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Jblogs: It’s Methuselah Day

It's Methuselah Day

It's Methuselah Day

It’s Iyar 11, the yahrzeit of Methuselah at the 969 years of age (according to one opinion). I suppose on this day Jewish geezers go down to the park and pass judgment on the pigeons (You call that pecking?). It’s also the yahrzeit, in 1884, of Judah Philip Benjamin, the second Jewish senator in U.S. history (from Louisiana), who also served in the cabinet of President Jefferson Davis (yes, yes, they lost).

It was also the very first day of operations for the fledgling air force of the fledgling Jewish State. And Germany and Israel friended each other and exchanged ambassadors on this day in 1965.

Kind of a suckie day, come to think of it. Let’s blog.

Is Anybody Happy Around Here Today?

“Going to shul in the morning sucks,” declares Heshy Fried of Frum Satire. What follows is simply a good, well honed routine:

“As I look around I realize that I’m number 11, there are few worse feelings that getting to shul to make the minyan and realizing that you’re not the tenth man and they already have a minyan. I think the feeling falls in line with missing a kick ass meat cholent because you decided to eat at the token left wing modern orthodox family in the shul who was known to have milchigs for lunch. I guess you can compare the feeling to getting up for class, only to realize it’s Sunday.”

It goes on like that for a funny, very Dave Barry. Tibi likes.

The Harsh Light of Independence

Ruti Mizrachi offers a stirring illustration of the intimate sense of violence in the life of a friend of hers.

Little Yehuda, her friend Jennie Goldstein’s mentally disabled boy, “was rummaging through a box of toys in the corner of the room when he suddenly paused and called out, ‘Harmonica! Kochava’s harmonica!’”

The Goldstein explains: “Kochava – Yehuda’s nursery school teacher, who had taught him, and adored him, for two years in a row. She was murdered by terrorists within hours of greeting us at a back to school night at the beginning of what was to be Yehuda’s third year in her warm embrace, an embrace that evaporated in a spray of bullets. Though she has been gone a year and a half, Yehuda, now almost eight years old, still refers to her often.

It’s really good and honest and heavy.

Everything Is Halachic

The fact that Junior Seau, a star linebacker in the National Football League who died on Wednesday of a gunshot wound may have committed suicide, leads The Rebbetzin’s Husband to pen a short and interesting monograph asking what level of risk is acceptable in sport, from the perspective of Jewish law. He cites Reb Moshe Feinhtein’ s opinion, and isn’t so happy with it.

Visit.

Ranting Is Actually Good for You, It’s the Raving That’ll Kill You

OK, I give up, I have no idea what prompted Sultan Knish’s lengthy and chock fulla’ research entry headlined “Everyone Booze Up and Riot.” I half suspect he thought of the title first and then went and put together a nice article to fit it. People do that, you know.

I suspect I disagree with much of what he writes here, from the very strongly opinionated opener:

“Riots are the exclusive domain of those who view themselves as outside the law. Whether they are outside the law because they are above or below it is a matter of perspective. The rioters may see  themselves as the oppressed who are below the law while their victims tend to think of them as above the law, with the power to rob and kill, without paying any significant price for it. All that is true whether we are talking about Russian peasants killing Jews, Indonesians killing ethnic Chinese or African-Americans killing whites.”

I have a feeling riots are a lot like police violence – our opinion of them depends on whose side we’re on. But do click and read, it ain’t boring. Let me know, too, if you agree with my observation here.

It’s Modern Classical Music – Stay!

Aryeh Tepper writes about composer Danile Asia’s “Songs and Psalms,” a 15-part composition that “makes its statements through a striking juxtaposition of the holy and profane.  It opens with Psalm 115, sung in Hebrew by a choir, then turns to Pines’ and Amichai’s poems, performed by tenor and bass-baritone soloists.  These earthly ruminations, on mortality, Brooklyn and Jerusalem, enemies, love, necessity, rebellion against and longing for God, fear, and exile, alternate, allowing each poem, Asia says, “to comment on, or allude to, the other.”  This alternation is interrupted mid-stream by the 23rd Psalm (“The Lord is my shepherd . . . “), sung by the choir in English, and concludes with ‘Barukh Adonai L’Olam’ from the morning prayer service, in Hebrew.”

Tepper admits that “when most people—even cultivated ones—hear the phrase ‘modern classical music,’ they instinctively reach for the off switch,” but Asia’s work is not robotic or choppy, and Tepper, a readable critic of life and the arts, isn’t boring.

He also included clips. Go listen.

If You Watch Monday Night Football, Shouldn’t You Be a Tuesday Morning Quarterback?

Yitzchok Adlerstein writes about the Peter Beinart – Daniel Gordis debate last night at the Kraft Center at Columbia. I wasn’t there, and he hadn’t yet been there because he wrote the thing earlier on Wednesday. But is presentation is very good, and I recommend. here’s his depiction of the two debaters, you do the math:

“One of the contenders davens at an Orthodox shul. He is not the one for whom most of our readers will be rooting. Peter Beinart is not just an irritant. He is an irritant equipped with media power. His op-eds land where he wants them. He controls an entire section of The Daily Beast (called Open Zion) from which he can conduct his campaign to save Israel through tough love. Meaning, among other things, calling for a selective boycott of Israeli products, which puts him in bed with the worst of the Palestinian Israel-haters.”

And: “The other contender is Daniel Gordis, arguably one of the most talented and effective advocates for Israel, period. I am not alone in rating his handling of Beinart’s new book, The Crisis of Zionism, as far and away the best of the lot.”

I think you’ll enjoy it, especially before you go looking for the tape of the fight itself.

Words and the Well Meaning People Who Use Them to Start Culture Wars

Harry Maryles comments in Emes Ve-Emunah on the Slutwalk.

It began when Toronto Police Constable Michael Sanguinetti said that in order to remain safe, “women should avoid dressing like sluts.” Participants in Slutwalks, mainly young women, march dressed provocatively, like sluts (some don’t). There are also speaker meetings and workshops.

Maryles quotes 22-year-old Or Levy, one of the organizers of the upcoming evening, who told Ynet “I was walking down King George Street in an outfit that was a bit revealing when a woman began cursing at me and calling me ‘Slut …’”

Except, you should know that the choice of Orly et al for the Hebrew equivalent of that degrading term is by far worse and is, actually, the Arabic word for lady of the night.

Surprisingly, though, and this is why I want you to go read him, Maryles is wise enough to note the connection between well meaning religious people and the horrible things they can cause when they move across cultural divides thinking they know what they’re doing.

I say, leave the cursing to the professionals.

At Last, Funny!

Comedian writer Benji Lovitt wrote his blog entry “from seat 28D on my Delta flight back to Israel.  Frequent flyers may know that Delta eliminated the direct flight from Atlanta to Tel Aviv a year or two ago, probably because they’re raging anti-Semites.”

Good “funny thing happened on the flight” routine, with this great graph:

“‘Mission Impossible’ again: because my stupid controller wasn’t working, I couldn’t hear the audio.  While looking up at one point, I saw that they referred to Tom Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt as ‘Eitan’ in the subtitles. NO WAY!!! HE’S ISRAELI!”

And so on.

Keep Your Shirt On

by DovBear appears to be in the midst of a war against promoters of public breastfeeding. He’s been catching a lot of flac, and so he decided to throw into the battle his nuclear weapon: his wife, Mrs. Bear.

Responding to “one of my tormentors,” as he put it, who asked: “If it is wrong to nurse in Shul, what should I do during the year my baby nurses? Stay home?!” DobBear turned the keyboard over to his improved half, who said:

“‘Usually I just timed it so that I didn’t have that issue. My children did not nurse every minute.’  Also she nursed in the shul bathroom. She did this by choice. No one threw her out of the sanctuary.  As she puts it (and she put it very forcefully which is why I have used all caps:) ‘I DO NOT NURSE IN PUBLIC PERIOD’”

Who protects single men from the vicious ladies out there?

Awful Medical Story With OK Ending

You’ll read through this entry in A Soldier’s Mother like a knife through hot butter. Get to the end, it’s kind of unexpected:

“The operation was performed in Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah almost a month ago. After the operation, a CT was performed and the next morning, as the doctors made their rounds, my mother overheard the head of the department explain to the other doctors that the shunt they put in was too short. No one bothered to explain this to my parents.

“When my mother asked, one doctor assured her that although the shunt was short (it wasn’t), it was fine (it wasn’t), it was in the right place (it wasn’t) and it was working (it wasn’t). A second doctor, the one who performed the operation, had the audacity to actually scold my mother.”

Trust me, it’s not going where you think it must.

Jewish Philosophy: The Banana

Jewish Thought of the Day contemplates the banana, with a bunch of lesser known facts. This one we didn’t know:

“Everyone knows that bananas are high in potassium. In fact, they are also high in radioactive potassium 40. That means that when the sun shines on them, they actually glow! Not only the banana itself, but its leaves too. But only when they’re ripe so that birds and animals that don’t ‘see’ in sunlight, only in the ultraviolet range, know when it’s time for a tasty treat.”

The author posted this entry under “Jewish Beliefs & Philosophy.” Maybe he had no category for “Jewish Fruits.”

No, can’t be.

About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.


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