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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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I Want to have Your Baby, Sarah Silverman

Let's talk about motherhood and babies, because, soon enough, the 170 comments on Rabbi Rosenblatt's article veered away from dealing with the gifted comic and settled on the idea of compulsory child bearing for modern American women.

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Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

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For the record, I’m a huge fan of Sarah Silverman and have been following her career forever, watched her Jesus movie on Netflix, followed two seasons of her sitcom on Comedy Central, absolutely loved her bit on the Aristocrats movie, and caught her act whenever possible. Unlike, say, Jon Stewart, or Adam Sandler, whose entire Jewish thing is about making funny cheh sounds, and Jerry Seinfeld, whose Jewish thing is, basically, Presbyterian, I believe Silverman is on a par with the serious Jewish-American comics of the day, Larry David and Richard Lewis.

This is because all three comics have pain in their comedy, and they use it to make us laugh so hard, our kishkes get shpilkes in our shkolniks.

Jewish Author Shalom Aleichem was funny because he took the repression and poverty of life in the pale of settlement in Czarist Russia and turned them into hilarious scenes. We laugh because it’s so sad. That’s Jewish comedy.

When Larry David’s dad doesn’t invite him to his mom’s funeral because he didn’t want to bother him, he’s so busy – that’s Jewish pain. When Richard Lewis, clad in black, is fearful of life itself for the mean things it has in store for him – that’s Jewish pain. When Sarah Silverman depicts herself as a mega-narcissistic LA girl, bereft of empathy or even an awareness of others – that’s Jewish pain.

And so, to start, I believe Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt missed the point when he was attempting to counsel Sarah Silverman on how to become happy and fulfilled as a woman. Because if our comics had any idea at all, or the inclination, really, to be happy and fulfilled, they wouldn’t be exposing themselves on a bare stage with nothing but a mike and a cutting tongue to protect them from drunken hecklers at two in the morning.

I tried it one summer in New York, I have no idea if the good rabbi ever did. Believe me, I have good reasons to admire Sarah Silverman, but to expect her to be a happy mother is like expecting (insert funny noun) to be happy (insert inappropriate verb).

And although I agree that the You Tube clip attempting to seduce Billionaire Sheldon Adelson was offensive, it was also funny and angry and a legitimate political attack. What folks on the right should do is come up with equally funny and effective clips — may I suggest a certain aging Hollywood star who enjoys talking to empty chairs.

Having said that, let’s talk about motherhood and babies, because, soon enough, the 170 comments on Rabbi Rosenblatt’s article veered away from dealing with the gifted comic and settled on the idea of compulsory child bearing for modern American women.

Or at least that’s what you’d think Rosenblatt was advocating, to judge by those comments. Which, of course, he didn’t. He only suggested (I’m paraphrasing because it’s more fun that way) that women by nature are hard-wired to be married and bear children, which is why some young girls start planning their weddings at age 7 and have the albums to show for it.

Put aside sentiment and politics, let’s talk economics. Here are a few of the leading countries in the world in terms of real Gross Domestic Product growth annually.

There’s Argentina, with 8.8 real GDP growth rate, and 17.34 births per 1000, as opposed to 7.36 deaths per 1000.

I propose that Argentina’s astonishing growth economically has everything to do with the fact that it has three times more people being born than dying.

In Turkey, there’s 8.5 real GDP growth rate, with 17.58 births per 1000, with only 6.1 Deaths per 1000.

India is another great example: 7.8 real GDP growth rate, births per 1000: 20.6 Deaths: 7.43

Even Israel, with a very good 4.8 real GDP growth rate, shows the same healthy trend: with 18.97 births per 1000 and only 5.5 deaths. In fact, Israel’s situation is even better than most because of its excellent medical services. Also, Israel isn’t showing the same stunning growth rate as, say, India, because our economy here has been pretty fabulous for some time, and so we are higher up the bell curve.

Now check out some liberal Western democracies, with self-fulfilled, emancipated women who have better things to do than get married and pregnant:

France, with a miserable 1.7 real GDP growth rate, is actually the most fertile in Wesdtern Europe, with 12.72 births per 1000 and 8.85 deaths.

Check out the figures for the entire European Union: it posts a measly 1.6 real GDP growth rate, and has 10.27 births per 1000, compared to 10.05 Deaths for the same 1000.

Yes, our enlightened European brothers and sisters are dying out, soon to hit a negative birth rate, meaning that more people will die than be born there every year. At that point we won’t be talking about GDP, we’ll be talking about Sharia Law and specials on prayer rugs at Galeries Lafayette.

Now take a look at the 2012 figures for the United States: we only have a 1.7 real GDP growth rate—number 149 in the world, and we have only 13.68 births per 1000, fighting off 8.39 deaths per 1000.

We’re only a little bit better off than France, not by much, really.

Babies are a blessing not only to their parents and grandparents, but to the economy. The IAF once published a picture of an F-16 fighter plane, and in front of it stood all the men and women responsible for making it function. It took a huge group of grunts of all manner of collar color to make that monster soar through the air.

A newborn baby generates a bigger team by far than an F-16: doctors, nurses, catering hall employees (for the bris or the naming), shop keepers, diaper makers, writers and publishers, TV producers (Barney – if I have to watch that purple beast with my grandchildren…), nursery school teachers, bus drivers, school teachers, gym teachers, therapists, career counselors, summer camp canoe operators, piano tuners, bell-bottom seamstresses, the list is absolutely endless, all the way to the grim gentleman in the muddy overalls who digs up our final resting place.

No babies – no economic growth. You can talk all you want about Wall Street and stupid Stimulus packages and Detroit and Congress – but real, long lasting prosperity still comes from babies.

Which is why, if Sarah Silverman decides to have a baby but will be looking for someone to raise him or her, in a traditional religious Jewish home, but quite moderate, with unlimited access to the Internet – one phone call and we’ll come pick them up.

Seriously, folks, it’s OK to pursue a career in whatever you want to do – but first make a few babies, while your bodies are still pink and juicy and robust, and babies can happen to you without fertility doctors and crazy-making hormonal treatments that will turn sweet, loving wives into homicidal maniacs. Trust me, I could tell you stories.

So what I would say to Sarah Silverman for real, is: it’s OK, in your case you’re probably better off just doing what you’re doing. But those of you who aren’t biting, cutting edge, shockingly vulgar, hilarious, sophisticated comics – go be someone’s mommy ASAP.

Sources:

List of countries by real GDP growth rate (latest year)

Index Mundi: Historical Data Graphs per Year

 

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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34 Responses to “I Want to have Your Baby, Sarah Silverman”

  1. Yori Yanover says:

    Stop raising millions of cows and pigs for food, use the same land for plants — you'll be amazed at how much more food we'll have, and how much cleaner and nicer the planet will be. Fill up the desert with solar panels. There are countless solutions before we decide to commit racial suicide and stop making new humans.

  2. Simcha Halpert-Hanson says:

    WOW… Between you and Rosenblatt, Moshiach just got pushed back another several thousand years. BOTH of you are MEN. BOTH of you ARE TELLING WOMEN WHAT TO DO. Why don't you both try something totally new and stop speaking and start LISTENING.

  3. Yori Yanover says:

    I wrote a book saying Moshiach will be a woman. Check it out on Amazon. It's pretty funny. I'm married to a woman and we have a daughter. I'm qualified.

  4. Simcha Halpert-Hanson says:

    With all due respect- you're not. Just because you have women in your life doesn't qualify you to speak for them. That's like a Christian saying they're qualified to speak about Jews because some of their best friends are Jews. A Christian person has an entirely different set of privileges in this world than a Jew, so how would they be qualified to determine what a Jew should and should not be doing? Just so, a man has an entirely different set of privileges than a woman. This world is run by men while women are being ruled over by them. Don't be one of those kinds of men by speaking on behalf of a population group that you have never once belonged to and thus lack the understanding of what kind of oppression women endure by men. I'm glad you are more enlightened than most by entertaining the thought that Moshiach could be a woman- kabbalistically Moshiach is more of a consciousness than a gendered person, but that's another argument.

  5. Gil Gilman says:

    Simcha, by your reasoning, you have no right to speak for men, or tell men what to do. In other words it is a silly arguement. You are telling a man, York what he can and can't do. Just because you may know a man or be familiar with them etc. etc. etc. and blah blah blah. I know women who agree with his right to say whatever he darn well pleases, and those who don't. On the surface you have a valid point, but a couple of layers down you are saying that the genders have nothing to say to each other, because they couln't possibly understand each other. Just in practical experience a great number of men and women don't find your opinion true at all. How do I know? They told me so, that is if I can understand what they are saying.

  6. Gil Gilman says:

    Moshiach will arrive at the appropriate moment, neither earl, or late.

  7. Gil Gilman says:

    Pardon my spelling…it is difficult to disgorge one letter at a time on my iPad…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Nebech, for the harm that they do to young minds in bodies meant to be bearing children, comedy clubs and colleges of feminist studies have been the crematoria of a generation of secular Jewesses. How fewer are we in number becaue of what goes on in those places? Is it any wonder that so many Jewish men seem to be turning to the yellow ones to 'marry'?

  9. "Yellow ones?" What on earth are you referring to? Cabs? Dandelions? Certainly not people. My guess is, the Jewesses to which you refer, are gladly handing back and over, these chauvinist pigs whose mission is the breeding version of the 'Amazing Race.' With such uncouth louts is it any wonder so many Jewish women seem to be turning to brown, black and wasp men to 'marry?'

  10. Racial suicide? You are aware that 'race,' is one thing, and religion is another? The first Jews were black were they not? See, you've been black, brown, white, and who knows, if you keep pissing Jewish women off, they may go back to back again.

  11. That's 'go back to black again,' below. ;) iPad posters, I feel you.

  12. Simcha Halpert-Hanson says:

    By your reasoning Gil, historical oppression of one population group over another doesn't exist. Which means that our Christian brethren have every right to speak for Jews and determine what Jews should be doing (which they have a history of doing with Jews, no? Haven't Jews felt oppressed by that?) By your reasoning, white people in America have every right to speak for and determine the fate of black people (Which they have a history of doing with black people, no? Haven't black people resented that impulse?) Read up on a little sociology so you can understand the break down of the development of oppression by ruling/dominant social groups over non-dominant social groups and the role this plays in the development of a society. Men are the dominant social group- there is absolutely no arguing that fact. That doesn't mean men and women should not be speaking to each other, that means that men need to keep in mind that historically they trump women's voices and perspectives and thus need to back down respectfully so as to allow women to express THEMSELVES.

  13. Jacob Alperin-Sheriff says:

    You're a vegetarian? Some in R. Rosenblatt's crowd hold that's assur (or do you eat meat on Shabbos and Yom Tov?) Though I think all in R. Rosenblatt's crowd would hold it's assur to watch Sarah Silverman

  14. Greg Lauren says:

    what I don't understand is why people are getting mad at someone who is merely giving over what HaShem instructed us to do. No one is trying to give women orders. They are repeating the Torah, (which, if you examine it in a thorough way, could NOT have been written by human beings, especially when the literacy rate at that time was almost nil, even amongst Jews) when it says "be fruitful and multiply".

    So the question becomes…who is correct: HaShem or Sarah Silverman.

    you don't have to answer that lol.

  15. Yori Yanover says:

    I'm not a vegetarian, but I also try to eat meat not more than once or twice a week. I believe the U.S. is destroying the planet with cow and pig methane emissions and excrement, never mind the horrible conditions of the animals standing in the stuff up to their bellies, unable to move. To insist on not having babies so we can have more cows and pigs is more stupidity than any species can have and not go off a cliff.

    As to watching stuff — if you trust your Torah education you can watch anything and use it to a good end. If you don't trust it — go back to yeshiva and learn some more.

  16. Jeff Eyges says:

    "And so, to start, I believe Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt missed the point when he was attempting to counsel Sarah Silverman on how to become happy and fulfilled as a woman."

    Yeah… Rosenblatt missed a lot of points.

  17. Shoshanna Goldstein Sanders says:

    Hashem instructed men to be fruitful and multiply, not women.

  18. Shoshanna Goldstein Sanders says:

    "make a few babies, while your bodies are still pink and juicy and robust".

    Oh no, you went there.

    Um, any messages for the men? Are you familiar with the medical research about sperm quality and quantity as men age? Since we're treating humans like pink and juicy pieces of flesh, it's only fair to point out that men have a shelf life as Daddies, too. And perhaps they should be urged to be more involved in raising the next generation of entrepreneurs, or are you advocating a bumper crop of fatherless children? We know how well that has worked out for certain communities.

  19. Rachel Braun says:

    People are getting mad because not everyone believes in HaShem.

  20. Charlie Hall says:

    If the world ever suffers from overpopulation, it will not be because of too many Jews!

  21. Charlie Hall says:

    A look at Eastern Europe disproves Yori's hypothesis. Poland had 4.3% economic growth last year — despite more deaths than births (10.2 vs. 9.8 per 1000). Its fertility rate is down to 1.31 — despite being one of the most devoutly Catholic countries in the world. Poland also loses tens of thousands of Poles to emigration every year. In Hungary there are also more deaths than births (12.7 vs. 9.5 per 1000) and fertility of 1.41. Its growth was 1.7% last year, the same as France and the US despite much less favorable demographics.

    The examples given of high growth are exactly what the people who study Emerging Markets predict. Death rates always drop before birth rates as countries become prosperous, and they drop most quickly for the wealthiest and most economically productive segments of society. (Hence, the high birth rates among Arab and Charedi Israelis.) Furthermore, it is easier to have high growth rates when a country starts at a low economic base. Norway, the wealthiest country in the world, also had 1.7% growth last year but that 1.7% meant a lot more growth than in France or the US. (And it is interesting that Norway, with the largest public sector in the world in terms of % GDP, and France, with a long history of government intervention in its economy, did just as well in terms of economic growth as the much-lower-tax-and-less-intervention US. Empirically, laissez-faire doesn't necessarily produce the best overall results!)

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