The SchmoozeFeed

Chanukah: A History, In Verse

Of our Chanukah I write, when we drew the swords to fight.
You have heard of the eight nights, but not how they came to light.

It started when Antiochus was out to conquer land,
His new Hellenized empire was all set to expand.
And there were many foolish Jews, supported his command,
They'd give up their religion if deemed popular demand.

The Jewish High-Priest Menelaus promoted a decree,

A latter-day Chanukah miracle: the world's largest menorah, lit by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Manhattan. Getty Images

Breaking Safely Through The Glass Ceiling

Growing up always with a female figure as the breadwinner and head of the household, the concept of female inequality was never anywhere in my mind. To me truly that did not exist. Having strong female role models shaped my life and made me the person I am today, a strong and ultra- independent female. I never really saw much that glass ceiling as much of an obstacle because of the examples in my life, but being in the workplace for the past seven years has taught me a lot about how the world works.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was also the first First Lady to serve in the Cabinet. Getty Images

Facial Hair, Or Philanthropy?

Last month I donated my face to science.  To be more specific, I donated the space between my nose and my mouth in the form of a ridiculous mustache.  

Despite the fact that the Seventies ended over thirty years ago, thousands of young men around the country proudly grew out their mustaches (aka Mo’s) in November to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer as well as solicit for donations to support research to find the cure. 

The author and his mo, which raised $1,000 to help raise awareness and find a cure for testicular and prostate cancer.

Erev Shabbat: The Beautiful Moment Just Before

I remember the wet stones. When I lived in Jerusalem for a year, I spent Fridays slipping all over the place. In the hours before sunset, the Old City’s enchanting stones became slip-and-slides as young boys bearing buckets of water glazed the timeless stairways and passages, giving the holy city the last bath just before Shabbat.

Erev Shabbat is more of a struggle to create stateside than in Israel. Wikimedia Commons

Donor Walls Make Good Role Models

On the 7th day of Hanukah, an anonymous donor gave to me a car-fridge and a new Wii. (Or so I dream.)

According to Maimonides, this kind of gift, where the donor knows the recipient (i.e. the coveted car-fridge) but the recipient doesn't know the donor, is the 3rd highest level of giving. The highest is the well-known teach-a-man-to-fish and the lowest is when donations are given begrudgingly.

Anonymous giving is certainly good, as Maimonides said, but role models are helpful, as well. Wikimedia Commons

Our Duty, In The Diaspora

Once again, Israel is being attacked. But this time around, after having been to Israel, I know what kind of danger they are in.

It is striking. If Israel was proportionate in size to all the attention it gets from the U.N. and the world press, Israel would be at least as big as Russia. But alas, it is smaller than England, and its borders much less defensible. And there's no Israeli Channel to buffer surrounding hostile governments. There is no way around it: Israel is a mighty small chunk of land.

From the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, the author could glimpse Lebanon, home of Hezbollah. Getty Images

Cease Fire: A Poem

Cease Fire
Curtail Fury
Comfort Family
Cry for Friends
Conclude Feuds
Commence Feeling

Cease Fire
Conquer Fear
Cultivate Faith
Crop Fields
Cook Food
Coordinate Festivities

Cease Fire
Compose Fables
Compute Formulae
Classify Ferrets
Customize Firewalls
Critique Foucault

Cease Fire
Caress Flesh
Collect Figs
Coach Football
Conceptualize Fantasies
Create Films

A man works out on the beach in Ashdod on Nov. 22, a day after the cease fire was declared. Getty Images

Birthright During Operation Cast Lead

I went on Birthright during the winter of 2009-10: the time of Operation Cast Lead, and amid the elections for Prime Minister.

We saw the beauty of Israel, and enjoyed the fun most students did, but there was still something very different about that trip. My mother was anxious, and upset that I had still decided to go.

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres visits the family of a soldier killed during Operation Cast Lead. Getty Images

The Disservice Orthodox Judaism Does

I broke gender norms, and it was delicious.

Last Wednesday, for my first time, I baked two loaves of challah for Shabbat. I participated in an enjoyable event held regularly at my campus Chabad. Baking challah and its accompanying mitzvah, our instructor helpfully explained, is traditionally a “woman’s mitzvah.”

Did I just witness gender formation? Was female identity constructed just there before my eyes and is it really so simple?

Must we check our brains at the kitchen door when we learn how to make challah? Wikimedia Commons
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