Friday, August 31, 2007

It Ain't Bliss

In honor of Harmon and Jorun Shragge, who have rounded the last turn on a seven year effort to learn all of Tanach. It’s the home stretch!

This six-minute video says about all that I want to say this week (Warning: It may make you feel ignorant!):

(By the way, I disagree with what it says about Yom Kippur - I’ll explain in a couple weeks.)

After you see the film, try this Question for your table:

What’s wrong with this statement: “I envy those who believe in something.”

Do you ever hear this?

This summer, I created a class that compares and contrasts what Jews, Christians and Moslems believe about themselves and about each other. I gave it to a group of Jewish teachers. The hardest thing for some of them to grasp is that unlike them, Judaism does not and never has asked us to take a leap of faith. A leap of faith is required by other traditions. Not by Judaism. It’s all about study and philosophy. The problem with our approach, however, is it takes more effort to study to get a Yiddishe kopf than to take a leap of faith.

If you don’t want to make the effort, don’t complain that you’re not connecting Jewishly.

If that film doesn’t inspire you to get off your duff and learn something about the world’s oldest wisdom tradition, that happens to be yours, then nothing will.

If, on the other hand, you want to start a small but meaningful study program at home or in your area, send me an email.

Shabbat Shalom

Einstein quote of the week:
"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
-Albert Einstein

Israel fact of the week:
Israel has the highest per-capita book sales in teh world.

New Amazement website about to launch – sneak preview: – please send your feedback!

Speaking schedule:
September 12-14 - Rosh Hashana - Baltimore (“The Un-Shul” for people who want to connect but don’t connect to shul)
September 21-22 – Yom Kippur - Los Angeles (“The Happiest Yom Kippur of Your Life”)

(For details, send an email)

Yiddish of the week:
Yiddishe kopf — Jewish perspective (lit., Jewish head)

Yiddish review - how many do you know?
anee — poor person
koptsen — panhandler
ballaboss — homeowner; layman
nu — various meanings (see archives)
mishpocha — family
mameh — mother
tateh — father
mazal – (MAH-z’l) luck or fortune, as in, “It was good mazal that....”
beshert – (b’shairt) - meant to be, as in “It was beshert that...”
mine eltern – my parents
mine lair-er – my teacher
hamantashen – Haman-pockets
zeigezunt – all the best (said upon parting)
kesher - connection
Ikh volt veln a kave, zayt azoy gut. - I'd like a coffee, please.
...kave mit shmant. – ...a coffee with cream.
...kave mit milkh. – ...a coffee with milk.
...kave mit tsuker. - ...a coffee with sugar.
Di Fir Kashes - The Four Questions
Oy vey! - Good grief!
mensch — a decent person
rachmanos — mercy
neshoma (neh-SHOH-ma) — soul
minig — custom, as in, "Why do you do that?" "It's my minig!"
Gavaltig — wonderful
Oy gavalt — how wonderful (sarcastic)
Azoy gait es! — That’s how it goes!
Shabbos — Cessation; stopping; day of stopping; weekly sabbatical experience
"Gut Shabbos" — "Enjoy your weekly sabbatical experience"
Neshoma — Soul
meshugass — insanity
meshuganeh — insane
kyna hara — no evil eye
shvitz — sweat
shanda — shame
Lechayim! — Cheers!
Pinteleh Yid — the Jewish feeling in the heart of every Jew
Zreezus — zeal
Mkohm — place (pl. mkohmas)
mamalashen — mother tongue
bentch — make a bracha
bashert – meant to be, pre-destined, as in, “He’s my bashert” or “It was bashert that...”
kvetch — complain
kvell — burst with pride
hishtadlus — effort, due diligence; as in, “Do your hishtadlus and let Hashem worry about it.”

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