Seinfeld, Soros and the Nazis

by Leah Bieler


After many years of gallows humor, I’ve decided to rethink the way I use the term Nazi. Now that there are so many ACTUAL Nazis out there, the gallows humor just doesn't seem so funny anymore.

Let’s all just agree to blame Jerry Seinfeld. His infamous ‘Soup Nazi’ episode killed two birds with one stone. It was a green light to Jews to laugh publicly, out loud, about something that had until then been largely insider gallows humor. Not the Mel Brooks Producers humor, which was about making fun of Nazis themselves. Humiliating actual Nazis should always be encouraged, in my opinion. But that we could play with the term, debase it, such that it referred to the most trivial of things. I used to refer to my husband as the Dishwasher Nazi, when he insisted that there was a proper way to load, and the family needed to learn the rules. So, I freely admit I’m part of the problem.

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who knew I was a terrorist?

by Leah Bieler


I took my big girl to college last week. We all agreed it should be me because I'm much less sentimental than my husband. The two of us had a lovely, if very exhausting time. No crying, multiple visits to Target. She's gonna do great, I have no doubt. But, as luck would have it, I discovered something while we were traveling together. I just might be a terrorist. 

 

A Rosh Hashanah tale.

Here’s the strange story of what happened in the airport on my way to drop my eldest off for her first year of college. We were through security early, and more than a little hungry. As I’ve done dozens of times while traveling with my family, I left her at the gate with the bags, and I went to forage for some food that fit our various dietary requirements.

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Shooing away the birds

by Leah Bieler


I'm supposed to be excited about the embassy move to Jerusalem, which we all know is the capital city. But it's not turning out the way everyone hoped it would have. 

 

Maybe I just never noticed them before. I’ve been spending more time writing on my covered front porch, having recently acquired some comfy outdoor seating. It seems there are at least four birds’ nests in my field of vision from my own cushy perch. Likely there are more. I shouldn’t be surprised, living out here in the wilderness nearly 25(!) minutes outside of Boston. We have deer – sometimes as many as 15 or 20 at a time, foxes, wild turkeys, groundhogs, owls. It’s a regular wild kingdom. Most of them keep a small but respectable distance from the front door.

The birds, though, have a little more chutzpah. They fly directly over my head as they journey from nest to nest, some atop the porch pillars themselves, feeding the babies whose beaks peek out of the top, spread wide open ready to accept their bounty.

If you think this sounds idyllic, then maybe I didn’t describe it correctly. The birds are flying right above my head.

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which box should I check?

by Leah Bieler


There's been a fair amount of hand-wringing in the American Jewish community about why support for Israel is flagging in our community. But there doesn't seem to be the same kind of introspection coming from the Israeli side. In today's TOI I explore what it means to be the kind of person who never quite fits in.

 

“Among large sections of American Jewry, there is a real question today about how much Israel is home to them”
– Alan Hoffman, director-general of the Jewish Agency, speaking in Ha’aretz, 22 January 2018

I had to fill out a form recently for one of my kids. It asked whether said child was White, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black or African American or Hawaiian. And, as is the case every time I encounter one of these questions and there’s no box for ‘other,’ I’m stymied.

 

Is this really worth bothering about? They most likely want to know if I tick off any of the enumerated ‘non-White’ categories, anyway. And while I’ve never experienced myself as White per se, I understand the privilege that I have. That I have benefited in so many ways by virtue of my not being seen as belonging in one of those ‘non-White’ boxes.

 

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