The Shmooze

Tailor Makes ‘Kosher’ Suits for Rosh Hashanah

By Renee Ghert-Zand

It turns out an Indian-born tailor has a yiddishe kop when it comes to making suits for observant Jews. He has attracted many customers concerned about upholding the prohibition against wearing shatnez by making a line of suits that are certified as free of the mixture of wool and linen forbidden by the Torah.

Mohan Ramchandani, the owner of Mohan’s on East 42nd St., near Grand Central Station in Midtown, Manhattan, is doing a brisk business in the sale of shatnez-free suits ranging in price from $500 to $5,000. Like any good businessman, Ramchandani spotted a niche market, and he honed in on it.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Suits, Shatnez, Rosh Hashanah, Linen, Tailor, Wool

Send Us Your Nominations!

By Forward Staff

iStockphoto

For our upcoming special section on philanthropy, the Forward will profile American Jews aged 21 and under who are making a difference, locally or globally, with cool new approaches to helping others. We are looking for young people who are having a direct impact on their community in the novel way they are confronting poverty, violence, injustice, discrimination and ignorance. Post your nominations here, or email TopTen@forward.com, and be sure to include your contact information. Then watch for the final list in the November 11 issue of the Forward, and be inspired.


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Natalie Portman To Produce New ABC Show

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Though actress Natalie Portman has hinted that she might retire to be a full-time stay-at-home mom to little Aleph Portman-Millepied, she definitely hasn’t quit show business completely.

It was recently announced that Portman will executive produce a new TV series that will be a follow-up to the 1980s miniseries, “Scruples,” about a wealthy Boston family. The new series will be adapted from two books by Judith Krantz: the 1978 novel “Scruples” and its 1992 sequel.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tony Krantz, Scruples 2, Scruples, Natalie Portman, Judith Krantz, ABC

Carnegie Deli Names Sandwich After Judy Gold

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Getty Images

Comedian Judy Gold is following in the footsteps of Henny Youngman and Woody Allen, with a Carnegie Deli sandwich named in her honor.

Gold, who’s starring in the one-woman, off-broadway show “The Judy Show: My Life as a Sitcom,” provided inspiration for the Gold E. Lox (get it?) — a bagel with cream cheese, lox, tomato and creamed onions, served with a side of creamed herring. It’s a sandwich Gold’s been eating since the “fancy bagel breakfasts” of her childhood. “It’s my favorite sandwich in the whole world,” she said.

And for $22.95, you too can give it a try.

For a Jewish New Yorker, her very own Carnegie Deli sandwich is a pretty big deal. “You know, it’s kind of like the Jewish version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” she said.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Judy Gold, Carnegie Deli, Bagel, Lox

Introducing the ‘Jewish al-Jazeera’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Jewish news junkies will be pleased to know that they will very soon be able to get TV news covering Israel and the Jewish world 24/7. On September 21, Jewish News 1 will go on the air and reach viewers in North America, Europe and the Middle East via satellite.

The network is already being dubbed “the Jewish al-Jazeera” for its aim to gain the attention of Jews all over the globe, just as its Arabic-language counterpart has won the hearts of Arabs spread out in different countries.

Jewish News 1 will have its headquarters in Brussels, but will also have studios and correspondents throughout the world. It already has studios in Brussels, Tel Aviv and Kiev, and will soon open ones in London, Paris and Washington.

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Why Are Some People Born Without Fingerprints?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

With all the heightened security and anti-terrorism measures in place these days, we are all pretty sick of bureaucratic problems at border crossings. But people with “Immigration Delay Disease,” however, face a unique challenge when traveling from one country to another.

Those with “Immigration Delay Disease” (its scientific name is adermatoglyphia) have no fingerprints. In fact, they don’t have dermatoglyphs, or ridges, on their palms, toes or soles of their feet, either. Aside from confounding border crossing officials and police detectives, this condition has also confounded the medical and scientific community.

But now, researchers at Tel Aviv University, led by Prof. Eli Sprecher, have worked with colleagues at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, to solve the mystery of the missing fingerprints.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Security, Fingerprints, Immigration Delay Disease, Eli Sprecher, Adermatoglyphia, Tel Aviv University

iTunes Classifies Jewish Music as Christian

By Renee Ghert-Zand

It looks like iTunes must have been snoozing during Comparative Religions 101. The Jerusalem Post found that the world’s largest online music and video vendor doesn’t seem to know the difference between Jewish and Christian music. Or maybe it just doesn’t care.

The newspaper reported that it found most popular Jewish singers’ songs and albums were classified as “Christian and Gospel,” and that there was no separate category for Jewish music. Some Jewish songs were listed in the “World Music” section of the iTunes store.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shlomo Carlebach, Mordechai Ben-David, Gospel, Christian Music, Avraham Fried, World Music, iTunes

Obama Makes New York Magazine Cover as ‘First Jewish President’

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

Barack Obama may be America’s “first Jewish president,” this week’s New York magazine cover provocatively suggests.

The publication sets the phrase in quotation marks, placing it over a cover photo of Obama’s kippah-wearing head. The accompanying article — entitled “The Tsuris,” and written by staff political analyst John Heilemann — looks at at Obama’s relationship with both Israel and American Jews. Is the latter group truly up for grabs in next year’s election because of the president’s Middle East policy, as some Obama critics suggest? The article explores the issue via interviews with commentators on both sides, taking its cover quotation from Obama supporter and former White House counsel Abner Mikva, who in 2008 joked, “When this all is over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: New York Magazine, Israel, 2012 Election, Obama

Israeli Military Snubs Domestic Shofar Merchants

By Nathan Burstein

Deror Avi, via Wikimedia Commons

Israel’s shofar merchants consider it a low blow, but the country’s defense ministry isn’t backing down.

Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported Friday that local shofar sellers are red in the face over a decision by the defense ministry to purchase 150 of the rams’ horns from suppliers in China and Morocco. Going abroad for the shofars — which will be used in military ceremonies — will save the ministry, and by extension Israeli taxpayers, 4,500 shekels, or about $8 per shofar, according to the snubbed Israeli suppliers.

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Quadriplegic Israeli Tennis Player Eyes Paralympics

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikicommons

Serious tennis fans have likely heard of Israeli players like Shahar Peer and Andy Ram, but it’s safe to bet that most are not familiar with Noam Gershony, despite the fact that he is higher ranked than the others.

Gershony, a quadriplegic, plays wheelchair tennis. He is ranked third in the world in wheelchair quad singles, and ninth in doubles. Just this past week at the US Open Wheelchair Competition at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., Gershony defeated David Wagner of the US, 6-3, 6-1 during a three-day round robin tournament. Wagner is the world’s No. 2 singles player and No. 1 doubles player.

According to a report by Howard Blas in the Jerusalem Post, Gershony, a 24-year-old from Kfar Sava, took his first ever tennis lessons just shortly before being paralyzed in a crash of the Apache helicopter he was flying during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center, Tennis, Shahar Peer, Quadriplegic, Paralympics, Noam Gershony, David Wagner, Andy Ram

Flying El Al? Better Pack Your Own Sandwich

By Nathan Jeffay

If you’re planning on flying El Al, pack your own sandwiches. The airline has reportedly announced that it is cutting the number of flight stewards in tourist class by one steward in flights of up to four hours and two in longer flights.

El Al employees are furious with the company’s chief operating officer and other top officials. “They don’t know what service is, they don’t know how to say please and thank you,” El Al workers committee chairman Yossi Levy told the business publication Globes.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: El Al, Employees, Flights, Overtime, Stewards, Tourists

Johansson and Kunis Exposed by Hackers

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

For people who keep track of these things — and naturally, The Shmooze is far too refined for such behavior — today is the second straight day that private photos of a major Jewish celebrity have been released by hackers.

Yesterday’s victim was Scarlett Johansson; today’s is Mila Kunis. Both appear to be victims of a hacking ring devoted to releasing personal photos of young female celebrities. Earlier casualties include “Gossip Girl” star Blake Lively, bad-movie staple Jessica Alba and former Disney princess Vanessa Hudgens. The FBI is apparently investigating the Johansson hacking.

Other than Kunis and Johansson’s respective backgrounds — the latter’s mom is Jewish, so we’ll claim her — there’s nothing “Jewish” about this scandal. And of course the family-friendly, high-minded Shmooze would never post — or even glimpse at — the leaked photos, which in Kunis’s case are reportedly far tamer than her “Black Swan” scenes with that other Jewish goddess, Natalie Portman.

We merely bring these facts to your attention during our brief breaks from studying the Talmud and reading Joyce and Keats.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Scandal, Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Gossip, Celebrity

Israel Will Re-enact Space-Age Experiment

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons
Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon

Israel will be trying to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records next week. Of course, Israel is often seen as a place of extremes, but this attempt at record-breaking has nothing to do with the usual political headlines or social disagreements.

As a nice distraction to what many fear will be a rough few days next week as the Palestinians seek statehood recognition at the United Nations, hundreds of Israelis will gather at various universities, science institutions and museums around the country September 22 to simultaneously conduct a science experiment that the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon did in space. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where the Ilan Ramon Youth Physics Center is located, is spearheading the project.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shuttle Columbia, Guinness Book of Records, Ilan Ramon, Crystals, Chemistry

Meet Josh Bernstein, the Next Teen Pop Idol

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

Josh Bernstein has got an amazing set of pipes, and he is using them to his advantage in the Kidz Star USA Talent Search, under way right now. The 14-year-old student at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Md., is one of four finalists in the competition sponsored by KidzBop.com.

This morning, Bernstein appeared along with the other three finalists on the “Today Show” together with Kris Allen, a mentor and judge for the contest. Allen found fame as the 2009 winner of “American Idol.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Josh Bernstein, Kidz Star USA Talent Search, KidzBop.com

Israeli Man Is Seven Months Pregnant

By Nathan Jeffay

iStockphoto

Mazel tov — it’s a boy! Not the baby, but the person giving birth.

That’s right. If the news broken by Yediot Ahronot is correct, a man is to have a baby.

Apparently, a 24-year-old Israeli who had a female-to-male sex change operation went to a hospital on Sunday and told doctors that he’s pregnant. According to the report, he sports a goatee and is married to a man.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Transgender, Pregnancy, Childbirth

Video: The Rosh Hashanah Rock Anthem

By Eileen Reynolds

Remember that peculiar Kia commercial with hamsters dancing to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”?

Not exactly an instant classic — but the Shmooze does appreciate Aish.com’s new Rosh Hashanah-themed remake of that song. With lines like “Three times a day I’m shucklin’ shucklin’, shucklin,” and “Stand up, sit down, pass the prayer books around,” the tongue-in-cheek music video serves as lighthearted primer on the Jewish New Year. Sure, the music’s a bit insipid, but the dancing — increasingly elaborate hip-hop moves performed by a group of yarmulke-clad young men — just about makes up for it.

Watch the ‘Rosh Hashanah Rock Anthem’:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rosh Hashanah Rock Anthem, Aish.com, High Holy Days, LMFAO, Party Rock Anthem, Rosh Hashanah

ESPN Cracks Down on Anti-Semitism in Fantasy Football

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

It’s not just Arsenal football fans in the U.K. who are using their websites to spread anti-Semitism.

Here in the U.S., ESPN was alerted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center that people were setting up fantasy (American) football teams with names like “Jews are Immoral,” “Jews are Terrible” and “Jews Love Pennies” on the ESPN website.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told USA Today that he was alerted to these names when a Jewish father went to sign his son up to participate in fantasy football. “They may have been fantasy leagues but the hate is all too real,” Cooper said.

ESPN responded quickly to the complaint and removed the teams immediately. “Offensive hate speech like the examples discussed here have no place on our site. While we have systems in place to protect against inappropriate team and league names clearly with millions of users and deceptive ways around the safeguards, we can never completely eliminate it,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Football, Simon Wiesenthal Center, ESPN, Fantasy Football, Anti-Semitism, Abraham Cooper

Sex Toys Sold Modestly

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

It’s got the goods, just not the suggestive photographs to go with them. And that is exactly the way KosherSexToys.net thinks it should be catering to the sub-sector of the Orthodox public interested in shopping for sexual aids and fetish gear.

Those in the market for these kinds of things can find a nice selection of lubricants, vibrators, clamps, beads and blindfolds for sale for competitive prices on the website. The furry handcuffs are reportedly a big seller.

What’s the big difference between this site and other ones selling the same kinds of products? It’s all in the presentation. Whereas other sites have raunchy photos with explicit visuals depicting how these items might be used, KosherSexToys.net just sticks to the facts. You’ll see photos of the merchandise with accompanying descriptions using language that would not shock the average adult.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sex, Kosher Sex, Shmuel Boteach

Former NBA Star To Coach at Jewish Day School

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

A former NBA All-Star has landed an unlikely coaching gig — at a Jewish prep school in Florida.

It sounds like the set-up for a movie, but it’s true: Former professional point guard Kenny Anderson has signed on to coach boys’ basketball at the David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie, Fla., a town located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Anderson got the job after receiving an invitation via Twitter from Jay Doobrow, the father of two students at the school.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: NBA, Kenny Anderson, Dwyane Wade, David Posnack Jewish Day School, Basketball

Hasidic Biker Gang Spreads the Word on Wheels

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStockphoto

It’s time to let go of the incorrect assumption that all ultra-Orthodox Jews try to turn away as much as possible from the outside world. You’d be wrong to think that all of them spend every waking moment at serious study, prayer and work.

It turns out, at least in some cases, that Haredim just want to have fun. In fact, some of them are downright daredevils.

First, there was the recent profile in the New York Post and other outlets of the Rebbe’s Riders, Lubavitcher motorcyclists who do kiruv (religious outreach to fellow Jews) on wheels. “The Riders…say their love of choppers gives them something in common with Jews who might have strayed onto the Highway to Hell,” according to the Post. These guys still wear black — only they’ve traded their kapotes (long coats) for padded leather jackets.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rebbe's Riders, Motorcycles, Lubavitch, Kiruv



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