As a writer, I am constantly battling urgent obstacles that make it hard to focus on my job. This had me thinking – could it be that there’s a Jewish way to be “busy?” While some might call it “procrastination,” We Jews are a highly productive people. I doubt Spinoza, Einstein or Jonas Salk “wasted” time even when they weren’t exactly thinking. Or … maybe they were getting ideas by procrastinating “Jewishly.”

Fill your time by debating important issues on social media

In an effort to support this line of ingenious logic, here are my 10 ways We Jews can Procrastinate Productively along with its PV or Productive Value.


JPP 1: Debate Important Jewish Issues on Social Media: For example, “Which are better? Floaters vs. Sinkers?” “Who truly owns the rights to hummus?” and of course, even if you don’t have a Ph.D., Hamentashen vs. Latkes.” While you have to be a VIP to participate in this yearly academic sport, why not start a blog? In fact, if you don’t want to bother with the “versus” just debate the latke. Professor Silbey, at MIT, reported that “latke” got 380,000 hits on Google, while "hamantaschen" only got 62,000. With numbers like these you can spend a few hours a day recording “Latke Likes” – and make new Jewish friends.


JPP 2: Increase the Majesty of Yiddish: We’ve all heard it or been called it: “Zaftig.” The problem with this Yiddish word is when describing a person, what is the describer describing? Listen: “David, I’m telling you, she’s a little zaftig, but gorgeous.” Now, this could be a great thing, however, the “but” here could mean Goodyear could advertise on her. Isn’t it time we sat down and created new Ameridish words for “zaftignicity” to differentiate the curvies from the “could lose a few blintzes” from the “she’ll show up on radar.” For example, while doing this article, I thought of “zaftigele,” “zaftigedish,” and “zaftignaseous!”

JPP3: Get Comfy with Jewish Culture: Whether you’re “zaftignaseous!” or not, listen to the 1937 version of the Andrews Sisters singing Bei Mir Bistu Shein—on loop. The title means “To me you’re beautiful.” According to the new Krankheit Institute in Guatemala, this constant reinforcement was found to be 110 per cent superior than Reichian therapy should one feel farklempt.

JPP4: Be Playful and Jewishly Inventive. Play the dreidel game – with yourself. As you know, normally players spin the dreidel on their turn and follow the instructions: a) If you get “nun” you do nothing; b) gimmel; you get the pot; c) hey, you get half the pot; d) shin you put in a piece. Personally, I recommend bittersweet chocolate coins for the pot. Stop when you’ve won enough to delight all the Incas, which of course, you will … if you play long enough. However, If say, you’re due in surgery, re-design the game pieces so they only read a or b.

JPP5: Contribute to Jewish Art: Spend at least 3 hours, choosing a design, background, color palette, font, and sizing to create the ultimate Power Point showing the beauty of the Dead Sea.

JPP6: Be Health Conscious! Make time daily to check all your medications for their expiration dates. Then, call your pharmacy and remind them to remind your doctor that your omeprazole (Prilosec) for your heartburn has only one refill and you need at least three, as you’re visiting your in-laws in Scottsdale for the High Holy Days. While you’re on the phone ask what else a) comes cheaper by prescription? b) you can get in generic? (Yesterday, I found my pharmacy keeps a secret stash of Vitamin B for four dollars. Get your vitamins prescribed!)

JPP7: Teach People You’ve Outed: Insist on social media that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge is Jewish (her maternal grandparents were the Goldsmiths, and not “Sir Rexford” and “Lady Daphne” but Ronny and Dorothy) then write her a guide to how to be a balaboste Jewish princess. I’m halfway through mine. Chapters include: “Kashrut: Toad in the Hole Doesn’t Have to be Treif,” “Making Simple Work of 678 Mezuzot,” “Royal Melmac: Milchig & Fleishig.” Of course the good news is she’s already making an excellent Yiddish Mama. First, titles shmitles. True, her mama-in-law is the Queen but her own mama is the Knocker. Also, she has at least 20 people guarding the kinder, so they shouldn’t scrape a knee, or swallow a royal jewel. Better, she doesn’t have to shvitz over entrance exams. Heaven forbid, they’re not Einsteins, at least they have a nice family business in which they’ll make a living.

JPP8: Get Jewishly Organized: Properly organize and divide your soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper packets. Even the greatest balaboste I ever knew, my mother, once in a while reached into the soy baggie and put ketchup on her kosher egg roll. This is not good.

JPP9: Be Jewishly Thrifty and Nifty: Look for nifty Jewishy gifts for the New Year or Hanukkah on Ebay. Best to start now before the season. Just yesterday look at what I found – and bought:

  1. Connie Francis – Sings Jewish Favourites Original Vinyl Lp UK $1.56
  2. Schmelvis: Searching for the King's Jewish Roots (DVD, 2007) $10.99
  3. Moses Action Figure 10.99

They also had: Henry Winkler The Fonz Happy Days Autographed Signed Celebrity Baseball $150.00. (Now this is meshuggah.)

JJP10: Show caring! Ask every Jew you know: “How are you?”