The Dictionary of Acronyms and Slang indicates that there are 30 different possible definitions for the acronym EOB. They range from Explanation of Benefits to Executive Office Building as in the White House to End of Business day to End of Bombardment, End of Buffer as in computer jargon and Encyclopedia of Business among others. There is one explanation though that is blatantly missing from the list and I will help correct this oversight.

I actually wanted to understand what it means to be a basher first so I went back to the Dictionary. In addition to being the Arabic word for face, basher is defined as to strike with a crushing blow, to assault severely, and, to criticize accusatorially, and threateningly. I do not speak Arabic, well maybe just a word or two, I cannot remember a single occasion of severely hitting someone, and while I do criticize on occasion I have never overtly threatened anyone. I can on occasion be sarcastic but many people have called that my dry sense of humor. With this insight in hand, I feel comfortable adding to the treasure that is the EOB acronym.

EOB also means Equal Opportunity Basher. I know because I have been accused of being a basher and see myself as an equal opportunity one. In this blog, readers have accused me of being a Hareidi basher more than once. What is most interesting is that those who have accused me have not carefully read what I wrote. In the most recent situation, I “bashed” on a wide range of issues. I was, however, only accused in writing of bashing Hareidim. They overlooked the fact that I bashed a modern Orthodox issue along with an Arab dress style and an upscale clothing company. Well you could call it bashing but for me it was just a poke some fun at the world moment.

I have received personal E-mails and phone calls from people when I was accused of bashing the New York Times or the liberal media, the President of the United States, and so on. I wonder why the difference in approach between those accusing me of Haredi bashing and those who accuse me of other bashes. The accusers that accuse me of Hareidi bashing are more vocal, more public even a bit more in your face. I am not sure why that is although as a student of human behavior I can readily figure it out.

I appreciate constructive criticism. I appreciate a healthy debate. I encourage my readers to engage in a dialogue with me. I appreciate suggestions for articles and I look forward to feedback. I do not appreciate humorlessness. There is a great deal of seriousness and I deal with a fair amount of it. Once in a while, it is important to chill.

Just an observation – We all know the joke about the Jew marooned on a desert island. After 10 years, he is finally saved. When his rescuers arrive, they ask him about the three buildings he has erected on the island. He responds, “This one is the shul I never go to, this one is the one I go to only occasionally and the third is my shul.” OK I am not a comedian and my timing is off but you cannot tell me that the first time you heard the joke you did not laugh. Some of you even laughed deeply and heartily. Using a strict definition, this joke bashes Jews.

Psychologists know that one the most effective ways to alleviate and handle stress is to smile and laugh. Come on people let us have some more of it.

I will handle more timely and important issues but I cannot promise not to bash. After all, I am an EOB.