Old Jewish Men Have Valuable Advice for Miley Cyrus

English: Miley Cyrus' signature Español: Firma...

English: Miley Cyrus’ signature Español: Firma de Miley Cyrus Português: Assinatura de Miley Cyrus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Miley Cyrus plays in concert Polski: ...

English: Miley Cyrus plays in concert Polski: Miley Cyrus podczas koncertu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miley Cyrus at MMVA Soundcheck.

Miley Cyrus at MMVA Soundcheck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Singer Miley Cyrus at her “Bangerz” record release signing at Planet Hollywood in Times… Read More

The chanteuse Miley Cyrus, a subject of much controversy these past several weeks, mainly owing to her performance at the MTV “Video Music Awards” (among other things, she mimicked masturbation with an oversized foam finger, twerked, and, unforgivably, sexualized teddy bears), is unhappy, despite her temporal success, with some of the advice she has lately received.

In an interview with something called Hunger TV, she complained that unnamed senior corporate types are “out of touch” with the desires of today’s youth. “With magazines, with movies, it’s always weird when things are targeted for young people, yet they’re driven by people that are, like, 40 years too old.” She went on, “It can’t be like this 70-year-old Jewish man that doesn’t leave his desk all day, telling me what the clubs want to hear.”

I was saddened by this comment, because she carries the name of one of the great heroes of Jewish history — the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great, who freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity — and also because, in my experience, 70-year-old Jewish men (and 80-year-old Jewish men) are often sources of great wisdom and counsel. Cyrus’s career, as Slate’s John Dickerson recentlysuggested on Twitter, is evidence of the moral, spiritual and creative exhaustion of much of American culture, and her comment made me think that she could stand to listen to some wise thoughts from old Jewish men.

I asked three friends — Erica Brown, a widely respected Torah teacher in Washington; Rabbi David Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles; and Rabbi Andy Bachman, of Congregation Beth Elohim in New York — to share with me some relevant quotations.

Wolpe offered these, from the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and the late non-rabbi Saul Bellow. Heschel: “Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” And Bellow: “You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.”

Brown offered this, from the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan: “To believe in God means to take for granted that it is man’s destiny to rise above the brute and to eliminate all forms of violence and exploitation from human society.” And this, from David Ben-Gurion: “Thought is a strenuous art — few practice it, and then only at rare times.”

Bachman suggested these words from Judah HaNasi: “Three things shorten a person’s days and years: Being given a Torah scroll to read and refusing to read it, being given a cup of blessing to say grace and refusing to say it, and taking on airs of authority.” Along the same lines, he suggested this from Simeon ben Eliazer: “If young people say to you, ‘Build the Temple,’ do not heed them. But if elders say to you, ‘Destroy the Temple,’ heed them. For building done by young people may be equivalent to destruction, while the destruction done by old people is equivalent to building.”

Bachman went on to explain by e-mail the meaning embedded in this quote. “Miley might do well to look at the landscape of hubris-infused rock stars who tumble into self-destruction, usually out of a misunderstood sense of their own power and popularity (dangerous addictions in their own right that only get worse when drugs and alcohol get mixed in).”

I would offer Cyrus three more thoughts, from old Jews who have succeeded in her industry.

From Leonard Cohen: “The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.” Cohen also made this wise statement: “When you stop thinking about yourself all the time, a certain sense of repose overtakes you.”

Bob Dylan, in “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,” sang, “In the dime stores and bus stations/ People talk of situations/ Read books, repeat quotations/ Draw conclusions on the wall/ Some speak of the future/ My love she speaks softly/ She knows there’s no success like failure/ And that failure’s no success at all.”

Finally, apropos of the licentious misuse of bears, this, from Paul Simon: “Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.”

(Jeffrey Goldberg is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)

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The 19 Things Jewish Mothers Will Never Stop Nagging Their Kids About ( Reblogged)

1935: Nazi definition of Jew, Mischling, and G...

1935: Nazi definition of Jew, Mischling, and German and legal consequences as per the Nuremberg Laws, simplified in a 1935 chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The second generation Amazon Kindle, ...

English: The second generation Amazon Kindle, showing the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yellow badge Star of David called "Judens...

Yellow badge Star of David called “Judenstern”. Part of the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. The wording is the German word for Jew (Jude), written in mock-Hebrew script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (...

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

עברית: טקס של משלחת צה"ל "עדים במדים...

עברית: טקס של משלחת צה”ל “עדים במדים” באושוויץ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The 19 Things Jewish Mothers Will Never Stop Nagging Their Kids About

The 19 Things Jewish Mothers Will Never Stop Nagging Their Kids About
LIFE •  • DEC 19, 3:22PM

There’s one thing that Jewish mothers love more than nice, Jewish boys: nagging their kids.

Sometimes it feels as if they have intrinsic radar on our whereabouts, reminding us to bring a jacket even before we’ve left the house or to negotiate the price from the fruit vendor as we’re about pay.

It’s no wonder Jonah Hill got fat all over again — his Jewish mother was clearly pestering him to eat more challah.

Regardless if you’re 13 or 30, you will never be free from your mother ambushing you over the telephone to layer up, take a snack and above all, BE SAFE.

Marrying A Jew


As a minority, it’s important that Jews continue to procreate and make more Jews because there’s safety in numbers. Think about how the Hispanic culture has grown and now we’ll all be speaking Spanish by 2020 – same idea.

According to unsubstantiated claims from your Jewish mom, as long as there are Jews on this earth, there will be an Israel. Not to mention the fact that after the diaspora and Holocaust, we really need to build our membership.

Our Health


You made a fatal mistake by letting an innocuous cough escape your mouth on a recent call to your mother, and now she won’t stop insisting that you buy vitamin C and “get it checked out.” The more you maintain that you’re fine, the more she will encourage you to go to the doctor. Don’t make any sudden movements or she’ll personally escort you all the way to the waiting room and scold you more for not carrying tissues in your purse.

Covering Up


It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a dress, a onesie or a (Hashem forbid!) shmata — if your pipik is hanging out, your Jewish mom will call you out on it. Frigid out? Button up the jacket — all the way. Not frigid out? Button up the jacket – all the way. No tits (or shoulders, for that matter) in temple, bubala. Save the cleave for the Israeli Defense Forces charity ball.

Teaching Them Technology


Which is worse: instructing your mom on how to text message, or having her ask you a million follow-up questions about how to turn off caps lock afterwards? When she asks for a Kindle for her birthday, you get her books instead. #SorryMom

Not Getting A Tattoo


Don’t you want to be buried in a Jewish cemetery, for Christ’s sake?! (Mom, we don’t believe in Christ…) Tattoos and ham will never be Kosher.

Taking Home Leftovers (…and gloves and Costco detergent and Costco toilet paper and more food)


You never return to your apartment empty handed because your Jewish mom stocked up on supplies for you to bring back. Regardless if you asked for the stuff or not, you’re holding reused Ikea bags en route home.

Shpatziring Around Bloomingdales


There’s a sale. She’s got coupons. And as long as you don’t strangle her while she takes forever to circle the parking lot looking for the perfect spot, it’s a match made in heaven.

Putting Your Laundry In The Hamper


Just quit fighting it and surrender your stash of laundry to her. She wants to do it and she’ll keeping bothering you about it until she gets that shirt white again. The one thing she loves more than loud ringtones is the satisfaction of getting a stain out.

Eating Enough Food


Before a visit home, she’s stock piled on the things you love, like the bagel shop’s tuna and precut veggies with hummus. She’ll force you to sit and eat every bite while she munches on pretzels and fills you in on the town gossip. #Yentas

Washing Your Hands


It’s been the first thing she tells you to do when you walk through the door since the stroller years. You can get a snack after.

If We’re Okay


Our Jewish mothers demand we tell them everything that’s wrong this instant. They love real, live drama more than the stuff on primetime television.

What They Just Heard On The News


She keeps over-sharing her Fox Five “horror stories” of people getting pushed on the subway train tracks. The upside to enduring her painful recounts? You get to charge that 8 pm taxi ride to her credit card.

What Your Friends Are Doing (…and then what your friend’s parents are letting them do)


If the Heimowitzbergensteins are helping their kid go to Aruba Ajewba then they’ll fork it over, too. See! Not all Jewish people are cheap!

Questions, Questions, Questions, Questions


Where were you? Who’d you go with? Is she back from school? How is she doing? What’s her mom’s name, remember we used to see her when we dropped you off at Hebrew school?

This. This moment right here is why you make us a little nuts. But we love you for being interested, even if you will forget and ask us again later.

Driving Too Fast


Is it too soon to make a “Fast And Furious” joke? Keep it at 25 mph when mom’s in the passenger seat and you’ll be gucci.

Calling Her Back (and calling your grandparents, calling your cousin on his birthday)


What did Jewish moms nag their kids about before telephones existed? Horse-and-buggying over more often? They’re planning a family dinner (Didn’t we already have one last week?) and you better attend.

Putting Our Wallets Away


Zip your coat. Put your wallet away. Quit it with your cellphone. Find their glasses. Help them open the wine. Offer food to the guests…oh sh*t, we’re turning into our mothers.

Not Putting Them In A Nursing Home


Do we really have to go there, Mom? Way to be morbid.

Picking Up Food


It always comes back to food.





Laura Argintar is an experienced writer, comedienne and low-key science nerd. Listed among her achievements are performing stand-up throughout New York City, graduating from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science and being the first woman in history to twerk at a 2 Chainz concert. LARG – as her friends call her – enjoys covering women’s topics, watching celebrities self-destruct and keeping her white silk blouses stain-free.

JEWISH MAFIA “But He Was Good To His Mother”

English: Mugshot of Jewish-American mobster Be...

English: Mugshot of Jewish-American mobster Benjamin “Bigsy” Siegel in the 1920s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“But He Was Good To His Mother”

A short and very interesting little article about why Jewish gangsters fascinate him and how Jewish gangsters differed from their Italian counterparts. In a nutshell, Jewish mobsters were a product of their times (1920s and 1930s) and did not continue their legacy after that one period, while Italian gangsters handed their “profession” to each succeeding generation.

What follows is a side of Jewish history you may have missed.

There are few excuses for the behavior of Jewish gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s. The best known Jewish gangsters – Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Longy Zwillman, Moe Dalitz, David Berman were involved in the numbers rackets, illegal drugdealing, prostitution, gambling and loan sharking. They were not nice men.

During the rise of American Nazism in the 1930s and when Israel was being founded between 1945 and 1948, however, they proved staunch defenders of the Jewish people.

The roots of Jewish gangsterism lay in the ethnic neighborhoods of the Lower East Side; Brownsville, Brooklyn; Maxwell Street in Chicago; and Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Like other newly arrived groups in American history, a few Jews who considered themselves blocked from respectable professions used crime as a means to “make good” economically. The market for vice flourished during Prohibition and Jews joined with others to exploit the artificial market created by the legal bans on alcohol, gambling, paid sex and narcotics.

Few of these men were religiously observant. They rarely attended services, although they did support congregations financially. They did not keep kosher or send their children to day schools. However, at crucial moments they protected other Jews, in America and around the world.

The 1930s were a period of rampant anti-Semitism in America , particularly in the Midwest . Father Charles Coughlin, the Radio Priest in Detroit , and William Pelley of Minneapolis , among others, openly called for Jews to be driven from positions of responsibility, if not from the country itself.

Organized Brown Shirts in New York and Silver Shirts in Minneapolis outraged and terrorized American Jewry. While the older and more respectable Jewish organizations pondered a response that would not alienate non-Jewish supporters, others–including a few rabbis–asked the gangsters to break up American Nazi rallies.

Historian Robert Rockaway writing in the journal of the American Jewish Historical Society, notes that German-American Bund rallies in the New York City area posed a dilemma for mainstream Jewish leaders. They wanted the rallies stopped, but had no legal grounds on which to do so. New York State Judge Nathan Perlman personally contacted Meyer Lansky to ask him to disrupt the Bund rallies, with the proviso that Lansky’s henchmen stop short of killing any Bundists.

Enthusiastic for the assignment, if disappointed by the restraints, Lansky accepted all of Perlman’s terms except one: he would take no money for the work. Lansky later observed, “I was a Jew and felt for those Jews in Europe who were suffering. They were my brothers.”

For months, Lansky’s workmen effectively broke up one Nazi rally after another. As Rockaway notes, “Nazi arms, legs and ribs were broken and skulls were cracked, but no one died.”

Lansky recalled breaking up a Brown Shirt rally in the Yorkville section of Manhattan : “The stage was decorated with a swastika and a picture of Hitler. The speakers started ranting. There were only fifteen of us, but we went into action. We threw some of them out the windows…. Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up…. We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults.”

In Minneapolis , William Dudley Pelley organized a Silver Shirt Legion to “rescue” America from an imaginary Jewish-Communist conspiracy. In Pelle’s own words, just as “Mussolini and his Black Shirts saved Italy and as Hitler and his Brown Shirts saved Germany ,” he would save America from Jewish communists. Minneapolis gambling czar David Berman confronted Pelley’s Silver Shirts on behalf of the Minneapolis Jewish community.

Berman learned that Silver Shirts were mounting a rally at Lodge. When the Nazi leader called for all the “Jew bastards” in the city to be expelled, or worse, Berman and his associates burst into the room and started cracking heads. After ten minutes, they had emptied the hall. His suit covered in blood, Berman took the microphone and announced, “This is a warning. Anybody who says anything against Jews gets the same treatment. Only next time it will be worse.” After Berman broke up two more rallies, there were no more public Silver Shirt meetings in Minneapolis .

Jewish gangsters also helped establish Israel after the war. One famous example is a meeting between Bugsy Siegel and Reuven Dafne, a Haganah emissary, in 1945. Dafne was seeking funds and guns to help liberate Palestine from British rule. A mutual friend arranged for the two men to meet.

“You mean to tell me Jews are fighting?” Siegel asked, “You mean fighting as in killing?” Dafne answered in the affirmative. Siegel replied, “I’m with you.”

For weeks, Dafne received suitcases filled with $5 and $10 bills – $50,000 in all – from Siegel.

No one should paint gangsters as heroes. They committed acts of great evil. But historian Rockaway has presented a textured version of Jewish gangster history in a book ironically titled But He Was Good to His Mother.

Some have observed that, despite their disreputable behavior, they could be good to their people, too. A little interesting bit of Jewish history.