JWR Schticks and groans

Jewish World Review Dec. 6, 2002 / 1 Teves, 5763

Gifts You Won't
Find Elsewhere

By Gary Rosenblatt

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Chanukah is almost over but, hey, isn't that the best time for holiday gift bargains for specialized games, books and videos?

Some of my favorites include:

Saddam Says. This board game for the whole family pits UN inspectors frantically searching for nuclear facilities in Iraq against the country's leader, who must give daily clues - "You're getting warmer," "you're getting colder" - regarding their progress.

Players wear either thick black mustaches (as Iraqi officials) or short pants and high socks (the UN party). Hurry though, this game is only available for the next few weeks and all sales are final.

Diddle The Data. This new entry into the market has really taken off. It has players searching for the information holding up the release of the National Jewish Population Survey.

A variation of the classic mystery game, "Clue," this one encourages guessing the latest intermarriage statistics - 52 percent? 55 percent? More? - and identifying the culprit who hid the missing numbers ("the communal professional in the computer lab with the zip disk" or, "the clergyman in the vestibule with the herring," etc.).

Winners will be eligible to compete in the Great Passover Afikomen-Hiding Extravaganza in Honolulu.

The Lovely Bones. A haunting and imaginative cookbook by a teen shochet who offers a variety of recipes for soups made from chicken parts, told from the perspective of the animals themselves, looking down from their special place in Heaven.

Soon to be a major motion picture.

Trading Faces. Contestants portray Israeli politicians and must disguise their true policies and inner feelings during this campaign-length contest, played at dizzying speed.

Players from the right and left strive to reach the middle of the board while keeping their opponents on the fringes. In the Topsy Turvy Round, one militant career army general preaches patience while another insists on achieving victory through concessions to the enemy.

My Big Fat Jewish Brother-In-Law's Niece's Bat Mitzvah. A wildly successful small film (now available on video) that is incredibly ethnic yet somehow universal in its theme. It tells the story of a plain Jane 12-year-old who overcomes the challenges posed by a dysfunctional family and greasy catering to triumph on her big day in the synagogue, reciting her Haftorah flawlessly despite noticing a large zit forming on her chin.

Rated R for Yiddish vulgarisms and a brief scene of frontal clarity when the rabbi explains the rituals and customs to the congregation.

Where's Osama? Tired of finding Waldo? This board game has half the players fan out as American troops searching across the globe for The Tall Bearded One while the other half insist he's either gone, harmless, or Cat Stevens on speed.

Deluxe Edition includes The Best of the Mystery Man videos and tapes, translated from the original (language of Hate).

Scribble. A new variation of the classic word game, this one has players competing as journalists covering the Mideast conflict, making up stories as they go along by connecting key words and phrases like "brutal occupation" and "militant settlers" to the game's core letters, I-S-R-A-E and L.

Extra points for describing Palestinian suicide bombers without using the word "terrorist."

As advertised in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and other dailies.

So there's my list of goodies. They should be on sale now in your local stores; if they tell you they've never heard of them, file a protest with the ADL.

Happy shopping.

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JWR contributor Gary Rosenblatt is editor and publisher of New York Jewish Week. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


©2002, Gary Rosenblatt