A Happy & Healthy New Year to all my friends and family

May 2004 bring health, happiness, and peace to everyone.

Afgani: Saale Nao Mubbarak – Afrikaans: Gelukkige nuwe jaar – Albanian: Gezuar Vitin e Ri – Arabic: Antum salimoun – Bengali: Shuvo Nabo Barsho – Bulgarian: Chestita Nova Godina – Chinese: Chu Shen Tan – Corsican : Pace e Salute – Croatian: Sretna Nova godina! – Cymraeg (Welsh): Blwyddyn Newydd Dda – Czechoslovakian: Scastny Novy Rok – Danish: Godt Nytår – Dutch: Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! – English: Happy New Year – Eskimo: Kiortame pivdluaritlo – Estonians: Head uut aastat! – Finnish: Onnellista Uutta Vuotta – French: Bonne Année – Gaelic: Bliadhna mhath ur – German: Prosit Neujahr – Greek: Kenourios Chronos – Hawaiian: Hauoli Makahiki Hou – Hebrew: L’Shannah Tovah – Hindi: Nahi varsh ka shub kamna – Hungarian: Boldog £j vet k¡v nok! – Indonesian: Selamat Tahun Baru – Iraqi: Sanah Jadidah – Irish: Bliain nua fe mhaise dhuit – Italian: Felice anno nuovo – Nepal: Nawa Barsha ko Shuvakamana – Norwegian: Godt Nyttår – Papua New Guinea: Nupela yia i go long yu – Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku – Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo – Romanian: An Nou Fericit – Russian: S Novim Godom – Serbo-Croatian: Sretna nova godina – Singhalese: Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa – Slovak: A stastlivy Novy Rok – Somali: Iyo Sanad Cusub Oo Fiican! – Spanish: Feliz Ano Nuevo – Swahili Heri Za Mwaka Mpyå – Swedish: Gott nytt år! – Sudanese: Warsa Enggal – Tamil: Eniya Puthandu Nalvazhthukkal – Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai – Turkish: Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun – Ukrainian: Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku – Vietnamese: Chuc Mung Tan Nien

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Beware of Suspicious Reference Books

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, few items have gained as much notoriety or aroused as much suspicion as box cutters. And other previously mundane objects, from crop dusters to the little knives attached to nail clippers, have drawn the concerns of those trying to keep the U.S. safe and inured a wary public to a new way of looking at things. But the latest warning sent to police nationwide by the FBI is nonetheless bound to raise some eyebrows. The Feds issued a Christmas Eve bulletin to about 18,000 law enforcement organizations telling them to be on the lookout for … almanacs, the catch-all reference books most often consulted for weather trends and the trivia of daily life.

The FBI said members of al Qaeda may use almanacs “to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning.” It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways, according to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the bulletin. The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, but that when combined with suspicious behavior, a person with an almanac “may point to possible terrorist planning.”

Really officer, it’s not an almanac… it’s just a book on how to make bombs!

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Say What?!

We Hate Spam, Congress Says (Except When It’s Sent by Us)

“Even as Congress was unanimously approving a law aimed at reducing the flow of junk e-mail, members were sending out hundreds of thousands of unsolicited messages to constituents.”

-Since Jon Stewart is on vacation, allow me to rub my eyes and say “huuuuuuuh?!?!?”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Kosher? Don’t Leave Home without This Card!

From the Forwardsize>

Card-Carrying Members of the Tribe Enjoy ‘Kosher Advantage’ By MAX GROSS

Do you know Teddy Kahn? Probably not.

That’s why he carries the Kosher Advantage card. Kahn never leaves home without it. The Kosher Advantage card occupies its own special place in Kahn’s wallet, and it is always with him when he eats out.

Now two months old, the Kosher Advantage card works a bit like a kosher incarnation of a Diners Club card. Individuals pay an annual membership fee of $24.95, and then receive a discount of roughly 10% at a growing number — now around 50 — of kosher restaurants, butchers and Judaica shops in New York and New Jersey, as well as a smattering of restaurants in Washington, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

“It seemed to me a no-brainer once I found out about it,” said Kahn, an undergraduate at Columbia University who keeps kosher. “If people keep kosher and they’re working, or families go out to dinner, over the course of 25 meals… you’ll get your money back. That was my rationale.”

The card — a small, white plastic rectangle with the words “Kosher Advantage” emblazoned across the front in blue — is the brainchild of Michael Frankel, who graduated last spring with a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

“I keep kosher, so it was already in my mindset,” Frankel said. Frankel began thinking about the idea of a kosher discount card over the summer. “There are programs for other [dining discounts] like Diners Club; there aren’t such things for kosher places.”

So, why not start his own?

In August, Frankel, who is toying with the idea of hiring a staff, began drawing up business plans and contacting establishments as well as schools and synagogues to help promote Kosher Advantage. “Some are very open to the idea…. [They] think it’s great,” Frankel said.

Key among Frankel’s plans was getting places outside New York agree to participate. “The New York person traveling in Washington has a place to get lunch,” Frankel said. Currently, all of the card’s holders are New Yorkers, but Frankel hopes to change that. Frankel said that the card has gotten off to a good start.

“People are coming in and showing the card,” said Murray Weltz, who runs Park East Kosher Butcher on Second Avenue. “Not as many as I [initially] thought, but people are starting to” use the card.

But Frankel’s aspiration is not just to save people money or help out restaurant owners. His driving goal is to encourage members to be better Jews. “There’s a whole group of people who eat [nonkosher] dairy out,” Frankel said. “This will be the incentive to keep kosher. They’ll go to place X over place Y.”

The Kosher Advantage card: It’s everywhere Jews want to be.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Jon Stewart on Newsweek

Jewsweek called it back in July when they put Jon Stewart on their list of the hottest people and things in Judaism. And I’ve known for years now that Jon Stewart is the funniest talking head on late night TV.

So, now the rest of the world has caught up and Newsweek has him gracing their end-of-the-year double issue cover. When I went to a taping of the Daily Show a few years ago, our group was welcomed by Jon during his opening bit (warming up the audience) with the worlds “Fellow Yidden in the House… Shalom Aleikhem!”

The Stories The Daily Show Broke in 2003

The Stories The Daily Show Missed in 2003

Congrats Jon on finally getting your due. Look out Leno and Letterman!

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Great Movie

Just viewed “Adaptation” with Nick Cage and Meryl Streep. It is one of the most creative films I’ve seen. I’m not a fan of Nicolas Cage, but his acting is very solid in this. It is brilliantly done. At Amazon.com, you can read the entire first chapter of the book The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (by Susan Orlean), the book on which this film is based.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Who Reads Which Newspaper?

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country, and who are very good at crosswords.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country, if they could spare

the time, and if they didn’t have to leave LA to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country, and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country… or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs, who also happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy as long as they are Democrats.

10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people who think Elvis is running the country.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Welcome to NY Isiah Thomas!

Isiah Thomas to New York KnickerbockersZeke is coming to the Big Apple to head up the front office of the Knicks. I’m pretty sure that he’s held on to his Lone Pine Road (Bloomfield Hills) home while living in Toronto (Raptors owner and VP of Basketball Ops) and in Indiana (Pacers Head Coach). I wonder if he’ll sell it now. The last time I saw Isiah was at Metro (Detroit) Airport a few years back when he was having a hard time getting through security (and that was pre-9/11).

Good luck in New York Isiah. You’ve finally made it to a “Big Market Franchise.” I can’t wait for the first deal you make with Joey D in Detroit.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller