Friday, April 28, 2017

Have You Had "The Talk"?

The purpose of this blog is to get them talking about talking at the Friday night dinner table.... Please forward / like / tweet....
Happy Birthday shout-out to Avramy Seinfeld - no longer a teenager! :-(

malicious-gossipLast week was about archaeology. This week, for balance, is about neophilism.

We've all had the birds-and-bees talk.

We've had the honesty talk.

We've had the technology responsibility talk.

We may have even had the "be courteous kind and forgiving" talk.

But have we had the gossip talk?

I had jury duty this week and the pompous judge had every prospective juror (about 100 of us) stand, state our full name, educational level, occupation and spouse's occupation. And at nearly every turn, he would make a witty comment about the responses. Especially if the victim was a young woman.

(I've never seen anything like it and had I been selected I would have informed the judge that I could never convict someone of attempted murder knowing that he knows my full name.)

The gossip talk is when we lecture teach our children how utterly evil it is to say anything negative about another person, true or untrue. In their presence or not.

Or to listen to someone else saying it.

Or to hint.

Or to read about it.

This is one of those great ethical teachings of Judaism that we should label with a Jewish label - lashon hara - and praise the kids for avoiding it.

First question for your table: Why do people love to tell, hear and read about gossip?

Second question: Is it ever ethical to say something negative about someone?

Third question: Does it really matter that much?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - Want to get your family on board with ethical speech? Try sharing a few pages of this, this or this book (or the one in the easter-egg link above) every week at the Shabbat table.

PPS - The exceptions: when you're venting, or telling someone something to protect them, or telling a parent or teacher something in order to protect yourself.

Good one this week? Vote with your fingers! Like it, tweet it, or just forward it.
(Haven't tried the new "forward" button yet? Give it a tap!)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Your Inner Archaeologist

The purpose of this email is to dig a little deeper at the Shabbat table.... Please forward / like / tweet....
(Yes, that's a cool new "forward" button - give it a try!)

indiana-jones-raiders-of-the-lost-ark-minimalist-illustration-vectorDid this ever happen to you?
It happened to me yesterday.

A certain website isn't accepting my saved password, so I have to reset it.

It then starts the usual prove-you're-you questions.

But it turns out they are nothing like the usual questions, like your father's middle name or model of your first car. Because obviously any junior-high hacker could find out that kind of stuff about you.

Instead, this site is asking some really unusual questions:

1. In what month was your best friend born?

Wait a second. Before we go there, who is my best friend? Do I have a best friend?

Hmm, the rabbis say that a man's wife is (or should be) his best friend. But is it true? Hmm.... I think so, I'm pretty sure I have no better friend than my wife .But they also say you have to work hard to "acquire" a friend, have I really worked hard enough to make her my best friend? Well (perspiration starts) I guess I could try her birth-month....

Phew, got it right.

2. If you could meet a former US President, who would it be?

Sheesh, who knows? I mean I know what I might say today, but who knows what I said way back whenever I joined this website?

But there are only five choices, and in that group, FDR wins. Because I've always wanted to ask him how he reconciled being so compassionate with abandoning us.

3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

This one has a drop-down list of about a dozen professions. But surely it doesn't have... let's see... sure enough, there it is - Archaeologist.

What a smart and friendly website to know this intimate detail about my childhood....

But why, pre-Indiana Jones, did I want to be an archaeologist?

It might have had something to do with discoveries like this.

(By the way, that tomb may have been built by Israelites and most certainly the judge who occupied it judged and enslaved them.)

Or maybe it connected me in a real way to the mythical past like this amazing story.

Or.... maybe I just liked to dig?

2 questions for your table:

What's the appeal of archaeology? (did you know there a shortage?)
2. What do (or did) you want to be?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - Yes there is a hidden "easter egg" in this message....

Good one this week? Vote with your fingers! Like it, tweet it, or just forward it.
(Haven't tried the new "forward" button yet? Give it a tap!)

Friday, April 07, 2017

Which Son are You?

The purpose of this email is to separate the "men" from the "boys".... Please forward, like, tweet....
In honor of Yoseph Seinfeld, who turns 13 years old today.

The 4 SonsLast night I attended my first "bo-bayom" party. Imagine a mini-wedding with 40 kids dancing with skill and abandon.

What greater simcha (joy) is there for a parent than seeing their child b'simcha (happy)?

In his speech our son talked about two rather opposite qualities:

a. Zerizut - acting with alacrity, not being lazy
b. Kavana - acting deliberately, not hastily

First question for your table: Are these two qualities mutually-opposed, or is it possible to cultivate them both simultaneously?

(If you would like a copy of his entire speech, shoot me an email.)

Over the past couple weeks, you've had some encouragement and suggestions about making your own Seder.

And you've heard the pitch for the new Art of Amazement Haggada.

Is there anything else to say about Pesach?

Can you name the "Four Sons" of the Haggada (often modernized to the "Four Children")?

A. The wise child - "I want to learn as much Jewish wisdom as I can"
B. The wicked child - "I've learned a lot, I know enough."
C. The simple child - "What is Jewish wisdom?"
D. The one too young to ask.

Two more questions for your table:

2. Which of the four are you?
3. Which of the four is the Haggada speaking to?

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Passover

New Haggada
Like this post? How about putting your gelt where your gab is: Like it, tweet it, or just forward it.

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Gamble

The purpose of this email is to burn that chametz.... Please forward, like, tweet....

You are PharaohLast time I sent some encouragement and suggestions about making your own Seder.

Then someone asked, "OK, but if you're going to be a guest at someone else's Seder, what's a recommended gift to bring?"

Let's see..... I guess wine and matzah are always safe....

But if they have kids, how about the new Exodus card game? Passover Bingo? The captivating Seder Night Miracle?

And even adults love those great crowd-pleasers, the 10-Plagues Finger Puppets.

Or you might try showing up in a Pharaoh costume (it's only 10 bucks) or perhaps come as the Plague of Frog?

(I personally think the Angel of Death has been underrepresented at the Seder.)

Of course, if it's an adults-only group, you may want to stick with an <> engaging Haggada.

Yes, it's here - The revised 2017 Art of Amazement Haggada.

New Haggada Sort of here.

The problem: when you look at the Amazon page, you see the new description but the old image. If you order it today, you will get one edition or the other in 2-days with Prime, I'm just not sure which one.

If you use the CreateSpace page, you will definitely get the new edition, but the fastest they say you can get it is next Monday - cutting it a bit close.

So no promises, unless you do our print-your-own-Haggada option (or get our 2017 Pesach Kit).

Alas, the struggle for perfection goes on. In the meantime, you might opt for a hostess-gift book that has already achieved perfection, such as
Rabbi Wohlberg's Un-Haggada.

Wishing you happy prepping....!

PS - If a podcast of my Pesach class, "Faster than Time" would help you get through the shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc., shoot me an email.

Like this email? How about putting your gelt where your gab is: Like it, tweet it, or just forward it.