Recent twitter entries...

Mad Men Contest

So the BRILLIANT minds behind Mad Men and the clothing line, Banana Republic have come up with a fab contest.

Submit your best "Mad look" and win a walk on role one Mad Men...

Well, since I A. am addicted to Mad Men and B. am a Mad Ave gal myself (okay, not NYC but I am a PR/Marketing professional in Denver) and C. have a very special affinity for the 50's/early 60's... especially in fashion, I am entering the competition.

I will send out the link to my page when I submit so stay tuned. AND please vote for me! :) After looking at the 400 or so pics they have up now, I am confident in my photo shoot! :)

Obama, Israel and the Financial Crisis pt. 2

So the previous post was born out of my Facebook conversations today.

I would like to share with you the extended conversation I had with an acquaintance from college. We will call him "JU" (like our university). A few others jumped into the conversation and I will add them in with appropriate names. :)

After I posted the Patheos discussion about the Dems blaming the Jews, I got this comment on my wall - (here we go folks, be sure you are strapped in and ready for the ride)

JU - talia, I'm curious...would you still support Obama if he apologized to the world for the United States provoking Iran to send a nuclear missle into Jerusalem?

Jen -
I don't think the US would have to provoke Iran for that to happen. I don't think I understand the hypothetical you've posed.

JU - The President would blame the US for this

Jen - on what are you basing this assumption?

JU - The international apology tour that he undertook several months ago.

Jen - so because he make an international trip, it's an "apology" tour? your logic still eludes me....

JU - He dislikes this county, the founding documents he finds a document of "Negative rights", and will bow to a Saudi King. With no basis he calls Cambridge police stupid for arresting a black professor who was acting beligerent toward an officer of the law ..Obama takes ten days to comment on the attrocities that the Iranian people suffered after ... Read Moretheir election; sat in a Church pew for 20 years listening to an anti-semitic preacher, Jeramiah Wright. The cynicisim posed in my question is to find out if Talia sides with Israel or Obama?

Jen - I think you're funny in a belligerent and mis-informed sort of way. There is still no logic in what you are saying. However, I will have to let Talia answer your question, which perhaps I should have done to begin with rather than engage in this madness. Curiosity got the better of me.

ME! THD - I highly disagree that the two are mutually exclusive. I believe that Obama is the man to take our country to the next level, into the 21st Century. I think he has the compassion and understanding to handle international diplomacy as well as domestic with tweezers, rather than the sledge hammer our former president used.

I think President Obama supports Israel and Jews but sees a need for this insane Middle Eastern feud to end. And I agree with Jen, Iran doesn't need any provocation to attack Israel. They have been threatening for years and years.

Eretz Yisrael is my spiritual homeland. I spent time there and love the land and my people. I support Israel and do not want to see it split into pieces but I also have good friends who are Arabs, Muslims, and who call themselves Palestinians. ... Read More

I think Mr. Obama was correct to open dialogues with the Arab nations. Without dialogue, there can be no peace or understanding. I do not believe that America can survive as an insular country... (it continued but took a bit to type, so there were responses in between)

More after the jump

Obama, Israel and the Financial Crisis pt. 1

So... as part of my job at Patheos, I posted a discussion in our discussion forum. Here is a link to it - Are Jews to Blame?

In a nutshell (help I'm in a nutshell... sorry couldn't resist) it discusses that more Democrats than Republicans BLAME JEWS!!! for the financial crisis!!!! 34%, in fact!! That is incredible to me considering that we Jews don't have any financial magical power. There are those stereotypes. There have always been those stereotypes. Why? Because back in the day, Jews were forbidden from doing many jobs. Money lending was considered "dirty" so it was relegated to the "hated" class, the Jews. Hence, we got pretty good with numbers and some families stay in the business. Now, I don't have my head in the sand and I know that Bernie Madoff perpetrated one of the largest ponzi schemes in the history of the world and that he was Jewish but what about these?

(My post continues below these...)

(borrowed from - Business Pundit)
10. The Fraudulent Feminist - no evidence of Jewish heritage
In 1880, Boston Ponzian Sarah Howe promised women 8% interest on a “Ladies Deposit.” She said it was only for women, selling an implicit assumption of safety. She took the Money and ran.
9. The Haiti Haters - not Jewish
Ponzi schemes popped up all over Haiti in the early 2000’s. These schemes sold themselves as government-backed “cooperatives.” They ran mainstream-sounding ads, some of which featured Haitian pop stars. As a result, people felt safe investing more than $240 million–60% of Haitian GDP in 2001–into the schemes, which ended up being a massive swindle.
8. The Scientologist Snake - Scientologist
Earthlink co-founder and Scientology minister Reed Slatkin posed as a brilliant investment advisor for A-list Hollywood residents and corporate bosses. Working out of his garage, Slatkin cheated the rich and famous out of roughly $593 million, creating fake statements referring back to fake brokerage firms to prove his mettle. He fed the Church of Scientology with millions of his winnings. In 2000, the SEC caught wind that Slatkin wasn’t licensed, and busted the scheme.
7. The Lottery Uprising - no evidence of Jewish involvment
When Albania was moving out from behind the Iron Curtain in the mid-1990s, a powerful government and environment of questionable ethics resulted in a financial system dominated by pyramid schemes. The government endorsed various Ponzis, which robbed the majority of the population and netted more than $1 billion in losses. Albanians rioted and overthrew the government.
6. The Costa Rica Crooks - evidence of Christian faith
Three Costa Rican brothers, Enrique, Osvaldo and Freddy Villalobos, defrauded clients–mostly American and Canadian retirees–out of $400 million in a 20-odd-year unregulated loan scheme that started in the late 1980s. They promised interest rates of 3% per month on a minimum investment of $10,000. Villalobos moved money through shell companies before paying investors. Its staying power had to do with the fact that margins were low, the brothers were disciplined, and the outfit just barely skirted past laws.
5. The Biblical Bilker - Christian
In fraud-rich Florida, the Greater Ministries International church used Bible-speak to cheat its flock out of $500 million. Starting in the early 1990s, the church, led by gun-toting minister Gerald Payne, offered worshipers investments in gold coins. Payne then created an investment plan that would “double the ‘blessings’ that people invested” by funneling money towards the church’s fake precious metals investments. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Payne said that God had modernized the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and asked him to share the secret.
$500 million later, the Feds caught Payne, but most investors never got their money back.
4. The Boy Band Bandit - Jewish
Beginning in the late 1980s, Lou Pearlman, Art Garfunkel’s cousin and former manager of ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, offered attractive returns through his FDIC-insured Trans Continental Savings Program. The scheme was neither a savings and loan nor FDIC-approved, but that didn’t stop Pearlman from bilking investors out of nearly $500 million, with which he planned on funding three MTV shows and an entertainment complex.
3. The Retiree Plunderer - no evidence of Jewish heritage
Mexican resort owner Michael Eugene Kelly schemed retirees and senior citizens out of $428 million. He offered them timeshare investments in Cancun hotels that he called “Universal Leases.” The timeshares came with rental agreements promising investors a nice fixed rate of return. Most of his victims used their retirement savings, thinking they would get solid, low-risk returns. The SEC says that “more than $136 million of the funds invested (came) from IRA accounts.” Kelly, meanwhile, bought himself a private jet, racetrack, and four yachts.
2. Madman Madoff - Jewish
Bernard Madoff’s scam is still unfolding. The facts as we know them now are that Madoff spent decades building the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, bilking nonprofits, famous people, funds, banks, and countless others out of $50 billion.
1. The Namesake - no evidence of Jewish heritage
The King of Get Rich Quick, Charles Ponzi became a millionaire in six months by promising investors 50% return in 45 days on international postal coupon investments. He earned $15 million, which in 1920s terms was serious money. After Ponzi was caught, investors only received $5 million back.

More after the jump

There she is, folks — that's Molly Goldberg, a woman with a place in every heart and a finger in every pie.

If you are like me (a week ago) you have NO idea who Molly Goldberg/Gertrude Berg is.

I was listening to NPR on Friday and heard a very interesting story. It was about this Jewish woman in the 1920's who created a sitcom, The Goldbergs. In fact, she created the genre of sitcom, to an extent. It started as a radio show and then was adapted to television. It went off the air in the 1950's. Sadly, most of the episodes were destroyed but there are a few historical records of the radio show and television show.

I read a great article on about The Goldbergs. Read it here
Also, there is a new film out called, Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg (a signature call of that show), by Aviva Kempner. Here is the interview with Aviva on NPR (which is what sparked my curiosity).

Gertrude Berg was an actress and writer (screenwriter, eventually), one of the first women to hold those roles. She was born in NY to a Jewish family and wrote about what she knew, Jewish family life in NYC. She was the first person to receive the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series but things weren't always funny for Gertrude. She was loyal to her cast/friends, almost to a fault. When her television husband, Phillip Loeb, was accused of Communism (he was involved in the Actor's Equity Union and AFRA to better conditions for actors), Gertrude stood by him... until she was forced to let him go for fear that the show would be taken off the air. She did, however, keep him quietly on the payroll because he was eminently unemployable after being blacklisted by McCarthy. Though she provided for him, Phillip Loeb sank into a depression. Being unable to work and with failing eyesight, he ultimately committed suicide in 1955.

Gertrude addressed real issues affecting Jews in America with her scripts. Ms. Kempner mentions this in her interview with NPR, "Very early on as Hitler rose in power, she had a very overt Passover scene on radio," says Kempner. "Some months after Kristallnacht, she had a stone being thrown through the window on the radio show, and while no one was addressing the Holocaust on TV, she had an episode where she got letters from her relatives."

But Molly Goldberg was everyone's mother during those 26 years (20 years on radio and six years on television)... imagine that! 26 years! We are lucky if a show lasts one year these days.

She was the stereotypical Jewish mother but not in a negative way. Always positive and with dignity. It didn't matter where you lived or if you had ever met a Jew, you loved Molly Goldberg.
President Roosevelt supposedly said, "I didn't get us out of the Depression, The Goldbergs did."

Once the television show went off the air, Gertrude moved onto the Broadway stage earning a Tony for her work in A Majority of One.

Gertrude Berg (zt"l) passed away in 1966.

What a powerful history that I never knew. I will be looking for anything I can find from the amazing 26 years of The Goldbergs and if you want to see something now, the article from has a few clips.

Mayim Balik on What Not To Wear

I have to say that I was incredibly disappointed in this episode of What Not To Wear.
What they neglected to show is that Mayim is an Orthodox Jewish woman and she following the laws of tznius ( They even had her study partner on the show to talk about it ( but they cut it.

They criticize the length of her skirts and encourage her to hem her skirts shorter and wear sleeveless tops but that may not be what she feels is appropriate. Why can't we find modest and attractive clothing? Why can't longer skirts look attractive? Why isn't modesty attractive?

I was really looking forward to this episode to see beautiful modest clothing in respect of Mayim's beliefs but I was disappointed... I still love Stacey and Clinton but I think they missed a great opportunity to speak to a chunk of the population who dress modestly.


Things that I love -
  • Rainstorms
  • My family (even if they are crazy)
  • Clean sheets
  • Squash (... I'm not even a little bit kidding, and yes, I mean the veg)
  • A night out with friends
  • Learning new Jewish "stuff"
  • Catching Sherlock Holmes/Hercule Poirot/M*A*S*H*/Murder, She Wrote on tv randomly
  • Making new friends
  • Writing letters and postcards by hand & using the postal service to mail them
  • Benefit blush (shallow, I know... but I do love it) & mascara
  • My besties that I rarely see because I live by mountains and they live by oceans
  • Friends who step up and love you when you need it
  • People who do random acts of kindness for no reason
  • Honest compliments

Things that I hate -
  • Food that is so spicy that is makes my mouth burn
  • When people abruptly stop talking to me
  • Intolerance
  • Restaurants that don't serve anything that doesn't have pork or shellfish in it (SOME PEOPLE CAN'T EAT THAT STUFF!!)
  • Unanswered text messages
  • People who hold grudges
  • Being judgmental
  • Lies (especially the ones that hurt)
  • Short rainstorms
  • Men who can't grow up & treat people around them like crap
  • People who don't know that bacon is pork (okay, it is pretty funny... but seriously!)
  • People who you trust but then treat you like crap
  • People who manipulate you
  • Not being able to let go of the hurt

I saw this quote forever ago and I hang onto it
because I need to remember it -

Never make someone a priority
who makes you an option.
Let the filtering begin.

New Fav Blog (other than my dad's of course)

Do the words "Jon" "and" "Kate" make you want to hang yourself? Have you dreamt of putting gum in Kate's hair just so she has to cut those ridiculous things she calls bangs off? Have you checked with your significant other to see if you can handle adopting at least the 6 little ones (because frankly, Maddie is a little brat) to save them from the woman to has pictures to prove she gave birth to them? Then this blog is for you...

I think it is HILARIOUS.

Things I Want To Punch In The Face

A great shul guide

I got this in an email from Parasha Partners today. It is a really helpful guide for the Saturday morning services.


Dear Rabbi:

I occasionally go to synagogue on Shabbat, but feel very uncomfortable — I never know when to stand or sit. I expect that I will eventually figure it out, but it would be helpful if there were some general guidelines you can provide.

Janet N.

Dear Janet:
To stand or to sit - that is the question that has engaged the halachic authorities throughout the centuries. The underpinnings of the answer are fascinating, but before we explain them, let us first state the rule you are looking for.
There are only 6 places during the Shabbat morning service that, strictly speaking, one is required to stand. All other times that you find people standing, it is because they are following certain customs that are laudable, but not compulsory. The 6 places where one should stand are (the page numbers following refer to the ArtScroll Siddur - Heb./ Eng.):
  1. Baruch She’amar (the beginning of what’s called “Pesukei d’Zimra”), p. 370;
  2. V’yavareich David, p. 396;
  3. Amidah (silent prayer), p. 420, and the chazzan’s repetition of the Amidah (unless one is infirm), Kedushah (if one sits during the repetition), p. 422;
  4. the carrying of the Sefer Torah (Torah scroll), p. 436 & p.458;
  5. the Mussaf prayer and its repetition by the chazzan, p. 462, including Kedushah, p. 464 (if one sits during the repetition);
  6. Aleinu, p. 480.
It should be noted that standing is only a requirement for those who are capable of standing. If, however, one is unable to stand because of physical limitations, he or she should certainly recite the above passages and will be accredited with having said them properly.
The reason we stand for 1) and 2) is that they are recited in the section of Pesukei d’Zimra that are praises about G-d. These two passages express His primary praises, and therefore we stand to show our fullest reverence. We stand for 3), which is the silent prayer. It is called “Amidah” (lit. ‘stand’) because we find that our Patriarch, Abraham, stood when he established the morning prayer (see Genesis 19:27). Whenever the Sefer Torah is being carried (4), we have an obligation to display it the greatest honor. We stand during the Aleinu prayer because the first and last letter of the prayer expressed in the first passage spell eid, (‘witness’), and in Jewish law a witness is required to stand when giving testimony. The content of the Aleinu prayer is a declaration of our faith, essentially our testimony about the Creator’s existence.
The practice of standing during the performance of a mitzvah is traced to the mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer, the counting of the 49 days between Passover and Shavuos. According to one tradition, the Torah requires this counting be done in a standing position. There is much discussion among the early authorities regarding the linkage of other mitzvos to Sefiras HaOmer. Those that are linked must also be performed in a standing position. All authorities agree that putting on a Tallis (a four-cornered fringed garment) and the blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah are linked and require standing. Some add that Kiddush Levanah (the blessing on the new moon when it becomes visible), Lulav (the 4 species taken on Succos), and Bris Milah (circumcision) are also linked and require standing. Other authorities add even more mitzvos to this list, based on exegesis. It is interesting to note that all authorities agree that there is a class of mitzvos that one should sit for— blessings that are made on our enjoyment of the pleasures that G-d has given us, for example, the Grace after Meals following a bread meal. Included in this category are the blessings that are made before eating food or enjoying the aroma of different flowers or spices.
While some of the rules of standing may be complicated, one thing is simple. The effort we make to stand when performing a mitzvah is an expression of our respect and readiness to fulfill Hashem’s Will.
Rabbi Reuven Drucker

Rabbi Drucker can be reached at

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