Happy Jewish New Year – Shanah Tovah


“Can this year just stop already?” says Ryan Prior of CNN
Jewish New Year

A chance for us all to reflect and renew

“It’s a thought ricocheting around the world as we cope with Covid-19, quarantine, wildfires and hurricanes. Now it can.”

Rosh Hashanah, which marks the Jewish New Year, begins Friday, September 18. Even if you’re not Jewish, it’s a way to immerse yourself in parts of these rituals of renewal. Maybe God knows we all need a little renewal now.”

Wishing our readers a peaceful period of renewal and reflection

Happy New Year – Shanah Tovah – from us all at HTWB


What we ALL can learn from Hanukkah

While wishing all our Jewish friends a very happy Hanukkah which starts today, it’s worth looking at why this story has lessons we can learn from it – whether we are Jewish or not.

The story of Hanukkah

The Menorah that celebrates the story of Hanukkah

According to History.com[Read more…]

Happy Passover

Happy PassoverHere’s wishing you a Happy Passover

from Suze and the crew at HTWB



Happy Chanukah, Festival of Lights

Happy Chanukah, Festival of LightsThis year I asked my good friend Norman Feiner to write about his thoughts and favorite jokes at the start of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights that runs for eight days near Christmas and other mid-winter festivals. So without further ado, over to Norman…

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Holy (Second) Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century. The Jews, led by the brave Hasmoneans, demonstrated by their self-sacrifice that the light of true Torah belief cannot be extinguished.

The Chanukah story is symbolised from that event until today by the lighting of the Menorah-candelabrum in many Jewish homes, to commemorate the miracle of the tiny phial of oil found in the Temple’s ruins used to light the Menorah which burned continuously for eight days.

There is an old Jewish quip, ‘You know what they say about Jewish holidays – right? “They tried to kill the Jews, we were victorious, let’s eat…”’

…and with the copious quantities of oily foods – latkes, jam & cream doughnuts and potato & cheese blintzes – consumed over the 8 days of Chanukah to venerate the miraculous event, this epigram remains more relevant to Chanukah than all the other festivals celebrated during the Jewish calendar.

So, to put you all in fine Chanukah fettle allow me to present just a tiny collection of Norman’s Chanukah funnies…

Jews often celebrate in family groups, especially during this festival, so Miriam’s tale seems most appropriate:

Last year, just before Chanukah, Miriam, a grandmother, was giving full directions to her grown-up grandson who was coming to visit with his wife for Chanukah. ‘You come to the front door of the retirement apartment complex. I am in apartment 9A.’

Miriam continued, ‘There is a large panel by the door. With your elbow push button 9A. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow hit 9. When you get out I am on the left-hand side. With your elbow, hit my doorbell.’

‘Grandma, that sounds easy,’ replied Jonathan, ‘but why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?’

To which she answered, ‘Surely you’re not coming to visit your Grandma empty handed?’ “

As mentioned, Jews eat far lots of oily delicacies over the 8 days of Chanukah to evoke the ‘miracle of oil’, and this joke tickled my latke…

Moshe enters a kosher restaurant on Chanukah and orders potato latkes. The waiter brings him a fine selection but he does not like the look of them at all and changes his order to potato & cheese blintzes which he swiftly polishes off and prepares to leave.

“Wait a second,” said the manager, “You haven’t yet paid for your blintzes.”

“What are you talking about?” Moshe replies. “Those blintzes were only an exchange. I returned the potato latkes for them.”

“Yes, but you didn’t pay for them either.”

“Huh” said Moshe, “Why should I pay for the potato latkes? I didn’t eat any of them.”

Many Jews go to their synagogue to offer special prayers during Chanukah-time. This gag always gets me chuckling:

Hymie came home one fine Chanukah day from his local Reform synagogue with a dramatic black eye.

“Hymie, what happened to your eye?” asked his darling wife Becky.

“Well,” said Hymie, “it was like this. During the morning service, we had to stand up several times and on one occasion I noticed that Mrs. Cohen sitting right in front of me had her dress stuck in the crease of her bottom, so I leaned forward and pulled it out. But Mrs. Cohen didn’t like this at all; she turned around and smacked me full in the face with her prayer book.”

The next week Maurice comes back from synagogue once more with the other eye blackened too.

“And what happened this time, Hymie?” asked Becky.

“Well,” says Hymie, “it was like this. Once again Mrs. Cohen had her dress trapped, but this time my friend Chaim saw it. Chaim leaned over and delicately pulled out her dress. But I know that Mrs. Cohen doesn’t like this; so I tucked it back in again!”

With all the problems the Jews have experienced and suffered through the centuries, a missive addressed directly to…:

Dear G-d,

We Jews know & appreciate how You rescued us from Egyptian bondage by Splitting the Red Sea and the 10 plagues, and You saved us from the Greeks with the Chanukah miracle and we know we are Your true Chosen People, but why, oh why, couldn’t You choose somebody else for a change?”

And finally, a lovely story I once overheard … nowadays it is said that the miracle of the Chanukah oil is simply that, “on the first night of Chanukah you eat one large, greasy doughnut or oily latke and it ‘burns’ for eight days!”

Enjoy an illuminating Chanukah and warm and festive seasonal greetings to all.


Norman Feiner is Founder and Director of SimplyFone Ltd, providing low-cost telephone services & solutions to business and residential users. Also on Facebook.

photo credit: idovermani via photopin cc
photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

Bar and bat mitzvahs: how to write speeches everyone will remember

People keep asking me for advice on speeches for bar and bat mitzvahs and although I’ve (ghost)written several in the past, I’m not Jewish. That’s why I thought it only right that I should ask my good (Jewish) friend Lilach Bullock, the internet marketing guru, to share her thoughts on what makes a great speech for these occasions.

I have interspersed Lilach’s comments with a few of my own tips based on my experience of writing such speeches for Jewish families, and of speechwriting generally. [Read more…]