the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

According to Julian Sinclair (“Let’s Schmooze”), “To many British Jews, the word ‘rabbi’ connotes some combination of funeral- conductor, sermon-giver, professional-Jew-by-proxy and unfailing topic of conversation…Receiving a certificate does not transform rabbis into beings endowed with magical, priestly or sacramental powers.  Like all titles, ‘rabbi’ is one which must be grown into through lifelong learning and striving, so that it comes ever more closely to denote the spiritual qualities of its original meaning.”

Some rabbis are “humoristish”—humorous.  Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the two rabbi’s who were discussing their problem with squirrels in their synagogue attic (“boydem”).

One rabbi said, “We simply called an exterminator and never saw the squirrel again.”  The other rabbi said, “We just gave them all a bar mitzvah, and we never saw the squirrel again.”

Rabbi Marc Schneirer, 57, is leaving The Hamptons Synagogue, located on Long Island’s summer playground.  Since 1990 he had led the congregation to extraordinary heights.  He announced his resignation (“rezagneyshan”) on April 14, 2016 in an e-mail to the members of his congregation.  The “kongregants” read:

  This summer will be my final season as your congregational   rabbi.  I will continue to be a part of our community, as you   all have a very special place in my heart.

“SAXESER” (successor)
Rabbinic candidates will spend several sabbaths at the synagogue during July and August to choose Rabbi Schneier’s successor.  The new spiritual leader will take over on Jan. 1, 2017.

“VIZHANERI” (visionary)
Rabbi Schneier said, “I’m looking for new challenges.  I’m a builder and visionary and built this synagogue over 26 years ago, and the tremendous success of the community speaks for itself; we have many young families and millennials moving in, and it is time for a transition.”  (Millennials are those born from 1985-2000.)


“GRUNTEYGNS” (real estate)
In 1984, Schneier took up a career in real estate and went to work for Harry Helmsley, the real estate magnate.  He handled residential loft conversions in lower Manhattan.  After 4 years he gave it up and returned to Park East Synagogue.

“INFLUENTYAL”  (influential)
In 2007, Rabbi Schneier was named one of Newsweek’s 50 most influential rabbis in America.  A 1998 Forward column described him as the man “most likely to become Chief rabbi of America.&rdquo

“VEBZAYT” (website)
The Rabbi’s official website says that he’s “a trailblazer in the field of Muslim-Jewish relations.”

“KOLEGE” (college)
Rabbi Schneier is a graduate of Yeshiva University.

“KEHILE” (congregation)
Schneier’s congregation attracted the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ronald Perelman, Marvin Hamlisch, and the late Wendy Wasserstein.

A “kiddish” is a small repast held on Shabbat or Yom Tov following prayer services.  It usually consists of cake, cracker, and gefilte fish.  The weekly Saturday kiddish at The Hamptons Synagogue was legendary.  Irwin Graulich described it as follows:  “Twelve different kinds of herring—for the 12 tribes.”

“ERUV” (rope or string that creates a symbolic walled courtyard)
“We’ve got an eruv and are now breaking ground on a mikveh and a school.”  (Schneier quote)

“KALENDAR” (calendar)
The synagogue’s 2016 summer calendar featured a performance by the Broadway star, Tovah Feldshuh.

‘MIZBEYEKH” (sanctuary)
Donors like Steven Spielberg helped dedicate Schneier’s 350-seat sanctuary in August of 1994.

“AYNSHVERUNG” (inauguration)
Schneier was on the invitation list for Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

“KOLUMNIST” (columnist)
In 2012, Rabbi Schneier became a weekly religion columnist for the Huffington Post.

“SHPROTS” (scion)
Rabbi Schneier advertises himself as an 18th generation scion of a European rabbinic dynasty.

“SKHIRER” (salary)
Rabbi Schneier earned a salary of approximately $500,000 a year, hundreds of thousands in additional compensation, including mortgage payments on his 5,000-square-foot Westhampton Beach home,said to be valued at around $3 million.

‘VERSHIPERZ” (worhippers)
Rabbi Schneier opened up an Orthodox Hampton Synagogue in Palm Beach so he could follow his flock south for the winter. Another Florida leader, Rabbi Moshe Schooner, accused Schneier of trying to steal away his worshippers.  “Almost every single member of our temple has been contacted to donate money or attend planning meetings,” says Rabbi Scheiner.” He added that the whole scheme smacks of religious carpetbagging.  (Scheiner’s synagogue is just half a block from Schneier’s site.)  “Here we have a rabbi coming to look for of a congregation.”
  (Source:  New York Travel, “The Rabbi to the Stars expands his   reach” by C. J. Hughes)

“IXPELD” (expelled)
Schneier was expelled from the Rabbinical Council of America after he allegedly cheated on his fourth (“ferter”) wife.

“BEYPOULER DISORDER”  (bipolar disorder)
The rabbi claimed his infidelity was a result of a bipolar disorder.

“GOYRESH”  (divorced man)
“GET” (divorce)
Rabbi Schneier is leaving his fifth wife.  He’s in a relationship with Simi Teitelbaum, a 30-something blond Israeli and former flight attendant (“fli bagleyter”).

“YEYBER” (wives)

Wife #1 was a Brooklyn native and Barnard College student, Elissa Shay.   The chief rabbis of Israel and Romania officiated, but the 1991 marriage lasted less than a year and did not produce any children.

Wife #2 was to Esther Melamed.  The union lasted until 1992.
Wife #3 was to Toby Gotesman (1993), the arty daughter of a prominent Orthodox family from Portland, Oregon.  They had a 90-person wedding at Gracie Mansion.  Their son, Brandon, is now 17.
Wife #4 was Toby Rubinstein-Schneier.  It was an intimate 25-person wedding at the New York Synagogue.
Wife #5 was to Gitty Leiner, now 44.  The couple had a child, Brooke, in 2014.

“ME DREYT ZIKH, UN ME FREYT ZIKH” (Keep on trying and you’ll be happy.)

“DISKRITLI”  (discreetly)
According to “On The Beach Blog, Aug. 15, 2010), “Somewhere along the line it should have occurred to the Hampton Synagogue’s Directors to discreetly issue an advisory to the female members:  “Thou shalt not shtup the Rabbi.”

“KLAYDER” (clothing)
The rabbi was known for wearing Hermes ties, french-cuffed shirts and eye glasses from the high end French brand, Fred.

Ken Sunshine, the rabbi’s friend, said to the New York Post:
A joke began circulating about what the rabbi’s new girlfriend could get him for his next birthday:  ‘A bipolar bear.’

“BUND” (tie)
When Rep. Peter King complimented the rabbi on his tie, he flipped it over to reveal the Hermes label.  He added that he had more than 100 other in his collection (“zamlung”).  The rabbi insists that most of the ties were gifts.

“OYTOBUS DINT” (bus service)
SCHNEIER tried to introduce a shabbat bus service that would circulate around the Hamptons.  The theory was that it could be the rolling equivalent of a shabbat elevator (“lift”).  He said, “These are progressive steps.  I believe that within the halachic system we can make things easier and more accessible.”

Journalists, Steve and Cokie Roberts, spoke about their successful (“matsliakhdik”) interfaith marriage at the Hamptons Synagogue.
A Rabbi Reuven Spolter, blogged, “I cannot understand why a shul that calls itself Orthodox feels the need to run programs that simply counter the values and rules of Jewish law.”

Rumor has it that a synagogue in Boca Raton, FL, is looking for a new rabbi.  Perhaps Rabbi Schneier should apply.  David M. Bader (“The Book of Murray”) writes that Boca is a “bright and cheerful land, a place of well-tended lawns dotted with houses, and pleasant paths humming with golf carts.”  The residents do nonimpact aerobics, they eat dinner at four P.M. at the Finicky Flounder, do line dancing, and ask the question, “Why isn’t lobster kosher instead of gefilte fish?”


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

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