Culture, Mishegas, Religion

Get your crown of thorns!

For the sale price of $14.99, plus shipping and handling, you too can be burdened with your own crown of thorns!
Because my inbox is often full of Jewy emails, Gmail, through their beneficent cornucopia of targeted advertising, has bestowed upon me many sites supposedly related to my life. (Notwithstanding their constant barrage of Spam recipes. Spam enchilada bake, anyone?) Occasionally there will be a link to an actual Jewish site, like Chabad or Hebrew language teaching sites. Most of the time, however, they are to sites with seemingly Jewish content that turn out somewhat different.
Today’s jewel: The Shofar Man.
“The Shofar Man,” the link above my inbox said, detailing a short list of Judaica items. My interest was piqued. I’m going to be a rabbi — I’m always looking for a cute little number to cover my head with in shul. I clicked.
The homepage was innocuous. My tab in Firefox read “The Shofar Man is your Israel connection.” Usually my Israel connection is Mobius or like assorted hippies in Nachlaot or Bezeq operators who owe me my deposit back. But okay, I was willing to give this Shofar Man character the benefit of the doubt. Apparently, he was a real visionary:

“The Shofar Man was birthed during a trip to Israel in 1996. This occurred when Jim and Carla Barbarossa visited the Holy Land. While Jim and Carla were shopping in the city of Jerusalem, Jim purchased a Giant Yemenite Shofar to bring home. To Jim’s surprise, G-d spoke to him to blow the Shofar as He would lead him. In October 1996, Carla had a dream that she was pregnant and Jim was taking her to the hospital in a small car. Jim reached under the seat and pulled out a Jumbo Yemenite Shofar and said, “I will blow this during the birthing process.” During that same month, Jim and Carla went to Africa with the Shofar in hand. Jim blew the Shofar as G-d directed, and deliverances, healings, and miracles followed. Since then, Jim has been teaching nationally and internationally on the Ancient Hebrew Instrument of Praise, Worship, & Warfare. …Today, The Shofar Man is a retail and wholesale supplier of Yemenite and Rams Horn Shofars as well as Talis (Prayer Shawls). All horns are imported directly from Israel where they are hand crafted to meet all Kosher standards… “

When browsing the products, I saw the ubiquitous “Emanuel” workshop wall hangings and ridiculously expensive napkin holders found on Emek Rafa’im and in Ben Gurion airport. But there, at the very top of the online catalog listings, was this:

Complete with your own gift box and a blood red bow!

Then I learned that the Shofar Man was on tour!
His tour biography was a little different from the one on his homepage:

“Jim and Carla Barbarossa are Ephesians Chapter 4 Evangelists and are the founders of Step By Step Ministries. God has called Jim and Carla to reach the 9 out of 10 Christians that never witness and teach them how to, while at the same time releasing and raising up the gift of the Ephesians Chapter 4 Evangelist in the Local Church. In May of 1996, Jim purchased a Shofar while in Israel. Since then God has anointed him to blow it and teach on it. Many healings, miracles and deliverances have taken place during the blowing of the Shofar. Jim is an entrepreneur-businessman, and author who has been blessed with a powerful testimony and loves to teach by example. Carla is a true worshiper and has the gift and anointing to bring people into the Fathers presence through worship and dance. Jim and Carla’s desire is to help you find God’s will for your life while at the same time perfecting you to do the work of the ministry…”

Thank you, Gmail, for this enlightening link. Seriously, though: I am so captivated by Christian interest in Jewish ritual items, specifically manufactured in Israel, and their reappropriation into Evangelical and charistmatic Christian practice. For one stop on the tour,

“The Shofar Man is calling God’s Worldwide Army of Shofar Blowers (watchmen) to assemble and release a thundering explosive earth shaking prophetic Shofar Blast! Preparing the Way of the Lord!!! (There will be a special laying-on of hands anointing service for all Shofar blowers in attendance.)”

The tour features “God’s Army of Dancers, Flag Bearers, Worshippers, and Prayer Intercessors,” and display and use of Jewish ritual objects. What fuels this interest? Who are the people bundling their crown of thorns in the same Shofar Man package with their tzitzit and tichelet?
Crown of thorns aside, though, I think my favorite result of the whole diversion was a co-presenter at the Shofar Man’s conference:

Truly high fashion: Cohen Gadol replica outfit. …Is that a real goat?

One thought on “Get your crown of thorns!

  1. SIGH.
    My old man is Christian, my mother was Jewish.
    I could tell you some real life-affirming stories [reference: utter sarcasm], but I don’t want to use up all of your space, bandwidth and faith in humanity.
    Thanks for the great site, btw. I just discovered it and I am completely delighted.

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