The Shmooze

3 Can't Miss 'Humans of New York' Photos From Israel

By Rachel D. Benaim

New York’s favorite hipster photographer, Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York (or HONY, to those in the know!), just published a selection of portraits from his recent “unscheduled side trip” to Israel.

The photos, posted on his Humans of New York Facebook page, are no different than his other work: they are not politically driven — they just capture a snapshot of regular people’s lives. Israelis and Palestinians shared their hopes and dreams with Stanton as he roamed in and around Jerusalem.

Check out a few of our favorites below:

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Netflix Trying to Revive Adam Sandler's Career

By Reuters

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Netflix Inc said on Thursday that comedian and actor Adam Sandler has signed a deal to star in and produce four films that will be shown exclusively on the video-streaming service.

The deal moves Netflix, which produces the Emmy-winning political thriller “House of Cards” and the comedy-drama “Orange Is the New Black,” further into original programming.

“His appeal spans across viewers of all ages - everybody had a favorite movie, everyone has a favorite line - not just in the U.S. but all over the world,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement.

The four feature films from Sandler’s company, Happy Madison Productions, will be shown in the nearly 50 countries where Netflix is available.

Brooklyn-born Sandler, 48, started his career as a stand-up comedian before joining the NBC comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live.”His films include “Big Daddy,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Grown Ups” and this year’s “Men, Women & Children,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.

Elie Wiesel Receives Germany's Knight Commander's Cross

By Masha Leon

It was a heady gathering of “Jewish Eagles” — ADL’s Abe Foxman, World Jewish Congress’ **Ronald Lauder, ** AJC’s David Harris, American Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations’ Malcolm Hoenlein and B’nai B’rith president Allan Jacobs gathered at the Fifth Avenue residence of Germany’s newly appointed Consul General Brita Wagener for the presentation of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Knight Commander’s Cross) to Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel by Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The arrival of Elie and Marion Wiesel was greeted with explosive applause by the German consular staff. Wiesel was led to the podium next to a window overlooking a breathtaking sunlit view of Manhattan with St. Patrick’s Cathedral nearby. Touting the presentation of the medal as “a humble gesture of my country showing gratitude for your lifetime achievements and relentless efforts to keep the memory alive of the worst crime in all of history—the Shoah– against the Jewish people,” minister Steinmeier declared: “With this order of Merit we want to honor the writer, the philanthropist, historian, professor, the outstanding Mentsch that you are!” During the presentation Marion Wiesel never took her eyes off Elie.

Marion and Elie Wiesel // Photo by Masha Leon

Recalling Wiesel’s “unforgettable visit to Buchenwald with President Obamaand Chancellor Merkel in June 2009, “ Steinmeier said, “I will never forget the words you said — let me quote: ‘Memories bring people together rather than set them apart. Memories are not to sow anger in our hearts, but on the contrary, a sense of solidarity…. What greatness to find such words in a place of such unspeakable terror!”

“We have taken your message into our hearts…. Over the last decades the remembrance of the Holocaust has brought Germany and Jews closer to each other…Today Israel is one of Germany’s closest allies and welcomes Germany’s role in the Middle East peace process…. Jewish people visit Germany…feel welcome in a country which has reinvented itself after the darkest chapters of its history.”

“Thank you for your words of kindness,” responded a contemplative Wiesel. “To receive a medal of recognition from Germany is not a normal thing in my life,” he said softly. “The past is here. The past is not absent from the present. We remember things that happened two thousand years ago as if they happened yesterday. Every day in our prayers we remember the good, we remember the bad. The choice, is always ours — ultimately.”

Noting, “my German students are some of my best,” Wiesel added: “Look, when we study Jewish history [it is] full of suffering, full of pain. How can you still have faith in humankind [my] students ask. Anti-Semitism is the oldest hate still here. Why? They hate us of what we are…not for what we do…. What is it that elicits such hate?”

As Wiesel and Marion joined the Jewish leadership and German diplomatic assemblage for a post presentation lunch, I managed quick — as always in Yiddish — chat with Elie as we wished each other a gut yontef.

The Secret Jewish History of 'Gilmore Girls'

By Sigal Samuel and Anne Cohen

A still from Gilmore Girls

Today is a big day. Today is the day we reconnect with Lorelai and Rory. Today is the day Netflix starts streaming all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls.


The Gilmores themselves aren’t Jewish — Richard and Emily would gasp at the thought — but the show did give us such gems as the dancing rabbi, Kirk as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, and “Oy with the poodles already!” And those mandatory Friday night dinners at the parents’? Come on, they just scream Shabbat.

But more than that, there’s the theme song. Yes, that theme song.

Who knew it had a secret Jewish connection?

Carole King isn’t the only Jewish thing about “Where You Lead.” The lyrics, as King herself points out, come from the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Ruth. Remember that chorus? Of course you do, we all know it by heart: “Where you lead, I will follow, any-anywhere that you tell me to.”

Compare that to what the Moabite-born Ruth tells Naomi, her mother-in-law, about her decision to adopt the Israelite faith:

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.

Let’s take a second to visualize this: Lorelai as Naomi, Rory as Ruth. The analogy actually works pretty well.

Ruth, unnaturally close to her mother-in-law, vows to cling to Naomi to her dying breath. Rory is almost creepily attached to her mom (see: The Lorelais’ First Day at Yale), to the point where they’ve only spent two nights apart in the first 16 years of Rory’s existence.

Naomi gives Ruth pointers on how to seduce Boaz on a threshing floor; Lorelai helps Rory woo Dean with a Willy Wonka movie night (also on the floor).

The townspeople tell Naomi that Ruth is better than seven sons. The good folks of Stars Hollow wouldn’t give the prestigious title of Ice Cream Queen to just anyone — only their darling Rory.

And so, as you’re binging your way through TV’s most excellent show, downing your 15th cup of coffee and nth donut of the day, keep your ears perked for the surprisingly Jewy theme song. It’s not all about the la-la-las.

Eric Schmidt and Shimon Peres Share ADL Honors

By Masha Leon

Shimon Peres is still looking forward…never giving up on his dream that young Israelis and Palestinians will be able to overcome their differences and build a better world for both,” said Ron Prosor Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations of Israel’s former PM and president and an honoree at the Anti-Defamation League gala dinner at The Mandarin Oriental.

“Having served his country over seven decades…working to bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace…he is a man of the future…. seeking a new job.” Prosor joked that it was “now time to do what every Israeli does when he finishes his national service — He backpacks through South America…. to Machu Picchu….” The former president’s itinerary was drowned out by the 350 guests’ laughter as clips from Peres’ granddaughter Mika Almog’s video showed Nobel Peace Prize winner Peres delivering pizza pies…milking cows…washing windows…

Shimon Peres // Photo by Masha Leon

Declaring Peres “a man of the future,“ ADL National Director Abraham Foxman presented him with ADL’s Distinguished Leadership Award — an Agam menorah. He lauded Peres’ focus on” medical research, technological advances…” as means of “bringing about peace.” A still feisty though frail ninety-one year old Peres alluded to a moral army led by the ADL with “Abe” [Foxman] as “ its commander.”

“In the course of the time it takes me to introduce Eric Schmidt, Foxman said, “Google will handle in the neighborhood of twelve million searches…Or, put it another way, in one month Google — the company Eric steered as CEO for more than a decade and now serves as its Executive Chairman — handles over 100 billion searches — Wow!”

Accepting the ADL Leadership award from Foxman, Schmidt said “You have dedicated your entire career to one thing I care a great deal about — tolerance and understanding against hate. The enemy of prejudice is critical thinking…I actually believe that the Internet is the best thing ever invented to combat prejudice… Hate thrives in isolation.” Alluding to the teaching of prejudice and intolerance “out of sight,” Schmidt declared: “The Internet allows us to detect this…. it will never be possible for someone to spew out falsehoods at the level that have built the kind of hatred that ADL has been fighting for one hundred years.”

Cheerily Schmidt suggested: “97% of you sleep next to your mobile phone — spouse on one side, mobile on the other…” The audience members nodded and chuckled. “It never happens now without us knowing it…. When I was a boy growing up in Virginia…we only had Black and White. We didn’t have Jewish. I watched the prejudice of the rural South of Whites against my Black friends and vowed at thirteen that I would fight it with everything I had in me…. To see it live, to see it viscerally is to understand how bad it is. I actually feel that the Internet is the best thing ever invented to combat prejudice…. the Internet allows you to find it…stop it before it takes off. That’s the new world of ADL.”

Why George Zimmerman 'Identifies With' Anne Frank

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Despite his somewhat misleading last name, George Zimmerman is not Jewish. But according to GQ’s newly-released profile of the Zimmerman family, the man who shot Trayvon Martin feels a strange connection to Anne Frank.

Robert Zimmerman, George’s brother and the “Zimmerman in charge of rebranding” told the magazine that George, an aspiring painter, will likely be working on a portrait of Frank in the near future because he “identifies with her.” George’s painting of an American flag recently sold for $100,000.

This budding art career is all part of Robert’s plan to turn his younger brother, whom he calls the “Wreck it Ralph of America,” into a reality TV star. Apparently, they’re really big on the Kardashians.

Read the fascinating profile here.

Bibi Has the Veal — With Sheldon on the Side


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had lunch in a Midtown Manhattan restaurant hosted by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson following his address at the United Nations General Assembly.

The lunch for five people required ever customer of the restaurant to enter through a metal detector, Page Six reported.

Netanyahu arrived at the restaurant, Fresco by Scotto, with some 30 security guards, the New York Post’s gossip page reported Monday. It also reported that the prime minister ordered veal chops.

Volkswagen Taps Jewish Star Trek Stars

By Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Last year Volkswagen donated more than a million dollars to an international youth center at Auschwitz.

In 2011 it donated $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League.

And in 2009 it was reported that the Beetle — that iconic VW creation — was actually designed by a Jew.

But the German automaker — which, like other industries in the Third Reich, cooperated with the Nazis and has been boycotted by many Jews as a result — may have finally figured out a strategy to put the stigma of its past behind it. It has recruited both the stars of the original “Star Trek” series to plug its new car, the e-Golf, in the United States.

According to Auto Evolution, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy — both Jewish — will star in the marketing campaign for VW’s first electric car.

The two were apparently tapped because the “Vulcan salute and the Volkswagen logo have so much in common,” the auto industry publication reported.

That salute, as any Jewish Trekkie worth his salt will know, is similar to a Jewish blessing sign – two hands forming the Hebrew letter Shin — that frequently appears on Jewish gravestones.

Could the twin appearance of Spock and Kirk convince diehard boycotters of German cars (who, as journalist Jeffrey Goldberg noted in a recent Atlantic column, rarely boycott any other German products) to drop their grudge and buy the wagon of der Volk?

Bimah me up, Scottie!

Beyonce Meets Bibi in J Street Campaign

By Anne Cohen

Queen Bey, meet Bibi.

A J Street campaign called “Put a Border on It” is applying Beyonce’s admittedly flawless rhetoric to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

The organization has been tweeting out a poster advertising their petition calling on Benjamin Netanyahu to halt settlement expansion in the West Bank. The slogan plays on the chorus from “All the Single Ladies” which goes “if you like it then you should have put a ring on it,” replacing it with “if you like it you should have put a border on it.”

“Countries should only build within their recognized borders,” the petition reads. “Instead of announcing new settlements, Israel should announce its commitment to peace: offer a serious proposal for a secure border between Israel and Palestine, recognized by the entire world. Israel needs peace; the Palestinians need a state. It’s time to put a border on it.”

In case you felt the need to sing along, they’ve also helpfully provided appropriate lyrics.

Harvey Fierstein Serenades Angela Lansbury At Theater Gala

By Masha Leon

At the 2003 American Theatre Wing Gala then emcee Harvey Fierstein got a roaring reaction to his vow “I’d do anything for [then Wing’s chairman of the board] Isabelle Stevenson even wear men’s clothing.”

At this year’s gala at the Plaza honoring Dame Angela Lansbury, he brought the house down with his rendition of “The Man In The Moon” from “Mame.” The evening featuring a roster of well-wishers and performers including Broadway wunderkind producer Harold Prince who in 2013 accepted his Wings’ award from Lansbury.

During the pre-dinner mingling and red carpet Q&A I mentioned to Ms. Lansbury — whom I had seen in 1979 in” Sweeney Todd” and most recently in the 2012 revival of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man”— that I had just seen her in a Turner Classic Movies airing of “National Velvet” in which she stars as Elizabeth Taylor’s sister. I also mentioned that in 1942, as a refugee in Canada, I had answered a movie magazine ad looking for a “young girl who is an expert horse rider and spoke English with a British accent. “ I had never ridden a horse and my English fluency was in its infancy — and so I lost out to Liz.” Lansbury laughed heartily.

Masha Leon
Angela Lansbury

Named Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and promoted to Dame Commander in 2014, Lansbury made TV history as Jessica Fletcher in “Murder She Wrote”— the longest-running detective series in TV history.

Among the glitterati at the gala was Lansbury’s “Best Man” co-star, the extraordinary James Earl Jones. Coming off the red carpet with his stunning blonde wife Cecelia (aka Ce Ce) at his side, he was approached by a trio of young ladies with tape recorders in hand. “What was the name of the first girl you ever kissed?” they asked the multi award winning — including Lifetime Achievement Oscar-winning actor. Blinking his pale blue eyes a dumfounded Jones looked for a quick exit. “I don’t remember,” he began…. I quickly interrupted with “What was your favorite role?” He smiled and in a booming voice he declared, “Of Mice and Men.”

I greeted gala co-chair Sir Howard Stringer with “Men of Harlech” the Welsh national anthem — as I have done in the past. Chatted with Judy Collins whom I first met at the December 7, 1984 “Harold Leventhal Presents” Carnegie Hall event. Chatted with Pia Lindstrom and Broadway producers Stewart Lane, Bonnie Comley and Jim Dale who, as star of the 1980 musical “Barnum” became high-wire walking mentor to Mike Burstyn who followed in his “footsteps.”

There were performances by Glen Close, James More Inglehart, Christine Ebersole and Len Cariou. The award to Dame Lansbury was presented by Harold Prince, James Earl Jones, Sir Howard Springer and The Wing’s chairman of the Board of Trustees William Ivey Long. with the Wings’ president Heather Hichens lauded for her dedication to advancing artistic excellence and nurturing theatre’s next generation on stage, behind the scenes and in the audience. Bravo.

Saying Goodbye to Rabbi Krustofski on 'The Simpsons'

By Anne Cohen

You may have heard by now (and if not, SPOILER ALERT) that there was a tragic death on the last night’s premiere of “The Simpsons.” Rabbi Hyman Krustofski, on-and-off estranged father to Krusty the Clown, has left us for the magical shul in the sky known as “Jewish Heaven.” He was 74 years old.

Voiced by comedian Jackie Mason, Rabbi Krustofski was born and raised in the Lower East Side of Springfield (state still unknown). There, he raised a son, Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofski — better known by his chain-smoking children’s entertainer persona, Krusty the Clown.

Like many a father before him, Krustofski’s dreams of his son following in the family business were dashed when Krusty expressed his desire to become a clown. Unable to accept his son’s decision, Hyman disowns his son and the two are estranged for many years.

(Fun fact: Jackie Mason is descended from a long line of rabbis, and broke with tradition to become an entertainer.)

It takes the combined efforts to Bart and Lisa Simpson to reconcile father and son. In 2003’s “Today I am a Clown” Krusty decides to have a midlife bar mitzvah. Hyman is thrilled — until Krusty, perpetual attention-whore, decides to televise the event in a comback bid.

“Krusty the Klown’s Wet ‘n’ Wild Bar Mitzvah” is a big hit, but Krusty decides to salvage his relationship with Hyman by having a second, more meaningful bar mitzvah at Temple Beth Springfield.

Hyman also appeared in “Once Upon a Time in Springfield,” in which he was to preside over Krusty’s 15th wedding to co-host Princess Penelope. Ultimately, the ceremony gets called off, but not before Rabbi Krustofski slips in an intermarriage joke:

“Friends, loved ones,” he says “we are gathered here today to marry a Jew and — a Congregationalist? Is that even a thing?”

Last year, “Simpsons” producer Al Jean mentioned that a character would die in the season opener. “I’ll give you a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character, but I won’t say who it is,” he said. Mason won an Emmy for playing Krustofski in 1992.

As befits any Jewish patriarch, Krustofski died mid-sentence, guilt-tripping his son; his last words to Krusty were: “If you want to know my honest opinion of you, you’ve always been… eh.”

Shoes by Jews Takes the Tribe by Storm

By Maia Efrem

Are you a nice Jewish boy and want more attention when you’re out at a bar? Perhaps you want a better chance at nabbing that new job? Well, you’re in for a rude awakening. It’s a sad fact of life that members of the tribe are known to be, well, on the shorter side. Why not own it?

That’s where Shoes by Jews comes in.

These stylish, height-increasing shoes stand out from the hoards of other options, with their light and stylish designs that can add up to 3 inches to your height. And with prices ranging from $122 to $199, they won’t break the bank.

Founder Shawn Michael, 33, of San Francisco says the idea for the shoes came to him and his Jewish friends when they were out at a San Francisco bar and they realized they were all 4 to 5 inches shorter than other men there. One joke followed on the heels of another, and before Michael knew it he was 3 inches taller and changing the game for his fellow vertically challenged brethren.

With researchers at the University of Florida finding that with every extra inch of height a man could increase his yearly salary by $789, along with findings from a Rice University and the University of North Texas poll that 55% of women preferred to date taller men, looks like Shoes by Jews is here just in the nick of time to make men average or even a cut above average.

The Forward’s Maia Efrem spoke with Michael about shoes, Jews and why there it’s time to stand taller.

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SNL's Top 10 Jewish Moments

By Jana Banin

This week marks the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live,” which is entering its 40th season. Happy birthday guys! To mark the occasion, we’ve assembled a list of our 10 all-time favorite Jewish moments on SNL (they’re like butter, so good Coffee Talk and Hanukkah Harry didn’t make the cut):

10. Saving ‘Soviet Jewelry’

Gilda Radner scores as Emily Litella on a Chevy Chase-hosted Weekend Update segment, with her classic talking-head rant trying to figure out what all the fuss is about over Soviet Jewelry.

Best line: “Save Soviet jewelry?! Where are we going to put it? I say keep it over THERE, with all their ballet dancers!”

9. Jonah Hill as Evan Grossman

Meet Evan, a 6-year-old from a broken home who frequents Benihana and communicates entirely via Borscht Belt jokes.

Best line, delivered to the chef: “I love your showmanship but careful with those knives, you’re giving me flashbacks to my bris. I don’t know if I should clap or cover my shmeckle!”

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Lena Dunham Backs Film About LGBTQ-Friendly Jewish Tailor

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Attention, suit-lovers — this one’s for you.

According to Vanity Fair, Lena Dunham will be producing an HBO documentary about Bindle & Keep, the Jewish owned and Brooklyn-based bespoke tailoring company whose custom suits and shirts have drawn a following in the transgender community.

“Three Suits” will follow Bindle & Keep clients as they go through the process of having their custom suits made, while “examining the significance of the process for a set of customers with complex gender identities.”

“We were totally blown away when Lena’s team first reached out to us—the art we practice is so specialized that it was hard to believe heavy hitters were taking an interest,” Bindle & Keep founder and owner Daniel Friedman told Vanity Fair.

Dunham’s “Girls” co-showrunner Jenni Konner will also be producing.

Curious? Read the Forward’s Q&A with Daniel Friedman here.

The 'Idiotest' Funnyman Around: An Interview with Ben Gleib

By Margaret Eby

You might know comedian Ben Gleib from his regular appearances as a round-table commentator on “Chelsea Lately,” or from his podcast, “Last Week on Earth With Ben Gleib.” Perhaps you’re familiar with his work on NBC’s “The Real Wedding Crashers” or with his stint on the same network’s “Last Comic Standing.” But now, the 36-year-old Los Angeles native and funnyman, née Ben Nathan Gleiberman, has a new title: game show host.

Named by Esquire magazine in 2007 as one of “the six comedians who could be comedy’s next big thing, ” Gleib started duties as host on Game Show Network’s new show “Idiotest,” gently and not-so-gently poking fun at contestants as he guided them through a series of brainteasers.

On a more serious note, Gleib spoke candidly about the Israeli-Palestinian war on his podcast this past summer, severely critiquing Hamas and lamenting the loss of life on both sides of the conflict.

The Forward’s Margaret Eby caught up with Gleib to chat about the end of “Chelsea Lately” and about the idiocy of everyday life.

Margaret Eby: You just appeared on the last installment of “Chelsea Lately.” What will you miss most about the show?

Ben Gleib: It was the time of my life doing “Chelsea” for the last seven years. I’ll miss the privilege of going on international television and introducing my comedy to the world. It was so immediate and unscripted and raw, and it’s such a rare thing to have. Chelsea [Handler] has the fastest wit on TV; she’s such a raw, honest and unforgiving person. It was a lot of fun to spar with her. And to take my fair share of abuse, which keeps me humble.

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VIDEO: Shimon Peres Needs a Job

By Anne Cohen

Hiring? Shimon Peres is your man.

A newly released video (in Hebrew with English subtitles) from the Peres Center for Peace has the former president seeking help from an unemployment office.

Turns out, the 91-year-old shows an impressive range of skills. from pumping gas to pizza delivery, with a skydiving session or two thrown in for good measure. Given his ability to perform these tasks with a straight face, we would settle for a Shimon Peres TV show (with your host, “Shimi P!”)

The clip, while silly and — at times— actually funny, also offers not-so-subtle messages showcasing Peres’ insights on everything from Israeli technology to the peace process.

Watch the full clip below:

Happy Hobbit Day, the Jewish Way

By Anne Cohen

Every year, a great day dawns on Middle Earth. I’m speaking of course, of September 22 — Hobbit Day, for those who didn’t grow up on a steady diet of tales of rings, angry wizards, and small creatures with big feet.

According to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings,” both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins are said to be born on September 22, though on different years (Bilbo in the year of 2890 and Frodo in the year 2968 in the Third Age —  yes, I looked it up. This is, sadly, not knowledge I carry in my brain at all times).

In addition to celebrating two of the Shire’s most adventurous citizens, Hobbit Day also launches Tolkien Week, celebrated every year since it was launched in 1978 by the American Tolkien Society.

Which brings us to the Jewish connexion. No, Frodo and Bilbo are not secret Jews (believe me, I tried to make that theory work). And as Seth Rogovoy pointed out in his review of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”: “Sometimes, a bearded, money-grubbing dwarf is just a bearded, money-grubbing dwarf and not an evil, anti-Semitic stand-in for Jews.”

But J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of Middle Earth, Elvish, Sauron and the One Ring, was something of a Judeophile. When asked to provide verification of his Aryan status for a German publisher that wanted to put out a German translation of his work, Tolkien refused:

“I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware noone (sic) of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.”

Describing the incident to a friend, he wrote:

“Do I suffer this impertinence because of the possession of a German name, or do their lunatic laws require a certificate of arisch origin from all persons of all countries?… Personally I should be inclined to refuse to give any Bestatigung [confirmation] (although it happens that I can), and let a German translation go hang. In any case I should object strongly to any such declaration appearing in print. I do not regard the (probable) absence of all Jewish blood as necessarily honourable; and I have many Jewish friends, and should regret giving any colour to the notion that I subscribed to the wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine.”

And so, on this most auspicious of days, we here at the Forward wish Frodo and Bilbo Baggins a very happy birthday! (Pro-tip: If you want to celebrate in a quiet and non-life threatening way, maybe make sure Gandalf’s invite gets lost on the way)

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik Gets Jan Karski Humanitarian Award

By Masha Leon

Welcoming the overflow crowd at the Jan Karski Humanitarian Award 2014 ceremony at the Polish Consulate honoring Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, and Polish rescuer Irena Sendler, was consul general Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka who thanked members of the Polish-Jewish Dialogue Committee — Polish American Congress, the N.Y. Downstate Division and the Polish-Jewish Dialogue Committee —  for their dedication to their noble mission.”

Addressing an assemblage that included a sizeable number of Polish-Jewish survivors, cantor Joseph Malovany and the Forward’s publisher Samuel Norich, the consul thanked The Committee — whose members are predominantly Catholic priests and rabbis — “for their dedication to their noble mission” and amplified that “the Jan Karski Humanitarian Award ceremony is a perfect example of fruitful cooperation between Polish diaspora organizations on the one hand and American-Jewish organizations on the other.” She noted that “Pope John Paul II, who visited a synagogue in Rome and prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, considered anti-Semitism a sin and called the Jews…’Christians’ brothers-in faith,’ During his papacy he encouraged a very difficult Polish-Jewish dialogue” believing that “this dialogue was necessary to overcome stereotypes and prejudices.”

Polish Children’s Choir, Consul General Ziomecka and Rabbi Potasnik // Photo by Masha Leon

Accepting the award from Rabbi Moshe Birnbaum of the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills, Potasnik reflected upon the nobility of some Poles who “at a time when Poles risked their own families’ lives by helping Jews” like “the Polish Catholic family who hid Jews even when their children got scarlet fever sharing all with their Jewish charges.”

There was a video presentation of Janina Zghrzembska “ remembering her mother Irena Sendler who saved over 2500 Jewish children she smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto. And a delightful treat was the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church of Maspeth Queens’ Children Choir whose beautifully articulated Polish repertoire included a song about God and David, one about Noah’s Ark and [in English] “We Are The World.” The assemblage was informed that the choir included Polish children of the Moslem faith.

The Jan Karski award is named in honor of a Polish patriot, a Catholic, and hero of the Polish Resistance, who brought news to the West of the destruction of Eastern European Jewry who had been secretly smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto by a Zionist and a Bundist to be an eyewitness to the destruction. He is recognized at Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among Nations.”

Contributors to this event included representatives of the Flushing Jewish Community Council, Queens Jewish Historical Society, Father Witold Mroziewski, of Holy Cross Church, Maspeth, Queens and Monsignor Peter Zendzian of St. Matthias Church Ridgewood, Queens who read the invocation.

I would not be writing this were it not for a Polish peasant woman who risked her life and that of her family to hide my mother and me in her hut — next to a Nazi guard cabin! — during our flight from Warsaw. When my mother offered to pay her something she refused and said, ”It is my Christian duty.” She also told my mother that during WW I, as a young girl, someone hid her and saved her life and she felt the obligation to “return the favor.”

Apparently, Kate Hudson Sees Dead People

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images

Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn have a very special talent — and it’s not acting.

Apparently, the Jewish mother-daughter duo spend quality time together interacting with ghosts.

The subject came up during an interview with British talk show host Alan Carr, set to air later tonight. Here are a couple of soundbites (via The Independent):

Me and my mum Goldie can see dead people,” said a dead pan Hudson.

“It is not really seeing, it is feeling a spirit; a fifth energy.”

“I believe in energy. I believe our brains can manifest into visual things.”

Cue the “Sixth Sense” memes.

4 Jewish Ways To Talk Like a Pirate

By Anne Cohen

Ahoy mateys!

Arrr ye ready? September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Aye aye! To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of the most fearsome Jews ever to sail the seas.

Thar be more than ye think.

1) Jean Lafitte

This French-American pirate, who sailed the Gulf of Mexico in the early 19th century, claimed Jewish ancestry through his grandparents in a journal entry. When the United States passed the Embargo Act of 1807, prohibiting American trade with England France, he smuggled tobacco and sugar into New Orleans.

2) Moses Cohen Henriques

Fueled by a thirst for revenge for the Spanish Inquisition, this Sephardic pirate helped plan one of the biggest pilferages against Spain. In 1628, Henriques and Dutch West India Co. Admiral Piet Hein, boarded a number of ships loaded with gold and silver from the New World off the coast of Cuba. The total haul was worth approximately $1 billion USD in today’s currency. According to the Jewish Journal, Henriques was never caught, and founded his own pirate colony on an island off the coast of Brazil. When the Portuguese reconquered Brazil, Henriques fell in with Henry Morgan, one of the most ruthless privateers ever to sail along the Spanish Main.

3) The Great Jew

Another Sephardic pirate — sensing a trend? Born in Spain, Sinan Reis and his family fled the Inquisition and settled in Ottoman-ruled ruled Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey), where he sailed as a Barbary corsair under the famed admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa. His victory at the 1538 Battle of Preveza earned him the nickname “Great Jew” by the Spanish. Reis later become Supreme Ottoman naval commander. He is buried in Jewish cemetery in Albania.

4) Jerry Seinfeld, First Pirate of the ’90s

No one can rock the Puffy Shirt pirate look quite like Jerry Seinfeld. We’ll let him explain how he feels about it:

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