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PAGE IOA HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 10, 2013 31 things to do during Jewish American Heritage Month By Rebecca Soffer NEW YORK (JTA)--May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a commemoration first recognized by President George W. Bush in 2006. Since then, hundreds of programs have taken place nationwide annually to honor the rich contributions of Jews to American culture and society. President Obama added to the annual festivities by launching an annual White House bash. But this year's party was canceled because of the sequester. Not to worry: In anticipa- tion of the big month, we're suggesting 31 activities to keep you busy each day in May. You'll see some usual suspects, but will also find new ideas in entertainment, food and travel, and overall fun. We're pretty sure you'll find something of interest. If we've somehow missed the mark, feel free to par- ticipate in the epitome of American Jewish hobbies: kvetching. For a rundown of official Jewish American Heritage Month events, visit www. jahm.us. You can also follow @USA Jewish on Twitter. Here are 30 more things to do to celebrate this month: 1. Make cholent Our people are into stews. So is it really surprising that the great American Crock- Pot originally was coined the Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker after its Jewish inven- tor, Irving Naxon? Naxon, who died in 1989 with more than 200 patents in his name, conceived an inexpensive and safe heating element inspired by his mother's tales of mak- ing the traditional Sabbath meat-and-potato stew--a nearly 24-hour process--in her Lithuanian shtetl (his . daughter recently wrote about her family memories for the Beyond Bubble online food project). Not into the idea of cholent? Toss anything into a Crock-Pot, from lentils to grits to an entire chicken, and thank Mr. Naxon for making cooking so darn easy. Lena Dunham.jpg Lena Dunham, shown speaking in October 2012 at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Wash- ington. (Krista Kennell/ For- tune Most Powerful Women Summit) 2. Celebrate Hollywood's female showrunners In case you hadn't heard, Jewish American women are taking the entertain- ment world by the beitsim. Writer-director-producer Jill Soloway won the 2013 Sun- dance Award for U.S. Dramatic Directing for her debut film, "Afternoon Delight" (she also founded the Los Angeles com- munity organization East Side Jews). Allison Silverman, the former co-executive pro- ducer of the"Colbert Report," has been penning episodes for "The Office" and"Portlandia," the IFC show starring hipster Jew Carrie Brownstein. And creator-star-writer-director Lena Dunham, she of the $3.6 million book proposal, has turned the HBO series "Girls" into a cultural sensa- tion along with showrunner Jenni Konner. Buy a movie ticket, subscribe to HBO or tune in to NBC, and thank the ladies for the laughs. JUJITSU RABBI GODLESS BLONDE , : , ..P i  f ..... o  Terry Gruber Journalist Rebecca Dana chronicles her time living with a lapsed Chabad rabbi in Brooklyn in her new book, "Jujitsu Rabbi and the God- less Blonde." 3. Start a book club Put down the Angry Birds and dive into a tale written by a young American Jewish author. Some ideas to start out the list: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank," Nathan Eng- lander's elegant and darkly humorous collection of short stories; "Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde," Rebecca Dana's debut memoir about living with a lapsed hasidic rabbi in Crown Heights while nursing a broken heart; and "Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots," Jessica Soffer's (no relation) debut novel inspired by her love of cooking and her Iraqi Jewish heritage. All are available on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com. 4. Take a Philip Rotb bus tour Novelist Philip Roth, a Pulitzer Prize and National BookAward winner, turned 80 in March, and his hometown of Newark, N.J., has rolled out the red carpet for celebra- tions. For a man referred to as the greatest living American writer, the Newark Preserva- tion and Landmarks Com- mittee is running a bus tour showcasing highlights from his novels and early life in the city. It's not too late to check out "Philip Roth: An Exhibit of Photos From a Lifetime," a show of some 100 photographs running through Aug. 31 at the Newark Public Library. Can't get to North Jersey? Check out the next PBS "American Masters" airing of"Philip Roth: Unmasked," a documentary featuring the author discussing intimate aspects of his life, or just reread "Portnoy's Compaint" and call your mother already. For all things Roth, visit roth- society.org. 5. Go shopping From Marc Jacobs to Zac Posen to Rachel Zoe and beyond, American Jews are some of the biggest players in the fashion design industry. In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, treat your- self to some retail therapy at Bloomingdale's, Loehmann's (the legendary discount haven started by Frieda Loehmann, an American Jewish woman, in 1921) or any store near you. And after you schlep your overstuffed bags home, watch"Schmatta: From Rags to Riches to Rags", the 2009 documentary about the once vibrant but now fading Gar- ment District in Midtown Manhattan, and marvel that the population of Jewish fash- ion talent and workers was so dense that the area warranted its own place of worship, the Millinery Center Synagogue. 6. Write a poem American Jews have pro- duced a rich variety of poetry, including Alien Ginsberg's "Howl," Robert Pinsky's trib- utes to baseball, and Adrienne Rich's feminist and lesbian fury. A notable example is Emma Lazarus, a New York Jew and early Zionist of Sep- hardic descent who wrote the sonnet "The New Colossus" in 1883 at age 34, shortly after witnessing the Russian po- groms. If you don't recognize the title, how about the lines: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." They appeared on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903, 16 years after her death. Compose your own poem on Smith Mag's online SixWords on Jewish Life page. You can also read a compilation of its best submissions, including Nora Ephron's words of wis- dom: "Secret to life: marry an Italian." rally fermented beet tonic) and carrot-citrus horseradish. Try it with cukes by using lacto- fermentation, a process that preserves vegetables simply with salt, water and spices. Alternate plan: Order some Gefilteria products online and enjoy while watching "Cross- ing Delancey," which was released 25 years ago. 9. Listen to "Little Orphan Annie" Before "Annie" was revived on Broadway--heck, before "Annie" was on Broadway the first time--that lovable red- headed scamp from the funny pages was primarily played by Shirley Bell Cole on the "Little Orphan Annie" radio show, which was broadcast nation- wide by NBC to the afterschool set from 1931 to 1942. Cole, a Chicago-born Jew, supported multiple immigrant Jew- ish families in her Chicago neighborhood with her salary, which reached a whopping $7,514 in Depression-era 1937. The Paley Center for Media has several archival episodes available to members and My Old Radio has dozens for free online. Ironically, ac- cording to her obituary, Cole hated the taste of Ovaltine, the show's main sponsor. Leapin' Lizards! 10. Practice yoga Next time you do a down- ward dog, chant an ohm to Ruby Blue, aka Swami Neeladevananda. Blue was born Ruth Thaler in Poland and as a child immigrated to Washington with her parents. She was named a swami, the Hindu honorary title for mas- Happy Fangs Facebook San Francisco-based punk duo Happy Fangs with singer Rebecca Bortman, a Pittsburgh Jew. 7. Rock out American Jews have long embraced pop, rock and hip- hop. We all know about the Beastie Boys, Van Halen and the Bangles (Susanna Hoffs is a nice Jewish girl from L.A.). Discover some newer bands this month, such as the San Francisco-based punk duo Happy Fangs featuring singer Rebecca Bortman, a Pittsburgh Jew; New York City's The Sway Machinery, whose amalgamated style is rooted in band leader Jeremiah Lockwood's early experience singing in the choir of his grandfather, Cantor Jacob Konigsber; and L.A.'s indie-folk pop duo The Wellspring, whose members Talia Osteen and Dov Rosen- blatt had an official showcase at this year's SXSW festival and who are scoring tracks for the upcoming feature film "Coffee Town." 8. Make springtime pickles At least that's what Jeffrey Yoskowitz will be doing. He helps run The Gefilteria, a Brooklyn-based purveyor that re-creates Old World Jewish foods such as gluten-free gefilte fish made with sustain- ably sourced fish, kvas (a natu- ter, in 2003 at age 86. Known for her inspirational lectures, tiny frame and ability to get everyone from naval officers to housewives into contorted positions during her classes at a D.C.-area Gold's Gym (where she began teaching at age 81), Blue stood on her head daily until 83 before grudg- ingly scaling back to a more conservative shoulder stand until her death at 89. Part I," Adam Sandler's "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" or Woody Allen's "Purple Rose of Cairo." Speaking of Woody, check out this clip showing his infamous stammers recorded on film. Itwas edited together by two guys at the Huffington Post with what we assume must be a large amount of free time on their hands. 12. Visit South Florida Though the old haunts like Wolfie's and Rascal House only live on in nostalgic anecdotes, one can easily re- create a classic Miami Beach Jewish experience with a little creativity. Step 1. Fly to Miami Beach. Step 2. Change into pastels. Step 3. Play some shuffleboard at North Shore Park and Youth Center. Step 4. Start a mah jongg game at 14. Ask questions Do you know your mother's earliest memory? What about your grandmother's? Embrace the most Jewish of traditions by asking questions about a relative's life while he or she is still around to tell his or her stories. Whether it's a conversation about a wartime experience, being a teenager in 1950s America or how they would like to be remembered, you'll be thankful you took the time to get an oral history from someone you love. To record an interview, head to the near- est StoryCorps booth. If there's not one nearby, it's easier than ever to become your own sound studio: Check out The Next Web's recommendations for DIY recording. You may even want to ask a son or daughter. Courtesy "Hava Nagila The Movie "Hava Nagila (The Movie)" portrays the classic Jewish tune as a porthole into 200 years of Judaism's culture and spirituality. the new JCC. Step 5. Enjoy a bagel and schmear at the 40-year-old Sage Bagel and Appetizer Shop in nearby Hallandale Beach. Step 6. Take a respite from the heat by splashing around in the At- lantic while shrieking "What a mechaya!" Rinse and repeat. 13. Go to therapy According to a 2012 issue of the Journal of Religion and Health, American Jews are significantly more open- minded to therapy and more tolerant of the stigma associ- ated with it than participants in other groups. Jewish open- ness to psychological treat- ment shouldn't come as a big surprise, given Woody Allen's love affairwith psychotherapy and the groundbreakingwork of such American Jewish psychologists as cognitive be- havior therapy pioneer Aaron Beck and social psycholo- gist Thelma Alper. There's also the generations-long tradition of Jews dispensing shrewd and practical advice through therapy's more ac- cessible cousin, the advice column: examples include Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer (aka Ann Landers); Emily Yoffe's Dear Pru- Brooksfilms The "Jews in Space" Star of David spaceship from Mel Brooks' 1981 comedy "History of the World: Part I" 11. Laugh with the classics Pray that a rainy day in May gives you an excuse to enjoy some classic American Jewish wit on film. Choose any or all of the following for a guaranteed better day: Mel Brooks' "History of the World dence column on Slate. com; and the Jewish Daily Forward's Bintel Brief, where editors for more than 60 years addressed the profound and humorous quandaries of the Yiddish-speaking immigrant population. 15. Learn about "Hava Nagila" You've danced the hora at hundreds of bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings. But do you re- ally know anything about the song you've been dancing to, including the rest of the lyrics following the first two words? See director Roberta Gross- man's documentary "Hava Nagila: The Movie," which has been working its way through the domestic Jew- ish film festival circuit and is currently playing in select theaters nationwide. The film traces the song's evolution from a Ukrainian shtetl to the blockbuster piece that Jewish American Olympian Aly Rais- man used in her 2012 floor routine. It includes interviews with numerous celebrities including Connie Francis, Leonard Nimoy and Harry Belafonte, who recall how the United States claimed "Hava Nagila" as its own in the sec- ond half of the 20th century (even Elvis took a stab at it). 16. Send the kids to camp There truly are two types of people in America: camp and non-camp. If you're the former, chances are that some of your best childhood memories involve hoarding money for canteen purchases, awkward first kisses and run- ning someone's underwear up the flagpole. Consider giving your kids the chance to run amok for a summer while also building independence, learn- ing teamwork and maybe even meeting the loves of their lives when they're not terrorizing the counselors (Ramah has a page on romantic success stories). Go to the American Camp Association and Foun- dation for Jewish Camp web- sites to find a good fit. After you've shipped them off, indulge in your own nostalgia with"Camp Camp," a compila- tion of essays, letters home and more awkward photos than you can shake a color war stick at.