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Posts Tagged ‘Golden’

Jew Marries Gorilla in Historic Ceremony

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Exclusive to The Jewish Press!

In a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony as lovely as they come, Professor Manny Grossman and his smiling bride, Gloria, became man and wife under a chupah of grape vines and bananas, on the spacious back lawn of the Golden Gate Temple in Marin County, California, where statues of Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and Moses are scattered around the beautiful gardens, and an award-winning fountain of drinkable Californian wine gushing forth from a boulder, and representing the well of Miriam, reminds congregants of their glorious Biblical past and Judaism’s brotherhood with the family of nations.  With the Golden Gate Bridge symbolically in the background, the nuptial union between the pioneer Jewish anthropologist and the stunning, white wedding-gowned gorilla marked a historic bridge between mankind and the world of the primates, and another one of Judaism’s great contributions to human culture. Rabbi Christine Christy, dynamic leader of California’s popular PDLR (Progressive Democratic Liberal Reform) Jewish Movement, and pulpit rabbi at the Golden Gate Temple, officiated at the tear-filled ceremony.

“I hereby pronounce you man and wife according to the tradition of Moses,” she declared, her voice cracking with emotion.

“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, if I not set Jerusalem over my highest joy,”  the tuxedoed groom affirmed, stepping on and shattering the traditional glass to the cheers and applaud of the overflowing crowd of university professors, doctors, scientists, and California legislators. At first, when the ecstatic bride let out a tremendous gorilla roar, a frightened hush fell over the crowd, but when the happy groom pounded his chest in a Tarzan-like call, everyone laughed. Hand-in-hand, husband and wife walked out to the center of the lawn where everyone joined in a festive hora, as the orchestra played a lively rendition of the famous song, “Tradition,” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“This is truly a historic occasion,” the proud rabbi exclaimed, saying she hopes to officiate at other inter-species marriages. “It puts an end to all racism, discrimination, and jingoistic talk of a ‘chosen nation,’ which has always separated the Jewish People from the brotherhood of man. Today, with their wedding, Manny and Gloria Grossman have proclaimed to the world that all the beings which God created are equal.”

Needless to say, the marriage ceremony was not without its share of controversy. In the middle of the dancing, a dozen gays crashed the festivities, holding signs which read, “We Want to Marry Gorillas Too!”

“I’d be happy to officiate at gay-gorilla weddings,” Rabbi Christy, herself a self-proclaimed lesbian, declared. “I don’t see any problem with it at all.”

“What about the rejection of non-Orthodox rabbis by the Chief Rabbinate in Israel?” a reporter asked her.

“Israel is a democracy, and in our enlightened day and age, democracy rules, not God,” Rabbi Christy answered. “Israel’s attorney general decided to equally recognize all religious congregational leaders, from whatever stream of Judaism, and grant them all the same standing and financial compensation from the State – and I am sure the Israel Supreme Court will agree.”

“What if Israel’s democracy should vote that Israel will no longer be a Jewish State?” another reporter queried.

“I would gladly accept that also,” the media-adored rabbi replied. “That would be an important step toward the universality of mankind and break down the myth of Jewish statehood which has too long been an obstacle to world peace. Judaism is a religion, not a nationality, and Jews don’t need a land of their own. Let all the Israelis come and live here in California. So many of them live here already. There’s plenty of room. And just as no person or peoples are holier than any other, neither is any land holier than the next.”

Of course, Orthodox Jews don’t agree with what they call “the circus wedding” and with the new-age opinions of the ultra-progressive woman rabbi, citing the Biblical verse, “Cursed be he who lies with any manner of beast” (Deut. 27:21), which classifies sexual relations with animals as a forbidden form of incest.

“What people do in their own bedrooms is their business,” Rabbi Christy maintains. “The Torah is out of date. Rabbis have always had the ability to enact new ordinances in keeping with the times. Besides, who says that Professor Grossman intends to have sexual relations with his wife? Today, as far as I am concerned, their platonic love for each other has been sanctified by the holy bonds of marriage, that’s all.”

“If they do have children, will they be Jewish?” the rabbi was asked.

“Of course. I presided over Gloria’s conversion myself,” she insisted. “She lights the Shabbat candles and loves to listen to the songs of Jewish cantors, especially Yossela Rosenblatt.” And then with a chuckle, she added, “If they have a child, we’ll call it a Jewilla!”

The whole affair started while Professor Grossman was conducting an anthropological research mission in the jungles of Africa on the mating habits of gorillas. “It was love at first sight,” he fondly recalls. “Gloria was different from all the other baboons and chimps. We had a special relationship right from the start. I arranged for her ocean voyage to America, divorced my wife, and today I am the happiest man in the world.”

But the path to the wedding chupah wasn’t without its share of hurdles. Some conservative streams of Judaism opposed the gorilla’s conversion. After a few weeks of vociferous debate, the different branches on non-Orthodox Judaism agreed to a simple test. Concurring that all Jews loved gefilta fish and bagels and lox, Gloria was brought before a panel of progressive, liberal, reform, and conservative rabbis, and presented with a plate of gefilta fish. With a disdainful swipe of her paw, she sent the small balls flying across the hall. Immediately, Professor Grossman stood up and protested, stating that gorillas were vegetarians and didn’t eat fish. One of the reform rabbis demanding the test be repeated, observing that no Jew really liked gefilta fish without horseradish, so a bowl of horseradish was quickly fetched and set before the gorilla with a new plate of gefilta fish. Once again, all the judges had to duck as the ape sent the little balls flying. But flashing her big white teeth in a winning smile, she scooped up the crimson horseradish in one of her giant paws and swallowed it down in a gulp.

“That proof enough for me!” one of the rabbis shouted.

“That only proves that she’s half Jewish,” a conservative rabbi countered.

So a platter of bagels and lox was set before the primate. Once again, holding its nose in a gesture of disdain, the vegetarian threw away the smelly strips of fish and started chomping on the bagels.

“That’s proof enough for me,” another conservative rabbi exclaimed. “If the ape likes bagels, that’s a sure sign that the conversion is valid and that the gorilla is a Jew in every regard!”

All in all, the Californian wedding was a lovely affair. Noticing a little old Jewish woman standing to the side of the dancing, this reporter went over to her and asked what she was doing at the wedding?

“I’m Manny’s grandmother,” she answered.

“How do you feel about the celebration?” I asked.

The old lady shrugged and let out a small sigh and said, “At least he had a Jewish wedding.”

 

Baby Beauty Contest, 1949

Friday, July 13th, 2012

The Golden Age Club met at the Emanuel Cohen Center, 909 Elwood Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 16, 1949.

The judges here included, left to right, Rabbi Schulman, William Liebo, Sam Finkelestein, and Lena Berdman. The baby beauty is Roberta Wilensky, aged 2.

I suppose we’ve been doing this to babies since the bronze age, but this looks tame compared to some of the baby competitions nowadays.

Good looking baby, though…

High Walls and Golden Domes

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Amid the recent rocket barrage that has terrorized southern Israel, the Israeli defense community – as well as the general public – has been consoled by the resounding success of the “Iron Dome”, which is reported to have successfully intercepted 85% of all incoming Grad rockets. On the surface, this “good news” offers not only respite from the fear and trauma that permeates Israeli society today, but also offers a much-needed sense of security. In reality though, the Iron Dome represents a total failure of vision and the concept of deterrence for the state of Israel. That is, we wait for our enemies to attack before demonstrating our strength, militarily and morally; and the only measure of success is the effectiveness of our reaction.

No one can deny that the Iron Dome represents a revolution in modern warfare, but this cannot obscure the critical fact that it entrenches a political myopia that has dire ramifications for military strategy. Considering that each Iron Dome battery costs an estimated $50 million, and each missile costs between $70,000-$100,000, the long-term cost for its continued deployment suggests that it should be renamed the “Golden Dome.” Moreover, defense officials have said that Israel needs to deploy at least 13 batteries to effectively safeguard against rockets fired from Gaza and Lebanon. It currently only has three operational batteries, all in the south.

Proponents of the Iron Dome laud the fact that it is able to determine a rocket’s probable target and then decide if it is worth sending one of these costly anti-missiles to protect civilians or let the rocket destroy “a few crops or trees.” Still, our sense of sovereignty is so eroded that we resign ourselves to the violent encroachment on our land by Gaza terrorists, while our sense of power is derived narrowly from our ability to determine the extent of the damage.

A state cannot accept such daily encroachments on its sovereignty as a fait accompli, but the Iron Dome – as well as the separation barrier – has succeeded in normalizing diminished sovereignty and reframing the issue from eliminating the threat to containing it. Indeed, both the Iron Dome and the barrier save lives, but Israel can ill-afford for these these limited “victories” to serve as a substitute for an actual strategy.

The Iron Dome is another, hi-tech manifestation of the siege mentality that guides Israel’s cultural and political narrative. From media to academia to politics, Israel’s celebration of this so-called “strategic” weapon system – that neither neutralizes its threats nor enhances Israel’s geo-political position – is an indictment of the degree to which Israel has accepted this siege mentality, and of its resignation to a permanent defensive posture. Instead of tools of victory, Israel designs modes of survival, where a siege in our backyards and playgrounds is preferable to a frontal assault on our enemies in their territory. But it is only with a proactive outlook and with offensive instrumentalities that threats are neutralized or deterred. Seen through this lens, Israel only truly enjoyed such a posture in the six years between its preemptive Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War.

Iron Dome may represent a new layer of defense, but it in no way brings Israel closer to eliminating the threats emanating from Gaza. Rather, it only keeps us on par with them: our military-technological innovation combating their blockade-busting, weapons-procuring creativity. Wars are not won by repelling attacks, but by taking the initiative. A nation should never make the mistake of believing that such defensive weapons can shield it from overwhelming force. Overwhelming force must always be countered with overwhelming force. Israel’s isolated regional position demands a new paradigm of deterrence, one that Israel can and will employ on an asymmetric battlefield, one that will dominate its enemies and take the battle to them.

Having the right political and military posture requires as a prerequisite cultural vigor that promotes initiative and rewards risk-taking. Yes, Israelis are known for these qualities, but of late they have been employed primarily for defensive purposes. Only by a true recognition and reassertion of its sovereignty in what is clearly a Just War – where inaction and/or passive defense has far worse results than the bellicose but hollow accusation of “disproportionate response” – will circumstances change for Israel.

There are various initiatives that Israel could undertake, depending on what one considers Israel’s greatest threats. They range from reoccupying a buffer area in Gaza and deploying the Iron Dome from within Palestinian territory, to intensifying investment in its UAV and space programs for the purpose of effective cryptologic intelligence-gathering and weaponization. Whatever the direction, it must be forward-thinking and strategic in nature. Israel’s instrumentalities of power should force the enemy to adapt to it, and not vice versa, as with the Iron Dome.

This is the only way to break a siege, not by building one’s walls higher, but by making one’s reach greater and more devastating. Iron Dome, despite the great technology involved and tactical advantages it provides, does neither.

Additional Endorsements

Friday, November 30th, 2001

Comptroller

William Thompson

Public Advocate

Betsy Gottbaum

Boro President

Brooklyn

Marty Markowitz

Queens

Helen Marshall

District Attorney

Brooklyn

Charles J. Hynes

City Council

Brooklyn

39th District ? (Park Slope, Gowanus, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Windsor Terrace, Kensington)

Bill DeBlasio

43rd District ? (Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Boro Park, Bensonhurst)

Martin J. Golden

44th District ? (Borough Park, part of Flatbush, part of Bensonhurst)

Simcha Felder

45th District ? (East Flatbush, part of Flatbush and part of Rugby)

Kendall Stewart

46th District ? (Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach Canarsie Starrett City)

Lewis A. Fidler

47th District ? (Sea Gate, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, part of Bath Beach)

Domenic M. Recchia, Jr.

48th District ? (Flatbush, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach)

Michael C. Nelson

Queens

23rd District ? (Douglaston, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Oakland Gardens, Floral Park, Bellaire, Bellerose, Holliswood, parts of Queens Village)

David I. Weprin

Manhattan

1st District ? (Lower Manhattan)

Alan Gerson

Supreme Court

Brooklyn

Judge Howard A. Ruditzky

Queens

Judge Martin Ritholtz

Civil Court

Staten Island

Eric Vitalliano

Ulster County Treasurer

Lew Kirschner

Ramapo Town Supervisor

Kathy Ellsworth

Ramapo Town Councilman

Harry Reiss

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/additional-endorsements/2001/11/30/

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