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November 20, 2006

The modern Elders

A few weeks ago, the Forward came out with its annual list of 50 Jews that have the biggest impact on the lives of American Jews. Actually, this year's list had 51 on it, but who's counting?

This year's headliners are incoming-chancellor of JTS Arnold Eisen, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel, New York Senator Charles Schumer, ADL national director Abraham Foxman, AJWS chair Ruth Messigner and late-night TV host Jon Stewart.

You can check out the enitre list here. I just wanted to list a few notable people that I a) have heard of, b) didn't realize that they were Jewish, or c) was surprised at their selection.

• After losing a primary but winning his seat, Connecticut senator Joseph Lieberman makes the list (think about it, he was just a few hundred Florida votes from become the vice president).
• The death of Satmar rebbe Moshe Teitelbaum in May touched off months of debate over his successor. His third son, Zalman, won a court ruling in July that, effectively, put him in charge of one of the Hasidic world's largest and most powerful sects.
• The head honcho of the Orthodox Union's Kosher Division, Rabbi Menachem Genack, faced a scandal-filled year that included complaints about an Iowa slaughterhouse and reports that an upstate New York kosher distributor was selling nonkosher meat. (Did you know that the Kosher Division of the OU has 550 employees? When will they re-hechsher my French's onions?)
• David Harris (no not that David Harris), the president of the American Jewish Communities had his normal busy duties and took the lead in combatting genocide in Darfur.
• Sacha Baron Cohen, of Da Ali G fame, released his hit film about his Kazakh persona Borat Sagdiyev. It has entertained and offended crowds worldwide. And after he stole the Shmooze Club's idea, the first annual Running of the Jew down South University to replace the Naked Mile will be cancelled.
• Scarlett Johanson. Who knew she was Jewish, but we'll take her?
• Jeremy Piven made the list for his riveting performance in the Bar Mitzvah flick "Keeping up with the Steins." (What? He's also on a popular tv show about posses.)
• Elie Weisel. Do I have to say anymore? He should have a reserved spot on this list, unless he already does.
• Every time a good Jewish basketball player makes any sort of national news, he gets the moniker "Jewish Jordan" (I guess people like the alliteration). Either way, he is the most successful Jewish ball player since Danny Ferry. Except that Danny Ferry's street cred was non-existent (he played on Mike Fratello's Cleveland squads and with San Antonio) and Jordan Farmar plays for the Lakers and has tatoo.
• Inmate Jack Abramoff made the list. According to The Forward, Abramoff walked out of court in Jaunary wearing a fedora from a habadasher that specializes in stomels. He is more known for being a dirty lobbyist.
• The list's plus one addition is former Virginia senator George Allan. Who knew he was Jewish? Apparently, not him.

Posted by irobi at 02:28 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

Good evening and a rich welcome to you

Best game: (yeah, it's an open prompt)
Erick: 1986 Argentina-England World Cup Final. Argentina scored a goal that wasn’t a goal.
Shira had never heard of hit. It’s called the Hand of God goal. It’s the biggest rivalry ever.
Rachel: Rock, Paper, Anything. Instead of scissors, you say anything you want. Whoever can say better why there thing should win, wins the game.
Erick laments over how his official World Cup keychain broke
Avie: I like the game “would you rather?” You have to choose what you would rather do between two options.
Ian: “I Win” or catch because in both games everybody’s a winner
Shira:: Jewish Geography
Avie doesn’t know what it is. Rachel explains that when you meet someone new, it’s how many people you know that they know that is Jewish.
Shira also likes “Do you remember when?” – the nostalgic game
Rachel went to give blood for the second time in her life, and they turned her away because she didn’t weigh enough. Even though she had already talked to her doctor about it.

Segue
Shira is going to take Williams’ bible literature class.

Ralph Williams Speaking for Shmooze, officially:
On the subject of Williams, he will be speaking at the next Shmooze event after Shabbat dinner at Hillel on Friday Dec. 8.
We went through Rachel’s schedule. Shira declares that next semester’s course guide sucks. It is horrible, nothing exciting. Avie declares that she is going to be a General Studies major, this is before she has officially declared anything.

On the subject of Willaims, Shira brought up the Patrick Stewart moment at the Sonnet Slam. After Alex Gorash gave a hip-hop rendition of a sonnet to start off the event, Stewart told Gorash that he removed all meaning from the words. It broke out into a philosophical debate about the merits of hip-hop. The tension was so intense.

How to publicize the event: E-mail lists, flyers, word of mouth (everybody needs to do it) It will be huge.

Hannukah Party
We want to do a food competition
Ian thought we should do a Iron Chef-style with one ingredient given and the chefs can do anything they want with it.
Erick thinks we should have a Mr. Potato Head party
Think of a food that we could do.
We settled on the date: Thursday December 14

Posted by irobi at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

Ehh.. we'll kibbitz, too

The past few weeks have been pretty hectic with school, which means that I have had ample time to procrastinate doing what I was really supposed to be doing the whole time. The whole procrastination thing got me thinking: What if I actually did something productive with this time that I waste, instead of compulsively check my fantasy hockey team?

I also noticed that the Shmooze blog is not as exciting as it should be. To combine these two ideas, I have decided to expand the "kibbitz" portion of the blog to include snipets of Jewish cultural around the world that I deem stampable (with the stamp of approval that is).

The first installment in this new series comes from our friends our east, way out east. The city of Shanghai opened its first mikveh last week after the local Chabad House family convinced the authorities that the mikveh was more than a spa. Before last week, they had to travel all the way to Hong Kong to satisfy their ritual dipping needs.

For more information aobut the history China's and Shanhai Jews, check this out.

Posted by irobi at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2006

Liders and Best

No I'm not. Yes, you are. Nope. Uh-huh. I don't think so. Do it. Uhhh, fine. Good.

Sorry about that. The two voices in my head have been arguing for the past twenty minutes about how best to start this entry. To appease Larry and Moe, I've decided to include that brief snippet of their conversation. Thus, before they begin arguing again, I'll give you a quick recap of the weekend's events—highlighting the shabbos dinner and concert and marginalizing the movie night.

[Note to self: Save frequently when writing blog posts]

I want to start of this post by doing a pinch-and-pick-up-the-cloth-over-my-shoulder-so-as-to-flaunt-my-superiority move after hearing reviews of my kugels from Friday's dinner. After my performance over the weekend, I think I'm in a good shape to earn my second Golden 9x13 award (given to the Kugel-off champion)[I don't want to hear anything about voter fraud. Those toothpicks were placed legitimately and counted correctly]. I made three kugels, and almost all of them were gone by the end of the night.

Is there anything else I need to mention about Shmooze's second shabbat dinner?

No.

Oh, wait. I might want to thank our hosts at 517 Elm for putting up with my crap, cooking ineptitude, and lack of kitchen etiquette. Another group of people that I would want to thank for the smashing success that was Friday's dinner is Eden, Shira, Marina, Susan, Josh, Shira, Rachel, Lizzy, Ruby, Shira, Avery, Karen, and Rachel for preparing the not undelicious dinner. Finally, I want to thank the 30+ people who came for the free food and stayed for the great company.

Don't woryy. With my schedule opening up a little bit next semester, I plan to have a couple of these events next semester.

Shmooze was placed in charge of publicity for the concert and, considering the turnout, I think we did a pretty good job. Walking through the crowd was like taking a tangible tour of the Shmooze e-mail list. The highlite of the evening occurred after Amazin' Blue's intro when someone from another publicity committee thanked the student groups who helped organize this event, including Shmooze. I nearly peed my pants. Really. My one regret was that we didn't stock our would-be table (sorry, I missed the e-mail) with the hot dogs and head bands that have been discussed ad nauseum in this forum.

We were also placed in charge of publicity for the Shmozoe movie event and, considering the turnout, we might want to consider co-sponsoring more events in the future (maybe with the Dept. of Screen Arts and Cultures).

On the plus side, we helped supply Erick's kitchen with solid foods, a state of matter that it desperately needed.

Posted by irobi at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2006

Tommy: Is this your first time?

Paul: Yeah, Tommy. It is.

Tommy: Dude, I can't believe you have never been cow tipping before.


Introductions:

As always, we started the meeting off with an icebreaker. And, since it was Halloween, we decided to go with an open-ended Halloween-themed icebreaker. Answer any of the following questions: What is you favorite Halloween memory growing up? What is the best costume you have ever had? What is the best costume you have ever seen?

Ian: Between the ages of 6-16, I went to my friend's house every year and trick-or-treated in his neighborhood. His mom was very into the holiday and the Halloween decorations were all all over the house. I was Tommy Amaker this weekend.

Erick said he saw a couple of people dress up as Jim Tressel.

Ari and Shira are discussing Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, but Ari was focusing on the show’s content while Shira critiques Regis' appearance.

Noah: My house was always the hang out house because my mom gave out the regualar-sized candy bar. (He lives in a great neighborhood for trick-or-treating). My best costumes ever: In second grade, I was Billy Joel; In Seventh grade, I was Wilson from Home Improvement (with a fence to cover his face).

Mike: My best costume was when I was a senior in high school. I was Catwoman with mini-skirt, boobs, and everything. It was so good that one of my best friends started hitting on me in shul because he couldn't tell it was me.

Erick: I was Santa Claus this weekend, but it wasn’t original. I saw two guys dressed in orange and they said they were orange juice. Halloween is a crazy party in Costa Rica.

Laurie: I’ve seen so many costumes this weekend (four parties). SNRE kids are very creative. A girl dressed up as Caesar with orange slices (Orange Julius). I was a girl from Austin Powers.

Fallon: My favorite costume ever was Quailman.(Shira was Doug at one point in her life)

General conversation: Everybody liked Mr. Dink (by everybody I mean Mike and Noah).

(Break to distribute candy)In the spirit of the holiday, I bough a few big bags of candy from Meijer, gave everybody a plastic bag, and had a little trick-or-treating within the Shmooze meeting,. Ari also unseeded a Pomagranate.

Back to the action: Noah threw a Take 5 to Shira, but she couldn’t make the one-handed grap.

Tedi: I was never a big fan of Halloween. I was bear every year, because my name’s Tedi. I think part of the costume was store bought and part was homemade.

Ari: Halloween is my favorite holiday, although I was the same thing every year since I was four (a slice of pumpkin pie). When I was 12, my costume had to be upgraded (I retired it last year). One year, my sister was an entire graveyard with tombstones. The best part of the day is when you come back with a pillowcase full of candy and trade with your friends.

Shira: This is my first Halloween (and Shmooze is glad to say that they were there for Shira's first Halloween).

Noah and Mike agree that the Take 5 is the best candy bar. They set aside five Take 5 bars, two for themselves and one for Ian.

Noah: I want to nominate the Monster Mash as the best holiday song (It's a graveyard smash).

Transitioning between icebreakers and the first topic of the meeting

Erick: UHS sucks.

Ari: I didn’t carve a pumpkin this year (Frayda can’t be introduced, she is talking to Ari)

Frayda: Best costume ever: As a little orthodox girl, I never trick-or-treated. I was a rebel in 10th grade. I dressed up as Santa Claus.

Erick: Good choice to rebel.

Frayda: I would say Merry Christmas. One house asked me to sing Christmas carols. I didn’t know any (stage fright).

Ari: I love Christmas carols. They should be all year round radio.

Noah thinks that Dec 20- Jan 3 is the only tiem that Christmas carols should be on the radio.

Erick: It starts with Thanksgiving

Shmooze Classics Film Series

It starts on Thursday night with the screening of The Frisco Kid at Hillel at 8 p.m. in Green Auditorium. Traditional movie food will be served (ie. mutliple types of popcorn, JuJubes, Junior Mints, Goobers, Raisinets, Sour-Patcdh Kids, etc.) Please come and tell you friends to come. This idea has been around since the groups inception.

Ari proposes putting butter on the Milkduds, a la Homer.

Shabbat Dinner

517 Elm at 7:30.

Shira: I can’t get over how good that shirt looks on Ian (commenting about his cowboy/lumberjack shirt that he bought in Jackson Hole because he needed something to wear to the Big Ten Women's Basksetball Tournament).

Ian: We need to figure out what to eat.

After a few minutes of debate, we decide on this rough outline for the menu: Chicken dish, huge salad, yellow rice, green beans in soy sauce, kugel, fruit salad, bobka?, manishevitz (both varieties [we will be checking IDs]).

Noah wants a whole bird. Shira thinks that an assortment of legs and breasts will work better.

Ivri Lider Concert

Tickets almost out tickets. Shmooze is in charge of publicity (or at least co- in charge of it). Buy tickets and tell your friends to do the same. It is on Sunday at 7:30 at the Blind Pig. A Capella group Amazin' Blue will open for Ivri.

Posted by irobi at 01:26 AM | Comments (1)