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July 19, 2013

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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 19, 2013 Rick Moranis, going from 'Ghostbusters' to mom's brisket, draw. on Jewish roots in new album By Matt Robinson Whe.n fans-picture Rick Moranis, the first things that probably come to mind are comedy and scenes from science fiction movies such as "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," "Ghostbusters," "Little Shop of Horrors," or "Spaceballs." But Moranis's latest project conjures up an image much closer to home. oranis recalls that the smell of his Jewish mother's home "would get you from five blocks away." "The whole place smelled like Friday at 6 p.m.,and that was 24 hours a day seven days a week, 365 days of the year," Moranis says in an interview with That smell is the inspira- tion behind Moranis's new CD, "My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs" (Warner Bros. Records/LoudMouth). Released June 18, the album is comprised of 13 comedic songs exploring the smor- gasbord of Moranis's Jewish heritage. Moranis actually started his career not on the big screen, but spinning records at the Toronto-based CHUM- FM radio station, accompany- ing himself on the guitar dur- ing his earliest solo comedy routines. In 1982, Moranis and his fictional brother Dave Thbmas from the movie "Strange Brew" and the comedy show "Second City Television" scored a Billboard Top 40 hit with "Take Off." Nearly 25 years later, Moranis hit the charts again, but this rime as a country singer on his album "The Agoraphobic Cowboy." This year, Moranis went back to the studio to record a set of songs that he was literally born to play. The re- sult is "My Mother's Brisket" (Warner Bros./LoudMouth), a baker's dozen of songs that Moranis says even non-Jews ranis's compositions, perhaps the most universally relatable tune igthe title track, "My Mother's Brisket." Asked what it is about brisket that makes Jewish children so loyal to the homes they grew up in, Mo- ranis says he does not know for sure, but calls homemade food the "sensual part" of growing up in a Jewish home. When it came time to choose a title track for the can relate to. Moranis had an new album and to take a cover early inclination to include., photo, Moranis went back to a glossary for his heavily Yidcfish-infused collection of songs, but ultimately decided against the move. "Other than Gary Sch- reiner," Moranis tells JNS. org, mentioning his friend and producer, "almost all the musicians [on the album] were gentile." "They completely got everything [in the songs] because it was either self- explanatory, or I would set [the Yiddish lyrics] up with a few lines," he says. For example, Moranis says that once he explained that a zaide is a grandfather, the Song "I'm Old Enough to be Your Zaide" had everyone in the studio ladghing. "And if you don't know, you can get it from the song," he says. Among the other offerings on the album are"MyWednes- day Balabusta," "Belated Haftorah,""The Seven Days of Shiva," and "I Can't Help It, I Just Like Christmas." Though Jew and non-Jews can both relate to most of Mo- 00ngagernent 00nnouncement (:helle Bernstein and Aaron Swiren Margery and Bruce Swiren of orlando are pleased to announce the engagement of their son, Aaron, to Chelle Bernstein, daughter of Mark and Nadine Bernstein of St. Augustine. The groom-elect received his bachelor's degree from the University of Florida and his lawdegree from the University of Florida School of Law. He practices law in Orlando. The bride -elect received her bachelor's degree from the University of Florida, her master's from the University of North Florida and is currently working on her Ph.D. at the University of Central Florida. She is an English professor at Seminole State College. The couple plan to be marred in December in St. i Augustine. I the home of his mother and his daughter's bubJ)e. "That is my mother on the cover," Moranis explains: "My daughter took the picture!" Moranis is not sure if his mother's brisket had any "secret ingredient," but does recall her roasting the nleat "for hours," then "letting it rest," slicing it, then finally reheating it "with all the stuff on top of it, so it ended up being mo'e moist than others we came across, that might have been cut right at the table." As happy as Moranis is to see his mother whenever he visits, he says that the rest of his family was always nearly as happy whenever she came to them bearing brisket. "When my mother walked in a house with the brisket, they were all happy to see her, but some would be happier to see the brisket," he says. While his mother's bris- ket may have been his true first love, Moranis sys he has "always loved making music." Though many fans think of him as a comedian and actor first, Moranis was actually one of the many kids who "grew up wanting to be The Beatles," before he was "sidetracked nto comedy." "Even when I was doing comedy, I wrote [music] all the time,'"Moranis says. On his album "The Ago- raphobic Cowboy," released in 2005, Horanis included a song called "Mean Old Man" which details the denizens of the Russian steam baths. "It was about guys who carIae to school and described their father's experiences in the steam bath, being whipped with eucalyptus leaves in the plaitza," Mora- nis explains, mentioning the famed therapeutic torture that so many have enjoyed at the burly hands of Russian steam bath attendants. "They told about this particular Rus- sian guy who had this great touch with the leaves." When "The Agoraphobic Cowboy" attracted wide ac- claim, Moranis began looking into other elements of his upbringing for song ideas. "I started writing more songs that had music I re- membered from shul and the Zionist camp I went to as a kid, and the vernacular I grew up with that I was re- encountering in conversation with my family," Moranis says. Moranis has collaborated through the years with other famed comics, such as Steve Martin and Mel Brooks. His songwriting, however, is a more individualistic process. "Writing jokes is a lot of fun- to write with other people, but songwriting alone I like better," he says. Nevertheless, Moranis says he runs "everything by friends." "I don't dare publish any-. thing without trusted friends of mine who are writers hearing what it is and giving feedback," he says. I RICK MOR'00NIS MY MOTHER'S.. BRISKET Warner Bros. Records The cover of"My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs," the new album by Rick Moranis. Among the "editors" for "My Mother's Brisket" were Moranis's sister, a cousin, and of course, his mother. "I sang some of [the songs] to my mother over the phone," he says. One of the songs that M0- ranis's mother may not have heard in advance was "I'm Old Enough to be Your Zaide," if only because she may not have approved of the premise. "That was inspired by a little moment I had with a younger woman who I prob- ably could have pursued having an introductory date with, and I asked her how old her father was, and the oldest guy she had dated, and they were both younger than me," Moranis recalls. "I though that, for the bet- terment of mankind, I would move on and wish her well," Moranis says. "As I walked away, that song came to mind." While there is talk of a possible live tour, the album is currently the closest fans can get to being at Moranis's mother's table. "At the end of the second day, the guys [at the recording studio[ saidwe had to play this live," Moranis says. "I thought they were kidding, but I find the idea intriguing." Moranis originally thought this album would be distrib- uted privately, among friends and family. When he told his attorney that he would record it for just eight people, the at- torney thought Jews all over North America would 10ve the album. Now, deluxe sets o.f"My Mother's Brisket" will even come with an inscribed yarmulke. "I think people would give it to their cousins," Moranis says of the album-yarmulke combination. "That is what I would do." American physicians teach battlefield .medicine to Syrian doctors By Michel Stors The Media Line GAZIANTEP, Turkey-- Dr. Waja Muharram stud- ied the tibia bone closely. The Syrian internist's eyes darted back and forth as an American cardiovascu- lar surgeon inserted and removed needles at a rapid pace, explaining how to provide trauma patients with intravenous fluids by tapping into the bone marrow. "We see so many victims who suf- fer from trauma," noted the 41-year old Dr. Muharram. "This technique will be of great use to us in the field." As Syria's civil war, now in its third year, grows deadlier by the week, the country's understaffed and inexperienced doctors are overwhelmed by the cases they see. To alleviate their shortfalls, aid organizations such as the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) have stepped up to provide train- ing and equipment. At a four-day SAMS conference in Gaziantep in eastern Turkey, five Ameri- can physicians conducted a workshop for 42 Syr{an doctors. The session com- bined classroom lectures using computerized medical equipment; and hands-on techniques such as the ones that amazed Muharram. "There is a noticeable lack of experience with the Syrian doctors," Dr. Muhammad al-Azzam, a radiologist from Ann Arbor, Mich., told The Media Line. "So this is a real professional course for them based on what they need with advanced trauma support." SAMS has made use of the latest battlefield tech- niqtes learned from the American army in Iraq. The Tactical Field Care Guide- lines gleaned from the U.S. military's experience there offers new methods to deal with trauma patients and limb loss. "The army invited us to seminars where we learned valuable lessons we are teaching here," explained Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, a 39-year old cardiovascular surgeon in Fresno, Calif. Other techniques such as the kink cavity focus on new and easier methods to get air into the lung. Rather than cutting into the tra- chea as is traditionally done .but requires a high degree of expertise, an incision is made into the esophagus. The procedure is much less complicated, allowing non- specialists the ability to pro- videin-field emergency care. "Kinks cavity is a much easier technique that can easily be learned," explained Dr. Tamar Mullah Hassan, a 48-year old internist who heads the SAMS office in Gaziantep. "The trachea procedure is difficult to master." Syrian doctors were impressed with their Ameri- can counterparts. "There is so much we don't know," confessed Dr. Muhammad Taknari a radiologist from Idlib. "The conference gave me a chance to learn some of them." In a revolution where most of the media emphasis has been on the rebels from the Free Syrian Army, humani- tarian organizations such as SAMS have been silently working to provide care for . the conflict'svictims. SAMS pays doctors' salaries and evaluates their performance monthly. It has funded mobile clinics that visit approximately 12 villages a day. The staff, consisting of a physician, a nurse and lab technicians, dispenses medicines and coordinate pre-natal care. The dangers of workirg in a war zone such as Syria have not deterred the in- trepid doctors from carrying out their Hippocratic Oath. SAMS has sent a number of American doctors inside Syria to perform surgeries and establish field hospitals. Nevertheless, the risks are high. Last month, regime artillery attacked a convoy that included SAMS staff heading to the city of.Qusair where Lebanese-based Hez- bollah proxy fighters rein- forced Syrian army regulars. Several SAMS member died. SAMS' expertise and fund- ing is desperately needed because Syrian hospitals are understaffed. In the city of Aleppo, which is divided be- tween the regime and rebels, there are only five Surgeons. Internists examine between 100 and 200 patients per day. "We are facing challenges that overwhelm us," said Muharram. Others complai n of short- ages in basic supplies and machines. "We don't have enough equipment and drugs," said Dr. Muhammad Jasim, a 46-year-old cardi- ologist from Rakka. But for now, physicians such as Muharram and Jasim are content to make use of their new expertise in the field. "We are struggling," said Jasim, "but the struggle became a little easier today."