Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur: What's the point? (repost)

In Game 1 of the 1965 World Series, Sandy Koufax didn't pitch because it was Yom Kippur. Although I'd like to think he was being a good Jewish boy, he might also have been observing to avoid hearing his mother say, "Sanford, you should be ashamed of yourself."

I honestly don't know why we Jews have a special High Holy Day set aside for atonement. What's the point? Even after we break the fast, the guilt is still going to be there. It never goes away. I feel guilt for things as ridiculous as forgetting to pay equal homage to both the Feast of San Gennaro and Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah got its own blog post; the Feast got nothing. Every year Yom Kippur comes around and every year I'm still atoning for the same transgressions. Am I supposed to clear all of this up by doubling up on guilt when I fast? Do I fast so that the my empty stomach exacerbates the usual guilt that typically results in loose bowel movements?

I say, "Oy."

My mother used to have -perhaps, still has- a plug-in wall candle...a nightlight with Hebrew inscribed around the candle in the center. I didn't know what it said but knew it was somber. Every Yom Kippur, my mother would turn off the kitchen light and plug this candle into the wall in honor of her father who had passed away shortly after I was born and who my middle name is after. Grandpa Stanley. I didn't really know him. That candle made me think of him, though. I'd look at pictures of him singing -he was supposedly a phenomenal singer and musician. I'd look at his old pipes sitting on our bookshelf. And then, I'd fast in order to induce guilt for never having known him. How dare I?

Jewry of the world, hear me: Yom Kippur is overkill! Cool it down, people. Can we simply come to an agreement that Yom Kippur should be the one guilt-free day of the year since the other 364 are spent feeling guilty? I'm not sure if Yom Kippur is designed to bear the burden of the generations past, but if so, it's working and it's annoying.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The F-Bomb (Revisited)

Great news! The Good Men Project just published The F-Bomb, an article from Matzoh and Meatballs's June 2011 post! Check it out and share it with anyone who can no longer drop the f-bomb at will. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Party Like It's 5999!

Happy New Year...the Jewish New Year, that is.

Like I've said, I'm a sorry excuse for a Jew and very much unaware of most things Jewish.  I had to look up the Jewish calendar on Wikipedia to learn that it's the year 5773.  Apparently even Google knows when it's Rosh Hashanah as evinced by the shofar replacing "o" in it's icon.  To be honest, even when my family actually observed the Jewish High Holidays, I didn't know what year we were celebrating.

My only true devotion to Rosh Hashanah was due to the fact that, in New York, it meant no school -not in Maine, though, as I increase the Jewish population by one hundred percent.  It also meant another day off in ten days time for Yom Kippur.  Yom Kippur, however, is a bit of a downer, a day of atonement.  No fun.  Rosh Hashanah is a party!  Pump it up, Matisyahu.

Admittedly, I know very little of the holiday, so I decided to do a little research.

Did you know that this holiday is closely associated with sounding the shofar?   It's supposedly quite loud.  I wouldn't know, however, as I've never prayed in synagogue on such an occasion.  Here's something I didn't know:  Rosh Hashanah is supposed to represent the creation of the Universe (Wikipedia says to capitalize "Universe" in this case -must be a Jewish thing).   Ah, ah!  I knew this one:  Jews are supposed to call their relatives on the eve of Rosh Hashanah before sundown.  I've used that as an excuse before.  Faculty meeting after school today?  Sorry, gotta get home to call Grandy.  The new year and all...

I suck.

Let's face it:   Gentile holidays are way more fun.  Sorry, my Jewish peeps, I'm throwing you under the bus.  Chanukkah is okay, especially with its silent "c" and whimsical spellings, but even multitudes of American Jews celebrate Christmas.  It might as well be a Jewish Holiday.   Rosh Hashanah, come on!  There's no five tons of confetti tossed capriciously and drunkenly around. There's no giant ball of light dropping down in Jerusalem.  Nobody's popping corks of Manischewitz. No Klezmer band playing Auld Lang Syne.  Just some apples and honey and, if you're lucky, a little gelt...wait, that's Chanukkah.  See, you don't even get chocolate money?  No fun, Rosh Hashanah.

So, here's my moral epiphany:   in the Tri-State area, Rosh Hashanah is better known as Rosh-a-Home-ah because every Jew clogs the Long Island Expressway and the Saw Mill and the Garden State Parkway on the commute home from the city to be in by sundown.  Somehow, they all make it in time and, in days past, this included my father whose commute brought him in at exactly 7:42 p.m. every single night of my younger years.  We made sure we sat down to dinner, maybe with a fresh challah bread from the city, and we'd eat.

Happy Rosh Hashanah.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hitler and Fashion

This is good.

As the global economy attempts to rebound, the fashion industry has been forced to experiment with somewhat unconventional brands. A new boutique birthed itself in India under the auspicious title, "Hitler." Charmingly, in much the same manner that a teeny-bopper adorned with friendship bracelets and "juicy" embroidered across her bottom dots her letter "i" with a heart, this Euro-stylized harbinger of what's "in" topped it's own with a swastika.

Shop owner Rajesh Shah's retort to the global media's criticism and Israeli political finger-wagging: "It wasn't until the store opened I learnt that Hitler had killed six million people."

I find myself curiously wondering what Hitleric fashion looks like in India, particularly given Adolf's affinity for the blond-haired, blue-eyed. It seems an unlikely marriage, though some argue India's independence and Gandhi's rise indirectly have Hitler to thank for drawing UK forces primarily into Europe and out of its territories.

Still, I ask, "Why this union?" and conclude it must be Indo-hipster fashion. Perhaps, Mr. Shah is offering a full line of Jewish star t-shirts for his patrons to wear ironically. Perhaps, for those unable to grow facial hair, he sells adhesive Adolf mustaches.

Actually, I think Mr. Shah might be onto something. Much like Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy, Mr. Shah might establish Hitler, Himmler, and Göring. In fact, Goebbels could be the Piperlime of Nazi footwear.

Mr. Shah has stated he will more than gladly change the name of the shop if compensated, as he spent 150,000 rupees for branding. Sure, sure. After all, I didn't realize naming my new bistro "Auschwitz" was so taboo.

My recommendation, Mr. Shah? Do a little more research next time.