Friday Afternoon Shlep

Candles? Packed. Kiddush cup? Packed. Marshmallows? Already open and being devoured by the tiny sugar fiends who live here.

This is what you get when you send your kids to public school: Campfires and “Kumbaya” on a Friday night in the middle of nowhere. Oh, the goyim will get their Jewish education tonight, mark my words! Stay tuned for Why Jews Should Not Camp, Part 2.

Shabbat Shalom, all. Send warm, clean thoughts my way.

Dame Esther Kustanowitz: The Interview

EstherIf I was single, childless and living in New York City, I’d want to be Esther Kustanowitz. Girlfriend lives on the Upper West Side, makes a living writing columns for the Jewish Week and Generation J while taking on all manner of subjects in her own blogs (My Urban Kvetch and Jdaters Anonymous, as well as Jewlicious) with alacrity and sass. She does improv comedy on the side and is a shaineh maideleh to boot.

Strangely, Esther would rather be me. Well, probably not the fuschia hair, but the married-and-kids part. I keep trying to convince her that it’s really not that fabulous, that having a Jewish-Carrie-Bradshaw-type career brings much more opportunity for fame, fortune and adulation, but she won’t be convinced.

She did me the honor of meeting with me on my solo trip to NYC for bagels and coffee at Zabar’s so I could pick her brain a bit about what it’s like to be an observant Jewish single woman looking for love. In person, Esther is as smart and funny as her literary persona, begging the question: Where is this woman’s man?

As a Jewish dating blogger, do you ever accept a date that you know isn’t promising just so you can write about it?

I know it sounds strange as someone who writes a singles column and runs a site called “JDaters Anonymous,” but I really don’t see myself as a Jewish dating blogger. A jewish blogger who dates, sure, if I’m lucky. But I’ve been very careful not to report on actual dates. Continue reading

One People’s Trash Is Another People’s History

temple mountThe Islamic authorities who have jurisdiction over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount may have a difficult time upholding their assertion that no Jewish temple ever existed there after archaeologists announced that a seal dating back to the First Temple has been found…in the garbage.

The go-to guy on such matters, Jim Davila of Paleojudaica, has serious questions concerning the description and dating of the seal, but still…in the garbage?

Magnolias, Mint Juleps and Midrash

jewish magnoliaWhenever I mention the fascinating history and dynamic modern communities of Jews in Georgia, Tennesee, Mississippi, people look at me like I’ve just brought the ancient civilizations of Mars into the conversation. For heaven’s sake: The city of Atlanta boasts one of the biggest Jewish populations as well as one of best Jewish magazines around!

Friends, there are Jews in them thar’ red states, and they’ve been there longer than most. (Mikve Israel in Savannah, Georgia, where I married a Jewish Southern son, is the third-oldest congregation in the country.)

But really, you don’t need to take my Californian word for it — you only need to read Deep South Jewish Voice‘s informed blog on “jewish news with a southern accent.” Obviously, these days Jewish news coming from the South is mostly about the outpouring of tzedakah and the rebuilding of communities that have been damaged by the hurricane bee-otches; but what better proof that tikkun olam is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon?

Israelis Speak Thai

that boxers…with their fists and feet, that is. Meet the ultimate fighting Jews who drew blood at the World Muay Thai Federation’s Prince’s Cup in Bangkok last earlier this month.

‘Course, Israel has its own school of bloodthirsty martial art, Krav Maga, which would be some kind of crazy Mad Max scene if some kind of cross-tournament was organized. Too brutal for me, but I know you love it.

Photo c/o

A Poem For All Jewish Singles

A lovely little couplet by Simcha, care of JDaters Anonymous:

Ode to Jewish Dating Sites

My cup runneth over, my life is a joy.
Still, I am a girl and you are a boy.
I have many riches, my gelt and bookshelf.
But some things you really can’t do by yourself.

I sell stocks by day and work out at night.
I’m never religious, that wouldn’t seem right.
I love cats and dogs, and also kids too.
Nu, possibly maybe I’d even love you? Continue reading

What’s Wrong With A Little Sneaker Grease?

AP- The city of Burlingame, CA has paid $1,600 to obscure a shape on the ground at a newly-opened playground because a resident felt the shape resembled the Jewish Star of David.

“Our intent was not to disrespect any religion or any religious organizations,” said Randy Schwartz, director of parks and recreation. “(The man who voiced his complaint) felt it did represent the Star of David and that it would be disrespectful to have people stepping on the star.”

The pattern was changed to an arch shape that more closely resembles the image of the sun.

Assuming the man who complained was Jewish, this is a case of kvetching for kvetching’s sake. Why is it better to destroy the star altogether rather than let it be enjoyed and contemplated by neighborhood children? It’s not like we worship symbols in Judaism, friend; while we identify with the mogen david, God isn’t actually in it.

Frankly, I’d be thrilled if my local playground had a six-pointed star; I’d let my kids play hopscotch on it while explaining its significance to the other five year-olds.

star lino(What if this was the pattern of your linoleum? Would you consider the entire kitchen floor sacred? Would it be disrespectful to sweep?)