There aren't too many Hanukkah movies to begin with. Unfortunately, Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights is one, if not all of them.
"Squanders the cross-cultural comedy potential of a Jewish-themed Christmas movie on cheap fart gags and boilerplate schmaltz." — Ed Halter, VILLAGE VOICE
Anyway, Happy Hanukkah!
To Some Degree
Anyone who uses JDate should be familiar with the phrase "To some degree", just one of the menu options you can chose to describe your level of involvement in various aspects of Judaism.
Lobster, shrimp, and other seafood are not kosher.
Going to Wed Early
Premarital sex is prohibited by Jewish law. This, and a perfectly normal sex drive, is often incentive enough for young religious Jewish couples to get married ASAP.
You've been served! Divorce in the religious Jewish community requires a get, the Hebrew term for divorce papers. The man has more control over the decision than his wife. If a man refuses to grant his wife a divorce, she assumes the status of an agunah (literally, "chained" or "anchored" wife); she is unable to remarry religiously until the divorce is granted.
There are many streams of Judaism, ranging from secular to ultra-Orthodox. Among the most familiar are Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. Some Jews may find their level of observence falls between two labels, like "Conservadox", a blend of Conservative and Orthodox philosophies.
Jewish Laws prohibit sex outside the context of marriage.
Jews may celebrate Thanksgiving, especially with the family.
"Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. It is no longer (and perhaps never was) a celebration affiliated with any particular religion or faith" (MyJewishLearning.com)
Lot and Heavy
LOTs of good wholesome fun for the family in this week's parshah, Vayeira:
While taking shelter in a cave, Lot's two daughters (believing that they and their father are the only ones left alive in the world) get their father drunk, lie with him, and become pregnant. The two sons born from this incident father the nations of Moab and Amon. (Chabad.org)Hey folks, I didn't write the Torah, G-d did. So if you have a problem with this type of content, speak to the Man above.
Sign O' the Times
This week's Parshah (weekly Torah reading) is Noach, one of the most familiar Biblical stories and a favorite of children, in which G-d commands Noah to build an ark and save two of each animal before all life on earth is destroyed by a great flood.
Sure this happened over 5,000 years ago, but it seems like only yesterday.
Simchat Torah marks the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings.
These days, with everything gone digital, there''s no need to scroll back. Just shuffle.
Yom Kippur, considered to be the most important Jewish holiday, is the Day of Atonement. Even the least observant Jews are known to go to shul and fast on this day.
For the second night of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to eat a new fruit that has not been eaten all season.
Fruit de Mer is pushing it.
The Gaza Comic Strip
Israel is in the process of its historic disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
I try to avoid politics with my comic strip, so I won''t really go into it here. I leave that to Dry Bones.
But one thing is for sure: ISRAELI GIRLS ARE HOT!
"Tisha B'Av, the Fast of the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which coincidentally have occurred on the ninth of Av." (Judaism 101)
The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 happened to fall on the Ninth of Av.
My friend, Berger Boy, learned this mnemonic as a lad:
On Tisha B'Av
The Ninth of Av
Two temples were destroyed
One by Nebuchadnezzar of BabylonThe other by Titus of Rome.
Matisyahu (born Matthew Miller) is a Hasidic Jewish rapper and reggae artist.
Matisyahu infuses his lyrics with his Jewish spirituality, and is quickly becoming a favorite musician among Jews and non-Jews alike, (and even folks who normally wouldn't listen to reggae.)
Not to be confused with Harvey Magila, the Dancing Rabbi.
Power to Resist
Observant Jews are not permitted to turn electronic devices on or off during Shabbat. It is also forbidden to ask someone to do it for you, even a Shabbos goy. One may only imply or hint that they need a service performed for them, without directly asking.
Additionally, one may not deactivate an electronic device with voice commands or sound activation, even if no buttons are physically pushed.
One solution for turning on and off the light on Shabbat is the Kosher Lamp.
"You shall not kindle any fire in any of your dwelling places on the Shabbat Day." (Shemot/Exodus 35:3)
Snorting coke on Shabbat is certainly no substitute for smoking, as neither are in the spirit of Shabbat.
If you cannot refrain from smoking or snorting, even on Shabbat, you may have a problem.
ShaBot says, "Kids, don't do drugs ... Especially on Shabbat!"
Taf to Pronounce
"The primary difference between Sefardi and Ashkenazi consonants is that the Sefardi pronunciation of the letter Taf without a vowel point is Taf, while the Ashkenazi pronunciation is Saf." (Artscroll transliteration)
But when reading the Shema, we must be careful not to soften hard consonants in this way, so Taf must be pronounced as Taf.
Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
On the second day of Passover we count the 50 days until Shavu'ot. This period of 7 weeks is called the Counting of the Omer.
Chag sameach, motherf***ers!
Deer are an even-toed ungulate of the Ruminantia suborder.
Kosher only when slaughtered by shochet, not shotgun.
Reform Judaism is considered the most liberal Jewish movement, based on the belief that the Torah was written by people, not G-d, and that the religion must change and adapt to survive.
Conservative Judaism falls somwhere between Reform and Orthodoxy.
On the surface, Jews for Jesus adhere to the same belief system as other Jews, except they believe Jesus is the Messiah. However, its critics charge that Jews for Jesus is Jewish in name only.
Next to Godliness
Tefillin, small leather cases containing scrolls of Torah passages, are bound to our arms and foreheads with leather straps at the beginning of weekday morning services before prayer.
Cleanliness is of utmost importance when wearing tefillin. It is advised to use the bathroom before placing tefillin, so that we do not have go, or be distracted by the urge to go, while we are still wearing them.
The Moshiach (the Messiah) is the man who will be anointed as king in the End of Days.
Christianity is based on the belief that Jesus was the Messiah.
Some Jews believe that the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn, was the Moshiach, even though many of the requirements remain unfulfilled.
Heeb, a magazine for hip young Jews, was notorious for both its "in-your-face" irreverence and its casual fulfillment of quarterly installments. The print magazine was closed in 2010, but is still available online.
Tznius - Modesty
Jewish women should cover their ankles ... especially their cankles.
Remember, tznius can be sexy! Sometimes more is more.
The Passover seder is a ritual banquet that is supposed to remind us of the plight of our ancestors. We eat specific foods that are symbolic of our flight from bondage in Egypt.
Admittedly, I always feel happy, full, and drunk after the seder, which is probably closer to how the Pharoah and his peeps felt ... That is, before they were hit by the Ten Plagues.
The Talmud, or "Oral Torah", is considered an authoritative record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends and stories.
The depth of its contents is so vast that it would take more than a lifetime to truly master the Talmud. Many Orthodox Jews participate in Daf Yomi, in which they study one page of the Talmud every day. It takes about 7.5 years to complete the cycle.
Rinse and repeat as necessary.
The Easter Funny
Yes, Jesus was a Jew. Many scholars argue that Jesus's Last Supper was a Passover Seder.
Easter celebrates the life and resurrection of Jesus.
Oh, and let''s not dwell on whether or not the Jews killed Jesus, please.
On Purim, it is traditional to drink alcohol until we are so drunk that we cannot tell the difference between "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed be Mordecai".
Whatever you do, please don't drink and drive. Especially if it is Shabbat.
It's No Sacrifice
G-d calls to Moses from the Tent of Meeting, and communicates to him the laws of the korbanot, the animal and meal offerings brought in the Sanctuary.
Parsha: the weekly Torah portion
RAM: Random-access memory
A ger tzedek, Hebrew for "righteous convert", is a gentile who converts to Judaism.
It is not nice to remind a convert that they have chosen to be Chosen.
And you cannot convert to Judaism just so you can tell Jewish jokes.
Jews wear a yarmulke, or skullcap, to cover their heads during prayer. Covering one's head is a sign of respect for G-d. Many Jews wear a yarmulke all the time, even though it is not required.
The Hebrew word for a yarmulke is kippah.
A sheitel is a wig worn by Orthodox Jewish women to cover their hair.
There are many good reasons why a Jewish woman should shave her head when she marries. One explanation is that, during mikvah, water must touch every part of the woman's body. If the hair is knotted, water might not touch everything, and would render the mikvah invalid. So, best to shave completely!
Another reason is that we want to keep our wives under control, so they should not be tempted by contemporary culture. Shaving her head makes our wives less attractive.
Also, if a Jewish wife commits adultery, she must be humiliated by exposing her hair. Completely shaving the head is good incentive not to cheat, because what woman wants to reveal her bald head?
Incidentally, Jewish women and their pubic regions may be a hairy subject, but the topic certainly has been discussed.
Sheitel, sheital, shaitel ...
"St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition."
"One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men—his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death."
"While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine''s death or burial—which probably occurred around 270 A.D—others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine''s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ''christianize'' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival." (Source: The History Channel, The History of Valentine's Day)Happy Valentine's Day from Shabot!
The people of Israel are called upon to contribute fifteen materials—gold, silver and copper; blue, purple and red-dyed wool; flax, goat hair, animal skins, wood, olive oil, spices and gems—out of which, G-d says to Moses, "They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I shall dwell amidst them."
On the summit of Mount Sinai, Moses is given detailed instructions on how to construct this dwelling for G-d so that it could be readily dismantled, transported and reassembled as the people journeyed in the desert. (from Chabad.org)
Parsha: the weekly Torah portion
Get your bling on!
Shadow of Doubt
The groundhog, also known as a marmot, woodchuck, and whistle-pig, is a rodent and member of the squirrel family.
I say: groundhog, hamburger . . . what's the difference?
Happy Groundhog Day!
Does anyone else remember the days when JDate used to ask each member to rate his or her own attractiveness? I couldn't find any reference to this embarrassing request anywhere on the Internet. If you have any proof, let me know.
Update: Aryeh of Jewster.com remembers the following categories for self rating on JDate: stunning, very attractive, attractive, exotic, average, below average
Keep in mind, this was quite some time ago. I think I was one of the first few members of JDate: I had a five-digit membership ID that began with a "1", and back then you could reply to JDate Communications for free. I even got free trial membership "tokens". And EVERYBODY rated themselves as "Very Attractive".
Bentsching is the recitation of birkat ha-mazon, the grace after meals.
How much can you bentsch?
Divided We Stand
"The mekhitza is a divider between men and women in a synagogue. Sometimes it is simply a physical separation between the two sexes, such as a room divider or curtain. Sometimes the women's section is in a balcony."
"The reason for a mekhitza is to provide the men with a greater opportunity to focus on their prayers, rather than on the attractive women in the room."
"The women's section is stereotypically a place where women talk without regard for the prayer service." (from JewishVirtualLibrary.org)
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