this clean.

Hm. Maybe I should go hit the books.

Posted on May 17, 2011

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Wise Fridays: Even Gnats and Flies

This entry was posted in History, Life on by .

wise fridays: sharpen the     reception on  your WiFri

“The Rabbis said: Even though you may think them superfluous in this world, creatures such as flies, bugs, and gnats have their allotted task in the scheme of creation, as it says, ‘And God saw everything that God had made, and behold, it was very good.'”

B’reishit Rabbah, 10:7

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Posted on May 13, 2011

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They Have to Be Carefully Taught

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A ten-year-old boy shot his father to death two weeks ago. The father was a politically active neo-Nazi, who was carefully grooming his children to be Nazis. The New York Times spoke with the boy the day before the shooting, and noted that he showed off a Nazi insignia belt his father had gotten him.

There aren’t a lot of details on the case yet. The Times reports:

The boy is expected to appear in court later this month; he has been charged as a juvenile with murder, and his public defender said he might plead insanity. The boy and a younger sister had been the subject of a bitter custody battle with Mr. Hall’s first wife, with a series of allegations of abuse on each side. But Mr. Hall had eventually been granted legal custody.

On Saturday, a group of Mr. Hall’s followers gathered in Southern California to mourn their leader. One, an N.S.M. official who asked not to be identified because of the attention Mr. Hall’s death had brought to the group, said that the rallies would continue, and that Mr. Hall’s ashes would be spread on the border during a patrol. The boy was not mentioned.

“Today was all about Jeff, how he would want us to carry on,” the official said. “Nobody was looking for answers.”

I won’t revel in this man’s murder. He seems like a truly wicked person, but also a truly pathetic one. All I can really think of is that song from South Pacific about how hatred has to be carefully taught:

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

Posted on May 11, 2011

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Wise Fridays: Older and Wiser

This entry was posted in Life on by .

wise fridays: sharpen the     reception on  your WiFri

“As regards scholars, the older they become the more wisdom they acquire…But as regards the ignorant, the older they become, the more foolish they become.”

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 152a

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Posted on May 6, 2011

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Circus+Jewish Mafia+Gay Affairs+Shiva Fight+Toy Poodle

This entry was posted in Culture, Life on by .

Sometimes when I need to laugh I search for Jewish in Google News. Often I get boring articles about Israel, but every once in a while I get a gem of a headline like this one:

Feuding Ringling Circus heirs go to court over funeral fight amid claims of Jewish Mafia links, secret gay affairs and suicide

You really need to read the entire article, but here are my two favorite paragraphs:

Miss Feld claims that her brother’s vendetta against her led to his ordering guards to throw her and her toy poodle Campari out of their Aunt Shirley’s penthouse in Washington, where they were brought up after their mother’s suicide.

In papers sent to the court, Miss Feld also alleges that her brother may be a member of ‘Jewish mafia’ involved in money laundering and murder.

Will someone please please option this story for a screenplay? I would pay so much money to go see this movie. Water for Elephants, not so much.

Posted on May 3, 2011

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Never Ever?

This entry was posted in Beliefs, Culture, Life on by .

Jewish ladies, we have to talk. Apparently on OkCupid, more than 20% of you are claiming that you’ve never masturbated.


To you, I have this to say: not lying is in the Ten Commandments, and not masturbating for ladies is nowhere at all in the Torah.

Posted on April 29, 2011

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Wise Fridays: Love Without Criticism

This entry was posted in Beliefs, General, Life on by .

wise fridays: sharpen the     reception on  your WiFri

“Love unaccompanied by criticism is not love…Peace unaccompanied by rebuke is not peace.”

Genesis Rabbah 54:3

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Posted on April 1, 2011

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Jews in Odd Places

This entry was posted in Life on by .

When I told the people at my Orthodox Jewish high school that I was going to University of Iowa for college people were typically…puzzled. Why would anyone move to Iowa? Where would I go to shul? Where would I meet my beshert? To my shock, and the shock of pretty much everyone I knew in Chicago, going to school in Iowa made me more religious (and I’ve become less observant since moving to New York). Go figure.

Anyway, my own strange story makes it easy for me to believe and understand this story about the traditionally Lutheran Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania:

One of the hottest college campuses in the U.S. for Jewish students is also one of the unlikeliest: a small Lutheran school erected around a soaring stone chapel with a cross on top.

In what is being called a testament to word of mouth in the Jewish community, approximately 34 percent of Muhlenberg College’s 2,200 students are Jewish. And the biggest gains have come in the past five years or so.

Perhaps equally noteworthy is how Muhlenberg has responded: offering a kosher menu at the student union, creating a partnership with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and expanding its Hillel House, a social hub for Jews.

Posted on March 28, 2011

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The Shiva Sisters: Awesome or Inappropriate?

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My friend Jen has a fantastic blog where she spotlights something found on the internet and polls the readers on whether it’s inappropriate or awesome. It can be very hard to decide. I just read a story that strikes me as an unlikely nominee for Jen’s blog: a business in Southern California that you can hire to cater and run a shiva house, from the deli trays, to the hugs.

The Shiva Sisters are two women, Black and Allison Moldo, who have started an event planning business with an unusual focus.

They deal with death — specifically, Jewish mourning — with an only-in-L.A. panache. They arrange catering, equipment rentals and general assistance for after-funeral gatherings, including valet parking, video production, personal shopping and — there is no better way to say it — Jewish mothering.

“They kind of just swoop in and mother you,” said Michael Berman, Lee Weinstein’s partner of 30 years, who hired the Shiva Sisters on the advice of Rabbi Howard. “They’re not just planning a party and an event, but they’re compassionate and understanding at a time when people are grieving.”

Full story

I happen to know firsthand the stress of planning a funeral and shiva. It really is a big job, and it’s great that there’s a business that help overwhelmed mourners. But I don’t know– personal shopping for mourners? Video production? It seems over-the-top. Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m jealous, though–the Shiva Sisters are really helping people in a time of vulnerability and pain. It sounds like a great (if difficult, and very weird) job.

Posted on March 21, 2011

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A Couple Who Could Use a Ketubah

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I find ketubahs to be pretty non-romantic. They’re basically glorified prenuptial agreements, so it seems weird to paint flowers all over them and display them in your bedroom. But for some people, pre-nuptial agreements seem completely appropriate, and so for those people, I’m totally pro-ketubah. And by some-people, I mean Prince William and Kate Middleton.

A British-born Israeli artist has apparently made them a ketubah, and while normally I would consider that shlocky and dumb, in this case it seems right on the nose. If ever there was a marriage that should come with a pre-nup, it’s this one (sorry, but those royals don’t have the best track record). I recognize that this ketubah won’t hold up as a prenup, and in all likelihood the couple will never even lay eyes on the piece of artwork. But at least it kind of makes sense as a gift, which is not something one can say for most of what they’ll likely receive.

So, Will and Kate, mazel tov, and if it doesn’t end up lasting, divide your assets nicely, okay?

Posted on March 16, 2011

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