A “7 Deadly Sins Halloween Party” held in D.C. Saturday night featured dreidels and gold coins in its “greed” room.
“I was very offended. I just thought it was completely inappropriate,” said a partygoer who didn’t wish to be identified.
The event was sponsored by LivingSocial, a website offering discount deals at area businesses. The Oct. 26 party was billed as a “treat yo self to a night of tricks — and sins — at the annual 7 Deadly Sins Halloween Party, a six-floor extravaganza” and was held at LivingSocial’s 918 F Street space in northwest D.C.
For $59, a person was invited to “indulge in a silent disco, movie screening” and fun in seven different rooms. Each room’s theme revolved around a sin, including lust, pride, wrath, gluttony, envy, sloth and greed.
The greed room was described as “a shimmering room full of silver and gold” in which people “get greedy challenging friends to a plethora of games.” Decorating the tables in that room were dreidels surrounded by gold coins, according to one woman who attended.
Kevin Nolan, of LivingSocial’s publicity department, apologized. “We have looked into it and determined that the inclusion of dreidels with the other games in the gaming room was not a smart choice, and we are very sorry to have upset anyone. Certainly this behavior does not reflect who we are as a company.”
The customer who complained was “offered a full refund and explained that any offense was unintended” and was given a sincere apology, Nolan said.
The upset partygoer said she considered the room’s decorations “clearly anti-Semitic” and that although she has enjoyed other LivingSocial events, like cooking classes and wine tastings, she has no intention of ever attending another one of the company’s events again.
This Halloween, treat yo' self to a night of tricks -- and sins -- at the annual 7 Deadly Sins Halloween Party, a six-floor extravaganza including seven themed cocktails, snacks, and unique entertainment. On Saturday, October 26, seven rooms inside LivingSocial's 918 F Street space will be transformed to represent each of the deadly sins; you'll also indulge in a silent disco, movie screening, and so much more.
Choose from the following offers: • $59 for General Admission for one • $79 for VIP admission for one with one-hour early entry and two additional full cocktails
7 deadly rooms
Lust: This sultry room will feature a burlesque show that we'll enjoy while sipping on a Lustini cocktail.
Pride: Drink a Cockytail vodka creation and dance the night away in a silent disco with a battle of the DJs hosted by Silent Storm -- with your vote for the winner tallied using light-up headphones.
Wrath: Get your rage on during live superhero vs. zombie battles presented by American Parkour Academy (expect lots of flips and tricks!) while taking a Shot to the Face jello shot.
Gluttony: In the state-of-the-art demo kitchen, feast your eyes and stomach on a gourmet paradise of sweets, paired with a Sweet as Sin cocktail shooter.
Envy: Sip on a Green Monster cocktail while dancing to beats by DJ EPX in this room that glows green with envy.
Sloth: Kick back on a couch, watch Dracula, and stuff your face with handfuls of snacks available for purchase. Wash it down with the Sloshed Sloth cocktail.
Greed: In this shimmering room full of silver and gold [DREIDELS!], we'll get greedy challenging friends to a plethora of games, all while sipping on a Midas Touch cocktail.
No one apparently thought to take a picture of the Greed Room.
In the past few days two different friends told my wife they had gone into the new hobby lobby store in Marlboro, New Jersey and noticed that, although there already was a lot of Christmas merchandise available, there was none for the Jewish holiday of Chanukah (some people drop the "C" and spell it Hannukah. Same holiday).
One of our friends entered the store, asked where the Chanukah goods were, was told there wouldn't be any, and asked why. According to her, the answer was:
"We don't cater to you people"
Understandably irate, she called the home office, and was told, indifferently, that hobby lobby doesn't have Chanukah on its list of holidays.
Since I did not hear this ugly exchange with my own ears, I was not personally certain it was the case. And that's not good enough for this blog. So I just called the Marlboro hobby lobby and asked whether it would be stocking any Chanukah merchandise. I was told it would not. When I asked why, the answer - verbatim - was:
"Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he's a Christian, and those are his values"
FYI, I would guess that, in a five mile radius around the Marlboro store, a solid one-third of all residents are Jewish. But, then again, what is the difference? The reason hobby lobby won't sell Chanukah goods is unrelated to how many Jews are in the area,
The reason is that Mr. green's "Christian values" preclude him from selling anything related to a Jewish holiday. And not just just Chanukah, but Passover too, as I learned by calling corporate headquarters and speaking to the company's customer relations department.
And now a word about "Christian values". As someone with a great many Christian friends and acquaintances, I can honestly say I don't know even one who would ever see the intentional exclusion of Jews as having anything to do with their religious beliefs.
So let's be clear: these are not Christian values. They are david green values.
Well, here are MY values. I will never set foot in a hobby lobby. Ever. I will be sure to tell everyone I know and, obviously, everyone who reads this blog, the reason why. And I strongly request that what I have learned be passed along to as many others as possible.
I have no problem at all with Christianity. But I have a major problem with anti-Semitic idiots.
Having previously heard that Hobby Lobby refuses to provide contraception for its female employees as part of their health insurance plan, it's not surprising that they would be so dismissive of customers, particularly if their store happens to be located in a heavily Jewish-populated area.
It is not a question of "But would you ask a kosher store to sell bacon?" NO. Hobby Lobby does not present itself as a "Christian Craft Store." If they did, no one would expect them to sell non-Christian products.
But they are a craft store, period. You wouldn't ask for bacon at a kosher, or halal store, or salami at a vegan store, or Hanukkah items at a Christian store. But "Hobby Lobby" wants all your crafts business.
That’s the narrative that’s been spread about Jews for the last 70 years since the Holocaust. We’ve embraced it to our detriment. We can’t seem to address antisemitism without running to the world and screaming that we’re being persecuted, rather than standing up strongly in defiance, aware of our own inner strength.
The Holocaust has scarred us, a yetzer hara (sneaky bastard of a voice in our heads), that keeps trying to tell us how we are defined by our past, controlled by events that happened to us, instead of using those moments as points of growth.
And, in a weird way, that’s why all those images of us looking so helpless, so gaunt, in heaps of nameless bodies, have become a morbid fascination for us. We, and by extension the rest of the world, has chosen to define the Holocaust with these images.
But there are other images. Images that show a more subtle, more true, story. A story that shows our inner power, our inner turmoil in dealing with a situation we cannot comprehend, our attempts to gain justice, and our final steps into moving above and beyond our past and into a new future.
Scary Jew Shadows and their Hanukkah Menorahs Everywhere!
Burt Prelutsky screeches in World Nut Daily:
I never thought I’d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word. You think it hasn’t? Then why is it that people are being prevented from saying it in polite society for fear that it will offend?
Why, after 60 years, is the city of Santa Monica, Calif., no longer allowed to erect its traditional crèche in the palisades overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and why is the governor of Rhode Island insisting on calling the state’s Christmas tree a holiday tree?
Schools are being forced to replace “Christmas vacation” with “winter break” in their printed schedules. At some major retail chains, the word is verboten, replaced as a matter of policy by the generic Happy Holidays. Carols, even instrumental versions, are verboten in certain locales. All across the country, grammar schools are banning Christmas pageants.
How is it, one well might ask, that in a Christian nation this is happening? And in case you find that designation objectionable, would you deny that India is a Hindu country, that Turkey is Muslim, that Poland is Catholic? That doesn’t mean those nations are theocracies. But when the overwhelming majority of a country’s population believe Jesus to be their savior, only a darn fool would deny the obvious.
Although it seems a long time ago, it really wasn’t, that people who came here from other places made every attempt to fit in. Assimilation wasn’t a threat to anyone; it was what the Statue of Liberty represented. E pluribus unum, one out of many, was our motto. The world’s melting pot was our nickname. It didn’t mean that any group of people had to check their customs, culture or cuisine, at the door. It did mean that they, and especially their children, learned English, and that they learned to live and let live.
That has changed, as you may have noticed. And I lay a great deal of the blame at the feet of my fellow Jews. When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists and the largely Jewish funded ACLU at the forefront. What makes them even more obnoxious is that, by and large, the Jews who are leading the crusade against what is, we should never forget, a national holiday, are secular. So it’s not even a question of their religion being shortchanged; they hate their own, as well. They’re the pinheads who pretend that “separation of church and state” appears in the Constitution.
THIS "GEM" STANDS OUT:
I am getting the idea that these self-righteous secular Jews won’t be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences.
The mind boggles. I thought it was supposed to be Muslims and their "stealth Sharia" who were leading the War Against Christmas! There is so much wrong with this diatribe that I don't even know where to begin. Let's begin with the hysterical claim that wishing somebody "Happy Holidays" is the equivalent of burning somebody to death in an auto-da-fe. Uh, no it's not.
Also, nobody is even being FORCED to say "Happy Holidays." It's just a generic greeting, like "How are you today?" People who say "How are you today?" are not expecting a full run-down of your medical condition.
Now is is possible that some people are concerned that public funds or public space are being designated for religious objects that are not inclusive of many citizens. At the same time, the same "conservatives" who are in such horror of a "War on Christmas" also complain that the White House is spending too much money of holiday decorations during a time of recession and unemployment and OMG a Blackity Black Man is President!
I can look all around and see Christmas symbols everywhere! My favorite TV shows are either pre-empted for Christmas specials, or else have a Christmas episode, but it is very rare to see a TV program that has a Hanukkah episode. Which reminds me, "South Park" has not done a Christmas Special since the infamous "Woodland Critters" episode. I haz a sad!
A 90-year-old menorah from a temple on Long Island that was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy will be displayed at a Hanukkah party hosted by President Obama as a symbol of perseverance and hope for the holidays.
The brass menorah survived a 10-foot storm surge that destroyed a chapel, a library, numerous religious books and six Torah scrolls at Temple Israel in Long Beach, according to the congregation’s rabbi, David S. Bauman.
Rabbi Bauman said the White House contacted him about two weeks ago seeking a menorah that survived the storm’s onslaught. He said he took a photograph of the menorah, one of two that were located on the upper floor of the temple’s sanctuary, and sent it to a White House official.
“The next thing I know I’m talking to the White House curator and the Secret Service,” he said. “It’s an incredibly humbling experience.”
The White House was led to Rabbi Bauman’s congregation by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, an organization that helped communities in New York City and on Long Island in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. The group informed the White House about the menorah at Temple Israel.
Rabbi Bauman, 41, who is also a reserve chaplain in the Marine Corps, will travel with the menorah to Washington for the Hanukkah party, which will be held on Thursday.
The White House has a tradition of selecting menorahs with some kind of meaningful history. Last year, the menorah displayed at the Hanukkah party was one built at a displaced persons camp in Europe after World War II. In 2010, officials selected a menorah salvaged from a synagogue destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
President and Michele Obama at White House Hanukkah party in 2011.
Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Hanukkah around the world.
This Hanukkah season we remember the powerful story of the Maccabees who rose up to liberate their people from oppression. Upon discovering the desecration of their Temple, the believers found only enough oil to light the lamp for one night. And yet it lasted for eight.
Hanukkah is a time to celebrate the faith and customs of the Jewish people, but it is also an opportunity for people of all faiths to recognize the common aspirations we share. This holiday season, let us give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, and remain mindful of those who are suffering. And let us reaffirm our commitment to building a better, more complete world for all.
From our family to the Jewish Community around the world, Chag Sameach.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man lights a candle for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in the southern city of Ashdod December 21, 2011. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important Jewish holidays and is celebrated by Jews worldwide. Reuters, with caption fail. Hanukkah is the least significant Jewish festival.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man recites a prayer as he lights a candle for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in the southern city of Ashdod December 21, 2011. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important [sic!] Jewish holidays and is celebrated by Jews worldwide. Reuters. That Menorah looks like a weapon!
Moscow, Russia. A general view of the Bolshoi Theatre and huge Hanuka Menorah during Hanukkah celebrations in Moscow, Russia, 26 December 2011. The members of Moscow’s Jewish Community gathered at the Revolution Square in the city to celebrate the Jewish Hanuka holiday. EPA.
Warsaw, Poland. Rabbi Shalom Ber Stambler, center, lights a candle on a large menorah in downtown Warsaw, to celebrate the Jewish festival of lights Hanukkah, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011. Other person unidentified. AP Photo.
Charleroi, France. A rabin lights a 'Hanukkah menorah' prior to an Euroleague group C basketball match between club Spirou Charleroi and Maccabi Tel Aviv on December 22, 2011 in Charleroi. Getty Images.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper watches as Erich von Sass, 11, lights a Menorah to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah at the Jewish Community Centre in Calgary, Alberta, December 22, 2011. At right is Harper's wife, Laureen. Reuters.
Copenhagen, Denmark. After Chabad of Denmark's menorah was vandalised by a member of the 'Occupy Copenhagen' movement, Shliach Yitzi Loewenthal changed the location and put up a different Menorah. COLLive.com.
Berlin, Germany. Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal (3rd R) lights a giant menorah during a ceremony in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, December 20, 2011. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important Jewish holidays [Actually it's a very minor holiday and would not get nearly as much attention if it occurred in February--VB] and is celebrated by Jews worldwide. Reuters
London, England. A menorah is lit on December 20, 2011 to mark the beginning of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah in Trafalgar Square in London. Getty Images.
Paris, France. The great Rabbin of France Gilles Bernheim (C) flanked by Israeli ambassador in France Yossi Gal, lights a menorah, a seven branched lampstand, during the celebration of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, on December 20, 2011 at the Champs de Mars in Paris. Getty Images.
Budapest, Hungary. Members of Hungary's Orthodox Jewish community dance on the street while celebrating the beginning of the Hanukkah Festival in downtown Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. The Hanukkah Festival, is also known as the eight days long Festival of Light, is commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in 165 BC at the time of the Maccabee rebellion. AP Photo.
Washington, DC. Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew, center, is assisted by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, left, and Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, right, as they light the National Hanukkah Menorah during a ceremony on The Ellipse in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 marking the first night of Hanukkah. AP Photo.
Jerusalem, Israel. Jewish seminary student Mayer Engel from Los Angeles, California, recites a prayer as he lights a candle for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood December 20, 2011. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important Jewish holidays and is celebrated by Jews worldwide. Reuters (caption fail, again).
Boston, MA. Rabbi Rachmiel Liberman, left, and Mass. Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, right, light the center candle of an oversized menorah at the Statehouse, in Boston, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, during ceremonies to commemorate the beginning of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. AP Photo.
Tel Aviv, Israel. Laser beams creating the image of a large lit Hanukkah menorah are projected on the Hiriya landfill, a former waste disposal site, now called the Ariel Sharon Park, near Tel Aviv, Israel, on the second eve of Hanukkah, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011. The Jewish festival of light, an eight-day commemoration of the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to put statues of Greek gods in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, started Tuesday. AP Photo.
Jerusalem, Israel. A Palestinian man dressed-up in a Santa Claus costume waves as he stands in front of a Menorah erected at Jaffa Gate for the Jewish feast of Hanukkah in Jerusalem's Old City on December 21, 2011. Getty Images.
WASHINGTON — A special lighting ceremony is planned for the National Hanukkah Menorah near the White House on the first night of the eight-day Jewish holiday.
On Tuesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew will be a special guest to help light the menorah on the Ellipse. The lighting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Organizers say thousands of people are scheduled to attend. “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band will perform.
The national menorah lighting dates to 1979 when Jimmy Carter was president. President Ronald Reagan dubbed it the “National Menorah.”
Free tickets are available online. Those who attend will get hot Hanukkah latkes and doughnuts. Free personal menorah kits will also be distributed.
FIRST, spritz the kitchen’s stainless steel counters with disinfectant. Scrub vigorously.
Next, wrap counters in tinfoil, tight, tight, tight.
Now stretch plastic wrap over the foil and seal with masking tape.
Then repeat for every surface that could possibly come into contact with food — yes, even the hanging pot rack.
And so began the fastidious frenzy to make the White House’s kitchen kosher last week, a nearly four-hour drill that started at 10 p.m. Wednesday. A deadline approached: a truckload of kosher food was due Thursday at 10 a.m.
The Obama administration’s holiday reception season was in full swing. Leftovers from a party earlier Wednesday evening had already been removed.
The following night would bring the Hanukkah party for 550 guests, politicians and Supreme Court justices among them. Rigorous koshering (sometimes called kashering) would ensure that the kitchen would be in compliance with Jewish dietary laws. Guests could eat without qualms, knowing their religious commitment had been respected.
“We do the basic cleaning,” says the White House’s executive sous-chef, Tommy Kurpradit, as he directs five workers (he learned about koshering from Bush White House Hanukkah celebrations). “Then the rabbis do the super-cleaning.”
Imagine the earnest anxiety of non-Jews eager to please the observant; the exacting scrutiny of the observant, dedicated to ancient laws; a ticking clock; and a soupçon of Marx Brothers.
Into the kitchen rushes a Lubavitch SWAT team of three rabbis and an intern. Three men, wearing aprons and industrial-strength rubber gloves, take on the ovens and burners. The fourth, in a suit and a black hat, is Rabbi Levi Shemtov, director of the American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad). He is the supervisor-in-chief.
He takes a long look around. He frowns.
“Who opened the brazier?” he asks, referring to the lidded counter-high vat, like a giant stainless steel pot, used for searing, reducing stock and braising meats. “The rabbi?” he asks, pointing to a colleague.
“No,” replies Chef Tommy, as his staff calls him.
“You’re kidding me,” Rabbi Shemtov says.
They huddle by the brazier. Rabbi Shemtov issues orders. The rabbis spring into action.
What happened, Chef Tommy?
“I’m a Buddhist,” he says, acknowledging that some of the finer points elude him. “But whatever he wants me to do, I’ll do.”
Rabbi Shemtov explains his concern. For a kitchen to be prepared for kosher cooking, any taste or aroma of nonkosher food has to be expunged. Utensils for cooking, serving and eating must be set aside for 24 hours before being cleansed by dipping them in boiling water. The day before, Rabbi Shemtov had overseen the sealing of flatware, utensils and the brazier, where they would be dipped tonight.
So why, Rabbi Shemtov wants to know, is the brazier open and filled with cool water?
Chef Tommy had merely poured water into it to be boiled for the dipping.
Rabbi Shemtov probes: “I have to know whether the water came from the tap or a bucket.” (The latter could have been compromised by food.)
It was tap water. But “just to make sure,” Rabbi Shemtov wants the brazier cleaned.
The job falls to Rabbi Binyamin Steinmetz, a Caracas-born mashgiach, or supervisor, who has been joking in Spanish with a Coast Guard prep cook, among the military personnel who help during party season. Now Rabbi Steinmetz pours boiling water into the brazier, adding ammonia. After the soaking, he dumps out the solution and rinses the brazier with boiled water. A third time, he dumps, rinses and dumps.
Rabbi Shemtov says his approach is so strict that no one can take issue. “We are very careful, we are meticulous but we are not O.C.D.,” he says. “Otherwise, no one would ever get to eat.”
He peers at a countertop. “Why so loose, the Saran wrap?”
Will this affect the first family’s meals? A White House aide explains that the Obamas rely primarily on a personal kitchen in the residence upstairs. Even so, a refrigerator has a sign on it that says “Family,” indicating it must remain shut.
President & Mrs. Obama, VP & Mrs. Biden and a fully lit Menorah
THE PRESIDENT: Well, good evening, everybody. Welcome to the White House. Thank you all for joining us tonight to celebrate Hanukkah -- even if we're doing it a little bit early. (Laughter.)
I want to start by recognizing a few folks who are here. The ambassador to the United States from Israel, Michael Oren, is in the house. (Applause.)
We are honored to be joined by one of the justices of the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is here. (Applause.) We are thrilled to see her. She's one of my favorites, I got to -- (laughter.) I've got a soft spot for Justice Ginsburg.
And we’ve got more than a few members of Congress here and members of my administration in the house, including our new Director of Jewish Outreach, Jarrod Bernstein is here. Where's Jarrod? (Applause.) Hey, Jarrod.
I also want to thank the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir –- (applause) -- the Voice of Tradition -– for their wonderful performance, but more importantly, for their extraordinary service to our country.
And I want to thank all the rabbis and lay leaders who have come far and wide to be here with us today.
Now, as I said, we’re jumping the gun just a little bit. The way I see it, we’re just extending the holiday spirit. We're stretching it out. (Laughter.) But we do have to be careful that your kids don’t start thinking Hanukkah lasts 20 nights instead of eight. (Laughter.) That will cause some problems.
This Hanukkah season we remember a story so powerful that we all know it by heart -- even us Gentiles. It’s a story of right over might, of faith over doubt. Of a band of believers who rose up and freed their people and discovered that the oil left in their desecrated temple –- which should have lasted only one night –- ended up lasting eight.
It’s a timeless story. And for 2,000 years, it has given hope to Jews everywhere who are struggling. And today, it reminds us that miracles come in all shapes and sizes. Because to most people, the miracle of Hanukkah would have looked like nothing more than a simple flame, but the believers in the temple knew it was something else. They knew it was something special.
This year, we have to recognize the miracles in our own lives. Let’s honor the sacrifices our ancestors made so that we might be here today. Let’s think about those who are spending this holiday far away from home -– including members of our military who guard our freedom around the world. Let’s extend a hand to those who are in need, and allow the value of tikkun olam to guide our work this holiday season.
This is also a time to be grateful for our friendships, both with each other and between our nations. And that includes, of course, our unshakeable support and commitment to the security of the nation of Israel. (Applause.)
So while it is not yet Hanukkah, let’s give thanks for our blessings, for being together to celebrate this wonderful holiday season. And we never need an excuse for a good party. (Laughter.) So we are going to see all of you in a second downstairs --
MRS. OBAMA: Aren't we in the Blue Room?
THE PRESIDENT: Or wherever we are. (Laughter.) I think we're downstairs. We are downstairs in the Map Room. So as I look around, I see a whole bunch of good friends. We can't wait to give you a hug and a kiss and wish you a happy holiday. The guys with whiskers, I won't give you a kiss. (Laughter.)
I have just finished buying holiday presents for 27 of my 29 grandkids (OK, two toddlers still need to be shopped for) and I accomplished this daunting task without taking out a second mortgage, and more importantly, buying gifts that are meaningful and educational. Here are some "easy" "weird" "tips" and "tricks" (using Google scam words, here!) to make your holiday shopping less burdensome.
1. Find out what your kids (and grandkids) want. Don't ask them directly! Hint around. Since Jewish families do not believe in Santa, this means Bubbie & Zaidy buy all the presents and they don't have a ton of money. So even though you are collecting a "wish list" make it clear that wishes don't grow on trees.
2. Shop early, and shop online! Forget "Black Friday." While some people love the crush and the smell of battle and sweet doorbusting bargains, I am not one of those mall warriors! All of your favorite stores have websites and sell stuff online, and the same bargains they have on the floor "Black Friday" are available, I'm not going to say "Cyber Monday" because I hate the word "Cyber" and these bargains are usually available in October. In fact sometimes prices can go up after the "holiday season" kicks in, so be alert!
3. Avoid buying toys that are based on licensed characters from movies and TV. If there is a trade name involved, this will increase the price! Your grandbabies may have their greedy little hearts set on some action figures of "Cars 2" or "Thor" or "Scooby Doo" but, stay away! In fact stay out of Walmart altogether. Their toy section contains only TV & movie-based crap, made in China, and their prices are higher than anywhere else, except for "Toys R Us." Stay out of "Toys R Us" too. If you want quality, low-priced toys, shop at Marshall's. They do not sell stuff online, but visit a store in your area.
4. Books are great gifts for kids, especially classics that you enjoyed yourself when you were a kid. Doverpublications.com has a fantastic selection of classics for all ages, very reasonably priced. WARNING: their "paper dolls" collection is not for children, but adults might enjoy them. They have "paper dolls" for both gays and straights.
5. Get toys that encourage creativity and scientific inquiry. Arts and crafts kits, origami, stained glass (or stained plastic), paint-by-number, plaster art, sand art, watercolors, oil pastels, even coloring books and crayons. If your child is not artistic, look for science toys: optics, weather balloons, model dinosaurs, a cheap microscope (if your future surgeon enjoys it, you can always get a more professional model later), rock collecting, insect collecting, the possibilities are endless!
6. Teenagers and grown-up children are tough to shop for, since they tend to crave high-end toys like iPhones, iPads, and Mustangs. Ask yourself: how much is all your guilt worth? Reciprocity should be a factor here. Bubbie likes bling. You want a Kindle? All you kids can chip in and get Bubbie a Pandora bracelet, not that cheesy personalized calendar you gave last year, with everyone's birthdays in it.
7. Religious-based toys can be educational and fun. A wooden Noah's Ark is more appropriate to the season than a Tattooed Barbie doll. Remember there is a reason we celebrate these holidays other than to just get stuff.
8. Don't stress out! Gift giving should be an enjoyable experience, both for the giver and the receiver. Don't knock yourself out searching high and low for a gift for that person who is marginal to your life, or your cheap uncle or your snotty, impossible-to-please cousin. Get those people cheesy personalized calendars with your birthday and anniversary prominently highlighted. If they complain, so what! Give them NOTHING!
9. Get yourself a little something.
10. Give gifts of kindness. Give loaves of homemade bread or tins of homemade cookies. Bake a pie! Invite a lonely person for a festive meal. Sort, wash, mend and donate a load of outgrown clothing to a shelter. Volunteer at a pet rescue. Shovel snow for an elderly or disabled neighbor. The gifts that "keep on giving."
Remember the Zionist Mall is open 24/7, no waiting in line, and the prices are a fraction of what you would spend at some fancy shmancy souvenir shop in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv (not to mention saving the airfare)
Because dogs look better on a vodka ad than drunk humans.
New York, NY, November 22, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the company responsible for a series of billboards in New York promoting discounted Vodka with the message "Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing" to remove the ad, which it said was "crude and offensive" and "reinforces anti-Semitic stereotypes."
The sales pitch for Wódka vodka features the image of two dogs, one wearing a Santa hat, the other wearing a yarmulke with the message spelled out in large, capital letters.
"In a crude and offensive way of trying to make a point that their vodka is high quality and inexpensive, the billboards evoke a Jewish holiday to imply something that is cheap and of lesser value when compared to the higher value of a Christian holiday," said Ron Meier, ADL New York Regional Director. "Particularly with the long history of anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money, with the age-old notion that Jews are cheap, to use the Jewish holiday in dealing with issues of money is clearly insensitive and inappropriate."
The billboards for Wódka vodka, which have appeared in several locations in New York, including one at a well-traveled location along the West Side Highway, have generated a barrage of calls and complaints to ADL in recent days.
The League has expressed its concerns with the marketing company responsible for creating the campaign and is calling on the purveyors of Wódka "to consider a more appropriate message for the holidays."