Jewish Word | Shamash

n the 1946 film The Big Sleep, based on the Raymond Chandler mystery of the same name, Carmen—the promiscuous, drug-addicted younger sister of Lauren Bacall’s character—sizes up Philip Marlowe, played by Humphrey Bogart, and asks him, “What are you, a prizefighter?” Bogart responds, “No, I’m a shamus.” “What’s a shamus?” she inquires. “It’s a private detective,” he answers. Yes, Bogart is using the Yiddish version—more popularly spelled “shammes”—of the Hebrew word, “shamash.”

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alfred moses

Author Interview | Alfred Moses

When Alfred Moses, an attorney and prominent national Jewish leader, traveled behind the Iron Curtain to Romania in 1976, the impoverished country was under the thumb of the ruthless and corrupt dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The trip changed Moses’s life, inspiring him to fight for the freedom of Romania’s Jews.

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