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Something in the ballpark of Jewish humor

The Schmear Weekly Newsletter: Issue V
29 Shevat | February 11, 2021
Not another scandal in the Jewish community!


Dear Reader,

As I'm sure you've heard, antisemitism is on the rise in this country. (Isn't it always?) So in this week's newsletter, we have a special treat for you – scandals against Jews BY Jews! Sometimes it's refreshing to see that we can dish it just as well as we can take it!

This week, we're covering an embarrassing admissions scandal and a shocking community outrage, as well as some advice to help Jewish students who are struggling with the hardship that comes from being a Jewish student.

If you're tired of reading about broken systems and angry communities, that's fine too. Starting next week, The Schmear will be going all out for Purim (which, to a fledgling Jewish comedy group like ourselves, is truly the most exciting time of the year). And as you all know, nothing bad ever happens on Purim (unless you count Purim itself. Or a pandemic hitting America – but that won't happen again, right? Right??)

In the meantime, we hope this week's issue is enlightening for you. Enjoy!


Lox of Love,
The Schmear Team


Keep reading for coverage on an admissions scandal, drama at Kugelfest, and some advice for Jewish students.

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Admissions scandal: 8 separate Ramah campers claim they led final camp Havdalah in admission essays


WALTHAM, MA – In a shocking breaking story, eight Brandeis applicants referred to the same “final camp Havdalah” in their application essays, all claiming to have led the service.

Names of the applicants have not been released, although rumors are spreading that at least 7 of them were in the same Gesher bunk at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.

According to an anonymous source in the Brandeis admissions office, “About 4 of the essays dealt with the leadership opportunity of being asked to lead their favorite service in front of the camp on their last Shabbat as campers. Two of them were about their emotional journey through 8 years of camp, culminating in leading this service. One merely used it as an example of how they love to sing and hope to be a cantor. And one essay was actually about the personal dilemma of being asked by the counselors to lead havdalah, and how they felt like they were betraying their best friend, who had also wanted to lead. Yes, that friend was another one of our applicants.”

A camp staff member has confirmed that only one person customarily leads havdalah, but he does not remember who it was exactly on the last Shabbat of the summer of 2019.

“It’s Maccabi-gate all over again,” the admissions officer sighed, referring to the time in 2009 when captains from all four Color War teams at the same camp claimed in their essays to have led their teams to victory on the very same day.

“The problem is these Jewish camp kids think they know exactly what we want to hear, and they’ll lie about being a leader,” the admissions officer said. “Just once, I wish someone would write about how in their whole bunk, they were the best follower!”

SCHPORTS:
Sports reporting you can count on
With Coach David

This week in Jewish Sports:

Honestly, y'all, I got nothing.
I've been trying, but this job is hard, okay? Sorry.

We'll see you next week!

Community shocked, outraged by rampant Ashkenormativity at Kugelfest

 

ALLENTOWN, PA – Allentown Jewish Community Center held their 38th Annual Kugelfest this Sunday at a park downtown; the day featured contests of over 75 kugel recipes, as well as strudel bake-offs, cholent eating contests, matzah ball workshops, and even a station where the kids could bob for gefilte fish in a bucket of borscht. The event has naturally sparked outrage within the Sephardic community. 

Spokesman Yossi Abravanel expressed his dissatisfaction: “I knew it wasn’t going to be my kind of party,” said Abravanel, “but frankly, I was surprised by the rampant Ashkenormativity of this year’s Kugelfest.”

“Ashkenormativity” is a phrase used to describe situations where Ashkenazi Judaism overrides and overtakes the multifaceted cultures that make up Judaism. The Sephardic community has strongly voiced their belief that Kugelfest is no place for such an exclusionary show of Eastern European culture. 

Abravanel said, “I showed up with my grandkids, and suddenly there’s guys shoving knishes in my face. And yet, no lahm bi’ajin, no sambusak. Where’s the love for Sephardim? Are we, as they say, chopped liver?”

Arnie Zuckerman, this year’s Kugelfest chair, commented, “Oy vey! I know bupkis of ashkenormativity! Yossi’s mishugeh. I’m sorry he felt the need to kvetch, but I saw him noshing on kreplach with the kinder.”

Zuckerman’s son Dr. Steven Zuckerman, who ran the festival’s complementary Tay-Sachs and diabetes testing booth, added, “He’s just plotzing because the Sephardim don’t have schtick like we do.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Abravanel remarked. “I just wish I had known to expect Kugelfest to be so, well, Polish. But they can have their fun. Just wait and see how they feel during Passover at Kitniyot-palooza.”

🥯 Bagel-o-scope  🥯
What your favorite bagel says about your future:
Plain - You are entering the Herring region this week. This is your chance to turn your back on bad habits and make a new reputation for yourself. A good way to start would be to stop eating herring and start carrying mints.
Sesame - You will meet someone who makes you happy but then they’ll sneeze and the magic will be ruined.
Cinnamon Raisin - The sun has moved into the Rugelach portion of your chart. This week, take a moment to appreciate the good in your life. It won't be around for long.
Pumpernickel - You have been feeling out of your element lately. Probably because you’re the type of person that likes pumpernickel. Anyway, for legal reasons we would never recommend faking your own death for the insurance money, but the planets know that you’ve been considering it and they think Tuesday sounds good.
Everything - Only you have the power to stop Big Oil’s lies. Seriously. We’re all waiting for you to do something. Divest, please!
Blueberry - Let’s cut to the chase. You know you’re guilty, and the court might be a little more lenient if you turn in your co-conspirators and help us find the body. Just relax. Put down the weapon, John.
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OPINION: You can write papers that aren't about Judaism

 

We’ve all been there. You have your big final paper coming up. The one with as broad and vague a topic as can be. You’re overwhelmed. You have the whole universe of things tangentially related to the topic of your class to choose from.

This does not mean that you have to write about Judaism.

Maybe you’re in a class about Islamic art or Ancient Greek history. Do you know how many people have written papers about those things without comparing them to Judaism? Maybe you’re studying sociology or history of science. So write about those fields. Like, what is actually a part of those fields, not how they relate to the Jewish experience in America. Not every work of literature is analogous to the Torah. Not every scholarly dispute mirrors the Talmud. And not every great artist was secretly a Jew.

So much of European history happened to people who weren’t Jewish. So many scientific discoveries were made by people who had never met Jews. Symphonies were composed by men who had never heard a niggun. And plays were written by women who had never attended a seder. You can write about those things. At least some of the time, you can write about them.

Of course, you want to be proud of your Judaism. Of course, you want to write about what you know, what makes you feel connected to the topic. But, for your sake, as well as for your professors’, write a paper every once in a while that doesn’t relate to Judaism.

I know it’s a challenge. It means you’ll have to think for a minute or two, maybe even do some research, before you pick a topic. You’ll have to find new websites to read other than chabad.org and that one you found for your bat mitzvah speech about Jewish Women Who Changed the World, or whatever.

Trust me, when you reach the end, you just might be satisfied to see that you did it. For at least one week you won’t be “that Jew who wrote the Jew paper.” And damn, wouldn’t that feel great?

Kiddush Club
This is the part where The Schmear hears from YOU

Answer our Purim prompts!
  • Your Purim costume that makes you roll your eyes the most when you remember it
  • The strangest thing that happened to you at a Purim celebration
  • Your Purim hot takes
Take these as you will. If you would like to contribute, click here.
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D. Silvera, J. Mizrahi, L. Slomka, E. Planer, A. Weiss, M. Levisohn, & Z. Siegman.






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