Posts Tagged ‘humor’

On Sunday evening, after most of the events of Nakba Day had occurred, the Cap’n and I drove to Beit Shemesh for a little R&R.  While prowling through old grocery store (stocking up on things we can’t find in Efrat or Jerusalem), we met up with an acquaintance from our old neighborhood.  After a brief discussion of the day’s news, she told us she’d once been to a talk given by someone who was an expert in positive thinking.  Among the things he said he did to pursue a glass-half-full attitude was the following: “I haven’t read a newspaper in 10 years.  You don’t have to go looking for the news; it will come find you.”

That’s certainly true enough.  And if it doesn’t come find you, maybe it wasn’t worth hearing about after all.  Reading Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz’s interview with President Shimon Peres in last Friday’s paper did little for me but confirm my astonishment at the willful self-delusion of the Israeli Left.  (Horovitz:  So you still see Abbas as a peace partner?  Peres:  Absolutely.)  I’d actually rather I hadn’t read that.

One of my favorite blogs is Jen Yates’s Cake Wrecks.  Jen shares photos of purportedly professionally baked and decorated cakes that shock, amuse, and appall the viewer, accompanied by Jen’s barbed, hilariously witty commentary.  But after a whole week of wrecks, Jen reserves Sunday for the really professional, eye-poppingly masterful cakes, called Sunday Sweets.  These are the weekly reminders that skill, creativity, and good taste still flourish (somewhere) in the professional cake-making world.

I’ve been wondering if it wouldn’t be a good idea to take a day each week and have some such thing on my blog to cleanse the psychological palate from some of the stuff that goes on in the world.  I’ll work out the details later, but to post something amusing, allow me to share the following video of one of Judaism’s premiere comedians (and fellow convert), Yisrael Campbell.  This is the second installment of a series called the Jews Report.  (You can check ’em all out on YouTube.)

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While I don’t condone watching The Daily Show or Stephen Colbert in lieu of reading real news sources, they often take grains of truth or news and grow them into excellent entertainment.

One of the truths many traditional Jews are aware of is the contempt and distrust with which we’re viewed by our less religious brothers.  This segment of the Daily Show shows how that contempt and distrust surface when the frummies try to erect an eruv in the Hamptons.  Enjoy.

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Four kids home for 2½ weeks.  ‘Nuff said.

Here’s a cute thing Aish.com put up for Pesach.  Enjoy.

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When I first learned of the existence of separate women’s and men’s beaches, my next question was, “So does that mean women can wear whatever they want?  Or go topless?  Or go nude?”  Of course upon further education, I learned that modest beachwear is preferable even on separate beaches or during separate swimming hours.  And for the haredi crowd, nothing beats a shvimkleid (swim dress), like the one to the right, for modesty.  That, a terry cloth turban, black shoes that go with everything, and you’re set.

For an account of impromptu hashgacha pratis in Miami and the importance of having a good shvimkleid, watch the video below.  It’ll make you smile.

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Spreading the Word

My mother sent me the following joke the other day:

There was a knock on the door this morning.  I opened it to find a young man standing there who said, “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness.”  I said, “Come in and sit down.  What do you want to talk about?”  He said, “Beats the hell out of me; I’ve never made it this far before.”

I’ve heard jokes and stories about door-to-door missionaries for years, some of them real, some apocryphal.  A woman I once knew would allow missionaries to come in on one condition: they could talk about their religion for 10 minutes, and she would talk about hers for 10 minutes.  A former religion teacher of mine in Catholic school was a former monk, and missionaries used to leave his house utterly disillusioned after a cup of tea and a serious theological dressing-down.  My brother once claimed to have opened the door to missionaries wearing nothing but a Frankenstein mask.  But my favorite story is of a friend who got a knock at his college dorm room door while he was studying.  Did he want to participate in a Bible study in the lounge?  Never one to miss an opportunity to learn some Torah, he grabbed his chumash and joined the group.  When they began reading from their English translations, he looked up in mock horror.  “You study the Bible in ENGLISH?!”  And with that, he snapped his book shut and went back to his room and his books.

I sometimes wonder why people are attracted to cults that peddle God as others peddled vacuum cleaners and encyclopedias in the old days.  I suppose they start out as lonely people, and the kinds of people who find them sitting alone on park benches or smoking dope in alleys offer them some sense of belonging, of friendship, of security.  I have compassion for such people as far as that goes.  I have a little less for the kind of people who go to churches where they claim Catholics aren’t Christians, or anyone who doesn’t go to that particular church is going to burn in hell for all eternity.

Over the years, I have found Christianity disturbing on a number of levels, and one is its general departure from the lessons contained in the Hebrew Bible.  Once, when I was learning with my rabbi before my conversion, he asked me why the Torah begins with the story of Adam and Eve instead of with the Exodus.  It’s a question that has come up periodically throughout my years of hearing sermons.  The answer is that the story of the Jews is the story of all people.  We are all created in God’s image, and we all share a portion of life on earth, as well as a share in the world to come.  God cares about all people, not just the Jews (though the Torah indicates that God has a greater stake in the Jews than in other people, for good and ill).  We are not to rejoice at others’ misfortune, either by rejoicing at the drowning of the Egyptians or by keeping plunder upon conquering cities in Canaan (unless expressly told to do so).  By the same token, how others treat the Jews is supposed to determine in some part their own fortune.

Perhaps this is why, when I was approached by a couple of starry-eyed evangelical Christian undergraduates in the middle of my conversion (and a dual master’s degree) and invited to a Super Bowl-pizza-Bible study party, my blood pressure rose.  What the Bible has to do with American football and pizza utterly escapes me, and when I politely declined, despite promises that it would be “fun,” they asked, “Well, aren’t you a Christian?”  I answered, no, as it happens, I am not.  And they got that look such Christians always get, like they’re talking to someone who deals drugs, eats cockroaches, or murdered someone (which, as a Jew, they probably thought I had).  But didn’t I want to be a Christian?  And this is where my patience gets seriously tried, because I can’t help thinking to myself, you’d all be better off spiritually as Jews, and you could enjoy your Super Bowl and kosher pizza without having to canvass weary graduate students to join you.  But I don’t say that.  I firmly but politely decline, and refrain from telling them that their religion is a lie, a farce, and a bill of goods, and that the path to salvation, redemption, God, and the world to come is a lot simpler for them as non-Jews than they could ever imagine.

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Cannibalistic cake

Since beginning my illustrious career as a transcriber and editor, I haven’t had much time to keep up with other blogs (including my own).  Instead, I take advantage of occasional snatches of time between finishing a file and picking up Bill, while the kids are coloring in the playroom after school, or late at night, to go on blog-reading binges.  We were in this Shabbat and I had a light cooking day on Friday, so I thought I’d catch up on Cake Wrecks.

Like me, those who agree with Jen that cake says it all (including things that would be better left unsaid) will be fascinated to hear her speculative history behind the evolution of baby butt cakes into pregnant torso cakes, and then into, well…read for yourself.  It’s rare that I find myself yelling at the computer screen (because I’ve found from experience that it doesn’t really help), but this was one of those occasions.  Enjoy.  (And then, to cleanse your palate, check out one or more of her Sunday Sweets pages.)

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More help wanted

I’m back after another gander at Israemploy’s offerings.  Included in the job listings for February 2, 2011, are the following:

Android Developer, Android Expert needed in Kfar Saba.  Wow, I’m back in the 1970s again.  Does such a person get to build Artoo Deetoo?  Seethreepio?  I’ve seen the movies, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert.  Guess I’ll have to pass.
Tel Aviv needs an Ant and Maven Expert.  If they want an ant expert, I can give them Yossi’s phone number—he takes care of my ant problem.  But a maven expert?  Isn’t that redundant?
They need Child Minders in the North.  I’ve always had difficulty with this British expression.  Does it mean the child is supposed to mind (i.e. obey) me, or I’m supposed to mind the child?  And isn’t that a brand of canned soup in the UK?
Someone in Jerusalem needs a Female Coach for Housework.  Wouldn’t a housekeeper do just as well?  Or is there a need to have a whistle around my neck and a loud voice to shout out orders?  “Dishes, step lively!  Grease, got off that stove right now!  Bathtub ring, move out!”
Rehovot needs a Fishmonger.  Whenever I used to yell as a child, my mother told me I sounded like a fishwife.  I never knew what she was talking about (did I look like I was married to a fish?), but I still have a loud voice.  (Fishmonger must be the politically correct term for a fishwife.)  Of course, if I want to work on the production end of things, I can apply to be a General Worker for a Fish Farm up in Beit She’an.  Probably less yelling involved in that.
And then there’s this one from the Center: “gestionnaire de compte motive de langue maternelle française”; in other words, if you can’t read this, this job is not for you.
Someone in Givat Shaul needs a Lady’s Companion.  This sounds delightfully old-fashioned, left over from the days when wealthy women hired less wealthy women to be their friends (because sometimes you have to pay for quality).  They would read, converse, do needlepoint together, keep one another company.  I decided to see what this would entail in the 21st century.  It says, “Seeking woman to walk with lady on Shabbos by night and motzei Shabbos.”  Take walks two nights a week?  That’s it?  What, no novel reading?  No needlepoint?  This description also carries with it the standard statement that “This position is considered suitable for members of the Haredi/Ultra-orthodox community.”  I’m never sure what to think when I see that.  Does it mean that I won’t be forced to mix with men, non-haredi Jews, or other unsavory characters?  Does it mean I’ll make enough money two nights a week to support a husband who sits in yeshiva all day, plus eight to ten children?  Or does it mean I won’t be expected to know about evolution, how to use the Internet, or who the prime minister is?
Jerusalem is also looking for Matchmakers.  Oy, don’t ask me.  The one time I set up two friends whose only thing in common was that they were secular, it was a disaster.  (I guess for a relationship to work, you have to have more in common than being willing to eat out at a seafood restaurant on Shabbat.)
Python Expert needed in Tel Aviv.  Say, I didn’t know there was a reptile house there.  And I invested all that money in a lion-tamer hat!  Well, it turns out these must be pretty smart snakes, because the qualifications for this job are “3 years experience designing and implementing web UI; programming experience in Java Script, HTML and XML; 4-5 years experience in Python development; knowledge of relational database back-end such as MySQL or PostgreSQL; and knowledge of C/C++, SVN and Linux.”  Forget me for this job.
Sales and Channel Manager Rest of the World (Israel & Latin America).  Note to self: the rest of the world is Latin America.  Brush up on Spanish and learn Portuguese now.
And finally, someone in Jerusalem is looking for a Yiddish Speaking Nanny for childcare and light housework.  You’ve got to be kidding!  If you find someone who speaks Yiddish, it’s going to be an adopt-a-bubbe, and housework will have to be limited to making chicken soup, tending a carp in a bathtub, and teaching the kid the elements of matchmaking (so she can grow up and take a job like that in number 8).

Another day, another giggle; another day, and no work.

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