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December 4, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 4, 2009 | PAGE 19A Aish Connections offers a 'down-to-business' trip for young men Aish Connections will host an 11-day subsidized trip, and invites registrants to an "up- close and personal, insider connection to biz-wiz mov- ers and shakers, showcasing venerated leaders from Wall Street." The project rolls out Jan. 3 and runs through Jan. 14, introducing students and graduates to captains of the industry. "It's an event that promises to be a life-changing meeting with Wall Street lu- minaries and legends," says the Aish press release. "The legacy of financial savoir-faire whispered from mentor to apprentice, from generation to generation." The veteran minds sched- uled to address the group include Ron Baron, chairman and CEO of Baron Funds: David Barse, president and CEO of Third Ave. Manage- ment/Hedge Fund; Neil Cole. CEO of Iconix Brands; Leon Cooperman. chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors/ Hedge Fund, Jay Dweck, M.D. and global head of strategies and technology for Morgan Stanley; Marc Lasry, CEO of Ave Capital Group; and David Topper, vice president of J. P. Morgan. Aish Connections is of- fering fellowships, at this limited-capacity event, to Jewish. male, MBA students. aged 22 to 28, winning real access to powerhouse Wall Street execs, mostly CEOs. The students will have ac- cess to "intimate insights and initiatives, revealed by today's moguls." "The happening will additionally facilitate members wishing to explore or identify with their Jewish roots." say organizers. "The extended trip will also promote networking, bond- ing with like-minded peers. seeking to secure a future Participants will also be edge, while traversing the able to attend a New York financial jungle." Knicks game at Madison The program will also Square Garden, and enjoy feature a series of lectures a day dedicated to skiing or by leading powerhouses, snowboarding, followed by followed by an informal dining at New York's fine question-and-answer session and discussion. Aish Connections will host a VIP tour of the Bloomberg building. The program will also feature a cocktail party with business executives. restaurants. A comprehensive guided tour of Wall Street is also on the agenda. .For more information, contact Sam at 212 -921-9090. ext. 31 or sam@aishconnec- By Marissa Brostoff Tablet NEW YORK--The results are in: the words "shpiel" and "klutz" have been thoroughly absorbed into the American vernacular, while "mensch" and "kvetch" remain primar- ily in the linguistic domain of Jews. A third of Jewish Ameri- cans who did not grow up in New York have nonetheless been told that they sound like they're from that city. Sixty- eight percent of Reform Jews pronounce the word for the annual Jewish harvest festival '~soo-COAT." as Israelis do, while only 34 percent use the Yiddish pronunciation "SUK- kiss"; among the fervently Orthodox. those numbers are basically reversed. And gay non-Jews use more Yid- dish than straight non-Jews. though gay Jews and straight Jews use about the same amount. These arejusta few findings of the Survey of American Jewish Language and Identity, the results of which were pub- lished online late October by linguist Sarah Bunin Benor and sociologist Steven M. Cohen. (The researchers are What the use of Yiddish phrases can tell us about contemporary American Jewry of the more direct variety for some four decades. "There are things we can see through the side door that we can't see through the front door." Benor and Cohen's survey technique, like the questions they asked, was untraditional. Instead of using a random survey sample, they employed a "snowball technique." e- mailing the survey to 600 friends in July 2008 and ask- ing respondents to forward it in turn. They make clear in the introduction to their report that this approach has both its advantages and itsdrawbacks. On the one hand, 41.696 people completed the survey just in the first few weeks of its life off the Internet. (You can still take the survey on- line. though only data from those first 41.696 respondents has already been analyzed.) By contrast, the National JeWish Population Survey, conducted every 10 years by Jewish Federations of North America (the umbrella group of local Jewish federations formerly known as United Jewish Communities), has a sample size of about 5,000: On the other hand. Benor and Cohen acknowledge, "We publishing a more academic version of their report in a linguistics journal later this year.) Dozens of surveys about American Jews have come Out the past few decades most famously, perhaps, the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey that caused alarm in some quarters With its claim that 52 percent of Jews were intermarried but this is a rare one that shows rather than tells. Instead of asking respondents how religious they are or whether their grandchildren will be Jew- ish. Benor and Cohen asked questions like. "When you say 'Mary' and 'merry' in regular speech, do they sound the same or different?" and "How do you refer to the Jewish skullcap?" By hitting the question of Jewish identity at a slant rather than head-on. the researchers have come up with an unusually nuanced portrait of contemporary American Jews. "Patterns of language use can tell us things about iden- tities and communities that might not even be known to the actors themselves." said Cohen, who hasbeen conduct- ing Jewish identity surveys Find your Chanukah date on new Jewish singles Web site By Stacey Palevsky j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California of the Web site's name refers to the enormous amount of personal information that is shared and consumed on the site. The "911" is a reference to the fact that the Jewish population is declining, which for Weiss is an urgent call to spark some matchmaking. Yenta911 seeks to be what other Jewish datingsitesare not. It ~has a different and more transparent billing structure than some of its competitors. Other dating sites automati- cally charge their members after their subscriptions lapse. until they explicitly cancel their membership. In con- trast. Yenta911 only charges its members for the duration of their registration. Weiss grew up in Jerusalem. When she was 24 she moved to Scotland. then London. Boston. Portland and finally San Francisco. where the 36-year-old mother of two has lived for the past two years. She has worked as a soft- ware engineer and financial planner. About a year ago, she decided to lay the groundwork for an online dating Web site, which became Yenta911. "The competition [among online dating Web sites] is ab- solutely fierce, but everybody starts somewhere." Weiss said. She wants "to attract people who want to promote Jewish culture and really love it. like us~ I think it will catch on--I have a good feeling." Dennis Mendel. 51. a di- vorced father of two from San Francisco. signed up for Yen- ta911 in S eptember after trying JDate and He liked the social networking aspect of Yenta911 and that fact that it had more dynamic technology, such as video and blog capabilities, than the oth- ers. He also felt as though the people on Yenta911 were more serious about datingand Jewish culture and practice. For instance, he received quite a bit of spam on other sites, mostly from young women from Rus- sia or E asternEurope who "'seemed to be looking for a husband to.stay in the country," he said. "Yenta911 is more homey to me it felt more like a Jewish home," Mendel added. "I feel more comfortable there." SAN FRANCISCOTired of being single?Don'tworry a modern-day yenta is here to rescue you. A new Jewish dating Web site based in San Francisco promises to connect Jews from around the globe with the newest technologies. "'We want to create some- thing that is explicitly Jewish, where people go and talk about the holidays and people care about Jewish culture." said founder and CEO Alexandra Weiss. The Web site gives members flexibility in their profiles by allowing them to keep a blog, post videos and even connect with their friends who are also similar to Facebook so that date seekers can see not only what someone has to say or what they look like. but the kind of company they keep. "You can learn a lot about a person by seeing who their friends are." Weiss said. Weiss said the "yenta" part know it over-represents Jews with strong Jewish engage- ment and social ties"--the kind of people most likely to take such a survey of their own volition. As Benor expected from her previous scholarship (like Cohen. she teaches at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Insti- tute of Religion. the Reform movement's seminary, which sponsored the survey), the data suggests that for the most part. American Jews across the religious spectrum draw from the same "'reper- toire" of distinctive speech elements that is. they are English speakers who use varying amounts of Yiddish or Hebrew phrasing and gram- mar to distinguish themselves both from non-Jews and from Jews elsewhere on the spectrum. With the exception of those fervently Orthodox Jews who use Yiddish as their primar~ language, Benor said. American Jews fall some- where on this "continuum of distinctiveness" rather than being separable into different dialect groups. "My favorite example is "gmar cha-tee-MAH to-VAH.' "" she said. enunciating each syllable of the traditional Yore Kippur greeting: in English. "May you be inscribed in the book of life." "That's the most modern Hebrew pronuncia- tion you can get. Then there's "gmar cha-TEE-mah TO-vah.' "gmarcha- SEE-mahTO-vah.' and then 'gmar ch'SEE-mah TOY-vah." For those in the know. each pronunciation signifies a dif- ferent spot on the religious continuum: a non-Orthodox Jew probably would use the modern Hebrew pronuncia- tion; as you move along the spectrum of observance. the greeting becomes more Yiddish-inflected. One of the key findings of the survey was what Benof and Cohen call "the growth of linguistic distinctiveness among the Orthodox." Dis- . tinctive strains of Yiddish- inflected English are not only still in everyday use among younger generations of Or- thodox American Jews, their prevalence is growing. Take the phrase, "She's staying by us." which borrows a Yiddish grammatical construction to mean. "She's staying at our place." Fifty-three percent of Orthodox Jews who took the survey use the phrase (versus 21 percent of non-Orthodox Yiddish on page 23A