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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”