Two days ago, I was sitting next to an Israeli at a bank of computers when I heard a noise coming from his computer. I recognized the song and hoped that it was the fantastic Simpsons opening set to Ke$ha (source) that made me giggle so much from this past season that I’m sharing it below for you to adore as well:
I glanced over the Israeli’s shoulder and saw that he was watching something with soldiers (clearly in Israel) and assumed that the music was coming from somewhere else. Then I happened upon this gem on Jezebel.com when sifting through my reader today.
I’m not sure how I feel about armed soldiers who look like they’re on duty (and I really hope that they were off duty when they shot this), bustin’ a move, in one of the most hotly contested areas in the Middle East, particularly on the tails of the recent Birthright foray into Hebron. I wonder what is really going on over there?
I applaud the Birthright Staff for trying to show their participants the full picture of Israel, even thought I always felt too uncomfortable with what a trip over the Green Line represented. I don’t really know what the Birthright participants did while they were in Hebron, and everyone returned unscathed so that’s good. The Haaretz piece points out that Birthright doesn’t allow their participants to go to areas that are deemed unsafe by both the State and Birthright CEO Gideon Mark (not to mention authorities such as my mother). These include such unsafe areas as the West Bank and Gaza. Unless, and I quote the article, “Changes are [made] possible when permitted by the security authorities.”
If the soldiers that are guarding Hebron are too busy shaking their tails in the streets, guns flapping wildly, I wouldn’t necessarily see this as the safest side trip. Presenting this video without comment is jarring, and frankly, a little scary, as it makes one realize that the children (yes, children) that are guarding Hebron might not be up to the task 100% of the time.
Today I was introduced to this video, which is by a lovely person who works with me. Mazal tov, Stacy, on your delightfully rhymed spoof!
I think it’s fantastic. The matching track suits! The poodles! The fancy cars! It’s a lovely portrayal of my home, Jew York.
I bet you’re offended by her video, because of some of the salacious lyrics and imagery, and her statement about who is a Jew. Feel free to snark in the comments, and definitely share it with your friends.
So, it turns out that Erev Rosh Hodesh (coming at you live the ides of March, in the evening) is a special time in the Jewish year. Thanks to a Frumster.com email, poor, sad, and unmarried girls like me got this stunning message, about this time of “significant opportunity for salvation and success.” Start filling up those hope chests, because yeshiva bochers all around Israel will be praying so that all the single ladies don’t die alone! That’s right. They’ll put a ring on it, if you ring them. Someone order a cheese platter, this is going to be quite the Hodesh Tov.
Whether or not this has some sort of Torah or Talmud backing, I cannot say. I am just a meek woman who knows not the glory of the true word that this yeshiva will use to find me a husband. B-f***ing-H, as I like to say.
Their photographic list of geonim is impressive, at least in terms of the amount of time it must have taken them to grow their beards. I wonder if your husband – or mine (of blessed memory) – can be found under the black hats, or woven into the fabric of their all-day prayer shawls.
All you have to do is call 1-800-451-3656, or, internationally, 1-646-395-9544. Those shlitas will get right on task in praying about the poor unmarried women who take the time (and cell phone billable minutes) to call and ask for a hussun. Call me crazy (do it – I dare you!), but maybe these unmarried women should take the time to talk to men they might want to marry instead.
IF (and if I could actually represent my feelings visually, those letters would be dripping with a venom that would burn the inside of your monitor once they appear) these kollel kids from Ateret Shlomo (how nice of them to link RIGHT to their donation page so dangerous my office blocked it (if you want a hubby, you gots to pay!)) want to pray for husbands for the unwed, and IF (again, with the sarcasm) they think it will make a difference, then by all means. Feel free to waste your power on some virgins.
How about praying for adequate food for all? How about a stop in climate change? How about no more destructive natural disasters this year?
My cousin once told me that prayer works, just not in the way that we want it to (oh, to have faith like that…). She said that was why there were so many babies born the same day that my future husband passed away. A hard pill to swallow, for sure, but it gives me an idea. Maybe if these dudes pray for the unmarried women who call, then maybe the natural disasters will stop happening?
While the rest of Jewschool was checking out the JStreetlaunches around the country this past week, dlevy noticed that I’d gone on a different route. For the second year in a row, I attended the AIPAC Benefit Dinner at the Marriott Grand Marquis in NYC. My friend’s family are patrons; for the last two years, they have invited me to attend, partially because of my interest in Israel education, and partially because of my ability to overeat at the shmorg like nobody’s business. Regardless of my feel for AIPAC’s politics, I am grateful to my friend’s family for the opportunity to attend and learn with them.
I approach AIPAC with a healthy dose of skepticism, because, in addition to how I hold a pen, and how I waterski, I tend to be quite the lefty. I ran into another friend at the benefit, and her buddy, a member of the young AIPAC group, explained to me what it is AIPAC does in simple terms. Financial support, he said. Lobbying. I explained that I have done research in Israel education, and that I lived in Israel for a year, and he responded with more depth. I asked him if AIPAC supported a one-state or two-state solution, and he replied that it’s more complicated than that. I ruminated over a lot of sushi.
They ushered us into the dinner (some thousand Jews all shuffling from one floor of a hotel to another, I wondered aloud if anybody else felt the horrific irony of the situation) and served us more food, even though, at least in my case, the shmorg had been more than enough.
They talked about their upcoming Policy Conference, saying, “Policy Conference is our Bonnaroo,” to which half of the room laughed, and the other half asked, “What’s a Bonnaroo?” Many of my friends over the years have enjoyed attending Policy Conference because they got to meet politicians, but it was never my cup of tea. I am not attending this year.
The speakers were interesting. Chuck Schumer pointed out that his last name means “protector” and he was going to protect Israel. Another politician also spoke (I missed her name while I was attempting to attack the 1/4 chicken I had no business trying to eat), and misquoted Isaiah 42:6, saying that “Israel is a light until the nations” (emphasis mine, proper translations include “for” “in” “on” and “unto”). I think she was nervous, but still.
After these speeches, the keynote came from Daniel Gordis. He tugged at the heartstrings, talking about what it’s like for an Israeli parent when they know their child is going to be out partying all night in Israel. I liked when he said that “Israel is the one country with people from the same religion living as a nation, in the same location, and observing their religion the way they were doing 3,000 years ago.” That’s not entirely true, since we don’t have the Temple any more. Actually, what ran through my head was: “Now, with less ritual sacrifice, at least in the traditional sense!” I should work in advertising, no?
Gordis closed his speech by saying, “You want to go to an AIPAC event and hear ‘everything is ok’.” There was a quiet rumble of agreements throughout the crowd. He continued, “It will happen. One day.” “Everything is ok” is awfully subjective, and if you to reach into my brain, “OK” would mean something very different from the “OK” in, say, the brains of my family and friends that choose to live in the West Bank. Whatever your “OK” is, I hope something gets better. Because Israel is a crazy place. And so is Palestine.
Today, a kid’s tefillin caused an emergency landing. A plane that took off from New York’s La Guardia, and was bound for Louisville, KY, landed in Philadelphia instead.
It takes a certain level of frumkheit to want to lay tefillin at an airport or on an airplane. I have had numerous tefillin-related adventures whilst flying to and from Israel — namely, waking up with the bags and boxes on my head; apparently something about a girl in pants on a plane makes her an inanimate object to the ultra-Orthodox — but never in the States. This 17-year-old, however, was operating, er, davening by himself, and it appears he was not violating anybody’s personal space. He just wanted to do his ritual on the plane at a time he found to be appropriate for shacharit.
According to the AP, via the Washington Post, Tefillin boy said he explained himself, and the flight crew said his explanation didn’t make any sense. You know the sad song – the teenager tells the truth and parents just don’t understand!
I’ve always found it strange that I can bring knitting needles on a plane. Knitting needles, which are like a weapon waiting to happen, are allowed on a plane, but my nearly empty tube of toothpaste gets trashed because it at one point contained more than 3 oz. of Colgate.
Tefillin sure look funny, but do we really live in a world where people can’t figure out that they’re not dangerous through either (A) a clear conversation, (B) context clues, like a prayerbook, (C) your eyeballs or (D) asking someone else to help explain? You can’t tell me there weren’t other Jews or someone else who had ever seen a Jew on that plane — it went out of LGA!
In these uncertain times, where it’s possible to smuggle oh-so-many things on a plane or even into an airport, such as exploding underwear and romanticidiots, you sort of hope that the tefillin aren’t being used to house stolen or dangerous goods, and are rather just the vectors of meditations meant to serve as “God antennas” to those who travel with them – male or female.
Yesterday I was on the subway, and I didn’t get a seat. This happens often. As I hung onto the bar, I threw up a little in my mouth. Why? The woman sitting right in front of my waist was reading Going Rogue. Why would a Black woman from Harlem or the Bronx (my stop on the express train is the first after it passes through the Bronx and Harlem) be reading Sarah Palin’s stupid book?
Jennifer Rubin points out that Palin is pro-life, while many Jews are not. (Gawker summarizes Rubin’s argument by saying, “basically that American Jews dislike Palin because of all of her bullshit rural working-class signifiers: large family, no formal education, folksy, hunting, etc. Jews, per Rubin, hate that stuff.”) My opinion only (and feel free to cut me up in the comments – after my post about Birthright, I can take it) is that genetic testing prevents bringing suffering into the world. Jewish lawstates that any pregnancy that will cause harm, emotionally or physically, is a pregnancy that can be terminated. End of story.
Palin is all about church, while Jews generally believe in the separation between church and state. Palin is a huntin’ hockey mom living at the very edge of Alaska, where, perched on her couch, she can see Russia, while Jews populate the big cities and slaughter goats with intentionality instead of hunting. She attended multiple universities on the way to earning but one degree, while Jews are generally urban, educated, Blue State dwellers. She’s from the rugged outback, while Jews pretend to be outdoorsy in their North Face Fleeces.
I may support Pareene’s criticism:
This strikes us as fairly reductive and inflammatory! Like basically Jews are all urban cosmopolitan elites sneering at stupid hard-working Christians, and all that? Ok, Commentary! If you say so!
Jews, as a group, tend to be hard-working. We work in a variety of fields, from running restaurants to writing in the blogosphere, from professing in the halls of higher education to teaching kindergarten. Sure, some of us love outdoor adventures, and have excellent shooting skills. As a camp person, I love spending a couple of nights sleeping in a tent and cooking over a fire.
David Frum’s response points out that Palin is just scary to anybody who doesn’t want to see American divided into first- and second-class citizens. Pareene states that there are many reasons not to like Palin. But when it comes down to it, at least for me, there is a visceral reaction to a woman in a position of influence who is just not smart. I will not deny her facility with PR, as she certainly has a team of people who know how to make a name for her.
McCain had a chance as a presidential candidate, and by choosing the sideshow that was and is Sarah Palin, he made it a lot easier for Obama to get elected. So, I will continue to grimace at mentions of Sarah Palin, Russia, her house, and her stupid, stupid book. But I will do it from a Blue State, where my BS and MA keep me warm at night, after eating a large dinner of kosher, organic turkey and relaxing in one of my many camp t-shirts or fleeces.