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.”
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.
Throughout the Maghreb, couscous was traditionally prepared by groups of women, family and friends, who helped each other pass the long hours it took to make. First, they spread semolina wheat, bought by the men and freshly ground, onto a large round platter, sprinkling it with salted water and sometimes flour.