Jewish Journal

J.D. Smith

  • The best of the kosher bubblies

    June 7, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    When Champagne producers first marketed their product with enthusiasm in the late 19th century, they avoided the intentionally staid campaigns for Bordeaux's red wines, which were represented as distinctively male.

    The Champagne manufacturers targeted men and women alike through a...
  • Confessions of a kosher wine snob

    March 29, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Passover is finally here and while the family is wrangling over who will play host and who's invited, I'm wrangling with which wines to serve. The seder is a feast, after all, not just a long, drawn-out dinner party with responsive reading and some especially catchy tunes. We all...
  • Rosh Hashanah wines: it’s a fine time to pour some fruit of the vines

    September 14, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Do you know that song, "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," by the Temptations? I probably heard that song about a million times before I ever stopped and paid attention to the words. Turns out, it's a lament about a guy who never even talks to the girl of his dreams. Who...
  • Wines to Test the Palate, Pocketbook

    March 30, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Before I got married, the rabbi told us that there would be certain rituals, including the part where we drink twice from a Kiddush cup. The first sip represents our engagement, then some Hebrew stuff gets said, then the second sip symbolizes our marriage. I suggested that the wine...

  • Above It All

    January 27, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Well, I'm still married. Somebody won a bet that I'd actually make it to the altar. The bookies took a bath on me. Hard to believe, but it's been almost two years already, and I would like to tackle this whole single thing from the other side of the fence. I'm not exactly above...

  • In the Pink

    November 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    I'm almost fully pregnant. There's not much for me to do. We're about two weeks away from having a baby girl and I haven't gained a pound. I feel fine. Never better. Thanks for asking.

    We went to a picnic the other day. A woman with a 3-year-old girl told us "your life is going to...

  • Almost Mother’s Day

    May 6, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    I've really done it now. A year ago I got engaged. I made good on that promise in late July, and we have been on a honeymoon ever since.

    Well, the honeymoon is over, folks. I'm here to tell you that I'm pregnant. Actually, I'm not much of anything, but my better half is pregnant. My...

  • Finished

    January 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    It has been said that a man is not complete until he is married. Then, he is finished.

    Well, I got married.

    When last we visited these pages, I was on my way to the altar. My long-suffering girlfriend -- lets call her Alison, although I can't see why we should, when her name is...

  • Down to the Wire

    August 14, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    I'm getting married in a couple of hours. My little brother is coming to pick me up and take me to the hotel to marry my long-suffering fiancée, Alison. This is the last article I'm writing from this side of the fence. The next time you hear from me, I will be a married man. You...

  • It’s All About You

    July 31, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    It should be pointed out that once upon a time I wrote a little book titled "Life Sentence." It is the definitive treatise on the state of human relations between men and women, vis-à-vis engagement and marriage from the male perspective. Some people think it was anti-marriage,...

  • In Escrow

    July 17, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    When you last left me, I had just proposed to my long-suffering girlfriend, Alison, while on the beach with a pimple. She said "yes," and we agreed to start fighting about the wedding plans as soon as possible.

    The day before I popped the question, my life was a relatively quiet...

  • Rock On

    June 19, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Getting engaged is a life-altering, mind-blowing, milestone event. It is the romantic equivalent of graduating from college and being thrown into the great unknown. We are transitioning here.

    Getting engaged is also something you have to do. It doesn't just happen on its own. At...

  • Off the Market

    January 16, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Hello again. I've been away for a while. For those of you who actually follow this space (Hi Mom!), thanks for your kind words -- I've missed you, too.

    Nothing personal, but I've been busy, OK? For one thing, I started a new business and it takes a lot of my time. (Let me tell you,...

  • What Women Want

    October 17, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    I picked up a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine in Dr. Rudnick's office the other day. Leafing through, I started to form a picture that somewhere in there -- between the Bedside Astrologer and a story titled "The Seven Dreams You Must Not Ignore" -- was the answer to the question: What...

  • Big Mouth Strikes, Again

    August 29, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    A few years ago, the rabbi offered the following challenge to the congregation: Spend one full day without gossiping whatsoever. His definition includes saying bad things about people, things which may happen to be true. It wasn't easy. My sister and I almost made it out of the...

  • The Early Midlife Crisis

    August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    My 29-year-old cousin, "Barry," is having his first "midlife" crisis. By simple math, this would put his entire life span at a scant 58 years, well shy of the actuarial tables' prediction. His midlife crisis should be about 10 years hence. It's been a slow week over here at my place,...

  • Caveat Emptor

    August 8, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    When you meet someone new, you start with a clean slate. Tabula rasa. There's such a wonderful sense of mystery and discovery in the air. You gradually fill in all the pertinent information, like on a credit application: name, date of birth, address, whom do we call in case of an...

  • I Can’t Hang Out

    July 18, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    I went to a big Hollywood party last week. My girlfriend, Alison, was out of town. The occasion had something to do with a photo shoot for a fashion magazine.

    I don't know why this would occasion a party, but why not? Beautiful people love to party, and almost any excuse will do....

  • Two Is Greater Than One

    June 20, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "Life," a sage old woman once told me, "is about loss." Sad but true, folks. We lose our hair, our eyesight, our hearing, our quickness, our strength, our friends, our families.

    Every 10 years or so, we lose our innocence all over again. We lose a little something every day. We...

  • Au Revoir, Mes Amis

    May 23, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    I want to take this opportunity to say hello ... and goodbye to my friends. If you've been wondering where I've been lately, as my pal Mickey did in a phone call last week, I've got a new girlfriend (let's call her Alison), and I won't be seeing you around much anymore.

    Let's be...

  • Jewish Girls Rule

    May 2, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    I have a pint-sized Jewish ex-girlfriend named Lori who once asked if I thought that Jewish girls were better lovers.

    It was a funny question. Better than what? I had to think about it. It never occurred to me that there was some kind of tacit competition going on, pitting the home...

  • My Mommy Dearest

    May 2, 2002 | 7:59 pm

    As an unintended consequence of writing this column, I am in my mother's dog house. I have reported in these pages on my own failings, my father's shortcomings, my sister's eccentricities, the foibles of two cousins and the generally bad behavior of several friends. To date, however,...

  • About a Boy

    April 18, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Several years ago I became a Jewish Big Brother. The decision to do so followed fast on the heels of a breakup with my girlfriend, in one of those "search for meaning" moments of introspection that only getting tossed out of the house can provide.

    After a series of interviews and...

  • Hit the Road, Jeff

    March 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    I have heard people refer to the process of meeting someone as "the dating minefield." I can't think of a place as chaotic, dangerous and fraught with anxiety as a minefield, except possibly anywhere one might go on a trip with one's new girlfriend. Out of this chaos comes order....

  • Cable Vision

    February 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    I'm seeing someone. Let's call her Alison. We're dating. We're in that very gray area between being total strangers and celebrating our silver wedding anniversary. Three months into it and people are already asking when we're getting married. At this point, we're cautiously...

  • The Parking Spot Theory

    February 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Here's my "Parking Spot Theory": Let's say you're driving around, looking for a parking spot and you can't find one. You drive around the block again and, still, nothing. You look up ahead at the other cars circling the block and no one is getting a parking spot. Frustration builds....

  • Generation Ex

    January 31, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    My editor recently suggested that as long as I was writing something called "Singles," it might be helpful if I actually went out on a date every once in a while. Research. Give the column the ring of verisimilitude.

    I must admit that I resisted at first. I've been on dates before....

  • Bundles of Joy

    January 17, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The stork has been awfully busy lately.

    It seems as though everyone I know is having a baby. A couple I haven't heard from in months sent a postcard with a picture of what I thought was a Sharpei puppy -- it turns out the little boy's name is Jesse. I didn't even know they were...

  • Self-Improvement for Dummies

    January 3, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Some of the letters we get here at the Jewish Journal are quite flattering. Some people relate that they find my biweekly musings to be pithy and funny (thanks, mom!). If these people can be trusted, they are laughing out loud, weeping with laughter, dying of laughter. I've killed...

  • Jingle Bell Rock

    December 13, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    A 27-year-old Jewish woman named Amy goes to see her grandmother.

    "Bubbe," she says, "I'm getting married!"

    "That's wonderful, darling. So, tell me ... what's he like? Is he Jewish?"

    "Yes, Bubbe, he's Jewish. He keeps the Sabbath."

    "What else? How old is he?"

    "Well, Bubbe, he's a...

  • The Age of Reason

    November 29, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    I thought I had exhausted every possible way to meet members of the opposite sex: blind dates and JDates, fishing for invitations to big Hollywood parties and intimate dinner gatherings. I joined art groups in the hopes of finding like-minded women while shrouding myself in a veneer...

  • My Sister Julie, Queen of the Jews

    September 13, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    My sister Julie was not bat mitzvahed. She does not read Hebrew. She attends synagogue exactly four times a year, observes the first night of Passover and celebrates Purim. She lives in Montecito, a lovely suburb just south of Santa Barbara, where she is known by the title: "Queen of...

  • Crazy for These Guys

    July 5, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Evan and Jaron Lowenstein aren't your average rock stars. The identical-twin heartthrobs are Orthodox Jews whose contract includes a Sabbath clause. Their latest album, "Evan and Jaron" (Columbia, 2000), features the top-20 single "Crazy for This Girl" and the new release, "From My...

  • Don’t Trust Me

    March 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Darryl is a louse. He is a despicable person and if he treated me the way he treats women, I'm sure we wouldn't remain friends for long. He is dishonest, unfaithful, and utterly untrustworthy, but only in the ways of (what passes for) romance. He called me up the other day because...

  • Downhill Doubts

    February 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    My father has disowned me. We did not get into a fight about the family business -- there is no family business. I did not marry out of the faith, and I have no children about whose upbringing we can disagree. The source of our irreconcilable differences is that we went skiing...