Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ask Annie

Hooray Wednesday! You know what time it is? (right now I am resisting the urge to say "game time") Time for me to answer the questions that I think brought people to the blog. So here we go:

1) Where did Gary Gulman go to High School?

I have absolutely no idea.

2) Jews Love Florida, which could be either "why" or "do", I'll go with Why do Jews Love Florida?

I can't say historically, but my best guess is that many older Jews, after working unbelievably hard for years (to secure their children's future, of course) wanted somewhere to retire. Preferrably somewhere warm. California wasn't really an option 50 years ago, as it was super-goyishe, whereas there was some pre-existing Jewish community in Florida. As immigrant trends show, immigrants are more likely to move to a city where they already know someone, or where they know that there is an ethnic infastructure, in this Jews are no different. Why do you think that New York is so Jewy? Lots of people came through Ellis Island, but they didn't all stay. Anyway, once the trend started it seemed attractive, goods and services were provided, all making Florida a more attractive place to go.

3) Were Jews slaves in Egypt?

Depends on whom you ask. The bible says yes. Archaeology, well, archaeologists, naked or otherwise, disagree. There is some proof that Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, or that some major cities (like Pithom and Ramases) were built in large part by slave labor. However, it is up for debate. Whether or not the Exodus happened as the bible tells it, well, that is even more of a dicey issue. There is a guy in New Jersey (whose name I have forgotten) that wrote a piece on how archaeology can be folded into belief, and what you do when it buttresses the holy works, and what you do when it contradicts them. Really interesting stuff. If only I could remember his name.

4) Definition of Hecksher/heksher, what is the?

A heksher, or hecksher, or hechsher is a symbol that represents rabbinic oversight of a product (usually food) and certifies the product as kosher according to that authority. These symbols come in a variety of shapes, colors, sizes, which tell you not only where the product was certified, but the rabbi who did it. There is a new movement to include concerns of economic justice in hekshers, ie the Conservative movement's Tzedek heksher, which would mean that not only was the product certified as kosher, but also that the work environment was safe, clean, and the employees paid a fair wage. I'm all about economic justice, so I think that this is a good idea.

5) Amy Odell, which probably is Who is Amy Odell?

An NYU grad, currently blogger for Jewcy, and writer of my least favorite dating column. In her defense, I don't mind the writing style, just the content.

6) problem of segregation slavery. WHAT? I have no idea what this person is asking. Maybe: is segregation, and slavery still a problem?

Yeah. Slavery still exists in the world. And it is hugely problematic. There is sex-slavery, child-slavery, and good 'ol fashioned slavery. If you want to do something about it, a good first stop is IRC, whose anti-Darfur ads you may have seen in the NYC subway. They do some great work. As for segregation, although in the US there is no longer de jure segregation, de facto segregation is still alive and well, white flight anyone? The best way to combat these issues, which are now socio-economic class based as opposed to primarily race-based (although race is still a factor) is with a living wage, as opposed to a minimum wage, and to campaign for economic justice. Hopefully with better health care, and fairer wages, we can avoid stories like this one from WashPo.

7) non-traditional Jewish wedding, which I am guessing is What is a non-traditional Jewish wedding?

A better question is what isn't a non-traditional Jewish wedding. When you talk about non-traditional, you are defining by absence, so it is the absence of some/most Jewish wedding traditions. As Jewish weddings have changed over time, and vary by geographic region, so this is rather difficult. The only constants in a Jewish wedding are the three metrics by which a person is known to be married: the exchange of a ring/item of value coupled with a sentence recognizing that the bride is seperate/holy to the groom from among all others; the signing of, and presentation of a contract by the groom to the bride; and yichud, which I would rather not explain. Yeah, traditional Jewish weddings are not so romantic. "Here you go honey, a contract that gives you 150 (350?) talents of silver in the occasion of my death or if I divorce you. Hang on to that. Oh, also, some guy is going to read it aloud. And you will be referred to as "maiden."

Awesome. Also, for the record, if you have any actual questions for me (or Harley) either post them as comments, or email us: We promise not to judge, nor use your name if you don't want it.


Sherbs said...

I love the "Ask Annie" time, becasue you are SO much better than Ask Amy. She sucks.

Annie said...

Thanks Sherbs. I am better if only for the fact that I don't answer wedding etiquette questions constantly. Just buy a frickin' Emily Post book and be done!

Jack's Shack said...

Gary Gulman went to Our Lady of Loudmouths in Miami.