Monthly Archives: December 2014


If you are planning on being in Florida this winter, I will be speaking at a number of venues at the end of January/beginning of February. Here is the first of a number of announcements on these talks; if you are going to be in the Boca Raton/Palm Beach area, please mark your calendars to join me on February 2nd at the Boca JCC:

The Adolph and Rose Levis at Jewish Community Center
Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Center for Jewish Life Enhancement
The Marlene and Herb Levin Adult University

Currently ranked #1 in Antiques and Collectibles on


Join us for a Fascinating Presentation and Book Signing with the author,                    Ann M. Israel

Monday, February 2, 10:00 a.m.

$16, A&L Gold Members: $11, A&L Platinum Members: Free

Call 561-558-2520 to make your reservation

The Adolph and Rose Levis Jewish Community Center
Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Center for Jewish Life Enhancement
21050 95th Avenue S., Boca Raton, FL 33428



Last week I received the following article three times from different people. The article is from an online daily inspirational newsletter, Jewniverse. The author, Temim Fruchter, according to Wikipedia, “is the drummer in The Shondes, an indie punk band from Brooklyn, NY.  Fruchter is outspoken about being an Orthodox-raised Jewish musician and opposing the occupation of Palestine. In 2007, Heeb Magazine listed Fruchter as one of the Heeb 100. Fruchter’s writing has also been published in a number of venues. She is a regular contributor to Tom Tom Magazine, a magazine about female drummers and is a former blogger for AfterEllen, the online magazine.”

It’s a brief article that should elicit many conversations and further interest in how our beloved game became known as a Jewish game. What’s your opinion on why the game became so popular among Jewish women? However, please note that Mah Jongg does NOT date back to Confucius!




By Temim Fruchter

How did a game that graced ancient Chinese tables (in the company, some posit, of Confucius) come to grace contemporary Jewish tables (in the company, perhaps, of babka and Slivovitz)?

While books, documentary films, and traveling museum exhibits have puzzled over Mah Jongg becoming such a Jewish craze, no one has reached a definitive answer. Could it be connected to the formation of the National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) by a group of Jewish women in 1937? Or to its popularity among Jewish wives during World War II while their men were away? Or the game’s prominence at Jewish bungalow colonies in the mid-20th century? Or else, as NMJL president Ruth Unger believes, that selling Mah Jongg cards functioned as a fundraising source for synagogue sisterhoods and Hadassah chapters?

Whatever the reason, the game has remained a fixture in the Jewish world ever since it came to the U.S. in the 1920s. And even today, says, Annelise Heinz, of Stanford University’s Department of History, the game is enjoying a Jewish renaissance. “Many of the Jewish daughters who once rejected Mah Jongg are now returning to the game as a way to connect with their Jewish identities and rekindle memories of their mothers.”


My Mah Jongg-playing friend from the Upper Westside  – Linda G – sent this to me. I have tried to find the author but, no luck. And so, without any attribution, here it is – enjoy!

Jewish Santa

‘Twas the night before Christmas and down here in Boca,
I was sitting at Starbucks, drinking my mocha.
I know we’re all Jewish, but was wondering still,
if Santa would come here and give us a thrill.

On my way home, no Christmas lights did I see,
on the houses, the windows, not even the trees.
What a strange feeling. Not a decoration in sight.
Was it really December or a warm summer’s night?

I drove past Toojay’s, there were lines out the door.
People were waiting for kishka and more.
The restaurants were busy, Christmas dinners not planned.
Never, not here we’re in Boca Land.

At home all was quiet. I left out Kosher wine,
In case Santa came to Boca for the very first time.
Snoozing came easy to me Christmas Eve.
I wasn’t waiting for presents to be left under a tree.

I could hope all I want.  I could fuss and then see,
if Santa would make time for little old me.
Then all of a sudden he pulled up in his Jag,
with a sack full of presents each sporting a tag.

Oh Bloomies, oh Saks, Oh Neiman’s, and more.
He knows where to shop, he frequents my stores!
He looked for the lox, the bagels and deli.
He came to Boca first to fill up his belly!

“I have a long night ahead,  I want you to know.
From Boca I leave for New York and the snow.”

He stayed for a while, he chatted and ate.
Then he left in a flash before it got late.
What a great night I thought with a sigh
That jolly old Santa is a really nice guy.

As I cleared off the table I heard with delight
“Shalom to you all, and OY, what a night!


Photo from Jan 13, 2014

Tomorrow I will be signing my book at this Bellmore, NY tournament where both breakfast and lunch are included. There is still time to sign up and I hope to see you there!

December 28th – MAH JONGG TOURNAMENT – Temple Beth-El, Bellmore, New York – I WILL BE THERE – I HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THIS TOURNAMENT!  AND THIS INFORMATION FROM THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS: We host a very pleasant tournament in North Bellmore, NY. We are in central Nassau. For registration and further tournament information for Sunday, December 28th, please email Linda or Martha at or on the website at www.onebamtwocrak.comHope to see you there!


Chanukah may be over but the holiday season goes on…

…now it is time to wish all of you a very


mah_jongg_christmas_bettors_premium_jewelry_boxes-r0730b9576a124152a9c94a7d073efb17_ag9ey_8byvr_512 Continue reading