Askew

Joel Schatz

Joel Schatz offers a slightly off-center look at the news.

Askew

Death of the Lox Box, Bibi’s dartboard, and The Greatest’s special simcha

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R.I.P. L.O.X. B.O.X.? 

Tablet Magazine this week features Chicagoan Mimi Rosenbush's ode to the lox box, which is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

It turns out that the lox boxan annual staple of local Jewish fundraisers and Sunday family brunchesis a uniquely Chicago phenomenon (even though its roots trace back to Milwaukee) that is largely unheard of elsewhere in the country. For decades, both the assembly and consumption of these home-delivered collections of lox, bagels, cream cheese and other treats and tchotchkes has been a cherished tradition in thousands of homes and dozens of organizations.

But, alas, Mimi reports, the era may be nearing an end. The aging of the lox-box generation, the loss of many groups that once offered them, the rise in costs, the drop in profits, and the shift in Sunday morning lifestyles all signal a foreboding future for the beloved box - which, Mimi notes, now is most often replaced by a shopping bag.

Bar mitzvah update, Celebrity Edition

In case you missed it, Muhammad Aliyes, the World's Greatest Muhammad Aliattended the bar mitzvah of his grandson, Jacob Wertheimer, a few weeks ago in Philadelphia. JTA notes that zaide was born Baptist and converted to Islam in the '60s. But his daughter married a Jew and their kinder demonstrated a strong affinity toward identifying as a Member of the Tribe.

And 40-year-old actor David Arquette quite unexpectedly celebrated his own bar mitzvah at the Western Wall. JTA reports that Arquette, in Israel filming a segment of the show Mile High for The Travel Channel, was attending a bar mitzvah at the Wall when an inquiring rabbi asked if Arquette - whose mom is Jewish - might like to mark his own coming of age.  He agreed, and the next thing he knew he was reading from the Torah and putting on tefillin (This all occurred on a Monday; you wouldn't usually put on tefillin on Shabbat.) Later he tweeted, "I had my bar mitzvah today at the wall. Finally I'm a man."

Tapping into higher ed

Classrooms and lecture halls may be just fine for traditional students, but professors at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science were smart enough to figure out that sometimes you have to abandon the traditional venues if you want to capture the attention of the masses.

So earlier this month, they ditched their lab coats and headed for 55 of Tel Aviv's hottest bars and late-night spots. After grabbing a beer, they offered all in earshot their expert insights into a wide array of scientific wonders and discoveries, all as part of Weizmann's annual "Science on Tap" program. Thousands turned out for the event, many reserving spots weeks ahead of time, others wandering from bar to bar to find an open space.

And why not? It's a chance to soak up some knowledge, have a few drinks, meet new folks - and not worry about the final.

Slings and arrows of…

Everybody knows that countless high-tech firms have a store of Frisbees on hand or a Ping-Pong table on-site where employees can let off steam.

What about politicians? Aren't they also human?

Bibi Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, posted a dartboard in the anteroom to the Prime Minister's inner sanctum (which his inner circle calls "The Aquarium").  When the prime minister feels the need for a real break between meetings, Netanyahu darts out of his office into The Aquarium to throw darts.

Witnesses say Netanyahu's scores are "impressive," but inside sources revealed that Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz* has beaten the PM and Defense Minister Ehud Barak at darts - although both of them served in the Israel Defense Force's most elite special forces unit, Sayeret Matkal, the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit. 

* Steinitz may hold a PhD in philosophy, but is no wimp; he served in the Golani Brigade during his conscript service.

- Courtesy www.chelm-on-the-med.com.

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