Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Rabbi’s Film

filmreel.jpg 

As assistant rabbi at Bnai Shalom, Rabbi David Klein frequently received personal packages from his congregants, usually cookies or muffins sent to his home, kosher of course, as a thank you for him officiating at some bratty kid’s bar mitzvah.  This package was different.  The box was large and heavy.  After he ripped it open, Rabbi Klein saw that it was filled with 35mm film reels.  Attached to the top reel, was a letter:

Dear Rabbi,

If you are reading this, I have passed away to the better world.  I’m sure you did a terrific job at the memorial service and were able to drum up at least twenty mourners.  If you haven’t had the ceremony yet, please make sure that you order the expensive lox for the nosh afterwards, and not the inferior stuff they had for Max Feinstein’s funeral.  I lived a long and fruitful life.  Sadly, my work consumed me and I never married or started a family.  That is why I leave you my prized possessions — all the negatives and films that I have produced throughout the years.

Morris

“I didn’t know Morris was a filmmaker,” said Rachel, Rabbi Klein’s wife, who was looking over the rabbi’s shoulder.  “Let’s see one of his films.” 

The rabbi’s wife, a 1996 graduate of NYU Film School, took out an old projector from the closet and started screening the film on the wall by the living room couch.  As the title was emblazoned on the wall, Rabbi Klein took a loud gulp:  the film was called  “The Plumber Always Cums Twice.”   For several minutes, Rabbi Klein and his wife stared at the wall as if in shock, their eyes ablaze, the only sound in the room being the repetitive motion of the projector.

The film opens with a half-undressed housewife opening the front door for a hunky plumber with a hardbody and a glint in his eye, the type of plumber you would never actually see in real life.

“I need my sink unclogged,” purrs the housewife.

“Right away, Ma’am” he replies.

“Let me just put on something a little more comfortable.” 

Soon, they are making love on the kitchen table, in the bedroom, in the shower, and finally on the washing machine in the basement, where she almost faints from her orgasm.

The film ends with the housewife walking the plumber to the front door.  She is wearing a purple bathrobe and has a huge smile on her face.

“Thank you,” she tells the plumber.  “You did an excellent job.”

“I’m glad you’re pleased.” he laughs.  “Call me again if you ever need any more work done!”

THE END

“That was scandalous!” yelled Rabbi Klein, as the last frame went through the projector and the filmreel started flapping in the air.  He started dragging the box to the garbage.

“We should burn these!”

“No, wait!” said the rabbi’s wife, placing her hand on his.   “Maybe God had a reason for these films to come to you.”

“That’s meshuganah!  What possible reason can there be?  Every commandment is broken in this story.”

“Let me have a chance to edit the film.  Maybe together, we can transform what is sinful into something new, something even educational for the congregation.”

Rabbi Klein saw how eager his wife was to do this project.   He knew how much she missed her film-making  career, which she put on hold to play her role as rabbi’s wife.  Besides, he could never say no to his beautiful wife.

“Let’s give it a try!” said Rabbi Klein.

His wife dusted off her old editing machine, and they went to work re-cutting the film.  Rabbi Klein had a brainstorm and they re-named the film, “The Plumber’s Moral Choice.”  

The film opens with a half-undressed housewife opening the front door for a hunky plumber with a hardbody and a glint in his eye, the type of plumber you would never actually see in real life.

“I need my sink unclogged,” purrs the housewife.

“Right away, Ma’am” he replies.

“Let me just put on something a little more comfortable.” 

As she exits the room, the image FREEZES on the face of the plumber, as we hear his thoughts in VOICEOVER (recorded by the rabbi himself):

The Plumber:  Hmmm… while she’s away I could probably use less expensive parts, then charge her the full price.  And then, she might need to call me again for more work, and I can charge her some more.  I could make a bundle off of this client, even charging extra for labor while I’m just moving things back and forth under the sink, wasting time.  But WAIT a minute!  What am I thinking?  I can’t do that.  This is wrong.  This is immoral.  Wasn’t it Rabbi Hillel who said, “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others!”    I should be a role model for other plumbers.  That’s right.  I’m going to do the best job possible as her plumber!”

The film ends with the housewife walking the plumber to the front door.  She is wearing a purple bathrobe and has a huge smile on her face.

“Thank you,” she tells the plumber.  “You did an excellent job.”

“I’m glad you’re pleased.” he laughs.  “Call me again if you ever need any more work done!”

THE END

Rabbi Klein was very happy with the final result.   He and his wife had turned something seedy into something uplifting. 

That Saturday night, Rabbi Klein convened his congregation for a special “movie night” and had the world premiere of “The Plumber’s Moral Choice” right in the temple sanctuary.  After the screening, the congregants applauded the film with enthusiasm.   One after another, people came up to Rabbi Klein and complimented him on making “religion come alive” for them.

After all the accolades, Rabbi Klein saw that he was being beckoned by an elderly man with a beard, who was sitting in the last row.  This was Rabbi Josephson, the Rabbi Emeritus AND the founder of the synagogue.   Rabbi Klein fidgeted nervously.

“Go on,” said Rabbi Klein’s wife, trying to encourage him to not be afraid of his mentor.

Rabbi Klein dragged himself down the center aisle, looking as sheepish as he did the first time he blew the shofar at the Rosh Hashanah service.  He was afraid of Rabbi Josephson’s opinion of his unorthodox teaching methods.  Rabbi Klein sighed with relief when he saw the elder rabbi smiling and nodding in approval.

“I’m very impressed” says Rabbi Josephson.

“I’m so glad you liked it.   I think it is important to find new ways to reach our congregants about moral issues.”

“Absolutely!” said Rabbi Josephson, patting the younger rabbi’s arm.  “The only question I have is — those actors certainly seem familiar to me.  Weren’t they also in “The Plumber Always Cums Twice?”

39 Comments

  1. Does your hand-me-down bathrobe now have more screen credits than you do?

    Sad, Neilochka, sad. : (

    And no one lusts after plumbers; everyone knows the carpenters are the hotties…

  2. Hats off Neil, this one made me laugh at 4:34 in the morning. Not an easy feat. And On my way to location at that 😉

  3. Hah — great work, Neil.

  4. Haha – I never expected that ending. 🙂

  5. That was great. I love the long joke with the one line payoff.

  6. Ha, good one. Clearly the dead guy sent his films to more than one rabbi. *ahem*

  7. you should try and sell the screen rights for this!!!
    love it. good luck with the plumber today. i wonder if he’ll let you take his pic for your blog?

  8. Totally meshuganah.

    Damn I love yiddish.

  9. A little worried about today? He’ll probably be fat and seaty and stinky and have half his fat ass hanging out of his pants when he bends over (hence, Plumber’s Crack). That’s so not hot.

    Great story though, boychick. xo

  10. Finn — I hope I’m not worried. I’ll be the one answering the door.

    And is the ending of this Checkovian novella clear enough? I thought of it in the shower. Karl thought that the older rabbi got the films, too, and that wasn’t my intention. I figured he watched it on Cinemax or something. Do I need to say that specifically.

    Hey, even Jay Leno works on his jokes!

  11. WOW the ending floored me LOL. Do Jewish plumbers bring matzoh balls to the clients?

  12. I’m glad you will be home when the plumber comes. (It was tough to forgo the pun)

  13. This movie and post get a “thumbs-up”, Neil. Plumber’s snake up, too.

    You must’ve been grinning widely as you thought this up and typed it up. Of course you must’ve … ’cause we were laughing out loud.

    Oscar nomination material.

  14. Unbelievable. I thought it was real for a while. Loved the last joke.

  15. Excellent story. I loved it.

  16. Being that I am always looking for the secret inner message, I thought, at first perhaps you had cloaked yourself in the plummer, and that Sophia had given it up last night…

    But the ending said it was not so.

    Do you read Playboy, For the articles??

    I sense angst and unresolved guilt….
    Confess if you wish.

  17. Excellent! How do you think up this stuff? My favorite part is the quotation from Rabbi Hillel–perfect touch!

    No, I got that Rabbi Josephson saw the film on his own, not because Morris gave it to him. And I wanted a little more about the rabbi’s wife, the former NYU film student. I’m intrigued by the idea of a young attractive rebbitzen. When I hear the term “rabbi’s wife” I still picture the ancient Old Country rebbitzens from our childhoods!

  18. You never cease to make me laugh! 🙂

  19. Danny, I know quite a few hot rebbitzen. There’s even that hot female rabbi in town… you know the one I’m talking about.

  20. I’m sure the Jewish community is PROUD to have you as one of their own… 🙂 Thanks for making me smile!

  21. Maybe the plumber will be a woman.

  22. What Psychomom said! 🙂

  23. There’s even that hot female rabbi in town… you know the one I’m talking about.

    The one at the gay and lesbian temple?

  24. lol. That’s, that’s…a lovely mix of religion, sex, well-meaningness and practicality. And fun.ny.

  25. “…looking as sheepish as he did the first time he blew the shofar at the Rosh Hashanah service.”

    I think you misspelled chauffeur.

  26. you rawk my sawks. I LOVE a good punchline…

  27. Neil:
    First off, I am always late to the party because at work your blog is blocked by our filtering device. Maybe its your frequent use of “penis.” As for this piece, it is quite uplifting, I must say. I love the punchline.

  28. I’m with V-grrrl. It’s all about the carpenters. Not the band, the actual carpenter guys.

    I think you should write more about porn.

  29. Hey V-grrrl and Brooke,
    I’m married to a carpenter!
    🙂

  30. Oy Vay! That purple bathrobe is really making the rounds.

  31. Before you cleaned it up, I thought we were reading your Penthouse Forum entry.

  32. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Oh dear.

  33. In my experience, the plumber always comes at least three times.

  34. Oh Lord, Neil. That was really funny.

  35. Damn. Not quite sure if I’m impressed – or jealous – of how much action you’re able to getting out of that purple robe. I’ll admit that I’ve got one of my own and damn if the only action it gets is hanging on the back of my bathroom door!

  36. Fringes & Othurme – great comments! But I was thinking as Wendy – trying to find another meaning to the story – Neil telling us that he did the deed with Sophia and is now off the market… or “laid” to rest.:)

  37. If you want the “real” meaning of this post, you have to read it backwards.

  38. Awww, you made me your blog crush of the day, and I just noticed and the day is almost over… thank you so much! Does that mean you fixed your toilet? I mean, that my plumbing advice was helpful? Or at least made you laugh?

  39. Weren’ they the same actors that were also in Moby’s Dick and Free My Willy?

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