The Shmooze

A Jew at Buckingham Palace

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — They are trained to uphold the strictest protocol, which includes standing motionless and expressionless at attention outside Buckingham Palace in London.

But that training was no match for an American Jewish tourist who made a Royal Guard soldier crack up, and then captured it on film.

The video documenting the man identified as Yankel’s feat surfaced recently online, and though attempts to reach Yankel and ascertain his identity and the date of filming have not immediately succeeded, the film pretty much speaks for itself. Yankel, who appears, judging by his black kippah, black suit, tzitzit and white shirt, to be Orthodox, begins his offensive on British decorum by standing next to the soldier and telling his friends’ camera: “We were together in school, me and him. He went his own way.”

The soldier remains frozen as Yankel elaborates on their 30-year-long friendship, which he says has endured despite some basic differences of character. “I remember in school, he used to sit by himself and read books. I was just this guy fooling around and having fun,” Yankel says. The soldier begins to crack 60 seconds into Yankel’s routine, when Yankel recalls how the soldier’s mother would pick him up from school until he was 20.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: orthodox, london, buckingham palace, britain

Bizarre 'Jewish Mum' Hits British Reality TV

By Liam Hoare

channel 4

In the Broadway production of Monty Python’s Spamalot, midway through the second act Sir Robin advises King Arthur that “We won’t succeed on Broadway / If you don’t have any Jews.” Starring dancing girls wearing Magen Davids and featuring a Fiddler on the Roof bottle dance parody, the song and the show was wildly successful in New York but not so in London, Sir Robin’s tune described by The Guardian as “a Broadway in-joke that has little purchase this side of the Atlantic.” When the show eventually went on tour in the United Kingdom, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” was radically re-written, the focus shifting towards celebrity producers and actors.

That the joke was lost in translation was hardly surprising, given the absence in the U.K. of a strong tradition of either Jews as objects of humour (in a nice way, at least) or the Jewish sensibility as the butt of jokes. The rise of comics like Sacha Baron Cohen and Simon Amstell notwithstanding, the U.K. has never had prominent figures like Woody Allen and Jackie Mason who use Jewishness or stereotypical Jewish traits for comedic effect. Reflecting a desire for homogeneity, British humour has traditionally sought to be universal, compared to the way Jews and other minorities have carved out niches in the multi-ethnic American entertainment scene. That is, until now. A new primetime reality show has, whether they wanted it or not, pushed British Jews into the spotlight, highlighting in particular the old trope of the clingy, bolshy, and neurotic Jewish mother.

The premise of Jewish Mum of the Year (airing now on Channel 4) is a simple one: eight Jewish mothers compete in weekly trials, including organising a successful Bar Mitzvah and making a perfect match, in order to be named Mother of the Year by The Jewish News and become their new agony aunt columnist.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jewish Mum of the Year, channel 4, britain

Why Are the Brits So Into Nazi-Themed Books?

By Michael Kaminer

In 1975, UK author Alan Coren published a humorous collection of essays called “Golfing for Cats” — and emblazoned the cover with a huge swastika. He had noticed the most popular titles in Britain were about cats, golf and Nazis.

Thirty-six years later, notes the BBC this week, “Nazi books are going stronger than ever. A staggering 850 books about the Third Reich were published in 2010, up from 350 in the year 2000. And they mostly still have a swastika on the front cover.”

The sheer range of Reich-related literature in Britain is astonishing, the BBC reports. “The phenomenal and continuing success of books about the Nazis includes fiction, non-fiction and science fiction. They include the occult and the Nazis, Nazi magic, Nazi weaponry and Nazi doctors. There’s the history of SS uniforms, SS staff cars, SS recruitment and propaganda. You can read counter histories imagining Britain if the Nazis had won or post-war histories of the exploitation of Nazi scientific discoveries by America and the other Allied powers. There is a firsthand account of Himmler’s masseur.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: literature, britain, books, Nazi books, third reich

Meet the Jewish Designer Favored To Design Kate Middleton's Royal Wedding Gown

By Michael Kaminer

Will a Jewish thread run through the wedding of Prince William and fiancée Kate Middleton, who announced their engagement this week?

One of Britain’s biggest bookmakers thinks so, according to the UK Jewish Chronicle. Paddy Power, which operates betting parlors, telephone gambling, and online gaming in the UK and Ireland, has tipped London-based designer Elizabeth Emanuel as the most likely candidate to create the future Queen’s bridal outfit.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Prince William, Paddy Power, Kate Middleton, Elizabeth Emanuel, Diana, Daniella Issa Helayel, Britain, Amanda Wakeley




Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.