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January 28, 2007

Shmoozer in the Times

Yesterday's New York Times featured an article about the waning interest of seminary students to pursue pulplit positions and the programs that seminaries offer to encourage students to take pulpit positions. The article discussed programs at both Christian and Jewish institutions.

For the example about how the Jewish seminaries have programs to allow graduates to move onto pulpit positions the reporter used Shmooze founding advisor and former associate director of Hillel (which gets a mention) Rabbi Jason Miller. Currently, Rabbi Miller is the rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in Columbus. He also maintains a blog that deals with contemporary Jewish issues (like ordaining gay rabbis, Jimmy Carter, and the kosher Subway in Cleveland).

These are the sections of the article that mention Rabbi Miller by name, although his blog says that he was misquoted:

Jason Miller entered the rabbinic seminary with the notion that he wanted to graduate to a pulpit job, but leading a congregation out of school was daunting. He said that to help him prepare for the calling — and not be tempted to leave it before he graduated — he became “the guinea pig” in a new program, attending classes in one state, living and working as an assistant rabbi in another and serving as the primary rabbi in a third.


As a board member for the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and traveling to smaller Jewish communities around the world, Ned Gladstein saw the result of the waning popularity of pulpit work — smaller or emerging congregations can be left struggling for rabbis. Mr. Gladstein, president of Sunrise ShopRite Inc., which runs grocery stores, donated the money to establish a scholarship for an internship program structured to guide a seminarian through the process of learning how to serve a synagogue. This is done by serving in two simultaneously. While going to school, the student serves as the assistant rabbi at a large established synagogue and lives in that community; using what he learns there as a knowledge base and the head rabbi as a mentor, he travels for holidays and regular Shabbats to a synagogue that is smaller and newer.

Rabbi Miller did not go into the rabbinate immediately after completing the program at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He took a position at Hillel at the University of Michigan instead. (The program has since been changed to give incentive to the graduate to take a post with a smaller synagogue.)

But now he is a rabbi at Congregation Agudas Achim in Columbus, Ohio, and Rabbi Miller said that his experience was a lasting influence on his eventual arrival at the pulpit. It taught him, he said, to try his varied activities “in baby steps, I know I can’t do everything at once” in a way that a less-rounded program might not have.

Posted by irobi at 11:52 PM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2007

Backgammon How-tos

Now, I might have fallen behind in the blogging (see the absence of meeting notes from our last meeting or an event announcement post). But I won't let you down on backgammon rules. Here are two links for the history of backgammon and a tutorial.
History and Rules on the Wiki
See you tomorrow afternoon at 2 at 532 Elm for Shmooze's Shesh-besh Shabbat.

Posted by irobi at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2007

MLK Synagogue Sermon Found

On this day of honoring one of the country's great civil right's leaders, the Shmoooze Club has scoured the internet and come across a gem. In 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech at a Hollywood synagogue that has resurfaced.

Posted by irobi at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

Ed, I mean Ephraim Martin

You might not recognize the name Eyal Shlomovitz, you might know him as "Shaq of Israel." Actually, you probably haven't heard of him.

But the dominance of Shlomovitz, and three other Isralis on the South River, N.J. Moseh Aaron Yeshiva High School in the New Jersey Yeshiva High School League have raised questions about the legitimacy of their palying status and embroiled the school in the first recruiting scandal in league history. Scandal is nothing new for the team's coach, Ed Leibowitz, whose illegal use of foreign players on high school teams was described as "unprecedented" by the state's high school sports association.

How did four Israeli youth basketball talents end up playing basketball in our nation's armpit?

Aside from Shlomovitz, the other three players are from Gush Katif and found their way to the States following the pull out. But the Shlomovitz's aren't even religious. Last summer, his family toured the United States to search for a place to demonstrate his basketball talents, find security, and earn a collegiate scholarship.

There is much more to this hilarious story but I probably couldn't tell it as well as the reporter from the Neward Star-Ledger.

I would like to thank Shmooze e-mail list member and Daily sports editor Jack for bringing this to Mir Blogn's attention.

Posted by irobi at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2007

2nd Ave on 3rd and 33rd

For years, the 2nd Avenue Deli had been insitution in New York's East Village. The kosher eatery has been a landmark for kosher keepers throughout the world. But earlier this year, the deli closed its doors because of a rent dispute between the owner, Jake Lebowohl, and the landlord over a hike in the rent price.

Just as the kosher world was adjusting to the adsence of one of its beloved insitutions, the New York Sun is reporting that Lebowohl is reopening his doors, except uptown and one block over, on 33rd St. in Murray Hill. This is a victory for all of us who like a good pastrami sandwich but wouldn't consider drinking a milk shake within the three hours following. On a personal note, I have never visited New York when the deli was open. But I have heard from friends that it is the nothing really compares. WIth a brother who currently resides in one of the five boroughs, I look forward to the day when I enjoy a corned beef sandwich in the East Village with him. Until then, we are going to have to settle for shwarma by NYU.

Posted by irobi at 10:11 PM | Comments (1)

We have weathered every wreck

Campus Conversation Question:

We have all been having the same conversation for the last week-plus, but we all want to know when is it going to end. When is the latest that I can say how was your break?

According to our campus culture sage, Ari, you can’t say it after MLK day because people would get confused between what break you are referring to (when you see Ari after the weekend, ask him what he did on break)


Going by that logic, while we still can: Story from break and if you can’t think of a story, we will let Shira talk about a story from her trip to Israel. Other possible introductions include your favorite/least favorite car (following the auto show theme) or favorite/least favorite 24 character (with the premiere event next week).

Shira: My 20-year old friend got married. While we are in a Shmooze meeting, she is finishing sheva brakhot. The wedding continues for a whole week after. Deb says that in Inda, the groom’s best friend has to sleep next to the groom’s best friend the night before the wedding with a knife to protect him. Shira says that there is a similar tradition with Jewish women from the mikveh to the wedding.

Ari wonders why Indian men cover their head. He went on a textual tradition vs. non-textual tradition tangent. According to Shira, Ari didn’t know what he was talking about. But Ari said he knows what he was talking about. In conclusion, he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. Ari: I participated in Gerald Ford’s funeral. I got a letter from the Boy Scout Council and a phone call. They asked if I would participate in the ceremony. (Ari wore his uniform. He spent all night on Monday sewing on patches to stitch to a new uniform. He was interviewed on the news and realized that he was incoherent.)

Deb: My least favorite car is the convertible PT cruiser. They are silly, but cute, but silly. My roommates came home with me to Chicago. They all got to meet my dog, Lola.

Ian: While in a grocery store in Crown Heights, I was interviewed by Chabad Internet News for my opinions on the situation in Gaza and how my Hanukkah was. Another story: Ian and Ruby went to a Hanukah-themed Leevees concert, and they had dreidel and gelt lying around the club (we taught a few people how to play).

Rachel: I like/liked Tony Almeida (she doesn’t know that he died last year, she’s a watch when the DVDs come out type watcher)

Erick: I had a great new year’s party. It was great, and I only remembered the countdown. My favorite car is a Range Rover because it is the best SUV ever (and you need an SUV to travel on Costa Rican roads).


Rachel: I have never smoked a cigarette (reaches for Rodrigo’s cigarette on the table). She plays with it and looks at it for a few minutes. She questions the smoking habits of other people in the room and then puts it down.

Backgammon Tournament:

Ari is complaining about Hebrew, and we get on a long tangent. Ian sits in the corner hoping that the meeting gets back on track. But now, we are talking about how the Siegel family celebrates Martin Luther King’s birthday.

On the subject of the dip competition that will accompany the event:

Relay for Life Update

Captain Deb:O Captain, my Captain, our fearful trip is done; The Ship has weathered every wreck (Deb was feeling a little Whitman-y). We need to register for Relay for Life, this weekend. I need to have everyone participate. I need everyone to hope that the weather will be better this year

Cheesecake competition with Kiddush-sized cakes

Deb will send an e-mail to Joel this week

Jews on the Big and Silver Screens

People aren’t that excited about it, yet. Ian will talk to Rabbi Nathan tomorrow.

Kugel off

It is on March 10, start practicing.

We’re sponsoring Shabbat dinner the night before

Posted by irobi at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2007

Pita: Pocket Bread, Tahini: Flavor Sauce

Before I get to the rundown, I want to thank our hostess in Apt. 11. We were supposed to meet in Apt. 4 but an unexpected delay at Meijer forced us to make a quick change. I also want to thank Ari for assisting with the catering.

Icebreaker: Best meal of the break

Ian: Cholent at a restaurant and home-cooked Shabbat dinner.

Tedi makes a grand entrance.

Ari: (He was going to go but he’ll pass for now.)

Avie: I was in Jamaica and I ate rice and peas (kidney beans specifically).

Emily (first meeting): I was in the Republica Dominicana, my most memorable meal was ordering room service (it came two-and-a-half hours late), coffee and sweet rolls, which I ate in bed while watching Oceans Twelve.

David: I’m an alum. My break has been long already, not to rub it in. My best food was at my Italian grandmother’s house, where she keeps feeding you and feeding you and feeding you. She made pizza from scratch one day.

Adam: I’m Adam, an alum. I’ve taken an affinity to kebobs with hummus. They are good hot or cold. The hummus doesn’t come on the kebab, you buy them at Market Square or Papa Joe’s. I really like Sabra extremely spicy.

What have David and Adam done since graduating?

David: grad school in Colorado studying journalism. I have also had trouble getting out of Denver. I had to drive from Denver to Vail to catch a flight the next day. David is leaving to go back on the 10th. Ari is also leaving then. But Ari is traveling direct to Denver. David is stopping in MSP and flying to EGE (Eagle County). So they aren’t even ending at the same destination except the same state.(We got sidetracked with the Ari-David flying conversation and forgot to find out what Adam is doing)

Frayda wondered if I (Ian typing) was like the person in the courtroom who recorders. Ian said oh a stenographer. Then thought that the stenographer was the sketch artist. David corrected him and said that person is called a sketch artist.

Ari: My family’s Christmas Eve tradition is to eat lobster. Frayda made a joke about whether that is a biblical tradition. Ari said that nobody in his family eats lobster. After losing three real front teeth biting into the lobster, it’s safe to say his grandfather will be using other teeth next time.

Limor: I went to London and Paris. In London I went to a sushi place with a conveyor belt and robot. You sit on the bar and grab your food on the belt. You take whatever you want to eat. By measuring the color of your bowl, they add up how much you eat.

Ian is struggling with Microsoft grammar check. (Stupid inflective language)

Tedi: I went to Mexico where we ate a lot of bad food. When I came home, we ate at Andiamo’s, which is my favorite restaurant, and had a really good meal.

Amira: I enjoyed my last Friday Shabbat meal. My family, friends, and family friends were there.

Frayda: I’m kind of indecisive (claims that she will settle on two or three meals) We’ll start with at the beginning fo the vacation with my whole family (parents and their siblings) at Niagra Falls with all the moms making different types of food. I even contributed by setting the table. I didn’t help cook, that was the moms’ job.

Williams recap

Relay for Life Update

We need to register.

Other than that, we talked about what type of food competition we could hold after last year’s Erasing Stereotype’s success.

Because the event will be after Pesach, we figured that most people will be sick of Passover foods, whether or not they are delicious. But the event is well before Shavuot, people thought that we could get people in the mood with a cheesecake competition.

From David, who won last year’s RFL event with a cheesecake:: Cheesecake is a canvas … (I edited the cheesecake wikipedia entry to include this one)

What do we do if people don’t like cheesecake or are lactose intolerant? We don’t know yet.

We did think that people could get sick of cheesecake after so much but we offered a solution: Kiddush sized pieces.

Backgammon tournament coupled with a dip competition

It will be on a Saturday afternoon January 27th.

Dip defined as anything that can be receive by a pita and consumed.

Avie just found out that Frayda lives in her building. She is hosting a party tomorrow night. If you are reading this, you are invited.


The date for the second annual Malka and Elimelech Kugelov Kugel-off is set as March 10. Start scheming, experimenting, and paying off the judges.

With four food competitions in four months, I have decided to name the circuit the Ann Arbor Jewish Food Competition Circuit (A2JF2C)

Erick enters. He thinks the internet is fucking crazy.

Erick: I had a huge steak for my mom’s birthday, that was yesterday. I had a rib eye. It was great.

Movie night and discussion with Rabbi Nathan

We’ll attend and publicize. Ian will use Handbreak. Limor’s uncle, Asher Tlalim, is kind of a big deal in the Israeli film industry.

When can we have another Shabbat dinner?

We’ll have it on February 2.

Anonymous: Ruby got me into the Rolling Rock shit, and I can’t stop drinking it

Posted by irobi at 10:06 PM | Comments (1)